I'M COOLER THAN YOU is a project exploring coolness. It is commonly thought that if you say you are cool, you must inherently be not cool.
This project asks "Who is cool? Who is the judge of this? Where is the definition of cool generated?". This project exists in many formats including a Tumblr page to archive images, videos, gifs, etc. from the internet where I found glimpses of possible answers to these questions.
Another aspect to the project involves these fliers that read: "I'M COOLER THAN YOU". I asked people to post them up and send me documentation. The image to the right was found on social media by a student of mine who unknowingly participated in the project when taking a selfie at a party where someone had posted the flier.
I was interested in exploring who the "I" was in this statement. Does this sign accuse you of being uncool? If this offends, who is the antagonist? Does posing with this sign make you cooler than your viewers?
It can be read in a number of ways, however, the angle I am most interested in is the "I" as the encompassing "I" of industry and capitalism and their need to remind the public that they are not cool enough. We are conditioned to seeing advertisements and articles that offer exemplars of coolness and methods and steps for achieving it. What happens when you see a simple sign that says it directly and uncoded? I am interested in continuing to see the interactions on every level of this part of the project.
Finally (for now), there is a research component. I have been compiling my research and documenting it in a visual map. This is allowing me to see connections in the many facets of the history of the word cool, it's evolution, and it's context in pop culture. I am also curious to see what I find here as I continue this research. I intend to also begin an ethnographic component to the research by conducting interviews and surveys to compile personal stories and statistics on aspects of coolness.