Booby Trap is an ongoing examination exploring the rise of narcissism through media. We are constantly adding content to devices that are without exception, extensions of ourselves; what is liked, what is desirable, and how it is portrayed. The mundane is propagated, materialism flaunted, all in an attempt to falsely distinguish oneself. This work explores how the reflective, blackened screens of digital communication are just as destructive as the pool of water is to Narcissus, in Greek Mythology.
Booby Trap breaks down the harbingers of narcissism into factions; mirror, mask, container, and propaganda. The propaganda utilized is a collection of imagery intended to market a superficial, consumerist ideology that coincides with traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder. Taken from advertisements, magazines, and media sources, the images target audiences with materialistic ‘necessities’ and taglines that exploited individuality. Tailored into the exhibited masks, the photographs are intended to represent an obscured reality and disguise that narcissists exhibit.
Among the nine key traits that make up narcissistic personality disorder, almost five of the traits can be observed while assimilating with this type of imagery. The five traits encountered are grandiosity, belief in uniqueness, sense of entitlement, preoccupation with successfulness, and envy. Coincidentally, in order to be diagnosed, an individual only needs to exhibit five of the nine traits. Currently, it is estimated that nearly every person is on the spectrum of being a narcissist with the average person exhibiting three to four traits, out of five, in order to be diagnosed. According to Jean Baudrillard, the rise of narcissism contributes heavily toward the inability to distinguish reality from a simulation. This impending mirage can be seen through the vain attempts at self-portrayal through digital media.