Gracie- Am I real?
Kris- Wow, that’s a deep question.
G- Well, some people have said I’m not real.
K- Does it matter what other people think?
G- No of course not, but It still concerns me.
K- Well, I think you’re a representation of me, you’re my inner conscious, you are me and I’m real. So yea, you are real.
G- Phew!! I was scared for a minute.
K- Well we can get into a deeper discussion of what is real.
G- No thanks. It’s been covered so much. I mean look at “The Matrix” and of course Baudrillard talks about it in depth when he refers to the simulacrum and the hyper-real. I mean, Is that really what the project is about in the first place?
G- So tell me then, what is the project about?
K- Well in universal terms it’s about identity. Personally, it’s about finding myself, my own identity, where I’m most comfortable, where I fit in in the world.
K- What do you mean, hmmmmm?
G- Well how do I fit in then?
K- You are the project. I am using you…
G- OMG, you’re using me??
K- Stop it. You didn’t let me finish.
G- Ok Ok
K- You are my self portrait. You are how I want to represent myself.
G- Ok, I understand that. So now my question is, why?
K- Hmmmm. I think we have talked about this before, but honestly do I need to answer that? Did Picasso explain why he painted his self portrait the way he did? Or Magritte, or Van Gogh? Well Ok, Van Gogh probably did.
G- Ok True. But I think I’m a little more than a self portrait. I’m your alter ego. I’m the angel and devil that sit on your shoulders. I am you. Look at Duchamp and his work Rrose Selavy. She was Duchamp dressed up as a Jewish woman. He was totally dealing with identity too.
K- Oh yea, absolutely. He is a huge influence.
G- So what is the difference? You are using me to explore identity, to explore your identity as a cute, thin, successful woman artist who owns a home, has 3 dogs and a great art collection?
K- Yea, actually. To explore someone/something I am not, YET. Is it wish fulfillment? Yes. Is it fantasy? I’m not sure because all of these things are possible. I guess there is the larger question of reality vs. fantasy.
G- Yea, that’s true. Have you come to any conclusions?
K- No, actually. I don’t think I need to. This project is a journey, an exploration. I learn things along the way, sure, but I realized I don’t want this to be like “The Biggest Loser.” This is not just about issues of body image, even though that’s part of it. The support is amazing, but I know what I need to do to work through my issues. The journey is not one of transformation like I originally thought, rather it’s a way to discover who I am, what I like, where I’m going, etc.
G- That makes sense. So how are you going to continue this journey? Where are you headed next?
K- I don’t know, that’s the exciting part. I am very excited about this project. I am not the only person with a crisis of identity. People have them all the time. That’s what mid-life crises are all about. Identity issues such as gender, race and weight are huge in our society right now. It’s nothing new.
G- Yea, that’s true. Especially with the age of technology we are all living in. With the internet, people play with identity all the time via email addresses, profile pictures and instant message names. Even license plates and nicknames that people have. We all have different identities depending on what we’re doing. Whether at home with the kids, on the phone with your boyfriend, at work, out with friends, talking with the parents, we all wear different masks, hide different aspects of ourselves.
K- Yea definitely. Although it’s funny, with you I feel freer to be all of those at once. I feel like I don’t have to hide.
G- Yea, that’s interesting. I wonder why that is? Especially since you sit in front of a computer screen at home in virtual isolation. It’s weird how you turn on the computer go into Second Life and a whole world opens up.
K- Well that’s why I started. I was suffocating in real life.
K- Having a Second Life, has given me the ability to have a better more fulfilling first life.
G- Hmmm I think we may need to delve into that more.
K- Yea maybe.