American interdisciplinary artist Sean Fader works at the nexus of photography, video, performance, and lived practice.
Fader’s 2010 photography series Sup? is a life work that explores projections of the digital self and the disconnect there is with the analog self. For 365 days (beginning in January 2010), Fader trolled online dating and hookup websites to find men who interested him. He looked at their profiles and pre-visualized a portrait of who he thought they might be. Then Fader contacted the candidates and asked them out on a date.
The date consisted of arriving at their home (never having met them in person) pouring them a glass of wine, and photographing them immediately. He directed them to enact his preconceived ideas of who he imagined them to be. He would set up lights, rearrange furniture, and rummage through closets looking for the right clothing. After their photo shoot, Fader took them out on a date. This allowed him to consider how he might alter his first portrait of them. After their date, they collaborated on creating an image that they both felt represented them.
Each artwork from the series contains a “before” and “after” profile picture–the subject’s online dating profile picture and Fader’s post-date photograph, respectively–along with snippets of language exchanged in the process. States Fader about the project, “I thought no one would be interested in doing it, but then I sent messages to three people, and all three agreed… I was probably more shocked than they were when they said ‘yes!’”
Initially the goal of Sup? was to find someone who would make Fader want to stop dating. However, the act of combining his personal life, dating life and art practice into one project quickly began to take a toll on Fader. This led to the decision to cut the project off at the one-year mark.
Fader received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his MA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in Dubai, Canada, Mexico, and England.
Learn more at www.SeanFader.com.