Klare Lanson person, digimum, performance poet
︎ ︎ ︎ ︎  <- social system of tools and emotional labour.   tick tick ->



Paste-up of #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity (2020) in the Foyer of RMIT’s School of Art. Image: Alison Bennett. 2021.

#unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity (2020) was a social media  artwork engaging more than 300 participants over a one month period within the online and physical spaces of RMIT University, Australia. This artwork was activated on Facebook, Weibo and Instagram during the 2020 outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, in response to expressions of fear and isolation, travel bans, and growing racism targeting international students. Through its messages of care alongside signs of solidarity from Chinese students suffering social isolation and related anxiety, #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity employed the selfie to mobilise the individual self into the realm of socially engaged arts and public space.

Mobility and #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity (2020)—from online platform to offline wallpaper—School of Art Foyer, RMIT Melbourne. Image: Klare Lanson, 2020.

This project began with artist researchers Marnie Badham and Tammy Wong Hulbert, based at RMIT University’s School of Art. They began conversing about a participatory art project as an act of care towards international students who were in lockdown in both China and in Melbourne, isolated from their peers at university. With an interest in collaborative forms of DIT (Do it Together) creative projects in community, and as a member of the Contemporary Art and Social Transformation (CAST) research group, I was invited to co-lead the project alongside Marnie Badham, Tammy Wong Hulbert, Sherry Lui, Isabella Capezio, and the RMIT Curatorial Collective’s Chun Wai (Wilson) Yeung, Jan (Wing Ting) Sze and Rosina Yuan.

Instagram Screenshot: From Australia, to China, to France #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity.

Our shared concern was in relation to the global pandemic conditions that early on in 2020 had heightened political tensions between Australia and China, impacting on the Asian diaspora in Australia—increasing public fear and anxiety due to travel restrictions and social isolation. These ‘new normals’ not only roused increased racism towards people of Chinese heritage—including children and parents who experienced verbal abuse to this end—but also augmented the already rising use of social media platforms as a crucial digital public space for creative expression and activism. My specific research interest was in the digital parenting activist role that arose throughout the beginnings of the pandemic, and how this stimulated parental conversation around online privacy and visibility.