The Naked You and Me
On Photography as a Means of Self-Representation in Social Networks and the Sharing of Loneliness and Longing
As of December 2012, there are 86 million blogs with 38.5 billion entries on the internet platform tumblr.com.
Current growth rate: 77.7 million entries per day.
According to the operators, “Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything.”
Much like the hand-written letter was expected to conquer distance and create immediacy, blogging is seen by countless bloggers as a way to overcome their loneliness through interaction with like-minded netizens. The sheer number of daily postings on one of many platforms, quoted above, indicates that some of these bloggers do find distraction in this activity.
Uploading an anonymous nude picture of oneself and tagging it as “nude,” “naked,” “private” etc. is apparently one of the most efficient methods to stage one’s online persona. The uploaders seek a particular kind of attention which they would never dare pursue in their offline lives. As photographers, they manipulate themselves as their own models and thus create a second identity, showing what they wish to share with others anonymously although nobody is typically supposed to see it.
Their hope for confirmation is shattered by shamelessly simple comments that drown the nudes’ individuality in a flood of banality. Variation does not often extend beyond “Hot pic” and “Thanks.”
“The Naked You and Me” is an experiment. The conventions of superficial interaction in social networks are challenged by a photographic work of art. In concrete terms, this project is an attempt to discuss the emotional content of other people’s photographs with them (which is an unusual step for a reblogger), and thus to increase their immanent value.
Looking for a compliant nude model, painter X comes across a photo blog poetically and appropriately named “the-naked-me.” From that blog, the painter extracts digital data that can be shared with all followers. Having modified his object, he claims it for himself as real, indivisible and non-shareable. In order to establish contact with his model, he starts the blog “the-naked-you-and-me.” This blog has only one entry: the photograph “The Naked You and Me.” It’s a self-representation of the artist in his studio. He has chosen a nude picture from the blog “the-naked-me” as source material for an oil painting and placed a photograph of his own face beside the anonymous nude. The picture of the painter at work in his studio serves to demonstrate to the creator of the pictures on the photoblog “the-naked-me” how close her digital reproduction comes to people watching her in geographically indeterminate distances.
The actual reaction of the involuntary (but compliant) model and the photographer was very emotional. The ensuing personal email correspondence demonstrated that it is indeed possible for a single photograph to trigger a genuine response in an ocean of pictures and comments. The written reaction to “The Naked You and Me” spawned a relation between four identities — painter and model as well as two photographers promoting themselves. A 12,000-kilometer distance, a six-hour time difference — far enough removed to feel secure. And yet we can unsettle each other.
Title: The Naked You And Me
Description (short): artistic intervention in conventional blogging structures to challenge the role of photography in social networks.
Date of realisation: 11.12.2012
The technical characteristics and the conditions of realization: download of lowres image from a weblog - projecting lowres image onto canvas - painting oil on canvas - photographing painter in front of his work editing image in editor - uploading image to weblog - contacting blogger of origin to publish the unusual kind of reblog
And the value of the work: after uploading to tumblr.com the image is cleaned of all copyright-information, is moved in directory „/1c5eceb88b1be20460aaf30aa06b679d/“ and renamed to „tumblr_mev7ssFrdt1s0nbzao1_1280.jpg“
the value of uploaded images is defined by the number of followers who „like“ it. the material value of photograph crumbles away in countless copies.