Millennial : Mediated Self Portrait
Low fire ceramic, video imagery
“Millennial” is an autobiographical work. Growing up as a millennial, or digital native, technologies have played a major role in my growth and development as a human being, possibly influencing my character traits and tendencies later in life. This series further explores the relationship between humans and our technologies. Inspiration has been drawn from contemporary artists such as Megumi Naitoh, whose work analyzes technology’s control over human life, depicting the human figure trapped within the computer, trying to escape.
The installation consists of objects that I used either as toys or tools during childhood, reproduced by casting them in clay. The other component is a frame blending video including a timeline of photos of myself, morphed together using generated pixel motion. The images of myself grow more distorted and lose color as I become older, suggesting the continuous impact these pieces of technology might have had. Though the cast objects take on the exact form of the originals, they are sterile, absent of color or personality, and serve as a blank canvas or ground. When digital imagery is projected onto this canvas, perspective is altered and skewed as the imagery conforms to the topography of the suspended objects.
Juxtaposing the old and new is an important aspect of this work. The objects are rendered in clay, an ancient material, and are combined with video imagery, a contemporary medium. The aesthetics choices made are influenced by my training as a graphic designer, and an attempt to merge graphic knowledge with sculpture—the two-dimensional illusion of the image with the physical reality of the three-dimensional. Inspired by work such as Eugene Hon’s “And the Ship Sails On,” where his passion for drawing informs his ceramic installations.
Depending on the viewer's age, the objects evoke a range of reactions and connections. An older generation may still see them as groundbreaking, a millennial may see them as nostalgic, and an adolescent may see them simply as old and outdated. These different reactions illustrate the existing generation gaps, and suggest the exponential growth possibilities of technology.