Tavis Lochhead is a Toronto-based visual artist whose recent work is a sort of anthropologic exploration of the digital age. “Identity Crisis” is the artist’s 2017 exhibition that focuses on the human experience in modern digital times; more so, the piece poses questions about how personal identity and representation change when online.
Lochhead explains, “When we pick up our phones or open up our laptops, do we become different people? Is our online presence more important than our offline presence? How much do we do in the real world to reflect how we appear online?”
IC_8217 (2017, C-Print on Dibond, 45×30″)
The audience, while within the installation, is meant to explore their own relationship with technology by viewing “abstract compositions of well-known people” that the artist then distorted. Lochhead describes, “The results present these figures manipulated in both comic and grotesque fashion to communicate the dramatic change that occurs as we enter or exit the digital space.”
IC_7022 (2017, C-Print on Dibond, 72×48″)
The Chromogenic prints are full color photographic prints mounted on Dibond aluminum composite material. The larger piece measuring 72×48″ entitled IC_7022 is a distortion of a search engine. Lochhead explains, “An image search engine is used with generic queries like ‘famous people’, allowing its algorithm to display the initial results. The subjects are then selected based on scrolling and zooming in and out. The digital tiles of faces are projected from a computer monitor, then reflected off of hand-crumpled chrome polyester, and photographed.”
The installation contained an integrated social media component where a screen showcased a live Instagram post of the show where instantaneous updates were available as well as the ability to view the audience’s responses to the piece and other people online as well. It again puts in to question the importance of any physical, real, intimate interaction. Is it the “in the moment” experience or its digital documentation that has the most importance?
all photography + information courtesy ©Tavis Lochhead