Andrew Charleson [AKA Andrew Gallacher] Artist's Portfolio

[home] [photography] [abstract painting] [video] [sound] [text] [projects] [about] [contact]

The Digital Age

This four part work invites an appreciation of identity and the masking of identity in both digital and real world terms. The viewer is asked to examine their own assumptions.

There are many masks here, both digital and analogue. It is the viewers’ preconceptions and bias that the subject is masked against.

There is vulnerability. The stare is honest but apprehensive. The eyes demand tolerance.

Inspiration is from the work of Professor of the Social studies of Science and Technology at MIT, Sherry Turkle, in her book Alone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other (2011) Basic Books, New York.

“These days, insecure in our relationships and anxious about intimacy, we look to technology for ways to be in relationships and protect ourselves from them at the same time.”

These pieces are about fear and expectation. The Internet age promises a relationship ideal but there is a risk reward implication that is amplified by digital interaction.


Below... a young woman and a young man communicate instantly through their iPhones.

There is instant contact, instant chat, instant rapport and instant gratification, but they see “as through an iPhone, darkly.”

Their eyes are wide and innocent with the simplicity of a binary understanding. Theirs is a digital world of emotional monochrome.

The love-sex pair of images borrow their irony from Lichtenstein’s pop art gender fantasies. The bright psychedelic whorls of the background and the comic-book thought bubbles are both clues to this work’s genre heritage.

“Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities. And as it turns out, we are very vulnerable indeed. We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. Digital connections and the sociable robot may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. Our networked life allows us to hide from each other, even as we are tethered to each other. We’d rather text than talk.”

Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Never before has it been easier to communicate with so many people so frequently and so intimately and never before has it been simpler to be so lonely, so bullied and so hurt, so criticised and so abandoned.

We are all deceived Calibans dazzled by the shiny new paradigm. We look online at beguiling deceptions and cry “Oh brave new world that has such people in it!”