Individuality in the shadow of conformity
As technology and social media continue to become an increasing dependency, is something starting to fundamentally change in the human psyche? What lie ahead for individual autonomy? Will the decades to come lead us to the democratisation of happiness or just bland conformities linked to fixed socially acceptable norms?
Connectivity has brought unprecedented levels surrounding safety and education, as well as advances in medical research and treatments. Social media has brought with it near 24-hour connectivity with lovers, friends, family and foes alike. The tailored news feeds (algorithms) we use continue to unite individuals and groups with common interests, humour and cultural phenomenons.
Through these carefully curated portals into one’s private life, individuals willingly relinquish privacy on online platforms in exchange for edited social stardom. An acute awareness of this digital documentation promotes a subconscious self-validation dependent on the categoric ‘reactions’ of one’s peers. With self-fulfilment deriving from the number of ‘likes’ the projected image amasses, social conduct is increasingly entrenched with this online editorial.
Farid’s current project, Poisonous Antidote, will see the artist broadcast his personal use of interactive media; emails, text messages, phone calls, Skype, Twitter and Facebook chats will all be streamed in real-time, and all Farid’s Facebook tags, uploads, locations, web browsing, app use and music will be shared with the public live.
He aims to show that, through the 24-hour accessibility of our digital selves, our privacy - and in turn, true individuality - is being eroded: exchanged for a hegemonized and globalised cultural identity. Stored publicly and permanently, conforming to political, social and philosophical ideals, intimacy in our culture and thought processes are now, more than ever, inextricably intertwined.
Mark Farid is a multimedia conceptual artist who investigates the perceived autonomy of the individual. Through his practice, Mark examines the ethics of performing in social situations in an effort to further understand how the State, and new technologies, prescribe the identity of the individual. Mark graduated from Kingston University, London, Fine Art in 2014, and has since given talks and participated in group and solo exhibitions in England, France, Germany, Denmark, UAE, and Japan. Mark recently took part in the Sundance New Frontier program for an on-going project.