Since completing Being Here (Now), I feel a little bit stuck as to where to go from here. The theme of personal identity is so nebulous it’s hard to know where to start. I have a few ideas, but am lacking the impetus to push forward with anything. I’m still interested in self-portraiture and am continuing to work on my ‘post-it portrait’ that I started a while back. Genealogies and cultural identity are also of interest seeing as I have very little awareness of my own cultural heritage.
As someone who is half-English, half-Filipino I would be keen to explore to use my art practice as a platform to investigate my personal experience of being mixed race and how this might be similar (or different) to others who would consider themselves to be ‘Asian Other’, ‘Asian British’ or ‘Mixed’.
In all of this, I’m also reminded of the title of this blog – Art as Therapy, and whether these ideas naturally lend themselves to therapeutic theory/ thinking or is the work moving in a different direction.
For a while now, I have been working on a video piece inspired by my interest in the artist’s self portrait. After several months of playing with the footage, and several re-edits, it’s finally finished.
In Being Here (Now), I explore notions of identity drawing direct influence from Gustave Courbet’s, A Desperate Man – a painting that presents a cropped close-up of the artist with bulging eyes and hands clasping at his own head. Courbet’s image epitomises the Romantic era of the eighteenth century in which it was commonly believed that paintings could convey more than a person’s wealth and social standing, but the subjective life of the soul itself.
In contrast, Being Here (Now) playfully examines the fluidity of identity at a time when increasing social pluralism, cosmetic surgery and the fast-changing world of social media mean deciphering questions like ‘Who am I?’ is more difficult than ever (Harrison, 2016: 1). Within the video, I present myself intimately touching my own head and face – feeling my way around ears, nose lips, before these rituals become progressively more visceral and discomforting. The video footage itself also starts to breakdown as scenes are cut and spliced together and built up in layers. The multiplicity of different images, all playing simultaneously, thus renders my face and body virtually unrecognisable.