The performers are so occupied by their interactions, that they don’t have time to negotiate their image as they normally would on the Internet and so, almost without being aware of it, they show their vulnerabilities and doubts, their messy and sloppy sides, their “hidden code”.
-Annie Abrahams, Trapped to Reveal – On webcam mediated communication and collaboration
Annie Abrahams is a Dutch performance artist who focuses on video installations and internet related performances. She is particularly interested in portraying and expressing the idea of how performers are incapable of controlling their actions, or maintaining their social identity in the artwork.
In Angry Women, she got a group of women to vent their frustrations in front of their own webcams but on a platform with other strangers. In the video, the women can be seen talking at one point, then screaming and shouting. The timing as which this occurs to different individuals on the webcams varies however. They are alone together, and angry together.
Annie Abrahams intent on disentangling the entanglements in order to better understand the nature and quality of the third space environment we increasingly find ourselves in.
-Randell Packer, Disentangling the Entanglements
I felt like what Professor Randell Packer said about Annie Abraham’s work really reflected the nature of the piece. We are constantly putting out this face that we want to be seen online unknowingly and Annie Abraham’s work serves to exactly force the performers to express their true identity on camera and to disclose our true inner personality.
I feel like there is just so much to say regarding our digital identity because it is something so relevant to us right now in this time and age. We all hide behind social media platforms with an identity that we put forth on the web for everyone all around the world to see.
If we choose how we present ourselves, and we choose who we present ourselves to, don’t we risk just falling into a collective just-so-story about who we are and what we ought to believe? This is why so many of the chapters to follow are about authenticity in various forms—authentic selves, authentic relationships, and authentic communities.
–D.E. Wittkower (A Reply to Facebook Critics)
How do we truly know someone if all we might know of them is only a part of them that they choose to show? What is worse is that the part that they show might not even be close to who they are because that is just how free we are on online platforms, we have the power to decide whatever we show!
In Carla Gannis’s work ‘Until the End of the World’, she questions about the hybrid nature of identity, of how our identity online and offline intersect in this time and age. The creation of the video was inspired by a film by Wim Wenders where a woman is addicted to watching her dreams in a small handheld device, hence Carla Gannis converts it to be more applicable to the current age to discuss about the digital identity politic issues. In the video, imagery of the mobile phones can be seen and there is some sort of narration that goes on in the background to narrate the changes as time passes from year 4545 to 5555 to 6565 and so on.
There was this particular scene which I felt was quite thought-provoking to me. The phones are buried on the ground and it resembled tombs on a cemetery and I wondered if this was meant to convey the message that we are all trying to portray a certain side of us online that we bring it to our ‘deathbeds’ because that is how we want people to remember us as. Then again, this is just something that came across my mind haha!