Identity Crisis (2017)

IC_7022 (2017, C-Print on Dibond, 72×48″)

IC_7022 detail

IC_8217 (2017, C-Print on Dibond, 45×30″)

IC_8205 (2017, C-Print on Dibond, 45×30″)

Live Instagram Post

Identity Crisis was a solo exhibition by Tavis Lochhead that occurred for one day only on June 22, 2017 at the Black Cat Artspace in Toronto.

Artist’s Statement

When we pick up our phones or open up our laptops, do we become different people? Is our online presence more important than our offline presence? How much do we do in the real world to reflect how we appear online?

Identity Crisis asks these questions through physical and digital media to challenge the audience to think about their relationship with technology.

The exhibition features abstract compositions of well-known people that have been selected and processed through physical and digital means. The results presents these figures manipulated in both comic and grotesque fashion to communicate the dramatic change that occurs as we enter and exit the digital space.

Images of people are used as the source based on the principle that as social creatures, our time online is often spent looking at other people, whether they’re connected to our personal lives or because they’re known for some reason. The latter is chosen to make the pieces speak to a wider audience.

An image search engine is used with generic queries like “famous people”, allowing its algorithm to display the initial results. The subjects are then selected based on scrolling and zooming in and out. The digital tiles of faces are projected from a computer monitor, then reflected off of hand-crumpled chrome polyester, and photographed. The photographs are then printed, mounted, and hung on a wall.

Of course the path doesn’t end there. Art inevitably finds itself online, with a greater audience there than in-person. Identity Crisis enters this dialogue by having a screen that displays an Instagram post of the show itself, with live updates so that viewers can instantly see their likes and comments, as well as from people online. As the internet is a powerful gateway to art around the world that many will never see in person, the question arises: what’s more important, the show itself or its online documentation?

Whichever channel people choose to prioritize for their own self-projection, the statement displayed on the gallery wall, “NOW I BECOME MYSELF”, represents that decision.