Throughout I still be myself?” This simple question

Throughout my years in CSM I have created various works with given brief, and looking at my portfolio I have found one mutual aspect. I found out on my way to become an artist I had to ask myself many questions.  After all these years I found out I was asking one single question in many different way, one very clique but very deep question, ” who am I?”.  Who am I and what do I want, why do I live, is very basic question but it’s very easy to be lost on the way to the answer.

I think answering this question was much easier way back when I know nothing about anything other than myself. Many people asked themselves silly questions in young age, such as “If I had not been my Mother’s daughter, but the little girl of the lady next door, will I still be myself?” This simple question that is very hard to answer give us the recognition of the “identity”, to be more specific “role of identity”. More than just questioning ‘what am I?’ we go deeper and ask ourselves ‘what makes me, me?’, what is our identity? And what is your identity? And What is identity and who defines identity? And question goes on and on forever. My work starts from asking myself but as it goes on and on the audience became the people around me, and my curiosity grows to the world.

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I started to ask “Who are you people?”,”why are you, you?”, and “why are you yourself as it is right now?”     At the first project about working about one part of the London I have decided to do Carnaby street. It started because I found an image of Carnaby street in 1960. And it was so beautiful colors everywhere, the characteristic of individuals was everywhere. The place was alive and people were alive and I couldn’t believe that it was the same place that I have been to last week. In my memory it was just another street full of monochromatic colors like all the other street of London, and any part of city all over the world.

I brought my camera and started to photograph the street and I couldn’t even imagine the 1960, and I was ask question where did all the individuality go? Where did all the color of the people go? How did all the people disappear? I made questionnaire and started to interview people from the Carnaby street. I didn’t just interview anyone from Carnaby street, I interviewed people wearing black, which was almost everyone. My made 5 questionnaires it was  1.

What is your favorite color? 2. Do you like black? 3. Why are you not wearing your favorite color? 4. If you can wear anything without thinking of what others will think, what kind of clothes would that be? 5. What do you think made you wear black today?  After interview, I made a magazine with photo of people wearing black at Carnaby street, and their interview of the questionnaire on the side.

None of them said their favorite color was black, and none of them said this was what they would be wearing the same thing if they can wear whatever they want to wear, but what is stopping them? Some of them said they thought it would look similar to whatever others are wearing, some of them said they didn’t wanted to stand out from the crowd, some of them said they didn’t know what to wear and they thought the black was on trend, and their were so many more interesting oppinions. I wanted to ask people question where did individuality go? Why are you not wearing your favorite color? What stops you from doing what you want to do? Why did you stop expressing yourself?     If I don’t express myself but it’s still inside of me, does it still be me? Identity and individuality it the different thing? Am I expressing myself correctly? Am I really what I think I am? What is stopping me? These days there are such a thing as ‘Personal Branding’ and if I brand myself does that mean I’m becoming someone else or am I still myself? From those questions I start to think about Personal Branding and how this society make us feel like we have to be someone else to become the right person to fit in. I start to wonder what happen to the people, and why don’t they protest and try to be theirselves instead of becoming the same ‘right’ person and following the guide line that was given. We were the Millennial generation, who were born from 1980 to 2000. We were the generation who encountered internet in their teenage age, when people can accept and learn very quickly. Unlike any other generation we don’t really feel hard about computer or using internet.

Through the internet we were able to use information from all over the world, and we were able to get inspired by the whole world. The best part is our play ground got bigger and we were able to get better education and better chance of exploring as a designer like I am doing at the moment. Despite all theses good thing why are we struggling with our selves to know who we are? According to professor Jean Twenge from University of San Diego United States,  Millennial generation have much more narcissism than any other generation before us. In the US magazine ‘Times’ had their cover story “Me Me Me Generation” on May 2013.

They said those generation comes from the baby boomer, they were loved by their parents to have high rate of self esteem, parents told them “you are special, and you can be whatever you want to be if you dream.” Unlike any other generation before. However high narcism doesn’t always lead us to the happiness or satisfaction of ourselves. Narcism is In psychological perspective too much of narcissism need to be alert. Most of the time if the narcism comes from a person with weak identity, and low self-esteem. One thing that human is different from the animal is that we have self-consciousness.

Having  self-consciousness means that we cognise that we are independent entity. We distinguish ourselves from another. We do that while we are communicating with others. As an individual who have self-consciousness, we can look at our selves as it is. Looking at mirror and seeing ourselves is also another expression of self-consciousness. No animals get curious in their looks, they never even try to make mirror, they just react to the environment change around them.

