Post-internet art (selfies, feminism, and the female gaze)
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Claudia Pederson
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:07 pm    Post subject: Post-internet art (selfies, feminism, and the female gaze)

Interesting Simon. I do have the same experience with a number of graduate women students working in relationship to this topic. They insist that their work relates to the notion of the female gaze as they tend to contrast their work with 1980s feminist photographers for whom the male gaze was the issue. The notion of agency comes up often as many of these women students are very interested in thinking about the power dynamics of selfies in relation to themselves and other women. The audience they envision is not male but female. One student in particular is a queer white woman and she is struggling with how her work relates to queer women of color working in a similar vein. I should add that as Murray notes, the selfie photography culture (largely women) is not only about posting images on instagram but it is a community of sorts where friendships, discussions, and exchanges of work and about the work take place.

Two questions that come up is the public nature of the work as well as the financial aspect of using such platforms, and the responses I get to both are ambivalent. These students are very aware of these dynamics yet they are also interested in exploring them as part of the work itself. I noticed that the objections to such projects from men and women students and some faculty are about concerns that are not so much caught up with narcissism (though some mention this) but with deciding whether they represent a straight-forward imitation of the social-media celebrity culture that you mention. I think I rather have them take over social media alongside the Kardashians and I also think that such objections are perhaps caught up with the broader discomfort about women showing off their bodies and speaking up.                         
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Simon Biggs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:09 pm    Post subject: Post-internet art (selfies, feminism, and the female gaze)

Yes, my experience isn’t dissimilar in respect of the female gaze focus, although most of the work my students are producing seems highly critical of selfie and celebrity culture. As so often in Australia, the selfie trope is seen as an American cultural import so it is triple critiqued, as commodification of self, a question of gender and as an example of cultural hegemony.
I’d also note that not all the students and young artists working with this theme are women or identify as female. I’ve a gay student working with representations of the queer male body in this context - although he is doing so using motion capture and virtual reality systems, not the internet as such. I assume he will choose to present his work in a gallery or as a game-like experience rather than online as the bandwidth is substantial and the VR hardware very specific.

I guess what is highlighted here is the quantity of contemporary work that is about subjective gender identity and its public representation, not just the shift in how that is addressed.
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Simon

Simon Biggs
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