Who are you online?

No-one knows you’re a dog online of course, but for a small exhibition at Tate Britain the question is whether your online persona reflects who you really are.

Pass through the gallery’s restored nineteenth century Rotunda, make a note to revisit the Hentry Moores on the right and, instead, turn left to the compact Learning Gallery where you’ll find Stories Uncovered, a display that explores the notion of the archive in the internet age.

In particular the film questions how young people archive their daily lives through social media and asks whether people accurately represent themselves on social media.

Opinions offered include: “I’m more confident online”, “I don’t think it accurately reflects what life is like” and “people have so many different sides to them.”

The film was made by a group of young people aged 15-25 from six London youth groups, but its exploration of how people segment and curate their online lives is relevant whether your social media platform of choice is LinkedIn or Instagram (or both).

As is another of the film’s questions: “What doesn’t social media know about you?”

Rachel Maclean We Want Data

Rachel Maclean’s We Want Data (2016)

Meanwhile, taking a more confrontational tone at Tate Britain is WOT U 🙂 ABOUT? by Glasgow-based artist and filmmaker Rachel Maclean, who presents a nightmarish fantasy world, part of which pardodies social media (throwing in advertising, children’s television and fairy tales for good measure).

As the Tate explains:

A blankly glamorous celebrity figure embodies data, feeding a desperate crowd with selfies and internet cables until her system is hacked.

Even before you know Maclean plays all the characters herself, it’s as unsettling as you’d expect – not least because little indication is given that the breakdown of the society she depicts, obsessed as it is with consumption, will be replaced by anything better.


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