here i am am i here

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Installation including interactive website, projection, laser printer, and acrylic wall-mounted brochure holders. 
2016


here i am am i here was created as a part of Northern Lights' Art(ists) on the Verge 7 and exhibited at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis from March 12-April 15, 2016.  View the project online at hereiamamihere.net. Special thanks to Jon Henderson for his development expertise. All photographs by Rik Sferra.

From The Soap Factory website: 

"This exhibition features new work from five Minnesota-based artists. AOV7 is an intensive, year-long, mentor-based fellowship program for emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture.

One of the fundamental concepts defining the mission of the Art(ists) On the Verge Fellowship is the commitment to emerging artists whose practice often falls outside of and in between the traditional notions of media or disciplines. The Art(ists) On the Verge fellows are no exception. Their work at The Soap Factory engages with a broad spectrum of ideas.

Please visit Northern.Lights.mn to learn more about their organization, AOV, and their other programs. 

AOV7 Artists: Eric F. AveryTorre EdahlJessica HendersonJoshua McGarvey, andLiza Sylvestre"

A crawler was developed to searched random Instagram and Twitter profiles and pull down assets from accounts that had been abandoned. Of the 6 million+ queries that were made in 5 or so months of it's running, upwards of 150,000 Twitter and 60,000 Instagram assets were added to the here i am am i here collection..

About the project

For the past several years I have been making art that questions how human experiences and understanding of being—being “in time” and “in space”—are influenced and affected by living increasingly virtual lives. We build self-awareness by seeing our reflection in the world and the impressions that we leave on it.

As our involvement in virtual or digitally mediated environments grows, becoming less physical, less rooted in one time, one place, and with tangible objects, how does awareness of our own existence change? How does the act of self-reflection change? If our impressions on the world and each other become less concrete, then do we become less human or less aware of our humanity? These questions ultimately relate to a core human desire: to be seen, to feel present, and to feel valued with a voice in the world.

This issue of understanding “being” in a digital era extends through a variety of my projects, from artist’s books to screen prints and video installations; all interpret found objects through carefully structured digital systems that draw attention to technical mediation and abstraction. As a first-generation “digital native” who has spent half of my life firmly rooted in both realms, these topics and tensions are closely tied to who I am.

here i am am i here explores themes of connection/isolation, waste/documentation, and meaning/frivolity by inviting exhibition visitors to sift through libraries of abandoned Tweets and Instagram image posts. Interactive stations in the gallery aggregate this information and allow users to drag and drop these isolated social media fragments onto blank pages, where new narratives and conversations emerge. The walls are covered with a grid of page holders that mimic the spreads of a book. Users can print out pages and add them to the installation, contributing to the evolving and mutating “meta” narrative that unfolds across the space over the duration of the exhibition. Opposite the printer wall is an immersive projection that shows the script used to crawl for content running behind a browser window that is continuously scrolling through the hundreds of thousands of pieces of information collected.

This installation questions our need to connect with others, the importance of the digital artifacts that we leave behind, and what we choose to share or announce. The fleeting social media exchanges that have been collected document desires, values, and questions. Much of the content proclaims an individual’s mundane presence or asks something of an anonymous universe, and most of these prompts have been left unanswered or unacknowledged. Can meaning be culled from these fleeting fragments? How does running them through a curatorial filter and committing them to print alter their significance and affect their authority as cultural artifacts?

Most of my projects point back to questions surrounding the discernment of meaning and importance, particularly as those concepts relate to quantity and fragmentation. here i am am i here prompts those who experience it to consider how we might cultivate a broader, contextualized perspective and navigate the immense means of production and documentation afforded to us.