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My work seeks to dissect and understand the habits formed around the social implementation of technology. In the digital age, new social platforms and media creation tools allow users to dictate ideals and curate stories. An unwritten language has formed around today’s communication landscape filled with selfies, emojis, reels, memes, and filters—a way of interacting that transforms the political into the volatile, the celebrity into the mythical, and the banal into the spectacular. Users employ this language to create highly curated expressions of contemporary life and recycle iconic imagery with lightning quickness. Through a vibrant, silly, and bizarre implementation of multiple artistic media, I work to subvert the forms of this system of communication to expose its inherent weaknesses. My projects are small systems unto themselves, channeling the symbols and icons of this greater system of digital communication. The work flips these symbolic forms on their heads while forcing the viewer to reckon with their meaning on a different scale. The objects I create are meant to be handled, held, touched, and traded; interactions with these objects mirror their use in the digital sphere. By focusing viewers’ attention on object interactivity, my projects expose the value structures and cultural mechanisms at work behind the fun and flashy facades of our favorite apps.

Justin Guertin - Likes
hand-crafted resin tokens, 2021
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