The Celebrity That Therefore I Am

The Celebrity That Therefore I Am - Kailum GravesThe Celebrity That Therefore I Am
72 Fujifilm Instax Mini Film, framed, museum glass
Each 8.6cm x 5.4cm, overall dimensions 76cm x 70cm
Edition of 6 + 2 AP

A self-portrait.

The Celebrity That Therefore I Am attempts to explore the relationship between the Self and the Other—the celebrity, as well as the celebrity photographer accidentally captured in their eye—as a way to examine the identity of the postmodern Self. In our celebrity [obsessed] culture, the ideal human being is the celebrity, and becoming one is, arguably, the purpose of life. In postmodern societies, organised around Baudrillardian simulacra and simulation, and the play of images and signs, identity is constructed on appearance, which in turn is constructed through the machinery of the mass media and capitalism. Artists, for example, are required to act like rock stars to please collectors; and rock stars are obliged to live fast and die young, creating an impression of premature mortality and cementing posthumous fame. In our celebrity culture, fuelled, in part, by our desire to see and be seen, the image of the celebrity plays the role of the gaze of the Other—images of celebrities determine how we perceive ourselves. However, the irony is, in postmodern culture the self is unable to exist, for it has been swallowed by the totalitarianism of capitalism. Postmodern culture erases the category of self and replaces it with saturated images from the media. The postmodern subject, like postmodern art, music, and literature, is—to borrow from Jacques Lacan’s account of schizophrenia—schizophrenic. Postmodernism creates a fragmented self that has no essence, only images.

The project originated as a Tumblr blog here.