Eva & Franco Mattes
The Portraits series by the artist couple Eva and Franco Mattes, also known under the pseudonym 0100101110101101.ORG, includes portraits of avatars from the virtual 3-D world Second Life, a few of which will be shown in the gateways exhibition. The photographs are based on encounters between the two artists and customized avatars in Second Life, a digital universe that has drawn more than twenty million users since its founding in 2003. Photo-shoots of the computer-generated personas were arranged by mutual agreement between artists and sitters. The result is a mix of glossy photography familiar from fashion magazines and the colorful brilliance and aesthetic of computer games.
The Mattes’s work raises questions about the traditional role of portrait photography as well as about the increasingly changing relationship between true identity and public representation through virtual worlds. Both artists believe their Portraits should actually be considered “self portraits,” because they show how each person would like to be, but not how and who he or she really is. These photographs of Second-Life members reveal the new online worlds as places for social exchange, but especially as places that enable the creation of alternative identities without the restraints of social restrictions; places where the self can be formed according one’s own needs and desires.
Eva und Franco Mattes, Portraits, 2006/07 | © Eva und Franco Mattes