A Portrait of the Artist (As Told By Airtaskers)
Sydney Opera House, 'Digital Mentorship Program', 2019
Originally, I proposed to make a work in which I would choose a person's name issued by an online name generator. I would then search this name online, find a person who matched this name, and piece together a portrait of their life based on all the publicly available information I could find about them. I wanted to then upload this video portrait to YouTube, in the hope that one day if they Googled themselves, they would find this creepily detailed biopic of them created by a stranger. However, once the lawyers at the Opera House were briefed on the project, they said no.
So, I flipped the idea and asked, well, what would happen if I invited a group of strangers to stalk me online and create a video portrait of me based on their findings?
To start, I paid 8 Airtaskers to search me online and each write a 500 word biography of my life. Those who took up the task included a university student, a retired military sniper turned real estate agent, a social media content creator, a copywrighter and a surfer/musician.
I then used the rest of the artist fee paid to me by the Opera House, to pay another Airtasker to create a 'video portrait' of me based on the biographies supplied by the first 8 Airtaskers.
He merged the 8 biographies into a first-person script. He then cast 8 people with my likenesss (based on the first photo that comes up when searching my name on Google images) to pose as me and read my 'biography' to the camera.
The result is excruciating to watch, including distorted statements about my political and philosophical outlooks, and a section at the end, where each performer cry-acts over the death of my mother.