With Martin John Callanan, Alix Desaubliaux, Lauren Lee McCarthy
The exhibition reopens today with the works on 1st floor only, without that of !Mediengruppe Bitnik
Curators Thierry Fournier and Pau Waelder
Participants (in chronological order): Flora Bousquet, Margot Saint-Réal, Will Fredo, Aina Coca, Raquel Herrera, Sophie Fontanel, Claire Valageas, Azahara Juaneda, Flore Baudry, Franck Ancel and Alexandra Ehrlich Speiser.
Mécènes du sud Montpellier-Sète
13 rue des Balances 34000 Montpellier
Reopening from May 20th to August 22nd 2020, from sea to Sat 10am-6pm, free entrance.
Information: www.mecenesdusud.fr – www.selphish.me
Download the catalogue (pdf)
Selphish addresses the exhibition of oneself on the internet, through three new works that change every week to form the portrait of a new person in the audience.
In our daily interaction with the world through our digital devices, it’s all about us. When we are online, what we see is adapted to our personal profile, and what we share is tailored to present the best version of ourselves. The services we use want us to be extremely selfish. Inside our filter bubble, everyone shares our opinions and likes what we do or say, provided we also like what they post. Our online ego is therefore made of data, which build a portrait that can be quite apart from reality. Lawyer and researcher Bernard E. Harcourt coined the term “expository society” to refer the culture in which the constant need to expose the self facilitates a generalized surveillance, which does not even have to be imposed. How can an art exhibition question this “exhibition of the self” that takes place online? How can this project create a specific link between the exhibition space, the city, and social media? Can we reflect the short attention span of social media in the temporality of an art exhibition in a gallery?
Eleven participants agreed to have their Instagram profiles and Google tracks read (sometimes live) by the works that interpret them as images, text, screens, objects, prints, etc. Each week, the entire exhibition is dedicated simultaneously to a single person.
The artworks change simultaneously each week, using the posts from the same participant. Thus, during several days, the entire exhibition is dedicated to a single person, reflecting the way our “digital self” inhabits a customized social networking space, in which there is only room for developing one’s self-image. The title of the exhibition, Selphish, a play on words between selfish and phishing2, thus refers to the ambiguity of self-exposure on networks, between narcissistic gratification and submission to surveillance. With these “participants”, Selphish also proposes the singular status of being a protagonist in an exhibition, in a way interposed between the artists and the audience. In addition, participants can react their social network profiles during their week of exhibition and, by the same token, change the content of the exhibition. In the description of the artworks and the rest of the text, the term “exhibited participant” will be used to refer to the participant highlighted during the week dedicated to her3.
By displaying images of the exhibited participant on every installation, the exhibition also becomes a large-scale portrait, which is exclusively composed of images from social networks. In addition, it sometimes reveals information about digital traces, raising questions related to surveillance. The whole may resemble a large installation, in which the four artworks echo around the same person. Encouraging participants to organize encounters, the Mécènes du Sud gallery (which is also a window on the street) becomes a performative space in which digital identities are represented and transformed by the exhibition – and then, in a kind of loop, can be re-exposed in turn on social networks.
Visitors will have to observe the barrier gestures: a maximum of two people, with obligatory masks, hydroalcoholic gel offered at the entrance, physical distancing. You can also make an appointment on 04 34 40 78 00.
Production: Mécènes du Sud Montpellier-Sète
Coordination: Marine Lang, General Delegate, assisted by Mélia Berreur-Gély
Computer development: Maxime Foisseau and Alexandre Dechosal, Louis Rouffineau
With the support of DICRéAM, Ministry of Culture and Communication / CNC