Sherman Alexie and Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: Reflection

Filtering is a way for the artist to distance their work from themself, adding layers and layers until the work is unfamiliar to even the one who created it. Who’s to say whether this is a positive or negative? Defamiliarisation helps to distance an author from their work, a key concept in art. Recently, I found out that one of my favorite authors, Sherman Alexie, has allegations of sexual assault chasing him. While I do not know for sure that these are true, there was a moral struggle within me to distance the creator from the created. Do I disregard him now, knowing what he has done in the past? Is there any way to effectively separate one from what they have made? Does art speak to the morality of a person? With filters, a person does not have to see all of their perceived ‘flaws’. And maybe this is exactly what art is all about. Could the work be the filter? If I threw all of myself into every project I created, I would burn out. Each work, each poem, each doodle in the corner of my notebook is just a piece of me. It is a scrap of my self-representation, and because it is mine, of course I will filter some things that I do not want the audience to see. If the audience could see everything I’ve done, I’m sure I would have fewer ‘fans’. So maybe filtering is just part of the process. Swapping sentences and changing verb tenses as I go back over this post is a method of filtering. Closing my mouth when I realize I should not speak is a method of filtering. We have all been taught to filter. Do I want to show my internet followers content that I would not think of sharing with my classmates who see me three times a week? Of course. Do I discuss topics with my friends three or four years ahead of me that I would never bring up at home with my family? Doesn’t everyone? This is a cultural filter. Why do so many people have multiple Instagram accounts or private Snapchat stories? We want one clean, organized picture of our lives. Then we can post everything else, everything uncensored and gritty, to the other account, which we may not share with anyone.

Would I have anyone if I were left completely unfiltered?


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