Un projet Labex Arts H2H
en /fr
2012 - 2016

Transient Self–Portrait: The Data Self
By Maria Mencia

Kingston University


Transient Self–Portrait is a practice-based research project questioning notions of reading and the electronic medium, while exploring concepts of the digital self through coding for interaction aesthetics and poetics.


I have taken as the point of departure two pivotal sonnets in Spanish literature that are normally studied alongside each other. One by Garcilaso, a 16th Century Spanish poet, using Italian Renaissance verse forms, poetic techniques and themes and the other by Gongora, a 17th Century Spanish poet from the Baroque period. Gongora’s sonnet is a homage to Garcilaso’s, dedicating this sonnet to him around 60 years later in 1582. Although both sonnets deal with concepts such as the ephemerality of life, fragility, transient entities, time and consummation, their styles and cultural aspects are very different reflecting the attitudes from each of these periods. Being the Renaissance more optimist than the Baroque, Garcilaso refers to ‘the pass of time’, while Gongora talks about ‘the unavoidable event’, producing two very different endings.


My aim has been, following Gongora’s response to Garcilaso’s sonnet, to respond to the cultural aspects of the sonnets, by questioning how these are reflected in the attitudes of a 21st Century mediated society and the digital medium we inhabit. This presentation will discuss the development of these enquires through the production of the work-a fluid portrait encapsulated inside the medium, with the use of a webcam, generative text and sound- to bring up notions of the digital/data self, the fragility of technology, new media tools and coding.


In the interactive piece we are faced with ourselves. We are inside the poem. The poet reads to us and we read to the poet. We perform the poem. We become data behind the camera, behind the screens, this is part of our identity and cultural aesthetics. 


About the author

Maria Mencia is a media artist, scholar andSenior Lecturer in New Media Theory and Practice in the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University, London, UK. She is an executive in an experience of shifting ‘in’ and ‘out’ of language by looking ‘at’ and looking ‘through’ transparent and abstract landscapes of text and linguistic soundscapes 

Ajouter un commentaire

Un projet Labex Arts H2H