The artistic research and participatory project sequence Self|Images realized from 1998 to 2005 emphasizes on individual persons' self-images as mirrored, reinforced or deterred by the media images. The project sequence is interested in the development of the individual self-image as a process of reflecting or excluding influences of social environment and role models.
The relationship of an individual person to society can also be observed in the relationship of images - private and public - which aesthetically express cultural standards. The question is how the threshold between public image and self image is recognized, how deep surrounding influences dig into this process and how much the individual person contributes to the process of producing and reproducing images.
Not only as passive recipients but also as active participants, individuals take part in the creation of their own self-images, thereby selecting from the spectrum of contemporary images as their guides. The intention is to examine the influence of public images and social key issues to an individual person through visual research and the cooperative method.
The reaction of the individual person to the public is in the focus. Therefore Self|Images umbrellas cooperative projects showing individuals struggling with public and private images. The label "AHA in interaction with ..." expresses both method and intention. The cooperative method includes the quest for persons who stand more on the image consuming than the producing side.
The task is to develop and realize a visual production that imitates and plays with the prototypical media images. Artistic competences are to be used as tools by the persons involved to produce, design and document their self-images in photos, videos, drawings, comics, etc. in a similar aesthetic quality as the public images. Thus, this artistic practice initiates a platform on which the persons involved present, reflect and portray their self-images.
In the resulting pictures, cooperation partners duplicate their role models and encounter their own utopian images. Images realized in the artistic collaboration are layered on and visually related to media images Hence, the strategy is also to surpass a simplistic reproduction of stereotypical images. Indeed, it allows to highlight a presentation that violates standardized expectations, showing superficially and aesthetically idealized cooperation partners while their situated images shine through.
In the visual cooperation the photos, videos or comics produced, meet contemporary standards of media aesthetic. Simultaneously, the individual participant's approach and imagination are redefining these standards Apart from the passive reception there are the phases of active adaptation in which the idiosyncratic ideas evaluate ideals (models) and take over the creative process itself.