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Digital Visions
Shirin Kouladjie
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Days of My Life: an Analysis of Online Visual Journaling

What is it about online journaling that is so attractive to so many people? The number of online journals and diaries have blossomed by the millions in its short lifetime. One of the factors is accessibility. Anyone with a computer can have access to these entries, and the service of online archiving provides a convenient way to store nearly endless amounts of memories. Facilitated by the internet’s ability to publish work online within seconds, it forms a very attractive manner to present oneself to the world. To the general population, this is very important and there will always be a movement of recording in order to provide self-reflection afterwards.

Shirin Kouladjie’s work Days of My Life is a collective visual piece of ongoing narrative that works as an archive of her day-to-day thoughts and circumstances. Her work incorporates snippets of material from a large range of dates, news articles, artwork, and media, as well as the use of self-made items. Her entries range from humorous to monstrous and thought provoking, and doubly act as commentary and memory of a North American psyche. The use of the web interface allows her to give the world access to her work, as well as the facility to use the various media forms available as the facility to use the various media forms available on the Internet, such as animation and audio clips. By placing her work on the Internet, she allows herself and others to explore her thoughts and memories and to easily archive the events of our time. Her visuals, elegant or childish scrawls, evoke strong expressions that allow viewers to quickly read them. This analysis of her work will include portions from her biography as well as parts of a short interview conducted with the artist. Firstly, the main motive of her work, as taken from her biography:

Shirin is a collector of sorts. Her art takes a broad sampling of popular media, using newspaper clippings, wrappings, television stills, and magazines. She takes familiar visuals and imbues them with her own concepts and ideas. Recurring themes of childhood, memory, and death permeate her work, and create a mood of despondent nostalgia. She encourages the viewer to take up a new perspective, to re-examine the familiar and to question his or her own context.

While dealing with the issues of memory and nostalgia, looking through Kouladjie’s work one finds many symbols and figures that are representative of the Western culture. For example, the post-it notes containing pictures of Mickey mouse referring to “Canadian middle class etiquette” on the March 17, 2003 entry evoke certain notions of bureaucracy and status known to a Western audience; viewers who are most likely in the same social class as well. In order to fully understand the context and appreciate some of the entries an understanding of these metaphors is required. In addition, should there be any text on the site and surrounding navigational systems, they are written in English.
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