“According to research, once our survival needs are met, no single aspect of our lives contributes more to our satisfaction with life or to our sense of psychological well-being than our intimate relationships. Yet despite our best efforts, the seeds of relationship demise are often visible from the very beginning”. *
My work navigates human relationships and their sustainability under the pressures of modern life and the influence of digital technology. We live in a digital world of texting, emailing, online dating and social networking. According to research conducted by the money-saving website, Voucher Codes Pro, “the average Briton will spend a total of 14 minutes each day looking at strangers’ social media profiles“. My investigation began several years ago after the breakdown of a relationship which was instigated by the other person through the Internet. I had difficulty meeting new potential partners through conventional means and began to see the advantages of online dating. This experience became the central focus of my practice. Through personal experience I started to research chatrooms and dating sites. I conversed with, and drew the portraits of the people, I met on line. These conversations gave me a sense of the kind of freedom and anonymity which people experience when talking from behind a screen.
I am concerned with the changing landscape of intimacy in relationships and how it is affected through dating sites; the differences in how people behave when online or at the end of a mobile phone and, the brevity of text language. My investigations include the conversations we have through text and how these might be interpreted by the recipient. My work compares the internet to an interface between two worlds i.e. the real world and the cyber world, where error in meaning and interpretation can be the result and, may produce fractured relationships. For instance, the misunderstanding in the meaning of typical internet icons, such as emoticons, may sometimes limit communication in a wider language. Artist, Tom Philips works with the limitations of language through the process of erasure. Using existing narratives and partially erasing them, he creates new meaning.
My work has taken the form of digital painting, iPad collages, installation, iPhone and iPad photography. It is informed by the direct observation of people and how they use the internet and social media.
** Dr. Prager PhD, Counselling Psychology, University of Texas, Austin