Narcissus as Narcosis
The Dichotomy of Cyberspace and the Facade
The on-going interactive audiovisual project Narcissus as Narcosis is an exercise of self-reflection of my own practice as a cyber artist, but more importantly, as a user and consumer of digital technology and my personal relationship with its virtual elements. A strong focus and concern has risen during the beginning of my artistic process with 3D softwares; can the humanization of technology exist, and ultimately, what does that process of attempting to achieve it say about us?
I have always seen digital space as both an extension of social contact and communication as well as an immersive playground for our own egos. Like avatars and created characters in video game platforms, digital space can reveal a lot about our aspirations, goals, and world views. The input of our own human qualities in order to simulate an outcome of our curiosities based on our own ego and narcissism is fascinatingly close to the idea of a God complex. Similarly, the creation of these avatars, or in other words facades, contain an inherent aspect of domestication, where our interactivity with them is characteristic to a form of cultivation and taming. The projection of our virtual counterparts, be it on social media or video games, also houses a selfishly romantic element, in which the lack of direct human contact, a habit that human evolution has granted us among millions of years of natural selection, enables a certain numbness from reality, leading to what theorist Marshall McLuhan stated as a narcosis of our own repeated image, resulting to us becoming servomechanisms of them.
The language of 3D media has also allowed me to experiment and process ways of bringing in a dialogue between organic existence and virtual space. Methods and techniques used commonly in 3D art involve the use of textures to render a feature of photorealism to an object or character. This notion of appropriating from the real world to the digital, and vice versa, is an intriguing process that touches on my driving question about the humanization of virtual projections.
Narcissus as Narcosis (Numbness)
Most of my work embodies my view of cyberspace as an alienated and lonely realm where fragments of our perpetual obsession to fabricate and simulate repeated images of ourselves in result generate uncanny, but distorted mirrors of our narcissism, which can be easily taken for granted. In this project, the use of bone, flesh, and organic 3D assets are meant to convey these ideas by also attempting to give my character life-like qualities and its own identity. I am pulling some inspiration from the Greek tragedy of Prometheus as well as its literary descendant Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in which the dichotomy between creator and creation reveal the pursuit of knowledge and truth, but ultimately, their impending doom via obsession.
Narcissus as Neurosis (Obsession)
The cycle of generating and simulating our extended image via digital space and social media phenomenons are a manifestation of neurosis in which one experiences psychological distress and unconscious conflict. This vicious circle, or in other words a feedback loop, of personality disorders and anxieties stemming from the obsession of an idealized self-image has the power to render someone in a state of neediness and codependency.
When creating a repeated image of myself via 3D space, I wish to present a version of me that both reflects and criticizes my narcissistic habits and tendencies stemming from my interaction with digital technology.
Jessie-Jamz Ozaeta is a Montreal-based intermedia artist whose work reflects on ego and narcissism in the digital age by use of 3D imagery and music. He is especially interested in the organic existence and transcendence of the human condition and psyche in cyberspace and, more importantly, on our interaction with this media, which can lead to the unveiling of our own vulnerabilities, dishonesties, hypocrisies, and the facade.
Under the moniker Lil Lonely, his ongoing audiovisual project Little Lonely™ is intended to reveal the artist's shortcomings and aspirations in the digital realm with use of unconventional narrative structures, pop music, dark humour and satire.