Sophie Hoyle, ‘And, experts fear’, video, 2013
‘And, experts fear’ (2013) is a video and installation work that explores how diaspora identities are constructed online in the era of transnationalism. The work addresses issues of identity politics and representation, looking at the social construction of categories such as ethnicity and nationality, and at how these are mediated by digital technologies and platforms such as social media and online news sources. As a third-generation Lebanese living in the UK, Sophie Hoyle is interested in how digital cultural networks shape a sense of individual and group identity, a consciousness of transnational or diasporic ‘connectivity’, and its translation into material culture.
According to the anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, processes of self-construction are changing with the arrrival of online digital media thanks to the greater availability of material for constructing ‘possible lives’ and ‘imagined selves’. There exist increased means for a consumer to make and distribute their own imagery, with sites such as YouTube and Vimeo increasing viewer ‘participation’ and the apparent redistribution of authorial control. Digital networks can potentially re-form social relations across national boundaries, but they can also compound existing ones and confirm ideas of cultural exclusivity and supposed ‘authenticity’.
Yet, despite the emergence of so-called ‘citizen journalism’, a certain authority is still attributed to news media and the ‘experts’ that speak about ‘the world’ – including ‘the Middle East’ – and to the perceived veracity of documentary or journalistic style of photography and moving-image recordings.
An article entitled ‘Transnationalism, Diaspora and Digital Mediation’ written by the artist, which contextualises this video and installation piece, has been published in the open access online journal Interartive.
Sophie Hoyle is an artist and writer based in London, UK. Her work has recently been shown at ‘Uncanny Landscapes’ CCC Gallery, London; ‘HELP/LESS Printed Matter Inc’, New York; ‘AND Publishing: Piracy Project’ MoMA PS1, New York and ‘Out of Context WestGermany’, Berlin. She is currently undertaking an MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London.