Forrest McGarvey is an artist and writer currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through his hybridized practice, he uses video, collage, and installation to re-construct the relationship between the internal and the multiple external selves made available through technology. Using primarily found imagery and materials, he questions notions of ownership, performativity, and the embodiment of the self, blurring held assumptions between digital and physical, real and virtual, fiction and reality, and optic and haptic systems.
The Unknown Woman
This image is from a series exploring the visibility and invisibility that comes with representation and identity. The name “The Unknown Woman” is a reference to my grandmother, who was born and raised on a Korean plantation in Hawai’i. After she passed away, I realized that—like her—my access to my own lineage had vanished, leading me to question how I present as a Part-Korean-American, how I engage with that history and culture, and if I even am able to do so due to the circumstances inherited from my grandmother.
This work depicts the feelings of loss, estrangement, and uncertainty that I experience when expressing my identity: The more recognizable the source material is as a representation of my identity, the more my individual presence begins to disappear. When I use more imagery that holds personal significance or meaning, the connection to my broader identity becomes more imperceptible. These works aim to wield this invisibility as a tool to explore new potentials in representation, authorship, and ownership.