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    Self Exposure (2007)
   
   
Self Exposure
Self-Exposure

F4, the Desktop Photography Collective, presents: Self- 
Exposure 
 
In our cultural landscape of blogs, webcams, profiles, live  
journals, and videosharing sites, the intimate lives of everyday  
people are on parade for all to see. One could say that a new  
culture of erotic exposure and display is on the ascendance,  
fueled by the impulse to reveal the self, and streamlined by  
DIY media technologies. In many ways this culture would  
seem to be less a representational than a presentational one,  
where we are compelled to solicit the attention of others, act  
for unseen eyes, and develop new forms of connective  
intensity -- as if this were somehow the very condition of our  
continued existence, the marker of our worth Is our self- 
exposure. 
 
The drive to willingly display the self constitutes a shift in the  
dynamic of the game that was that perhaps once constituted  
by a surrender to a ‘controlling gaze’,. For within these  
presentational environments, performance and role-playing  
reign supreme, and new forms of subjectivity and identity  
emerge. These new cultures of self-display challenge us to  
rethink foundational concepts in film and media theory and,  
consequently, to rethink the very conditions of our approach.  
For clearly these cultures are not necessarily those of mastery  
and visual pleasure. They do not resolve easily to questions of  
perception, power, and language. They are cultures of  
showing as much as those of watching. Instead of a reliance  
on questions of spectatorship, representation, and scopic  
power, we are challenged to foreground issues of  
performance, affect, and display. 
 
Instead of a privileging of reception, we are challenged to  
incorporate authorial intent or originary motivation. For these  
new media phenomena are not only texts to be read: they are  
solicitations, conductive excitations, embedded within  
networks of erotic exchange. There are pleasures and affective  
stimulations that motivate these new acts of connection,  
sharing, and erotic display, for all players on the circuits of  
production and reception, including both displayer and  
watcher. Their texts must not only be decoded but their  
circuits traversed, in implicated ways that destabilize any one- 
way analysis and its deflections of libidinous investment.  
 
There is much to be gained in rethinking the dynamic  
between voyeurism and exhibitionism, compensating for the  
under-theorization of the latter. In film theory, concepts of  
"attraction" have provided useful tools in thinking forms of  
exhibitionistic address that counter the voyeuristic orientation  
of film analysis. In contrast to the mechanisms of maintaining  
a coherent narrative world, transporting the viewer into  
another time and space, attractions are those phenomena  
that directly solicit the viewer's attention in the here-and- 
now.  
 
In the case of new media of self-exposure, sharing, and erotic  
display, one could suggest that the emblematic "pose"  
functions as such an attractor. The pose is a form of  
exhibitionistic spectacle -- direct address, performative display,  
or bodily stimulus -- that stands in contrast to the narrative or  
conversational flow of a social world, whether real or  
imaginary. Since the pose feeds on reciprocality, it can prompt  
the changing of roles and positions. In this way it can be seen  
as a catalyst for identity-formations. Especially as witnessed in  
the database-driven format of the online profile within which  
the pose is often embedded, identity is performed through the  
adoption of specific codes (whether gender or otherwise). One  
is called upon to play roles in order to assume symbolic  
mandates, to the extent that "impersonation" becomes a core  
act of self-identification. Yet the pose does not only operate  
extensively but intensively, and such "impersonations" arise  
equally through the internalized transmission of affects.  
Emergent forms of identity arise through flows of affective  
resonance that are themselves a powerful social and  
subjectifying force.  
 
Such impersonations are presented in found portraits by the  
collective F4. The works present to us the fantasmatic  
channeling of this energy of connective intensities of erotic  
cultures of exposure and display that can be seen as driven by  
the need to perform for the gaze and the allure of showing. 
 
Jordan Crandall (edited by F4)

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