Karen Navarro

Location: Houston, TX, United States

EL PERTENECER EN TIEMPOS MODERNOS (Belonging in Modern Times) explores the online self-representation used as a venue to create a sense of belongingness. Humans are innately driven to attain a sense of belonging. Just like water or shelter the sense of belonging is a human need. In modern times, as this phenomenon has transcended from the physical to the digital, social media platforms function as sites to congregate and connect.

Every day, an average of 93 million selfies are being taken all over the world with many of them being posted online. In El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos (Belonging in Modern Times) (2019), I use Instagram to explore the ways in which people use social media as a platform to project an assimilated version of themselves.

Inspired by cubism and the representation of the subject through the investigation of materiality and collages, I have reassembled the portraits depicting a distorted image that speaks about the constructed identities we perform on social media. The individuals photographed were selected by an open call on Instagram and were asked to wear a specific color clothing. The use of a specific color and the way they are all posed, are a way to equalize the individuals in each group. Using technologies of today such as 3-D printing and laser cutting was essential in my process of addressing contemporary media. The photographs were embossed with the top hundred hashtags on Instagram.

Digital culture has changed and continues to change the ways we behave, relate and connect to each other. The tridimensional collages suggest multiple layers of meaning and aim to discuss the challenges of being authentic and real in a time of obsession over portraying an online illusion of ourselves.

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Close up detail shot | Subject #9

Close up detail shot | Subject #4 variation 1

Subject #9

Subject #7 variation 1

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Subject #4 variation 1

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Close up detail shot | Subject #9

Close up detail shot | Subject #4 variation 1