Project Brief

Make a film exploring how contemporary technology changes the way we see and interact with cities

Collaborators

Yunxin Hu
Dylan Perkinson
Ruizi Qin
Feifei Zhang

Instructors

Liam Young
Alexey Marfin

Year

2016
SCI-Arc

 
 
 

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.

STRATEGY:
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.

On-site filming in India with Rishabh Mendhiratta starring as yash


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.