In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Just short of 30 years later, for most of us the internet is not simply a just a part of our daily lives, but the axis on which we pivot.
The insanely fast development of smart phones has given us the ability to take photographs, communicate in a way that reduces thousands of miles to a second and connect instantly to the moving hive of the online universe. We have been gifted a resource of infinite knowledge available from the convenience of our pockets. And yet, as humans seem so often inclined to do, we abuse it.
With the internet is the inevitable rise of social media. In a society that profits from insecurity, online platforms have helped to fuel the false creation of achievable ‘perfection’, particularly in relation to body image. Overly self-critical, we are starving - and we believe that ‘likes’ and notifications are the nourishment we so desperately need to feel full again.
Paola Ciarska’s ‘Coming Along Nicely’ contains a series of illustration that depict women naked and engaging with modern devices (and supposedly, the internet). In small, brightly coloured, busy, square rooms they appear safe and contained. But this of course is not the reality. What we share online is not contained. It is eternal and. like a phone call, it can travel thousands of miles.
Whilst what we expose may be a matter of choice, (and we should not necessarily place shame on those who choose to share more), the issue is our ignorance of how far this can travel. Ciarska is spreading an important message. Exposure may nourish our ego, but it does not nourish our happiness. In a world of artificial vanity, it is time to address the reality of our online habits.