An exploration into the ways we talk about the lives that we live on the web.
MY ROLE: sole designer
Created for RISD Senior Degree Project, Fall 2016
How do we talk about our digital lives? Digital Stories questions the concept of people having separate digital and physical lives. It is a critique of the notion that digital friendships mean less than physical ones.
I grew up on the internet. From Neopets, to design forums, to IRC chatrooms—the internet has been a massive part of my life for as long as I remember. Now that I’m getting older, I’ve started to realize that my digital life and my physical life are so intertwined that I cannot separate the two.
This project contains a lot of different experiments that deal with form and interaction in different ways. All the pieces are very personal in nature and all deal with my own personal story of the internet.
The exhibition was set in a dark room, only illuminated by screens. For my presentation to introduce the pieces, I skyped into the room, which was displayed on a screen at the very front. Instead of talking out loud, all communication was made via a chatroom on the project website and the website's background shifted slides as I talked.
This emulated my experience of interacting with all of this content for the first time--alone, in the dark, with only my computer and my virtual friends for company. With this, I gave everyone attending the exhibition a little view into how I communicated with the world for years.
The exhibition website and chat log are available here, although the presentation background broke a couple of years ago.
A book with essays and pieces of ephemera that explore my personal journey with the digital world. You can view and even order the full book here.
A video performance that links to mass texts sent out to the audience. The video is a love letter to the internet, where the internet is treated as the collection of all my online friends. These friends appear throughout the video as Throughout the video, and even after the video ends, audience members will receive text messages with images or messages pulled from my personal archive of digital ephemera.
A selection of digital ephemera—long forgotten files found on old harddrives, old email accounts, abandoned social media profiles—all related to my personal journey of exploring my self identity.
My search for my identity as a transgender man is impossible to separate from the internet. Growing up in a socially conservative society, the internet was my safe haven and my confidant. This is my attempt at archiving the best and the worst moments of my journey by presenting my own digital history.
The user is given the ability to sort through the information at their own pace and make their own connections between the different pieces of content. They could also take a copy of the project away with them via the thumbdrives.
This work is a physical collection of chat logs, focused around my younger self. While often ephemeral, these chat logs have been given physical form, and once committed to paper are much harder to forget or put away. It can be found at a later date by anyone, regardless of permission.
There were 5 copies of this text made—all but one were placed in bookstores and libraries, among books about history, sociology, anthropology, and plays as a manifestation of digital culture in these physical spaces.