Artificial Connection

Human connection is necessary for our survival because we are social beings. People are constantly talking about the positive and negative aspects of technology because as technology continues to grow, it is beginning to influence our interpersonal relationships.

I was initially drawn to this topic through watching the show “Black Mirror” in class. “Black Mirror” is a British series that highlights different situations in which technology has advanced to the point of affecting human behavior. The show is incredibly dark. It deals with loss, humiliation, power, deceitfulness and so on. It also deals with strange and confusing emotions that can only be generated through the futuristic technologies featured in each episode. I started to wonder if technology is more detrimental for humans than useful. Sure, we have all known information at our fingertips, but are there organic or natural aspects of being a human that we are leaving behind? Is that something that can be replaced by a computer screen?

There is no denying that technology has given us the ability to share art, information and connect with people all over the world. Still, in our everyday lives, we as social beings are not evolving. We evolve when sitting behind a computer screen or smartphone, but true intimacy and relationships are slowly slipping away.

This gallery will help show that although people are connecting with one another more, the attention given and received is artificial. I looked at the artificial connection between people, parents and children, people and nature and people with themselves. I also took the time to highlight one of two positive aspect of technology in regards to connection. This is a controversial subject; therefore it’s important to look at from each side of the coin. 

This piece by Liu Jiakun may not have been intended to be a statement about technology, but I think it speaks volumes about how artificial we are becoming and how isolated we are.
Artist's explantation that I relate to "selfie culture". "This work reflects a double coercion. First is to force the performer to keep smiling until getting hurt. The name performer comes from the fact that people only makes a smiling face without actual feelings. After a long time, the performer stiffens the muscles, resulting in a twisted facial expression that indicates the gap between real, painful status and the smiling surface, and reveals the painful cost they have paid to keep a beautiful smile."
Winnie the Pooh, by Nicolar Ceccaldi, encompasses how parents these days interact with their children. Not only are kids constantly on their tablets, and phones, but parents, instead of trusting their kids, install child blocks, set up cameras, monitor when their kids get home etc. It seems technology has made it so that we can bypass a dialect with our children about trust.
Connecting with nature has even become artificial. Jin Siyon created this artificial sunset which is as realistic as the real sunset experience at any time of day without actually having to go outside.
"Thus the sum of things is ever being reviewed, and mortals dependent one upon another. Some nations increase, others diminish, and in a short space the generations of living creatures are changed and like runners pass on the torch of life."(Lucretius) I felt this photo expressed how when one person starts to make art, others will add onto it. This type of "passing of torch" is similar to how we pass information online. In this way, the internet can be useful.
Connection with ourselves is in jeapardy. This piece by Belkis Ayon demonstrates the insecurities we so often mask. We tend to promote ourselves as a brand on social media, and sometimes that image of ourselves takes over. “-Who are those people by whom you wish to be admired? Are they not these whom you are in the habit of saying that they are mad? What then? Do you wish to be admired by the mad?” (Epictetus, Discourses) Why do we want to be admired by people we are so often criticizing?
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."(Thoreau) I found this by searching for "masks". Even with people who are similar to us, and who we are close to, we often don't show our true selves. I saw this as projecting fear. I think we wear technology as a hazmask. We are terrified of getting close to others.
The artist says that this picture represents friendship. I wanted to contrast the artificial friendship picture with this genuine one. You can tell the women are extremely close. This might be because they don't have to validate their friendship by how often they "like" each others photos on Facebook. "Fondness is a poor substitute for friendship.”(Wollstonecraft)
I like this very personal concert photograph. It's an old, grainy image but you can feel the emotions through the stance of those on stage. If you go see a big name concert today, you often are stuck in the back, watching the band play on a screen. What is the point of this? They have replaced the personal aspect of concerts with a screen. In this way, we have defeated the purpose of even going to a concert.
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