HERE YOU ARE
Grace Kingston’s Here You Are is a confronting dissection of digital, social actions. Socialising entertainment has rapidly changed over the past few decades, taking us from an older analog entertainment where performers fed viewers to our current age, the age of the wiki-. This new age is fed not by an exclusive, authoritative source for news, entertainment, media and other information. The wiki- age is driven by us. We broadcast the news, we provide the entertainment, we share the media. This incredible way of being has meant that our socialization and social life has become distinctly futuristic with both new governing rules and a new platform. It is fascinating that while our social lives have been fast-tracked to the future, part of it needs to remain grounded. We cultivate online identities but only successfully when this identity is seen to be IRL (in real life).
Grace Kingston acts like a digital anthropologist for our current age. In Here You Are she has taken one of the most distinct elements of digital social media, the ‘check-in’ and explored its ramifications.
The check-in is for the author self-serving: a statement of real-world interaction of ‘being seen’, whether this is at an institution, location or country that speaks of a worldliness, a personality trait, or hobby. For the viewer of the check-in, it is a reinforcement of social mores and an opportunity for voyeurism or perhaps surveillance. Facebook has become a personal panopticon. The ease with which these check-ins can be accessed and collated is disturbing- despite the information being made public we still feel like only our closer companions are witness to it. This is what Grace Kingston has powerfully done, she has partaken in one of the most powerful acts of our digital world and data-mined. This intrusive act we are all subject to without much knowledge of it happening. Highlighting the ease and frequency of this act her friends check-ins within a kilometer radius of Archive_ are now broadcast in foot-high letters across an obnoxious LED screen. This repackaging is poignant. Our check-ins are misrepresented in size 12 font on a personal computer. The most appropriate form for our social media engagements has not been put so aptly before, Here You Are announces the reality of Us as self-advertisers.
-by David Greenhalgh