Sex, Lies, and Social Media
Artist Dave Cicirelli challenges his audience to create meaning.HD Download
Do we use social media—or does it use us?
That's one of the fundamental questions posed by artist Dave Cicirelli in a series of works produced in different media—including social media, in real time—over the past decade. He creates what he calls "experiential art" because the audience must interact with it rather than passively contemplate it in order to make sense of it. His signature works include:
- Fakebook: A True Story Based on Actual Lies, a memoir of a fabricated, increasingly unbelievable cross-country trip that Cicirelli documented in real time for his followers on Facebook;
- Fake Banksy Sells Out, a street sale of openly counterfeit paintings in Central Park;
- All Minus One, a graphic novel version of John Stuart Mill's ideas on free speech and social conformity done in collaboration with Jonathan Haidt and Richard V. Reeves for Heterodox Academy; and
- The Infinity Cube, a mind-blowing, glass-and-mirrors immersive installation that challenges participants to deny their urge to take a selfie.
Born in 1983 and raised in New Jersey, Cicirelli studied art at Rutgers University, where 60 years ago Allan Kaprow and other members of the Fluxus movement pioneered art "happenings" that forced audience members both to participate in the creative process and to produce their own meanings. A longtime Reason reader who is skeptical of both government and corporate power, he is quite possibly the only artist alive who counts comic book legend Jack Kirby and politician Barry Goldwater among his inspirations.
Cicirelli's work forces us to contemplate: Why is there so much fakeness in a world that places so much value on authenticity and transparency? How do we maintain our individuality when social media algorithms group us into simplistic categories and tribes? And has technology become a substitute for reality rather than something we use to express our true selves?
Music: "New World" by Ian Post
Produced by Nick Gillespie; Shot and edited by Kevin Alexander; additional camera Daniel Schloss