'Birthday Party 4: A Tea Party' The Role of Media, Camera, & Screens in the Formation of Self Identity
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
As camera technology has evolved and become increasingly more ubiquitous, it has become progressively easier to document our day to day lives. We can access and distribute moments and memories with little to no difficulty, allowing us to direct and curate our memories. Moving away from the portapak and VHS, to digital cameras and smartphones, there is a sense that we are always in front of or behind the camera. Drawing from concepts such as Richard Chalfen’s “home mode”, Erving Goffman’s “presentation of the self”, and Jacques Lacan’s “mirror stage”, I created a video installation that explores the correlation between cameras, memory, media, and self identity. Through my work, I explore the camera as both a screen and a mirror, the intervention of my current self in the mediation of my own memories, and the construction and performance of the self through media.
Before I can remember, I have had a camera in my hand. Not only have I been behind the camera, I have been the subject as well. My uncle documented my first seven birthday parties, turning each year’s event into a short film, memorializing those moments. In this piece, I use footage from my fourth birthday party. The original footage is interrupted by contemporary footage of my adult self. The interjection of my current self into the found footage references that I am both the subject and viewer, in addition to that fact that this is a mediated memory or experience. The presence of the camcorder references the role that screens play in distancing ourselves from the present moment.
Mannes, Sophie, "'Birthday Party 4: A Tea Party' The Role of Media, Camera, & Screens in the Formation of Self Identity" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2132.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.