Self.ish

Video, 1:15, video & sound, 2017
Exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland

In a present marked by a greater and greater aloneness and a fast run in a competition for affirmation, in times of technology, selfishness, and self-promotion with such easiness thanks to social networks, the individual is running an ongoing process of searching for attention. He’s trying to make himself seem someone else to stand out, easily creating and wearing masks in this digital, virtual public square, for more likes, hearts and comments, the new self confirmation model.

Marking a meal at a restaurant with a check-in on Foursquare or Facebook became the basic tool for attracting others’ attention, while posting selfies became the standard. A run shared with virtual friends through a sports smartphone app, a picture from the city where you take a vacation and, finally, a selfie from the contemporary art museum visited in his last day of vacation, after seeing all the other attractions.

There are two types of visitors in a contemporary art museum: the one who understands art and the one who checks-in with a selfie. The latter might also be the one to claim a Rothko painting is worthless because “I can do that, why not pay me?”. He’s also the one that usually mocks modern art works in his selfies, at least with a grimace, because he’s not able to understand it and appreciate it, unable to get out of his intellectual confort zone.

While Dada was an exit from an artistic confort zone, as an introvert myself refusing to ever take selfies, I felt inspired to exit my own confort zone and try to understand how a simple tourist understands an artwork and how he’d mock the art piece. I documented through selfies what I imagined a tourist would see in an exhibition I visited in December 2015, dedicated to Tristan Tzara by the curatorial staff at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Strasbourg, and how he’d react.

I didn’t, however, try to imagine how many hearts on Instagram or likes and comments would he get from his virtual friends, in his selfish attempt for affirmation.