Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
What are the ways in which we form and build our identities and habits in both physical and digital spaces? How can our different uses of the digital expression which evolved from analog forms reveal traits and memories that we have forgotten or overlooked?
The way I define my identity through the analog media I collect correlates with the quality of the memories within my current schema, knowledge structures that represent typical instances of categories.
We interact with an infinity of objects from birth to death. Our collection of objects resonates more and more with memory and nostalgia as the years pass. Personal belongings express aspects of our identity, our values and our choices. As I dug through my collections of memories, mementos and memorabilia from childhood to college, I found memories of interpersonal connections solidified into a collection of cherished objects that have been with me since Kindergarten. This retrospection allowed me to maintain my self image, my desired identity over time, and to avoid conflicting narratives about who I am. The collection of physical materials creates another layer of retrospective interaction with myself in the present, with people, and with myself in the past. I created distorted memories to address the absence of a clear history of past interactions, which raised my appreciation of the objects as I used them to fill gaps in my memories with imagination.
In digital space, my habit of collection continues, but my relationship to objects and memories has changed. My collection of “flat” media, such as photos, files from Google Drive, and text messages, has changed how I view my identity, fixing and changing the memories associated with these files, and blocking both other memories, as well as the imaginative “filling in” process. The process of forming my identity changed from using my imagination to fill gaps left by physical mementos, to relying on selectively chosen, immutable images. In this way, the way I have collected memories has changed, and these changes have directly affected how I form my identity.
My artistic practice is to explore the formation of identity through the materialization and objectification of my memories in both analog and digital formats. When my identity is shaped by the flood of digital water, it creates conflicting narratives about who I am. I want to be the master of the digital brush to take ownership, and create my own narratives, rather than letting those digital brushes shape my identity for me. Therefore, I investigated the various expressions of identity in emerging platforms that originated from my memories in the physical world by observing the patterns of my own behaviors, and explored new possibilities for interacting with technology by carrying one’s desired identity into both physical and digital spaces.
Youn, Hyejun, "Finding identity in memories" (2020). Masters Theses. 507.
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