Love it or hate it, but selfies are a pretty potent part of today’s popular culture. To some, they’re a symbol of a narcissistic generation in love with presenting an idealized image of their lives on social media. To others, they’re a reminder of our surveillance society, and how our identity is used to sell us products.
These conflicting ideas form the basis of an intriguing new exhibition by artist and Columbus College of Art and Design professor Matthew Mohr. Working with the Boston company Design Communications Ltd., Mohr has created an impressive art installation that is currently on display at the Greater Columbus Convention Center atrium in Columbus, Ohio. “As We Are” is a three-dimensional, 14-foot head-shaped sturcture consisting of 850,000 LED lights that are capable of displaying a giant 3D image of a person’s head. Inside the structure is a photo booth, featuring 29 cameras that take people’s photos, and then stitch the pictures together into a 3D model to create giant selfies.
“Everyone is welcome to stop by and have their photo taken inside the photo booth,” Mohr told Digital Trends. “After the image is processed, they can then step out and see their face displayed on the giant head. The magnification and amplification of your head in a public space speaks to the presence of social media and the way that identity is changing in society. It’s a fun experience for many people, while also being quite intense for others. It’s quite something to see your face 14-feet high, and to realize that this is how you move through the world.”
The head sets a precedent for a new kind of selfie, and can store up to 100,000 portraits locally, plus more in the cloud. These are cycled through continuously, with a focus on highlighting diverse faces. Mohr said he hopes to develop the work in the future by utilizing sound elements and facial recognition. “There’s a lot of future work planned,” he said. “This is part of an evolving platform. It’ll be around for the next 7 to 10 years, and we plan to do a lot of work building on it.”
Color us intrigued. Hey, it’s not every day that you get to become a statue!
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