I’m Not Garrett Lynch (IRL) – Facebook Group

I'm Not Garrett Lynch (IRL) - Facebook Group

Above: I’m Not Garrett Lynch (IRL) – Facebook Group. Click to view larger images.

What is identity if not juxtaposition with an Other?

The Other, a phenomenological term that identifies other human beings as a cumulative, constituting factor in the self-image of a person, is an acknowledgement of the Self as being ‘real’. If the Self is ‘real’ then the Other is, in a sense, ‘virtual’, dissimilar to and yet complementary of the Self. I am ME because I am not YOU and equally you are YOU because you are not ME.

The I’m not Garrett Lynch (IRL) Facebook Group was a durational networked performance on the theme of the identity of Self and the Other. Its purpose was, through the use of Facebook photo tagging, to identity friends of the artist on Facebook as not being the artist, that is specifically as ‘Not Garrett Lynch (IRL)’, which employs a word play on both the phrase in real life and the artist’s nationality as Irish. The process of tagging acknowledges and reinforces the identity of Others, without revealing their true identity, and through juxtaposition with Others extends the artist’s Self identity to an online social space. In the process identification algorithms on Facebook that employ and rely on users’ tagging are fed information that, while strictly correct, is in effect noise and impossible to use for identification purposes.

The performance/group followed a set of rules:

  1. Find photos in Friend’s accounts on Facebook that can and have not had people tagged.
  2. Instead of tagging people in the photos with their names tag them as being – Not Garrett Lynch (IRL).
  3. If possible find one photo per friend account.

The performance was created as part of the artist’s residency and the group exhibition Self as Actor : colonising identity at NeMe Arts Centre, Cyprus, which ran from the 15/02/2009 – 15/03/2009. It was intended to complete when all Friend accounts had been used or at the end of the residency. Four hundred and fourteen photos were tagged during the performance and posted to the group.

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