Do You Want Me?
Intimacy and Exposure in a Digital Age
Multimedia Installation, 2004
By Julienne Givot
with original score by Dorsey Dunn
Video + 4-Channel Sound
Do You Want Me? is a multimedia installation observing the paradox of public intimacies proliferated through public web-based dating services. Through a series of projected images accumulated from various online-dating websites, a simultaneous score, and voiceovers based on actual personal ads, the viewer is put in the center of a virtual marketplace of nameless individuals promulgating themselves in order to, at least ostensibly, attract a mate. The question of intent is raised in viewing the variety and conformity of the images. While no image or statement is duplicated throughout the 10-minute cycle, there is an inescapable sense of the repetition and banality of the subjects’ self-made and incomplete public images, and perhaps also of the very act of blind introduction.
Voyeurism is very much a component in these sometimes searingly intimate self-portraits, as are feelings of pride and disaffected ego. The summed imagery questions the internet’s supposed communicative power and its ability to isolate and associate individuals seeking common ground and intimacy. What other media provides such ready access to the exploration of such themes?
Do You Want Me? seems at first glance to involve others. Visiting the gallery space, the viewer is at a safe remove from the insecurity of the internet. Yet the installation combines elements of the real and unreal that quickly prompt questions of intent not only in the projected subjects but also among visitors themselves — who will have their own needs and avenues for self-advertising.