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This week, it’s Mellina van der Valk.
What is Instagram for you?
Originally, like most people I only saw Instagram as another form of social media and a way of sharing snippets of my life with friends and online follows. Yet, looking at how my own personal account appeared heavily curated and showed only a small section of what my life was, I started to look at Instagram as a tool to aid in the deconstruction of the online persona.
Looking at millennial culture and the effect of social media with a feminist view point, my current practice relies on Instagram as the connection between my work and the online world. Through ongoing research I found the selfie to be symbolic of our current society and also have an underlying power of female empowerment. I have begun to deconstruct the selfie and the ideas around selfie culture to look of the real self within an online persona. Currently I am taking two selfies a day, one at 9pm and 2am, which are uploaded to the Instagram account @theselfinselfie with corresponding videos capturing these moments of my life.
Why/when did you decide to start sharing your work on there?
Choosing Instagram as my platform for my current work seemed like the perfect option as I was looking at a way to make new works while looking for a studio space to work from. However, i never planned on using Instagram as a catalyst for a whole new piece until researching into post internet feminism and how the much power is within selfie culture especially for females. The account itself started in early March and was launched as part of a group show the Ragaire Collective in April and then exhibited again in June as part of K-Fest along with some images from the account.
How would you describe your style?
Having studied sculpture and combined media my style tends to change throughout each new work. I do however always fall back into performative elements with sculptural objects which tend to be displayed through video. My work has over the last few years always has a feminist undertone with a big emphasis on female empowerment, and how women are seen in society. These areas of focus allow me to look at how the female is presented online and how I can deconstruct the presumed stereotype of the selfie.
What equipment do you use?
Equipment for @theselfinselfie is really simple as it’s just my phone which is Motarola and then Instagram as the platform. Nothing too advanced, I might even just add a filter from Instagram.
Who has been or currently is an influence on you?
As someone who is inspired to make work around the everyday lives of females and how we interact with society especially online, I find myself heavily influenced by friends and family. Even daily conversations with my three female housemates inspire to keep making work which helps showcase the average life of a young female. It also should go without saying – I am of course heavily influenced by both my parents and how they choose to allow both me and my sister to grow into young woman who are willing to stand up for everything they believe in. As for my artistic practice, I am heavily influenced by many internet based artist such as Amalia Ulman and Juno Cylpso. Another major woman of influence for me to mention is Aideen Barry, a contemporary Irish artist whose work and work ethic is only something any of her past students could hope to one day have.
What are your must-follow accounts on Instagram?
My must follow Instagram accounts for art range quite a lot but Maisie Cousins (@maisiecousins) and Amalia Ulman (@amaliaulman) are two accounts which I always jump onto. Also, I find a lot of illustrators who work with feminist ideas really help with thinking of females are presented online, like the accounts by Polly Nor (@pollynor)and Melodie Perrault (@melodieperrault).