Patrick Ruehle, “Morekashian-Best Mansion Tour Companion”

My work focuses on the space between the “reality” presented on social media and the physical reality of human lives. I think human society is in a state of flux as it grapples with the increasing influence of social media. Social media creates a culture of reward-seeking behavior, with an economy where the currency is attention in the form of clicks. The “realities” presented on the pages of the biggest influencers are tailored to attract as much attention as possible without questioning the means by which it is attracted. My work takes a critical view of social media and asks of it: For what? Where will it lead? How does it benefit future generations”?

This project takes the form of a fictional floor plan portfolio distributed by a historical society to participants on a tour of the “Morekashian-Best” family mansion. I parodied the Kardashian-West family because I believe they are an excellent case study for examining the space between real life and the way it is presented on social media. Taking the perspective of a historical society describing the history of the family’s home allows me to explore the question of social media’s impact on future generations.

I owe my inspiration for this project to several sources. First, to Chris Ware’s Building Stories, which showed me how a person’s life can be examined by looking at the space where they live. Second, to the Winchester House for the actual floor plans I used, which serve as a great parallel for social media’s pursuit of gratification without purpose. Thirdly, to the lives of Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West for providing an incredible pool of material for me to draw from in shaping the content of my project.

The voice of the my project’s written parts is intentionally humorous because I believe audiences are more receptive when they are being entertained. Through humor, I hope to provoke thought in my audience about the growing influence of social media in our lives and whether it is worth the time and attention we give it.

To view the digital content of “Morekashian-Best Mansion Tour Companion,” click on this hyperlink.