Rectanus: The Art of the Selfie

CATEGORIES: November 2016

by Dr. Mark Rectanus

As part of Street-Art Brazil, the Schirn Kunsthalle (a museum in Frankfurt am Main) invited eleven Brazilian artists to create their works on bank towers, bridges, subway trains, and the police station. An app that linked background information on the artists to their murals in the city encouraged pedestrians to take a photo of one of the works from their own vantage point, tag the image(s) on Instagram, and activate the GPS. The images were posted on a constantly-changing collage that arranged them (based on an algorithm that referenced size, color, and time of submission) and projected them in the museum’s foyer. Visitors participated by capturing images from their own perspectives and acting out the Schirn’s suggestion: “So show us how you see art!” The project demonstrates how mobile media enable pedestrians to experience, communicate, and archive their experiences of traversing the urban zones of everyday life. So, let’s examine the backgrounds of selfies because that context is maybe more important than the self in the foreground.