Stephen Spiridakis, MFA ’05


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Name: Stephen Spiridakis

Graduation: 2005

Program: MFA

Untitled 1 was created in my second semester at MassArt for the Design as Experience class where I was given the task of creating an experience. I chose to shoot in black and white, a thirty-second film that showed a close-up of me shaving.

For Untitled 1, I selected the medium of video, as I had not used this medium before and thought it would enable the creation of a rich experience comprised of both sound and visual. Untitled 1 also represented the first time I addressed the themes of public and private identity in my design work.

Influenced by Bruce Nauman, I used myself as the subject and developed a piece that expressed the private feelings of doubt and uncertainty in one’s ability and exposed these emotions to the world. My aim was to create a personal, individual experience that would transcend this singularity and speak to the universal. I did not use a formal process, but rather, improvised my approach, as I felt this would create the most genuine outcome.

I was pleased with Untitled 1, particularly given that I viewed the project as an experiment, a means for me to explore the medium. My selection of Facades by Philip Glass for the soundtrack effectively set the pensive mood for the piece. Additionally, the use of dynamic typography helped to blatantly communicate my private feelings of doubt and frustration to the viewer. Each time the blade of the razor went across my face, a word would appear. As the blade was lifted, the word disappeared. With each subsequent stroke, a new word would appear and then disappear, uncovering my private emotions that I typically try to keep from the public.

While Untitled 1 did not speak directly to the impact of new media devices and programs on privacy, it explored the concepts of public and private worlds. Additionally, Untitled 1 provided a platform for visually exploring these realms instead of just speaking or writ¬ing to them. Untitled 1 illustrates how technology can publicize information we prefer to keep private. Me and My Data Shadow, a project discussed later, builds upon Untitled 1’s premise, outlining the data (some of which we may prefer to contain within our private world) that is emitted from and collected by our new media devices.

Keywords: experience, video