Women’s Studies Quarterly asked Johanna Blakley to provide a multimedia piece for the “Alerts & Provocations” section of the June 2012 issue. The theme? VIRAL. The editors asked Blakley to expand upon a TED talk she’d given on Social Media & the End of Gender. In both, Blakley explores the implications of women’s demographic dominance of social media platforms all around the world. The multimedia component of the WSQ piece lives here on Tumblr and on Pinterest and was conceived by Johanna Blakley, Veronica Jauriqui, Sarah Ledesma and photographer Jasmine Lord.
The “Media in Our Image” portraits meld together Renaissance conventions of portrait painting with contemporary visual data mining. The goal was to create augmented portraits of ourselves that tell people more about our taste, values and beliefs than about our demographic coordinates. We used word clouds, which reflect the relative frequency of words within a data set, to summarize social media preferences and profile data from each of the portrait subjects. Inspired by lace veils that both reveal and obscure the subject, we projected each sitters’ own metadata on their physical bodies, creating a veil of revealing data.
Thanks to Kate Feldman and Krystal Garner for revealing themselves to us. You can find the WSQ article here.