Imagine before someone invent mirror, everyone would know how I look but myself. As the mirror came along people started to recognise themselves, and not just understanding others through my own eyes, people started to understand myself through others eyes as well. People started to understand themselves not just subject, but as an object as well.

Unlike animal people doesn’t just adapt the environment, they change the environment around them, and through looking glass people saw how they look and they started to have will to change their own look in aesthetically pleasing way.This aesthetic desire come from two different point of view, the desire as a subject ‘what do I want to become?’, also from the object point of view ‘ How do I wanted to be seen?’. For biological, neurological reason we have little bit of difference on the view of how other see me, and how I see myself on the mirror. It’s same thing with you feel like your voice seems very different when you record and listen. It indicates even though you hear your voice everyday while your talking, and you feel like how your voice sounds, when you talk to others, actually you don’t. when you record your voice and listen it feels a bit weird.

That is because we cognise ourselves differently when we cognise as an object, and when we cognise as a subject. Individualism that we have theses days came from those idea. As history go on idea of ‘Individual’ came along. Unlike what we think, the thought of individual wasn’t always there. I think people have actually created, or more like invented the idea of ‘individual’.

  But the point is does individual actually exist? As a part of the society we could be individual, but unlike that, as an one it says on many different books trying to higher our self-esteem, are we really special expressive individuals? In this world I think two idea is most likely to rule people’s mind, this two idea conquered how people think, the Individualism, and capitalism. And it’s very funny how they collapse each others idea. If you ever watched any movie based on future, with grey tone and the ones with robots, and people acting as they were told? People these days try to be just like what the internet or books says to be successful. It even feel like we have become a product of ourselves, preparing for our services to be purchased trying to make ourselves worth more so we could make more money.

Well, that is actually what personal branding is for, the one I was mentioning in the beginning. German philosopher,  sociologist, and composer, Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno(1903-1969) once mentioned on his book Dialectic of Enlightenment which was written in early 20century, all the individual attitude, such as gentle, or stubborn attitude, it might have difference in its own way but everything was created by massive production, like those front door lock that been created by massive production but still have little bit of difference on its way. Uniqueness of oneself might sound very natural, however it’s just exclusive product created by society and chosen by individual.

The uniqueness of people can be reduced by mystache, French accent, a deep voice of a lascivious woman. The individual that holds society together have it’s own wicked scar named society.   =Another point as we develop ourselves as an individual we started to recognise ourselves way back then in Renaissance.  Why  Capitalism and Individualism which leads the main flow of the society lead us I was so stuck on the idea of identity and started asking people. I made 3 questionare asking, 1. What is your identity 2. What do you think ‘identity’ is, explain it in your own words.

3. Give 3 words that represent your identity.  The answers were very interesting, there were many different perspective in identity itself. Some of them answered ‘there are no such a thing as identity.

‘ ‘it’s something that is created by the outer circumstance of our life’. ‘identity is personality’ ‘identity is social categories that is socially constructed’. ‘one’s Identity is priority of one’s life, and he or she accomplish throughout their life.’ ‘identity is personality’ and ‘identity is something that artist should have.’ ‘describing something undesirable.

‘ ‘Identity is indescribable with words because I have part of myself that I don’t know and it’s impossible for someone to know one perfectly.’ ‘identity is chromosome, because everything other thing was constructed by the society, our real identity that we were born with was our chromosome, everything else is just lies with names.’ And the best answer that gave me an idea of identity was ‘ identity is something that divide myself from other people, but at the same time identity is the mutual aspect of a group that you are included in.’  There were quite many people saying identity shouldn’t be describable. And there were people saying identity is my personality, individuality. But in big category the answers were divided into two, identity as a role in society, identity of types of people.

For the identity of the type what I mean I sthe it refers to the lables that gets to the person who share or are thought to share some characteristic or characters, in many different value such as place of birth, gender, behavior, appearance, values, knowledge, attitude, beliefs, opinion and so on.The another type of identity is the ‘role’ of identity, it refer to the label applied to people who are expected or obligated to perform some set of actions behaviours, routines or function in particular situation. For example the father, toy collector, president, business man, professor, student, and so on.     And in Things that I have been doing even though no one have told me to do was what I wanted to do.

And I think it was making myself wonderful, and helpful to other people.  Role of Identity  


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