Faces, After Whitman is a conceptual documentary piece that ran as an installation at the 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia from February 5-28, 2010. It's final place was always meant to be online as it deals with the inherent issues of online social network sites.
Artist Statement for Faces, After Whitman
Walt Whitman published his first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855. The book included an unnamed poem that would eventually be called Faces. While I have always enjoyed this poem and looked to it to aid in my awareness and understanding of the Other, as well as my own ethical responsibilities to humanity, it hasn’t been until recently that I applied these words to an element of my life I gave little thought to: Facebook.
How we encounter the face of the Other has exponentially expanded with technology. We have access to each other like never before. As this contact widens so do the implications. It expands our knowing, our awareness. It can be overwhelming. So, what are we to do?
I log in to Facebook. I receive updates, comments, news… I so often see these tiny squares representing faces in my life. Some close, some peripheral, others tangential. What do I know of them? What can I know of them? What is real? What is persona? But, ultimately I ask myself: What do I owe them?
I think Whitman’s words tell me.
These faces move fuzzy before me; it’s easy for me to stand cold against them.
How do you see them/me?
“These faces bear testimony slumbering or awake” Walt Whitman
[BEST LISTENED TO THROUGH HEADPHONES]