One's Own Devices
"This isn't even my final form" is an internet meme deriving from popular Japanese crossover cartoon Dragonball Z. In the show, intergalactic warriors would constantly evolve forms in order to increase their fighting prowess. When their current form was inadequate, they would change/adapt to meet the new challenge. The online meme often includes images of humorously hybridized characters, people, or objects paired with the text "This isn't even my final form."
In my augmented drawing of the same name, I'm referencing this meme as a pop-cultural entry point into the work of late French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Though he died before the mass integration of the internet, his work represents for me the most lucid understanding of net culture on contemporary human life. He talks about the ways in which we are both fractured and utterly connected, and how we also exist in flux, constantly adapting to novel environments. His work from the 1970s even laid out a conceptual understanding of the peer-to-peer networks that the contemporary internet is based on.
On one hand (haha) the numerous arms in the above image are a nod to the memetic images found online paired with the "this isn't even my final form" text, but they the also reference depictions of Hindu deities, while the frame points to the art world’s own conventions and rituals. The location of the Apple spinning pinwheel icon evokes consideration of the “third eye” of various Eastern religions. The commingling of religious and artistic symbols investigates the ways in which we attempt to construct or impose meaning on our lives. Three divergent but interconnected lines of thought immediately come to mind here. 1.) The effects of digitization on organized religion 2.) The art world as organized religion’s secular twin – the Cain to its Abel 3.) The “thumbs up” gesture, a reference to the symbol used as visual aid to the Facebook “Like,” as both a nod to the paradoxical pairing within the contemporary artist of crippling self-doubt and unbelievable narcissism, and to social media’s exacerbation of the same narcissism problem as we become the figureheads (in some sense literally) of our own cult of curated self.
This Isn't Even My Final Form, 2014
Graphite on Paper, 14x11"