Gabriella Cohen Meditation
Evoking the historical religious origins of the tryptic as both a form and technique, Portrait of Gabriella Cohen explores the complex manifests of personal identities that online and digital platforms permit, encourage and curate.
As an independent musician, Cohen is responsible for the self-curation and maintenance of her own online identity in support of her creative and professional pursuits, in concert with her normative online presence.
Utilising a 'face-swapping' algorithm, three traditionally painted portraits of the musician were superimposed back upon video recordings of Cohen resulting in an exchange between Kraus, the artist, Cohen, the subject and Snapchat, a massive distributed software platform. This process both mediates the portraiture technique whilst simultaneously enabling the portraits and recreates facial and self identities as complex, looped palimpsests.
Cohen uses a guitar, vocals and shofar, a musical horn made from a ram's horn used for jewish religious purposes, as an extended meditation that guides the movement. Exploring the tension between banal, everyday continuities and profound, singular experiences, Cohen reflects on the Hebrew phrase "Orech Yamim" as a meditative technique for contemplation of the 'infinite' and the nature of persistent, geographically disparate, cloud-based, digital identities.
Though digital platforms are heavily invested in self-representations of 'algorithmic neutrality', the portrait deliberately engages with gender and religious identities as a means of exploring the politics of technological architecture, repetitive unpaid cognitive labour and the face as an enduring biometric identifier.