Thesis—Chapter 1: Introduction

The times are fast–rapidly changing. We create and deploy, create and deploy, create and deploy, always moving forward with ever-growing speed and efficiency.

Thesis—Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. Rapid Change

The times are fast–rapidly changing. We create and deploy, create and deploy, create and deploy, always moving forward with ever-growing speed and efficiency. Often, we continue down our forward path with determination, giving not even as much as a glance in the opposite direction.

With every technological revolution comes consequence, consequence that may be hard to discern. Informed by this consequence will be debate, debate leading to conclusion, conclusion leading to agreement and disagreement, all while the evolution of who we are, what we are, who we think we are, and who we think we would like to be will continue on. Forever, in the background, the formation of society as a whole and as individuals will be molded by our interactions. Interactions we can observe as a set of decisions, all influencing the next decisions.

As the information age marches forward we have taken the role as leaders of an epoch, making a testament to the complex abilities of the technologies we have created. Digital technology is no longer looked at as just a physical extension of body. No, it has reached a level of refinement and integration where we see it as extension of self, a continuation of who and what we believe we are.

When it comes to human-to-human communication, Online Social Networks have continued to dominate, disseminating a range of media at almost instantaneous speeds. The development of online public profiles provides a way for us to portray our selfness to an online community, a selfness in which we have unlimited freedom to curate. The power possessed by the ability to curate who we our through our own eyes poses many problematic 2 questions related to psychological health and well-being. Through these creative works, I will explore our ongoing relationship to social media and how we present ourselves to the world.

 

1.2. The Chant

“I can so I will, now we must.”

Above is the chant heard echoing through the depths of our zeitgeist, projecting from an ever-growing base of technological users. Social media–Online Social Networks–has been integrated into our palette of “the everyday” seen as tools that allow us to explore, in greater depth, ourselves as a unit and as individuals. Ultimately, providing us with ways to alter our perception of self and how we present that self to others.

The collective is collectively becoming a distorted reflection of self, and it is all ironically fostered by the technologies we create, integrate, and now belong to.

“I can so I will, now we must” a creative response to selfie culture; a reflection of our technological creations and how they have seduced our sense of self.

I can so I will
A statement of one’s inability to control urges while suggesting technology’s success in seducing our will. Focused on the self-accenting our self-oriented–selfish–nature.

Now we must
A statement on the psychological tipping point of addiction. The phrase has evolved from “I” to “we” suggesting the effects are now grand in scale and fast spreading–like a virus–on the collective. The phrase has evolved from “will” to “must” suggesting earlier there was a choice, establishing there is less chance of return all the while seeming harmless to engaged parties.

The new “me”
A statement on how we define and perceive ourselves. Absorbed in our online selves and often overlooking its connection to our physical essence you can define your new “me” through online interactions–user profiles–and how you choose to marry your online and physical selves–realities.

 

1.3. The Echo

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” (Toffler 1991)

It is necessary, as thriving beings, to set aside time for reflection and observation. Observation allows us to gain a better understanding of what’s going on. Though it is argued Moore’s Law may be coming to an end (Cumming et al. 2014) we have lived decades in a world where digital technologies have been, and continue, to increase at an exponential rate. In terms of technology, now, more than ever, the world we live in is rapidly changing. With these changes come effects–consequences. Effects, on a large scale, that can be hard–or deceiving–to see. Effects that are physical, psychological, and sociological. Effects that determine how we interact and how we will continue on into the abyss of our time. However far these effects may be from our current perception–need for reflection–does not make them any less important to our future.

 

1.4. The Glass Is Just Too Big

For years I’ve orchestrated an internal battle in an attempt to reconcile whether technology is right or wrong, good or evil, just or unjust, only to conclude the best 4 understanding is not found through a simple question of differences. In fact, I was looking at it all wrong.

The moral compass of technology is not driven by technology itself, and discussing whether it should be in existence or not lacks the ability to remove what technology currently is to humanity or where it has brought us. No, the truth of it all is that–technology simply is.

The moment I grasped this notion I felt free. Free to move forward and evaluate the status quo of the real question, ourselves. How are we making use of the technologies we create? Have we rendered them right or wrong, good or evil, just or unjust? Most importantly, are we aware of our active role in this dance? The dance we believe we lead but are regretfully wrong in that conclusion.

Further, do we understand how our development of technology–to aid our lives–influences the set of decisions we are able to make? Behold, an infinite loop of feedback between our creations, and ourselves. Each of us pushing back on the other, gently making ourselves known to our counterpart. Through these interactions we each create a defined space in which the other may function, influencing our decisions and impacting the future.

The technology we make is defined by our ability to perceive, by our life experience. That technology then dictates how we perceive ultimately adjusting our life experience.

The dance continues…

 

1.5. Guiding Questions

The nature of this creative response left it difficult to define a series of specific tasks or quantifiable outcome. With this in mind, a set of guiding questions were created to help focus the process and generate momentum.

Guiding question one
In what ways are people engaging with Online Social Networks to develop a deeper sense of self?

Guiding question two
Do alternative methods of viewing media posted to Online Social networks offer a different perspective of their message?

Guiding question three
Do alternative methods of interacting with media posted to Online Social networks offer a different perspective of their message?

 

This chapter was taken from MFA Thesis.