Online at Arqaam by Wizara
November 14, 2021 - January 14, 2022
Early this year I was invited by Wizara, a blockchain-based platform for Asian, African and Arab artists and the diaspora, to create a series for their inaugural NFT exhibition titled, “Arqaam.” I created “Looking Glass,” a series of three 10-second video loops exploring the ways in which we perceive ourselves through screens that feel like they are reflecting back a distorted reality.
I first heard the term “body dysmorphia disorder” (BDD) in relation to gender identity and gender dysmorphia. It seemed to perfectly describe a feeling that I couldn’t quite place. A feeling of disconnect between who I feel and the person I see in front of the mirror. Obsessing over characteristics I perceive as flaws and wondering what other people think. Seeing myself in a photo or video never quite aligned with the way I saw myself. While I don’t think I can self-diagnose as having BDD, I can’t deny I have almost always felt these things in some way and they seem exaggerated and most noticeable now in a time when most of my social encounters are online.
We constantly curate versions of ourselves we wish to portray to the world. Screens upon screens reflecting back a distorted reality. Filters added to every image because the anxiety over imperfection is just too great. In the U.S. alone the journal of Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine reported that “85% of patients looking for cosmetic changes were motivated because of video conferencing.” “Zoom dysmorphia” sits alongside “zoom fatigue.”
The three animated illustrations in the series are titled “Unseen”, “Fragmented”, and “Distorted”. More information can be found on the Arqaam website.