CONTEXT: Social Media
Social media defines our identities. More than that, we have begun constructing our personalities with the tropes of social media. In this sense an archaeology of a platform like Instagram becomes an examination of ourselves.
The only currency of the social media celebrity is popularity, expressed in hits, likes and comments. This social influence can be bought with money. Click farming - an industry worth $200 million - can provide thousands of hits, likes and comments in mere hours.
Employees of click farms are paid as little as $1 for a thousand clicks – these are the modern day digital sweatshops, untraceable and hidden from view.
Our Western ideals of beauty, coolness and popularity are clicked into existence by fingers in developing countries.
Vincent V. Leonard, budding Instagram star
For the purpose of exploring click farms and social media, we created our own Instafamous celebrity @vincentvleonard. Vincent started as a nobody. With the aid of click farmers, he now boasts of 21k followers.
Taking this exercise further - we wondered if we could similarly construct a world out of social media...?
Fragments of physical reality visible in the square crop of Instagram and taken and articulated to delirious lengths in this imagined world.
SPACE: Compositing New Worlds
To visualize how Yash imagined Vincent's glamorous world began merging with his personal reality, footage from Los Angeles was composited into scenes that were quintessentially part of Mumbai's urban reality. Instagram filters were superimposed onto these visions, with appropriate hashtags and comments.
Icons multiply themselves across landscapes, out of scale and out of context. Physical reality and virtual reality are no longer distinct. Our impressions of the world and our identities are now nothing more than constructs of social media.