us / we is a piece regarding my own sense of identity. More and more, I'm discovering that I'm not in control of my own identity. As personal as it is - as self, as definition - my identity seems as me simply positioning myself within the world, yet almost more like the world positioning me within itself. It seems there exist invisible boundaries that are beyond my control. Though I believe self-identity is largely an attempt to reconcile the internal with the external, even half of this equation is still beyond me. Whenever I, myself, identify with something/someone else, I am aligning myself with a larger collective - a "we," an "us" - but some form of my identity must pre-exist as a qualitatively unique entity in order for me to do this. So who am I? How does "I" become part of "we"? Who is "us"?
In order to highlight the differences between these identifications, I chose to use common stereotypes I found, as they are both the easiest to define as well as the easiest to dissect. However, they are often also the most intricate in the origins of their identification. While the images are obviously appropriated from the 1960s, they are not intended to manifest a direct critique on the Civil Rights Movement, post-war Consumerism, or some sense of familial idealism. Rather, I hope they pose a series of questions, both literal and not, that might trace some outline of individual and collective identities - which is which and where do they overlap? What is the contrast between the use of words "we" and "us"? How do words impact the representation of identity? What does it mean for an advertisement to have no words? How do I Identify these images - what do I identify, with what do I identify, and what am I conjuring from within myself?
The idea of taking founds objects and images in order to represent notions of idea dwells primarily in the concept of the "external". It is not immediate recognition as though seeing a picture of yourself, but looking at images at random, found images, advertisements, often evokes an internal influence; you see something outside of you and relate it to something inside of you. How does this happen? What is it about certain images that trigger a sense of identity within us? What if we identify with two contrasting images? How then can we read their similarities and differences?
us / we features three images that were chosen to represent all images. Their juxtaposition represents a juxtaposition of all images. The glass represents the transparent and the mirrored. Whether viewed as a commentary, an abstraction, or a self-exploration, us / we is both the simplicity and complexity inherent in identification.