As Americans, we once relied on things such as wigs and fake mustaches to change our identities. Then came the Atari, the TRS-80, and after that the radical tumble into personal computers and eventually the Internet. Now, through social networking and blogs, we can be any old jerk our imagination allows us to conjure, without the heft of a wig or the itch of an artificial lip-tickler. If you can type it or digitally alter it, you can, however falsely, call it you. Are there ethics in this game called The New Me? Some say definitely yes. If you consider acts of deception criminal, then we have on our hands a veritable online Australia (a nation that began as a gigantic English penal colony). Tonights opening for Identity Project sees artists exploring how they translate (or misrepresent) themselves for the electronic public eye. It's part of the Central City Hospitality House Community Arts Program in conjunction with the San Francisco Arts Commission's ARTery project. A series of self-portraits rendered in multimedia delve into the dark side of the id and the ego when confronted with projecting identity from behind the safety of a computer. It reminds us that we all wake up and look in the mirror asking Who am I? over and over. Not in a memory-loss movie sort of way, but rather in a Wow, I have a lot of options way.
Fri., March 25, 5 p.m., 2011