Me, myself and I
The triplet in the title basically give it away already: identity in the digital age, especially in the face of image production and reproduction processes, is subject to incessant multiplication. Or to put it another way: the ego, what one could also call the “digital subject”, is now subject to a technologically fuelled tendency to splinter, while also being shrouded in a nebulous illusion of unity.
Claudia Larcher's "Me, myself and I" does nothing less than cause this moment of fragmentation and simultaneous resynthesis to collide productively. The experimental arrangement is as simple as it is captivating: Larcher has added 350 photographs of herself (up to the age of 24) to a GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) which then spits forth a continuously deforming flow of images containing perspectives on identity that go beyond the original photographs. Babyface, girl's head, young woman, fast forward into old age and back again to the infantile – all this in an incessantly morphing stream, allowing one to dissolve imperceptibly into the next. This results in the staging of a digitally mediated becoming, seen in equal parts as productive disappearance as well as constant re-creation – the elimination of all that has gone before up to the point of complete abstraction, with simultaneous reconstitution and anticipation of what is yet to come. Grotesque deformation meets malformed refocusing, an organic-synthetic hybrid, in which a laughable series of comical faces flashes repeatedly, like what we know from Snapchat and other image processing filters.
The soundtrack proves that all of this is not based on any kind of master narrative about what AI can do or possibly wants. Here, Larcher has processed dialogues that she has conducted with various chatbots on the subject of identity and turned them into a script that interconnects fragments of ego perception in a multidirectional manner. The "reflexive self-reference", which is repeatedly addressed as the core of every identity, may itself be nothing more than a placeholder for a multiplicity that cannot be contained. Or for the edge of a non-existence, which is expressed just as beguilingly in the cheerfully delirious fragments of portraits. (Christian Höller)
Me, myself and I
5 min 30 sec