I recently stumbled upon Hans Eijkelboom’s People of the Twenty First Century, a book in which the author spent 20 years compiling pictures of people who dress the same way.
This video of women showing their pets online in the exact same way blows that to mind boggling proportions.
Up top is an excerpt from MY BBY 8L3W, a 30-track video installation about women who present their pets on the internet, by the Neozoon art collective in Berlin and Paris for Les Rencontres Internationales.
It’s hilarious to me, but it also underlines a peculiar trait of social media and human nature: that we’re all somehow connected beyond the tools we use to this end, and that if we look closer into these tools, patterns will being to appear, much like birds or fish.
Some might say “duh, Luis, get to the point” and I would say to these people that there isn’t a real point to make, unless you’re into observing the world around you which then prompts the whole conversation of, ok, why do these patterns show up in the woodwork in the first place? And do we value them as much as we should or do we value them too much already?
Hans Eijkelboom taps into these very questions in an interview with The Guardian, where he says that people are increasingly looking the same by wearing the same clothing. Whether their motivations are direct (like wanting to belong to a motorcycle club by wearing the same leather jacket) or indirect (groups of people wearing yellow shirts from different brands, sports, artists, etc.) eventually he started noticing that people looked different as far as individuals go, but at the same time they were all wearing branded clothing, which also made them the same.
In the interview, the author says:
“My project is related to the city and the crowd in the city. When I look at younger people now, I see more and more that the web is their city. It’s more important now to have an identity on the web, which is very different from an identity shown through your clothes, and you can see that in the book. But I have so much trust in people that I think everybody will find a way to express themselves individually. But in what way? I really don’t know.”
I had never really thought of that, but I guess I do pay more attention to my persona on the web than I do to how I look when I leave the house, but since the latter instances are quite rare when I’m back home, I have to say that the effort can’t compare to the amount of self-consciousness devoted to my online antics.
Case in point: it’s 2:00 am on a Friday and I’m typing this…
People of the Twenty First Century is 500 pages of seeing humans in cities becoming copies of copies of copies, but it is also full of insight into what makes us want to do that in the first place. Pretty amusing and weird, which is exactly why it rocks.