Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program

Art History

Project Advisor 1

Susan Merriam

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This project analyzes how Generation Z and their penchant for authenticity has transformed the entertainment industry to create new economies and systems which reward only simulations of everyday life. Youtube, Gen Z’s preferred social media site, has been home to many of today’s untraditional and self-made celebrity figures. Because the video platform is a host for primarily amateur creators who upload personal found footage, the unposed and candid nature of content on the site caters to Gen Z. And so in their distrust for corporate media, homemade DIY aesthetics have mistakenly been confused with authenticity. This essay will focus on two young and highly accomplished Youtube vloggers, David Dobrik and Jake Paul, and how they use the mundane, everyday world as the base material for their performed spectacle. As the Youtuber Dan Olson has suggested, their vlogs have created what many have called a “hyperreality.” A hyperreality can be understood as an augmented and ideal version of one’s self and life. It is achieved through a carefully calculated performance despite its primary goal of persuading viewers to believe otherwise. And although the performance straddles the boundary between the authentic and the artificial, it has become the archetypal model for success in the new, burgeoning influencer economy. And so in such pursuit of the authentic, we have only created a system that rewards those who simulate it.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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