Dou­ble Shadow: Dig­i­tal Rep­re­sen­ta­tion and Au­tho­r­ial Iden­tity


Session Title:

  • The Madness of Methods: Emerging Arts Research Practices

Presentation Title:

  • Dou­ble Shadow: Dig­i­tal Rep­re­sen­ta­tion and Au­tho­r­ial Iden­tity




  • Panel: The Madness of Methods: Emerging Arts Research Practices

    As we spend time ex­plor­ing the In­ter­net, what dig­i­tal re­mains do we un­in­ten­tion­ally leave be­hind? Based on this in­for­ma­tion alone, how would a stranger con­struct the story of an in­di­vid­ual’s his­tory? Like an arche­ol­o­gist might col­lect data and ex­am­ine phys­i­cal re­mains to cre­ate a plau­si­ble human his­tory, what might be de­rived from the ex­am­i­na­tion of dig­i­tal re­mains? Dou­ble Shadow is a con­cep­tual film pro­ject that seeks an an­swer to these ques­tions. The work takes the form of short bi­o­graph­i­cal film based on “fac­tual” in­for­ma­tion gleaned from the In­ter­net? The title Dou­ble Shadow pays homage to con­cep­tual artist So­phie Calle’s piece, The Shadow (1981), in which Calle asked her mother to hire a de­tec­tive to fol­low her, no­tate her daily ac­tiv­i­ties, and pho­to­graph her. My dig­i­tal dou­ble, my on­line ‘shadow’, tells a dif­fer­ent story than I do. I main­tain sev­eral web­sites, in­clud­ing one that doc­u­ments my pro­fes­sional ca­reer as an artist, and I am a mem­ber of over a dozen so­cial net­work­ing sites. Through a proxy, I hired an in­ves­ti­ga­tor to in­ves­ti­gate my life using only the In­ter­net as a re­source. With the text and im­ages un­cov­ered, the in­ves­ti­ga­tor cre­ated “my” his­tor­i­cal time­line. The data that was gath­ered was for­warded, via an­other proxy, to a screen­writer who used it to de­velop a char­ac­ter and write a screen­play. I then held a cast­ing ses­sion where I searched for an actor to play “me.” Ul­ti­mately a cin­e­matic art­work was made that raises and ad­dresses is­sues about the blend­ing of fact and fic­tion; the con­struc­tion of iden­tity or bi­og­ra­phy; sur­veil­lance; it­er­a­tive processes, recorded human ac­tion and the cre­ation of mean­ing; pri­vacy within pub­lic space; arche­ol­ogy; archiv­ing; and au­thor­ship and de­ci­sion-mak­ing both on­line and within an art prac­tice.