“You talkin’ to me”
Walsh, Bernard. 2010. '“You talkin’ to me”'. In: The International Image Conference. University of California, Los Angeles, United States 2-3 December 2010. [Conference or Workshop Item]No full text available
Abstract or Description
This paper is written as a script to be performed by the author, sitting at a computer, scrolling through a list of names, logged onto GAYDAR, a worldwide profile-based dating website for gay and bisexual men, women and couples over the age of 18, which offers: what you want and when you want it. The author surveys a number of profiles, combining image and text, and considers ways in which he might compose his own; a self portrait. He wonders [thinking his thoughts out-loud] to what extent is this type of representation likely to affect ‘our’ sense of what is ‘real’, or really happening beyond the constraints of immediate presence (what we can see), or physical encounter (what we can touch).
The paper also explores examples in Art and Literature where image precedes presence; Anne of Cleves portrait sent to Henry 8th to secure a marriage contract, Proust’s description of ‘Marcel’s’ mother’s attempt to overcome the “vulgarity and utility” of photographic image, in ‘In Search of Lost Time’, Barthes forensic investigation of the “beloved” in ‘A Lover’s Discourse’, Warhol’s quest to discover his ‘own’ aura in ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B And Back Again)’ and through various self-portraits, Gillian Wearing’s portraits of herself becoming her own mother and father.
Eventually the author selects three images to ‘represent’ him, and writes answers to a series of questions provided on a template. As he presses: activate your profile, he remembers a line from Hamlet “To thine own self be true”. But what does it mean to be true to one’s self; isn’t it better to try to make a good impression?