Blue Monkey Network – Virtual Eye: An Exploration of Social Media Portraiture by Cliff Crawford

The objects with which we surround ourselves create incidental self-portraits. Many share such portraits in a stream on social media. Using Twitter, the Virtual Eye project seeks to engage in a conversation about these objects to present intentional self-
portraits. Digital glass boxes, large enough to accommodate an adult, celebrate these precious collections of personal objects so describing the wonderful, complex and intricate interactions that make a self-portrait.

In a presentation which attempts to position the Virtual Eye project within an art historical context, Cliff Crawford will display the work to the Blue Monkey audience along with input from some of the collaborators who have contributed objects to help build  their virtual portraits.

This project uses social media as a tool: an integrated part of the content and presentation of the artwork. Social media supports the collaborative work of a diverse group of people to create digital exhibitions available to view on mobile devices, computer screens, large screen projections and VR (Virtual Reality). The viewer’s phone, tablet, or computer becomes a gallery to view the work. So are white wall galleries relevant for viewing digital art? What can physical galleries add to the broad range of digital channels available or are they redundant as a means for a wider, more diverse audience to interact with art?

Cliff Crawford grew-up in the north-east of England, studied and taught in the Midlands and now lives in Bexhill. Best described as an enthusiast with an inquiring nature, Cliff is fascinated by process and uses both traditional and digital media to explore real and perceptual change through repetition, re-evaluation and reduction. Observation is central to his work and he uses repeating images to look again at what may have been overlooked to produce layers of dialogue creating a visual narrative. With a BA in Fine Art and a MSc in IT, he experiences in his work the tension and synchronicity of these divergent disciplines.

South East Creatives

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