For Kierkegaard, becoming more authentic meant organizing our lives around whatever we choose as our central meanings and purposes. Even if we cannot overcome ultimate absurdity and meaninglessness, we can always choose to live what we regard as worthy human lives.
Psychotherapy makes this issue central to its investigations and practices. Freud also believed that authenticity (although he never actually used the term) was an internal state, created by an integrated relationship with the self’s three components of id, ego and superego.
Contemporary psychotherapy seeks to develop a Core Self, which is then little disturbed by external factors. We are codetermined and codetermining. Human agency remains a vital part of the dialectic that shapes (and deforms) human subjectivity.
For Marx, as for Hegel, authenticity is not an internal phenomenon, but a social construction – in general, barely and rarely experienced under Capitalism. Authenticity, achievable only in an equal classless society, is turned on its head under Capitalism by its nemesis – Alienation (i.e. loss of control, specifically the loss of control over labour).
My research explores both the internal and external aspects of authenticity and alienation; and my practice explores both the autobiographically and socially “real”.
I variously make work that ameliorates or antagonises these normally invisible or hidden elements of people’s lives, including my own.