May 13, 2017

Gallery Chat: Privacy in a Society that Shares

I think we can all agree on the multiplicity of pros and cons of the internet. I am far from the first to write a post about the fine line between wanting to share and simultaneously wanting to hold onto my privacy. Lately I find the sharing unnerving though. Specifically, I am uncomfortable with the idea that individuals who are otherwise no longer present in my life can have access to my online content. People who have for all intents and purposes erased themselves from my life could easily stumble upon details about my work, my romantic life, my going-out habits, my schooling. For some reason this feels much more intrusive than the idea of complete strangers catching glimpses of me and my doings.

Though I focus primarily on sharing my art work or other art-related posts online, I love visuals. I swoon at photos of my heartmate and me. I audibly react to photos of my dog even if he is sitting right next to me. I keep my photo books on my bedside table for easy access. I want to photocopy these and throw them off an 80 story building and shout from the rooftops about how happy they make me.... But I also don't want to do this at all. In fact, almost equally, I want to keep these little treasures to myself, hoard them like a magpie in my nest away from anyone who doesn't need to know. Because most people don't need to.

Even my art posts are so personal. There are few things more intimate, truly, than sharing your art with the world. Not all of it of course; some of it is just gibberish in the form of visual art, like when you are trying to express yourself but your words come out gooey and turn upside down on your tongue. Generally, though, my visual art comes from somewhere deep and indescribable. It is a part of me I can only share through this mode. Yet I feel less private about my art work. Maybe I have become accustomed to sharing it openly all throughout art school and growing up with the internet. Maybe it is because I can leave it to you - the viewer - to interpret as you will. There's much more room for individual understanding and personalization for the audience - each art work is a piece of me, but you will respond to it with pieces of you. A photo of me and my friends is just about me (and maybe them, too), and you will not respond with much more than a double tap or a nod of acknowledgement.

It's a funny balance that I have yet to really find a comfortable place in. I fluctuate between feeling very open and very shy. Which I guess is ok, too.

On that note - I hope you enjoy my collage piece about wanting privacy/feeling shy. This collage was made specifically to accompany this written piece. I am trying out something new - "Gallery Chat", where I write about specific topics that are on my mind and create a visual piece to go along with it. I want to write more, and make more.

Where do you find the balance between over-sharing and good-sharing? What do you keep in mind when you decide whether or not to post a personal photo?

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