“If it’s in the game, it’s in the game” : Sondra Perry and technological likeness

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Brown, Laurel E.

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Throughout Sondra Perry’s (b. Perth Amboy, NJ, 1986) recent work, the question of how to think about likeness in relation to the abstraction of subjecthood comes to the fore. She works primarily in video, installation, and performance, and has frequently described her disenchantment with a politics prioritizing representation and visibility in interviews and talks. Building on a long tradition of artists taking up the politics of figurative representation—specifically, as related to Black identities—Perry looks to new media like 3-D models and avatars to explore what it means for one’s likeness to live online. This project centers Perry’s IT’S IN THE GAME ‘18 or Mirror Gag for Projection and Five Universal Shot Trainers with Nasal Cavity, Pelvis, Orbit, and Axes, which bridges virtual and physical worlds to tell the story of a videogame avatar modeled off her twin brother. She contextualizes this narrative within the circulation of imagery of Black people in canonical historical painting, news media, and social media. Taking Perry’s work as point of departure, what can the avatar tell us about identity, ownership, and the limits of the self, both on and offline?



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