Family is the first power structure we encounter, the first set of blueprints for all other relationships. Family is an ongoing performance, where roles are assigned and permanent, with a constant expectation of an audience. The meaning of family has been radically transformed from a group of people one lives with in the here and now to an imagined entity we live by through either remembered past or a dreamed future. I am interested in revealing the idea that family is never simply personal, instead it encompasses broader historical, social and cultural contexts. The work is a playful take in the way families are formed today and make an assumption of how they might be formed in the future. Using the original structure that makes up the standard family, the work would allow people to make their own choice who they want to take on the role in the family. This was meant to draw the similarity to both the way people consider friends as part of the family and to the way many people look for partners today.
The work also comment on what photography demands of the presentation of family and self. They are images that subtly seek to question why a body tends to pose before a camera lens, presenting a performance of an idealized version of self and family that doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. Sometimes we become so convinced of our own performance that we can become our own audience. As our existence requires the presence of others, Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life describe the dichotomy of our everyday selves. He uses the term ‘performance’ to describe our social roles and calls society the ‘front stage’, where one “puts on his show for the benefit of other people”(Goffman, 10) In the front stage, individuals wear an appropriate manner for the audience who observes the performance on stage. The social roles that each of us play becomes a “collective representation”. (Goffman 17)