I recently made a piece that was a representation of my "digital identity", an Artist Self Portrait in the form of numbers, passwords, pin numbers, uniform resource locators and various email addresses.
This piece is a commentary on the shape of people within the "system" of our society's indifferent dependency on modern day conveniences. After completion of the piece I realize just how "out there" I am (and how many accounts i have!). My identity and personal information could potentially be very accessible. The thought that my information/identity would be on public display made me feel (briefly) liberated yet very nervous. And the idea that any reaction -- be it good or bad -- surfaced in my work yet again.
I was asked to donate a few works for a Young Professionals group exhibition -- so I donated a tripic painting as well as my Artist Self Portrait. The pieces were dropped off at the gallery a few days ago and the installation was set for last night. I couldn't shake the idea that my identity would be on public display for a month! With an anxiety filled heart, I went to the gallery last night for the installation and upon talking with the gallery owner -- he advised me that, although he could see my self portrait was very "conceptual", it was not a "good" idea to hang the piece for many reasons but the most obvious being that I had marked the piece "NFS". That's right. Not For Sale. Actually selling my identity is not what I had in mind at all and completely defeats the message behind my work. So, after a long discussion with the gallery owner about the price of my piece -- I made the decision to pull my own work from the show.
Although I am very disappointed, I am thankful for the shaky thoughts that have crossed my mind the past few days and rattled my somewhat steady existence. This piece has, just as all of my work has, taught me about who i perceive myself to be, who i think i am and --- who i really am.