I have turned my Facebook page into a gallery/performance piece. I was addicted to social media long before Facebook came along. I would have ideally liked to do a slow disappearance, where I deleted myself, but the sheer volume of content makes that near impossible. Instead, it's more of a whittling down to interlocking artefactual loci, couched amongst reticent photographic essays. Add me as a Facebook 'friend' if you want to see any upcoming performance events done as part of it.


FACEBOOK DIARY

Monday 9th April 2018

only what can be read is allowed to exist.

'The problem for the system is that signs need a separate reality in order to refer to something, and hence to function as signs. In the current regime of simulation, social realities are generated from signs and models which precede them. The model produces the “real”, the medium, and the message all at once. Reality separate from the regime is either destroyed, denied, or incorporated. As a result, the signs stop referring to anything. At the same time, therefore, a total system of meaning is created, and its meaningfulness is destroyed. All signs or referentials are combined in a vicious circle or Moebius strip. Truth, equivalences, rational distinctions break down. Without a clear outside or referent, the reality-effect breaks down. Without a focus of intensity, meaning breaks down.' Jean Baudrillard: Hyperreality and Implosion

One time about a week ago, succeeding a break up, which was precipitated by Facebook anxiety, I drank a bottle of wine and found myself making a status update on my Facebook page which mentioned smoking cigarettes. The next day I had alcohol poisoning and no food because it was an Easter public holiday, so I asked my housemate for a roll. His girlfriend said 'I didn't know you smoked'. I assumed this was in reference to what I has posted on Facebook, and went to get a bread roll. My housemate followed me into the kitchen and gave me a baggy full of tobacco and papers and filters. Later on, my housemate's girlfriend asked me questions about our mutual friends as a way of getting to know me. On my first date with my now ex-girlfriend, I did the same thing, though my purpose wasn't to get to know her. It was that our mutual friends by chance were either close friends or people I felt stalked by and wanted nothing to do with, and said so. It was a remarkable list, especially considering the heightened ambivalence obviously both of us feel for Facebook.
I wanted a relationship to hide from Facebook in. But there was also a part of me that 'wanted my life back' that I felt had been thrown forever into the sucking mouth of Facebook. I had barely seen any of my friends for a year and a half since I had stopped using Facebook as a social media tool. So eventually I ventured back on to throw a joint birthday party for us, initially sanctioned by her, but she quickly withdrew her support as soon as I invited 100+ guests, which I felt the urge to do because I didn't think ayone would come. I realised later that a too large number decreases the intimacy anyway.
I separate myself from my own experience, throwing my life into grumbling hole. I suspect this situation is exacerbated by those around me no longer being able to perceive or feel reality for the same reason. When I go to a gig, I film the band while I'm dancing. This is half because I love using cameras, but I post it to social media while I'm dancing. As if I'm searching for the ultimate reality which cannot be consumed, yet no matter how much I struggle, the fake me always wins out, and I end up treating my friends like celebrities.

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But I really love filming, it sort of has nothing at all to do with social media. I just post it on there these days, because its refreshing to publish things unedited rather than hoard data. I try to document people in ways that elucidate and celebrate who they really are. Whereas I feel that when faced with a choice, most people in my life would rather consume me as a celebrity from a distance rather than foster (pardon the pun) a relationship with me. When not given the choice, ie when adding me on Facebook etc isn't an option, that's the only time I'm ever given any relief from this odd feeling of being at one remove. It's always there though, this feeling that atleast one side isn't convinced by intimate reality anymore. Were we ever?
I've been trying to remember when I didn't feel like I was taken as a stranger. I recently attempted to ask my ex-foster mother about this, but she shut me down, logged out, logged in again in public. Birthdays have never been good for me, and I don't have the privilege of not caring about them, because people with a childhood background of being a long-term State Ward tend to suffer a lot from social isolation, so they lack the validation that comes with having family and friends. A date of birth is one anchor to normality and society and sanity that offers hope of not tearing me to pieces, yet it always does.
I celebrated my seventh birthday exactly one week after being moved into State care. I don't remember it that well, but I would say it went similarly. I had a biafron stomach back then, so I couldn't eat properly for a few weeks, and would throw up whatever I was given. This birthday, yesterday, was my second day of vomtting all day without being able to keep anything down. I drank four drinks at the gig, and for some reason I couldn't digest them. I didn't see or speak to anyone, though I did try. Three people sent awkward messenger messages, which at least reminded me what day it was, as I had forgotten. I have been given amazing gifts though, and no doubt will be validated and given love at my party. But it still feels at one remove from the reality of the day. It's hard to pull myself together for a party that I designed in bed, together with my girfriend to celebrate my feelings of safety in the relationship. But I'm obviously still far too much of a hypocrit to deserve that kind of social loyalty.

Being at one remove from a spectacle of violence or suffering especially reinforces a feeling of security


The insulated platform collapses the content into endless mirrors of interpretation, whereas here, immediacy as event as an aspect of life is restored

Any thoughts produced via consensus inhibit critical thinking, creating an atmosphere of stupidity. Personal response and responsibility are not possible within mass media.
"humans change their position - they turn from the agency of writing to become an inscription surface" - Friedrich Kittler

"Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory—precession of simulacra—it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map." — Jean Baudrillard



With the collapse of the symbolic into the real, I wonder whether New Age concepts such as The Law of Attraction are secretly taken as The Law of Social Media. Just like in Big Brother reality TV, the transparency of competing to become like Umberto Eco's authentic fake curtails intensity. The new social contract is that both authors are boundaryless hyperworld. A free market where everything is obviously fake to show you that money is fake too. So you don't care about being sold back to yourselves while information devours it's own content. At one remove, we are continuously, indifferently present everywhere and nowhere. And we do these things in order to validate our own existence.
The system seems to big to confront, so we find happiness in the melancholic fascination of our signs and symbols breaking down into a consensus psychosis.

Is social media incantation?




Tuesday 27th March 2018

I am beginning a journal because the majority of this project is happening internally to myself at the present time. I will not attempt at this point to describe the background situation to what sparked the project, since the truth of it I have continued to obscure from myself, but will no doubt be fully explicated as I continue to unearth and erase myself from Facebook.
Sufficed to say, when I ventured back on the platform with the intention of deleting any photos that made sense, I had not used Facebook at all for around nine months.
I would say, in the year leading up to stopping completely, I had an addiction implosion which to an outside observer looks like an orgy. There's a point before a person hits rockbottom where the momentum gravitas is beyond their control, that desperate attempts are made to simply burn every bridge that could possibly connect that behaviour to anything except itself. This is done in the height of narcissistic fashion by alienating everything that isn't itself. Having used the addiction to destroy all other tools they had, the addict thinks the substantiation of the addiction itself must be the ultimat tool, in this case the tool was Facebook.

THE TOOL

The tool was used; as a weapon, not necessarily to hurt, but to ward off would be attackers. As a means to validate sentiment, through heroic exclamations of strong feelings of gratitude, loyalty and relevance. And as a soapbox for intellectually shifting the paradigm on oppressive interpersonal dynamics. Many of these actions were viewed interchangeably by others in retrospct, for example perceiving loyalty and gratitude as weapons. Perhaps because the tool in the wrong hands is inherently destructive.

Are these the hands that will destroy the tool?


Those of us privileged enough to have internet access have a myriad of deep tools for individual, group and personal expression, and barely none for self-examination, unless the Medusian script is flipped.