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Monika Sziladi


Left To Our Own Devices (2009-2015)

The rapid development of wireless communication, social media, reality television, fake news, crowd sourcing and the proliferation of photography by the general public has had a clearly discernible impact on human behavior. Posing, posting, sharing, self-broadcasting, commenting, texting, and multitasking are replacing conversation and reflection. Narcissism and anxiety are among the most common types of psychological disorders affecting people today, while thumb stretching has been added to yoga classes to ease muscle tension from cell phone use.

The figures in my images, like most of us, are caught constrained by mobile devices, violent interruptions, and image consciousness. While navigating the professional and social competition of our economically divided and ecologically precarious world, our ubiquitous practice of (self) promotion generates sufficient noise to render us invisible and ultimately turn us into interchangeable voices, inaudible within the crowd. On the other hand, our recorded and broadcast self-expression, which is continually being mined by big data, threatens our privacy and agency over our choices.

Digital and wireless technology merges, collapses, and transforms our traditional sense of public and private. Parallelly, the sense of space and perspective in my work alludes to a collapse between the physical and the virtual. As the borders disintegrate, I aim to create images that simultaneously produce humor, awkwardness, liberation, assaultiveness, and suffocation, with the intention of replicating and enhancing the unsettling sense of being exposed in an increasingly virtual world. Formally, I "take" straight pictures and "make" digital composites of candid photographs, to reflect the blurred boundaries of what we perceive as spontaneous and what we perceive as premeditated.