- # explores the implications of what happens when social media platforms combine with artistic proclivities. The smart-phone application Instagram, available only to smart phone users, encourages casual artists and iPhone shutterbugs to share their daily interactions with the mundane with all of their Instagram followers via a streaming internet newsfeed. Filters and pre-fab pre-sets applied to an Instagram photograph allow the user to instantly edit and aestheticize the image they intend to post, often evoking film stocks and visual tropes from yesteryear (or, in Gen Y-ers’ case, the 1960s and 70s).
In this exhibit I am concerned with the skeuomorphic nature of Instagram. Our cell phone and tablet screens allow us to do millions of tasks, ranging in complexity with simply a touch of our fingers, but the design of such products means that, increasingly, all we ever feel is a slick surface. Technology has advanced so far that we can take sharp, hi-res images that strive for “perfection” with only our cell phones – but this ultimately leaves us yearning for imperfection. Filters are meant to mimic pleasant, aesthetic mistakes we can no longer achieve through technology.
At the same time, I am interested in the moment at which we decide that something is worth photographing, slapping with an artsy filter, and then sharing on Instagram. It is at that instant that the object in front of our iPhones is reduced to a two-dimensional index of the beautiful life we purport to be leading – that the object becomes nothing more than a marker to say “I was here” and “It was great”, viewed by an entire audience solely through the lens of someone else’s iPhone.
By white-washing all the visible elements of a quotidian object or scene typically favored on Instagram feeds, I reference the contemporary aesthetic meant to, ironically, strip utilitarian objects of any discernible “style” in favor of bare functionality, replacing it with the “iStyle” we are now used to. By employing the filters branded by Instagram we expose our burning nostalgia for a time when turquoise made everything look hip, and when form didn’t necessarily follow function.