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This morning, my husband introduced me to the “Damn Daniel” Meme. After about 20 minutes of watching Daniel become appropriated into Spongebob clips and Taylor Swift videos, Daniel’s charm wore off. Still perplexing though is the what of it all: what allowed this particular video to go viral overnight? How many other posts get buried under a heap of digital information?
As our privacy becomes increasingly threatened through the public personas we project on the web, how do we maintain a sense of authentic experience (of self and in relation to others)? In a sense, this debate between authentic and inauthentic is an inaccurate dichotomy with which to portray our web-aided lifestyles. A demonizing argument of a technology-addicted lifestyle then quickly loses some momentum. A tech-boosted experience is, after all, still an experience.
Perhaps spurred by these questions, certain artists are invoking a messy blend of life and art, pushing the boundaries between public and private (or real and fake) by simply erasing them. How can a space be private if there is no wall to hide behind? Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert pose similar questions this issue, wondering how we “renegotiate the relation between ‘art’ and ‘life.’ The question,” they ask, “is: how to be in the middle of it, in the middle of the storm?”
This messiness is not easy, and storms are unpredictable. Catherine Wagley cites a video by Jennifer Moon and laub: “Much like faith,” Moon and laub explain in their piece, “[love] does not stem from anything we currently know or understand in the observable world.” In other words, in the embrace of nonsensicality we might find freedom. While it is quite affirming to strike a line between our pre- and post-technological selves (fondly remembering the “good-ole days”), what is perhaps more productive is contemplating how our current reality of “overly-shared” selves can be mined to create moments of truth and wonder. Maybe this is what we mean when we talk wistfully of the “real.”
As we celebrate the first year of Carla with this, our fourth issue, I am overwhelmed by the spirit of welcome that the magazine has received among our Los Angeles community. In our own small way, we (you and I that is) have proved that there is still “realness” to be found amidst the slew of the digital and the commercial. Thank you for evolving with us over the last year, and for supporting honest and critical discourse. What is sharing if not having a conversation? I hope we’ve encouraged you to have a few.
Originally published in Carla Issue 4.