public & private

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What's the line between who I am and how I represent myself on the web?

There is a lot of me up here representations of who I am and who I want to be. The tricky piece is that I'm caught in a paradox between who I am and who I'm becoming. The question might be about being, the ontology of self. Its also about who I'm willing to be publicly and what I reserve for my private self. Then there's the pesky business of who I want to be and how I represent myself beyond my lived experience. Idealizing is a persistent folly.

The Greeks had the idea of the Polis you know Acropolis, metropolis, megatropolis that is the "city." In the Polis there were distinct roles that people played and events to which citizens were present. For example, someone heading through the Polis to purchase goods might be present to a trial and even shout out his opinion for all to hear. Private life, for the Greeks, was another thing altogether. The web strikes me as a Polis. However, its a Polis that defies real time and the bridles of everyday life. It almost demands that we approach it as performance.

Today, we live in a celebrity culture where the distinctions between the public and private have been eroded. Our roles in the public and private spheres are less distinct and harder to define. Some of this has to do with media; some has to do with the growing systems of power that govern our private lives. And more has to do with our desire to be voyeuristic and exhibitionistic. We are on a search to figure out what it means to live, how to live in a rapidly changing world. The web allows us to look into other lives and get some clues.

We also live in a feminist culture and the distinctions between public and private have been re-defined. What happens in the private sphere, in the bedroom and in intimate encounters is no longer contained. Its a good thing. Ive crafted my queerness into a political persona and therefore I have embraced the erosion to my own ends. Yet, there are parts of my intimate life that I want to keep private. Sure, Ive published nude self-portraits, but theres a difference between that and publishing the intimacies shared between people. The culture wars of the eighties and nineties taught us that even pornography is a political act of representation. Yet, colonization and the appropriation of others, we are still learning, only serves to reproduce existent power structures. It uses others for personal gain.

From the vantage of representation, this site falls into several traps. Ive stated that Im not in the business of being an Internet celebrity, but its almost exactly how Ive set up the site. The balance of the pages and certainly the ones that get the most traffic are the ones about me and my desires. The art pages get traffic, too, but the blog, the data and the personal pix form a narration for the paintings and "art" photographs. I am aware that Ive crafted an image of myself that is not nearly as faceted as the "real" me. There is also an element of performativity to this project. As much as I want to strive toward honesty, I am aware that the construction of my self is performative describing me, as I want to be seen, as the world understands the symbols I wear. Id like to get beyond this and am working to build more facets with the intention of disorienting this performativity -- but this will take time (if, indeed, its even possible), so BEWARE of thinking that you understand me from these pages. The process of being concise is one of narrowing, hiding, and making simple for anothers ease. Its not about truth. Truth is messy, subjective, and never quite complete.

So, in the Polis of the web, what is our errand? Are we here to purchase goods, search for truth, be entertained, or look for love? Theres no judgement implied in my question, God knows Ive used the web for all these purposes, but there is a challenge, to myself and others, I suppose, of being explicit abut our purpose.

My site seeks to excavate and describe my practice as an artist and as a person. For me, these two identities are synonymous, but for others especially for those who will deem whether or not I qualify for an MFA my coupling is divorced. We live in a society intent on old definitions and I should expect that modernist compartmentalists will challenge this theory of integration.

For the time being, this site will continue to erode the public and private, as my intuition says it must. Look for me here; dont expect to find me. As soon as this is posted, Ill be onto the next theory. Ill be engaged with my becoming and so will you.