*+. Merchant Princess .+*
There is a vast and shadowy sea, lit by lanterns and phosphorescent trails; particles of presence that float from those misty eyed passers as they progress to other times and places; flickers and glances on an ocean at night.
From a distance you see only haze; as rickety ships gather it becomes evident that reality is fragile, the ports are few and transient; they vanish and fade when the lights go out. Were you really there or did you dream of that place?
It's so long ago now, another life; journeying traders and princesses, you are a magnetic orphan of the ether, a merchant on your way. Someday far from now the seas may be clear, everything may be known, every chart mapped. Today though, it is still mist and hope; sunrise on the lake at the beginning of the world.
When we look within ourselves do we see the universe; likewise when we look out into the stars do we see ourselves? When matter is observed its state often changes depending on the tools observing it; this suggests that observation must be a medium of art. Humans have always been a blend of technology and biology, of ideas and matter, of distance and perception, where time is vision and space is memory.
A patchwork of imperfections; the mythic idea of the lost web of the 20th century. The internet is so vital; as it observes and transmits data, it becomes the merchant of life that is both past and future; like an eye in the storm of time.
Heartbreak is like an eye; a crack in space that opens other worlds "oh god it's full of stars" -2001 A Space Odyssey. Technology is heartbreak, infinite possibility must be infinitely lost. Love and numbers, time and files, life and video games.
That shadow sea is you and the web, it's all around us; we are homes and castles within it, misty islands; Van Gogh's stars of tomorrow. Within your soul you carry and trade data, gifs and dreams, terror of that darkness. I saw you once before we became shadows again; like mountains crave the sky.
Eventually, exhausted from your voyage you will go home and fill your world with all the things you've found. A million shrines to a million places, a million entrances and a million eyes, hopes and lies; constructing and deconstructing, a labyrinth and a bazaar. Then you set sail again; your only task is to journey, there is no horizon.
The images above are a series of self portraits created in the Korean social media app Zepeto.
They are an exploration of identity in digital space; looking at the idea of embodiment, where human personality is split between the physical, the imagined and the digitally represented; where we only become whole when the three are aligned.
The portraits are about the vapidity and depth of expression in our digital lives and the reality of unreality in virtual representation.