20 September 2012


Over drinks last night, Chriskey (Royal Crown, rocks) asks me (Royal Crown, neat) about the objective of Cute Cat Photos Conquer the World. He doesn't like my standard response about a time-based, social media experiment-- something he's heard before about the Fortunes. I'm forced to articulate what's been swimming around in my head: The intention is to draw attention to the divide between identity and social identity and how they are both constructed. My hypothesis is that people are self-consumed with their own online identities in such a way that, if changed gradually over time to become more and more inane, my own online identity will go unremarked. I am not my Facebook profile, although it is something that I have deliberately toiled on over years and that alone should attest to my valuation of it. Yet, it is nothing tangible, a  cloud of information that can never add up to "me."

Chriskey has been an unwitting participant in another social media experiment that I have been deploying since the beginning of our online relationship. I have systematically, over time, liked every single one of his likes. It's been spread out, subtle, unnoticeable. And, now that I am sacrificing likes to the current project, it may never be recognized. It's been fun to adopt pieces of his online personality, paralleling a natural process that happens in our biological relationships.

I think my overall objective for all of these social media pieces is an application of the conceptual work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. I offer two quotations from him to support this:
  1. Meaning can only be formulated when we can compare, when we bring information to our daily level, to our ‘private’ sphere. Otherwise information just goes by. Which is what the ideological apparatuses want and need. ‘You give us thirty minutes and we give you the world.’  A meaningless one. So public life is private life. In our culture, we live in a world of interrelations.
  2. At this point I do not want to be outside the structure of power, I do not want to be the opposition, the alternative. Alternative to what, to power? No, I want to have power. It’s effective in terms of change. I want to be like a virus that belongs to the institution. If I function like a virus, an imposter, an infiltrator, I will always replicate myself together with those institutions. Money and capitalism and powers are here to stay, at least for the moment. It’s within those structures that change can and will take place.
Virus was, of course, on his mind for many reasons and I hope that my work can play with the technological layer of its meaning, as well as the biological and institutional layers in which Gonzalez-Torres worked. 

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