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A precarious selfie: artistic labour and self-representation in the networked era
thesisposted on 2017-02-24, 00:14 authored by Eaton, Jackson
A Precarious Selfie is a critical reflection on artistic subjectivity in the context of a networked society. Contemporary media’s ubiquity and lack of differentiation between artist and non-artist and between work and non-work foreground research aimed at exploring a complicated personal relationship with the artist’s role on social media and a questioning of subjective expression as an artistic methodology. My research is led by a number of performative, visual and conceptual investigations concerning the construction and exhibition of a public self. This research paper describes these artistic approaches and their position within a history of conceptual photography and avant-garde persona production, in addition to a contemporary understanding of identity as a networked construct. I contextualise this work through a close examination of artistic and theoretical discourses around two key themes: artistic labour and self-representation. In particular, the notion of ‘precarity’ and the phenomenon of the ‘selfie’ are used to explicate the problematic relationship between artistic practice and neoliberal capitalism in the current time. Artistic strategies of self-branding are critiqued in relation to the notion of the readymade, and the mediating influence of intimate art photography on everyday subjective expressions on social media is argued. From my research emerges a conceptualisation of these themes in terms of ‘presence’ and ‘performance’.