Proposal Summary – MAVA Symposium 1

MAVA Symposium 1

MAVA Symposium 1 – 15/09/2015
Leonie DuBarry-Gurr

Greetings All, I’ve found it quite a difficult exercise to summarise my proposal, though it has become an important assignment as it has helped me to clarify a few areas – anyway, I hope it all makes sense. And if it does not now, then maybe it will one day.


The subject of my proposal is centered on the concept ‘I exist when I log in’. I am asking the questions – To what extent can one exist as a virtual entity? How would the imagined emotion and thought of an avatar be depicted in a humanized form? How does one create a ‘fauxtopia’ via the use of the Internet and web-space?

I have created a persona, ‘ALAN’, who is to me part digital alter ego – part antidote (read therapy?!) to my real life, to help answer the questions outlined above. Using popular ‘Internet conventions’ such as contemporary hypermedia (animation, sound, image etc.) and the models of blogging and social media, I hope to develop ALAN as a consciousness that exists on and because of an online environment.

The way ALAN will prove that ALAN exists is through a series of blog posts, on a site that is currently named (don’t bother clicking it’s not live yet), which I envision will look similar to that of a Tumblr site. However, rather than random images and gifs being pinned from other sources, the content that ALAN posts will be created entirely by me, with each post hopefully carefully making up a little part of ALAN’s character.

I am really interested in looking at the psychology behind why one might choose to share a certain image (or other media post) online (either consciously or subconsciously), and how the things we see / hear on a daily basis as everyday Internet consumers might affect or reflect our ‘real’ lives. I also really like the idea that you can be anything / anyone you want to be online – such a thing doesn’t always have to be negative or dishonest or creepy! – For example, at the moment, I have brought ALAN into existence mainly because ALAN can (make me) do things that I cannot (would never) do.

I think ALAN will become an incredibly personal project, as I will use my own life experiences to start and inform ALAN’s ‘story’ – We are now in a culture where we can see (so do we feel?) so much more than the generation before us, our imagination has been gifted another dimension in which to exist, and thus I hope to use ALAN as a way to experiment in digital storytelling, to create and share faux-realities, and even to possibly reinvent myself through the medium of multi-disciplinary art forms.

Some of my long past and more recent work is on (this site!) .. I work mostly with Photoshop in my day job as a t-shirt designer, but I love photography and making animations / videos.. I also have always played around with sound (before I studied Art I studied Music) as well as being fond of a more hands-on pencil-to-paper (or glitter-to-glue) approach, so I really will look towards working in a variety of mediums throughout this project. My Fine Art degree work is also on the site, I guess ALAN is a move on from that in many ways – I think ever since my first computer (Amiga, natch) I have always loved the endless potential of pixels.