Who actually owns our online identity? And how does technology shape our behaviour? Artist Erica Scourti grapples with these questions and more through performance, video and installation.
Erica Scourti uses technology to make the decisions within her work. She often constructs her performance art around her phone, reading the words that auto predict suggests, one after the other. While she performs her phone screen is in full view projected behind her. It takes her through a catalogue of words and phrases – now jumbled and unordered – that she has sent to others in texts and emails. This act of performance mirrors our dependence on technology as an appendage and a confidant. It’s a statement about how our devices understand and regurgitate versions of ourselves.
This mix of words, image and technology is a regular pattern in Erica’s work and led her to a collaboration with the general public on a project called ‘So Like You’ where Google image search was one of her key technological tools.
Featured image credit: Installation view, ‘So Like You’, Erica Scourti at The Photographer’s Gallery 2014. Photograph, Kate Elliott.
As she conducts this project, Erica sees many different formulations of her photographs in other people’s images, for example the photograph of her and her sister sitting at a table with a birthday cake. She follows these associative connections and examines the descriptive tags that are attached to them. She then tracks down the owners of the images, asking to make use of these existing original images (appropriate them) for her work.
There is a questioning of ownership and visibility in ‘So Like You’ – who owns anything that is propelled through platforms like Instagram into the open arms of the internet? And who is getting paid for images that appear online and are being used by others? Erica’s choice to explore autobiographical, individual and collective experiences through the lens of online platforms that we use every day is powerful and thought provoking.
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