Jennifer Chan is a Canadian video and media artist and curator based in Toronto. Her work addresses internet pop culture, specifically the representation of masculinity and the various constructions of femininity under the male gaze.
Notes about the work
- Jennifer created a collage of videos collected from YouTube and other online platforms to explore how culture responds to vulnerability and imagined ideals. Once you upload videos online, it is easy for other people to use them for their own purposes without your knowledge, thus taking away any sense of security you have.
- The piece is largely in response to the Great Recession in the European Union and the austerity measures used to maintain lifestyles that rely on exploitative economic practices. This can be seen through the juxtaposition of upbeat imagery (people on vacation, getting married, etc.) with footage of California wildfires and text scrolling over the screen that emphasizes ideas of suffering and loss.
- In addition, Austerity forces us to consider how much information we put online and how that information can shape the identity we put forth. For instance, on various social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook), people tend to post about the most exciting or glamorous aspects of their lives and not the tragic or bad parts. This promotes the false notion that people you follow on social media have “better” or “happier” lives than you. Jennifer’s work helps remind us to really question what we see online and not take it at face-value.
- How has social media shaped the way you see yourself and those around you?
- Do you think that social media is more helpful or more harmful when it comes to self-expression and identity?
About Jennifer Chen
Chan co-organized the online exhibition Body Anxiety with Leah Schrager, featuring underrepresented artists to challenge the male-dominated internet art space. She has held solo exhibitions in numerous countries, including Young Money at Future Gallery (Berlin), I’ll Show You HD at transmediale (Berlin), Sea of Men at Galleri CC (Malmo), and New Alpha at ohmydays (Singapore). In 2013 she contributed a sequence to The One Minutes(commissioned by the Sandberg Institute) as part of Ways of Something,a net artists’ remake of John Berger’s Ways Of Seeing compiled by Lorna Mills. The video has screened at ICA London, Fabrica UK, MenShing Museum (Beijing), Wooloomooloo (Taipei), and SongEun Art Space (South Korea), and later collected by the Whitney Museum.