If you own a smartphone, most likely you’ve either taken a “selfie” – a current-day self-portrait photo, or a quick snap while out with a group of friends. This new-found obsession with narcissism AND technology has prodded at my thoughts and become a product of intense analyzing, while observing my peers’ behavior over every type of social media that engages me.
In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries announced that the word “selfie” is to be recognized as the “Word of the Year” – while just last week, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary added “selfie” to their updated dictionary, as this year’s list is heavily influenced by social media and digital technology.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s now-famous selfie from last December with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron created such a media buzz – while Pope Francis posed with a group for “selfies” after a packed April 2014 service in Saint Peter’s Square.
No doubt, as much as we are all exhausted from hearing about these celebrity selfies, what we come away with in the end is our own human fascination with our narcissism and the possible “monster” that social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may have created: the “Look at me!” principle.
This jewelry piece employs the elaborately organic motifs derived from Italian textile patterns that are chased and engraved on this locket’s front. Just as Victorians memorialized their loved ones in pieces known as “mourning jewelry”, I hope to pay homage with a “selfie”. Photographed and staged to be a modern-day mockup of a self-engaged female holding her smartphone, she snaps a picture in a mirror of herself. At high risk of the viewer assuming I am staging this selfie for my Widget Locket because of any attention-seeking, that is the price-to-pay for bringing selfie “over-consumption” to the foremost of my viewer’s attention. I am not seeking the “Look at me!” dynamic, but instead hope to challenge the viewer to notice how technology has overtaken our personal lives and our daily routines.
This Widget Locket No. 5 continues from my prior series of text-based art jewelry pieces. Its interior image is first photographed via iPhone, digitally manipulated in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, outputted onto archival paper and placed behind Plexiglas. The metalwork of the locket is hand-fabricated in sterling silver by using chasing tools on annealed metal placed into chaser’s pitch and delicately hammered. The long, elegant chain is entirely handmade from sterling wire; the clasp and bail are sawn-out, hand-formed and then soldered together from sterling sheet.
I look forward to introducing this piece with my other Widget Lockets at an upcoming gallery show later this summer in the Lower Adirondacks’ region of New York that will feature a substantial offering of my current body of work.
All images, creative concepts and objects pictured in this blog entry are copyright-2014 Patricia Sullivan / artdoesmatter and may not be used or duplicated without my permission.