This research project uses my MFA thesis as the foundation of my research to speak to the fragility of digital systems and how the prevalence of technology has created a culture of surveillance. My research in the ephemerality of the virtual matter is important as we have become completely reliant on digital systems—this dependence has been solidified by the pandemic. This technology is prone to failure, from planned obsolescence, server outages, power failures, internet outages, hardware that is susceptible to environmental changes, file corruption, etc. One of the research objectives is to resist blindly talking about technological progress, rather to critique and evaluate the motive, method, and means behind technological advances as they relate to artistic practices. This project is not about categorizing new forms of digital technology as utopia or dystopia, rather it problematizes the labour, material, and environmental complications that are a result of digital technology and seeks creative solutions. Humanity cannot pivot away from the environmental and ethical issues that have derived from new technology if individuals do not know what to turn towards. As digital technology becomes more embedded in increasingly more aspects of our lives, it should be created and implemented in ways that benefit the earth and those who occupy it. The design and promotion of this project would consider and embrace the joy and connection that can be derived from the creation of and participation with digital media is essential to understanding our dependence on the digital.

This research doesn’t dismiss the ways millions of people use the internet to connect with others and build communities— within both fields of art and technology. Communities that exist online and can translate to real life. Considering and embracing the joy and connection that can be derived from the creation of and participation with digital media is essential to understanding our dependence on the digital. It effects our perceptions of self as well as creating space for social interactions. This research looks at how photography is intrinsically linked to technological process and perceptions of truth and self (as it relates to identity; how one aspires to fit into certain communities and differentiating oneself from other communities)—photography is also the main medium used to disseminate digital content. The integrity of an image is dependent on the photographer’s intention and how that image is presented, this is a critical time to examine the role of photography in culture because of the how social media blurs the line between public and private spaces and the ease false information can spread online.

This research methodology and intended output lends itself to our current cultural condition because the theme can resonate with anyone with a smart phone and the focus on the digital allows for flexibility in the presentation of the research. This topic can relate artistic problems with issues that are outside of the art world and academia. This can be as broad as problematizing what it means to be human; as humans we manipulate our environment and utilize creative problem-solving strategies. We have surpassed manipulating the environment to creating digital worlds. Researching new technologies brings up issues with sustainability and the ethical implications of future technologies – what are the ramifications of planned obsolescence? Where is humanity headed? Researching the intersection of art and technology is not only relevant in a topical sense, this research also seeks solutions in a time where people are scared to actually discuss the implications of our actions and problematizes issues that will continue to cause more ecological and social problems as technology advances.

As a consumer and creator of digital content, this research guides how I approach virtual space. This are.na board is a collection of ~ some ~ of the sources I’ve been looking at.