Produced by Unknown Fields Division on the ‘A World Adrift’ expedition.
Blue-Eyed Me is a film about identity in the age of social media. It’s a film about the bizarre relationship between the super-curated self-image we present in online profiles, and the huge industry making money off these profiles. The usual problem with these topics, however, is that data privacy and the vanity of social media are fraught with ‘issue fatigue’. Time and time again we’ve heard how social media is making us into narcissists, and how corporations know every bit of personal data about us – and yet we still don’t really care. Blue-Eyed Me aims to tell a story which talks directly about this relationship on an emotional level, and cuts through the heard-it-all-before rhetoric.
What if perfecting your online profile becomes something else, no longer digital? Something that speaks to us on a more human level. What if your social media profile becomes a little pet that looks like you?
If social media profiles become pets, how do we re-imagine the obsessive interactions we have with our devices? What if a pet replaces the cellphone that’s constantly with us?
Like a thousand-dollar smartphone, personalized pets are a high-end luxury industry – customized and tailored for their owners in designer laboratories. This footage was filmed in actual genetics laboratories in Shenzhen.
For the second part of the film, we wanted to tell the story of personal data harvesting. The relationship with the pet is flipped – something that we previously saw as being very unique and personal to our character, suddenly becomes as a mass-produced consumer commodity; cloned, copied, bought, and sold. As well as talking about commerce and commodification, this also asks a question about the concept of identity in culture (and collectivism) in cultures.
The footage baseplates for this part of the film were filmed in Yiwu, China. Yiwu is the world’s largest wholesale mall, and the birthplace of many household objects worldwide. Yiwu’s vendors stock shelves across the world, from Walmart to Amazon. See more Yiwu photos here
As well as large-scale industries like Yiwu, we wanted to show a range of secondary small-time players, independent manufacturers, cottage industries, and DIY ‘homebrew’ productions. Like a high-end smartphone that triggers a series of cheap knock-offs, Maria’s fish is copied in a range of low-end replicas.
The footage for this part was filmed in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. In particular, the goldfish market on Tung Choi street, and Chungking Mansions.