Young people observe and analyse their own appearance and behaviour from the point of view of outsiders [Kay Schuttel]

In my work, I study the influence of contemporary visual culture on the way young people present themselves verbally and physically. Young people are the mirror of our visual culture: through their behaviour, they show us exactly what they see. They watch the media, but at the same time are also used to watching themselves via a medium. As a result, young people observe and analyse their own appearance and behaviour from the point of view of outsiders.

We are surrounded by images, communicated via media such as photography, film, television and the internet. The democratisation of these media has resulted in an enormous increase in the opportunity, and thereby also the need, to record and present ourselves. Facebook, YouTube, MSN and Twitter are the stages on which young people are able to represent themselves, their behaviour effortlessly conforming to the laws of the medium. I am fascinated by the way in which this development has influenced the self-awareness of the current generation of young people.

In my work, I search for the point at which this representation chafes against what lies beneath. When does the representation become a façade? I am aware of my own role in this process: through the presence of the camera, I also create a stage on which the subjects of my work can present themselves.

In my work, I attempt to unravel the mechanism of a medium by studying its effect on the behaviour of young people. The form the work takes depends on the subject or the medium on which I reflect.

Video interview
Kay Schuttel about her research project 'Pose'


Three girls aged 11, filmed while making a self-portrait with a camera that has been set up in their room. I leave the room, while the camera films them in the mirror trying to find the right pose for the photo they’re about to take using the self-timer.

[3 separate portraits, each lasting approx. 3 min. / Filmed with a camera, without sound, shown on iPad. / With thanks to Lynn, Samelie and Noa.]

Sources of inspiration: girls that take photographs of themselves for Facebook.

Sources of inspiration: women posing. Their poses are copied by the girls.

The girl waits until Kay has left her room before starting to pose for her self portrait.

Lynn posing in her room for her self portrait.

Still waiting…

The girl hopping to the door to call Kay and show her the portrait she’s just made.

Kay coming back to the girl’s room having waited outside while the girl was busy preparing her pose.