WATCH OUT #6: Katharina Schilling on Zohar Fraiman
Contents in the Mirror Are Closer than They Appear
In contemporary times, the face as our representation begins to fade. This is not the first time in the history of culture, and according to Belting, this time the responsibility lies with the media era, which massively fits the face into a certain template, flattening it. A good example of this is the phenomenon of the selfie, which over the past decade has become one of the transparent means of communication, much like a text message. In seeking a new, digital representation for ourselves in the figital era, I come to the conclusion that it is widely understood content that we receive, modify, and share: we influence it, and it influences us. In my work, I use memes and internet interfaces as mirrored self-portraits, where everyone can find themselves. Each material in my series pretends to be another material, as if they were trying to present themselves. Thus, a seemingly chromed object, upon closer inspection, turns out to be a painted 3D print, a video mimics a photograph, and tempered glass imitates the dimensions of the iPhone 13, revealing traces of device usage that we overlook in daily life. In this way, I weave a narrative about a fluid reality where there is no longer room for binary thinking: what matters is what lies between the two poles, and the digital and material worlds are one. At the same time, I shed the label of Narcissus from individuals expressing themselves on the internet because they mark their presence in the same way the body does for us every day. Hence, the finale of the exhibition is an interactive installation in the form of a Venetian mirror, which, with the help of a face-detection app, throws a flare onto the person standing in front of the mirror—a quote from amateur photos in the mirror using a flash. In this seemingly senseless action, I observe a poetic perspective on our online activity: showcasing oneself is not always about egocentrism or narcissistic tendencies, but about marking our presence here and now, even when only we see the photo.