IMG_8576This interactive installation uses QR codes to explore consumer culture, sexual and gender identity, imitation, and exhibitionism via social media.

//COMMENT!//SUBSCRIBE!// Trailer

This is a project which examines a narrow subset of American teenager, but it is about community and culture at large. In the Fall of 2012, I became fascinated with the breadth of personal videos posted to YouTube and spent hours immersing myself in this subculture, trying to make sense of what I saw. In these videos, adolescent girls present an intimate portrait of their lives by vlogging, dancing to their favorite pop songs, or showing off their latest “mall hauls.” I immediately identified with these girls and was intrigued by the private matters chosen for display on the very public forum of the internet. By appropriating and curating these public diary entries, I offer a glimpse into the confusing world of female adolescence.Within 3 weeks of developing the concept, I presented the first production of //COMMENT!//SUBSCRIBE!// as a one-night installation at Static Age Records in downtown Asheville. Now it is time to expand my concept. The videos are presented via QR codes, which can be accessed with any smart phone or tablet and a QR reader app (which is free).

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Some of the videos are silly and creative, some are self-concious and vain, and some are heart-wrenching and sad. So many of these girls are obsessed with presenting an unattainable image, rendered “true” through a constant onslaught of highly-processed media.

The overall effect is disturbing, raising questions regarding the private vs. public, prescribed gender roles, and the force of social media in our lives.

I find it important to represent these girls in a multi-dimensional way. It is easy to make harsh judgments about their decisons, about their seemingly unquenchable thirst for new products, their unchecked privledge and vanity, and their craving for positive feedback; underneath it all, however, you see in their eyes confusion, fear, and longing. They have been taught the pathway to love is paved with YouTube subscribers and massive view counts.

Artist: Rachel Whitlock

Location: Cabin #19