Monday, April 04, 2011

Repainting my self portrait

Where do I hang my self portrait? Where can the world admire or scorn it, comment on it and "like" it?

With each stroke of the brush and tap of the keys I upload my profile with quotes, captions and images. Here I am in written form - my self portrait on display. Social Networking is the gateway to all our own self portraits on display - its a gallery of creative musings, expressions and life. The question is whether its real or not? 

At team days we had a discussion on social networking and the challenges and implications of using this type of media to connect with people. There were some debate on whether social networking allows us to hide behind the screen and re-invent ourselves online so that we could be whoever we wanted. And I could if I wanted to - I could pretend that I was an amazing tea-drinking musician that wears victorian floral dresses. The problem though is that my real friends would know that this isnt true and therefore would question me over this. 

Perhaps we are all too suspicious? We think everyone is a fraud, trying to woo us to believing they are someone else, causing us to mistrust them and therefore we never enter into any deep relationships because we dont want to get hurt.

Lets turn this around.

Perhaps the portrait I project onto the social networking sight is the real me, perhaps its a space to invite others to see another side of me? Maybe social networking allows another way of being creative and connect with people which doesnt have to be disconnected with real life. What I say on here, is what I say in real life - let there not be a divide in "real life" and "social networking life". We need to be accountable in both and not separate them. 

My self portrait is up on the canvas of social networking. I could repaint it, but people would know and challenge me. I could move to another country and repaint myself, pretend to like new hobbies and dress differently, but in reality my heart is still the same - I cannot run from that. My heart is still the same on a social networking sight and yeh for a while I could be someone else, but in the end I cant sustain that and why would I want to? And why do you expect everyone else to be an alias? Maybe we are all expressing ourselves in different ways that capture a particular instance of our identity that is projected onto our self portraits of facebook. 

Not so different from self portraits of Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Andy Warhol...
All expressions of how they see themselves and none of them I would say are repainting themselves to be something they are not.

"My painting is a representation of life, my own life above all, which has been very difficult. So perhaps my painting is very violent, but this is natural to me." Francis Bacon Quote


Chris said...

Hey Cat. did i email you about Plastic People by Peter Sanlon? This short article recently went up on bethinking.

You might also like to check out Michael Jensen's excellent (when i mean excellent i mean he's a specialist in theological anthropology) and short (good news) blog book, You: An Introduction.

Both books are short, theologically rich (good theology makes for good apologetics), and I reckon both would be right up your street.

much love, chris

Kristi Mair said...

Hey Cat!
We were doing some thinking on this topic at our 18-30s weekend away not long ago. It's certainly a very important topic today, isn't it?! When everyone is talking about tweets, blogs and status updates, having consistent integrity in both realms is of utmost importance. Most especially when all of these issues ultimately pertain to, and derive from, the condition of the heart. Thank you reminding us of this!

Cat said...

Thank you both for your comments!

Chris - I will look at those links, sounds brilliant and you are right - good theology certainly does make for good apologetics!

Kristi - Its such an important topic and I think the whole thing (social networking) is still very young and we are not sure what it will lead to. But your right - the condition of the heart is something we always come back to. My next question that I am asking and will probably blog about is how we can redeem this all for Christ because even if facebook was there or wasnt there, the condition of the heart is the same and facebook can just project some of our heart conditions onto its white and blue canvas... so how do we use this well for Christ? Put our heads in the sands or redeem it?...and how? :) any thoughts?

emma said...

Hi Cat

Can't believe your post - exactly what I've been thinking and writing about today. Great minds, eh?

Interesting to think about how we portray ourselves online. My initial reaction is to say it is dishonest, but as you've pointed out, just because there are different expressions or representations of who we are, doesn't mean they are false. Food for thought - thank you!

Cat said...

Hey Emma,

Yeh I saw on your blog that you wrote a post about social networking! I really enjoyed reading it and yeh great minds! hehe.

I guess I was just painting a different side of what you said on your blog although I do agree with you :) Will be posting a bit more about it soon! thanks for your comment though...!