Laís Pontes’ website
Project Born Nowhere (Laís Pontes)
Laís Pontes, Project Born Nowhere, Ongoing
Born Nowhere is a social media art project that uses Facebook as a platform for crowd-sourcing identities. By using self-portraits and modifying them via digital techniques, the photographer transforms facial characteristics, giving herself a new personality.
She invites Facebook users to share their thoughts, comments and interpretation of characters’ photographs posted on Facebook creating a flexible interaction framework and an unbounded socio-cultural experience. The users’ comments about each character inform and help to create a unique persona with its own name, life and characteristics. Bringing together comments from Facebook users, the artist constructs the character’s bio. The description of each new character is influenced by what psychoanalysts term “projection,” that is, the viewer ascribes background, reality and fantasies onto others.
According to theories of personality, each individual is the result of the interplay of three factors: what the person is, what he or she wants to be, and what others believe this person is.
What one sees is what one wants to see.
Julia. 27 years old, single, actress, born nowhere, lives in London, free spirit, lonely sometimes, loves to travel, cosmopolitan, mysterious and strong, lipstick lesbian.
Lucia. A 5th grade teacher, married to her high school sweetheart who runs an organic farm in Alabama, he doesn’t look at her since 1998 but she is fine, born nowhere, has a big heart, however gets easily upset, her dream is to move to a big city and to start her own business, has a secret lover (20 years older than her).
Renata. Renata, 28 years old, Debra Born Nowhere's little sister. Outgoing and generally content, she’s from a small town, went to college in a big city and has a major in International Relations. She worked at a big hotel chain for a long time and, because of that job, she has lived in many countries. She currently works for Facebook. She has always put her career above everything else, but now desperately wants a family. She likes drinking wine and going to happy hours. Born Nowhere.
Laís Pontes, Born Now here, Ongoing
In her third social media art project, Born Now Here, Lais Pontes extends her investigation into the construction of identity influenced by the social media age. Based on photos and constructed Facebook bios from her first project Born Nowhere, she translates user comments into activities, relationships and behaviors, to embody the virtual characters in her everyday life. Each character gains its own personal Facebook account, outfits, make-up and personal objects. The act of embodying the character fuses elements of the virtual biography, constructed by the users, with personal and physical realities of the artist’s life.
The experience of the fusion between the self and the other inspired Pontes to give control of the characters to other Facebook users. A third party embodies the character in everyday life and creates a new interpretation of the digital personality. The artist experiences a shift in role—she becomes a viewer of her own creation. The performance of embodiment allows participants to confront the inner world of the other’s race, sexuality, class, and career. The characters can return to the artist, interpreted and changed by the third party embodiment, to once again be embodied by the artist or alternately another party. Through this process, the characters’ personalities are continuously reconstructed.