We humans spend a lot of time building and reinforcing our public images. We buy clothes that serve as social costumes– I am a serious job candidate, I am a hipster, I am a biker, I am an artist… We chase after job titles, polish resumes and check our faces in the mirror.
Have you ever had that experience of looking in the mirror and finding your own face just a bit unfamiliar?
The other day I was searching for an image that would represent a loss of identity. I have decided to try self-publishing my second novel and I needed an image to serve as a working cover on the Pubslush site. I found a fascinating set of ghostly images on The Public Domain Review. These decayed daguerrotypes have slowly erased the people who were pictured in them. They are quite haunting.
A pair of French artists, Bertrand Lanthiez and Chloé Curé, are creating the same effect in real time with an interactive installation project called We Are Narcisses.
The project uses water and a speaker to create a mirror that distorts the image of the viewer the longer he gazes at his image. The inspiration for the project was Narcissus, who gazed at his image at a pond and fell in love with it. The artists want the viewer to look inward for a definition of self.