Status Symbols: Twitter Portraits

Lori Hepner

Hepner_08_sn00ki_768@Sn00ki_08, 26 Jul via web
can’t wait to see @Ryder__!!!!!! #crickets

Hepner_02_cnnbrk_768@cnnbrk, 10 May via web
Arnold #Schwarzenegger, Maria #Shriver announce split after 25-year marriage

Hepner_03_kayperry_768@katyperry, 10 May via ÜberSocial
@rihanna #WERQ

@NICKIMINAJ Werkkk it girl! -Britney@britneyspears, 6 May via web
@@NICKIMINAJ Werkkk it girl! -Britney

Hepner_06_ladygaga1_768@ladygaga, 8 May via Twitter for BlackBerry®
@@rafamterra $mkkkppo #andalogobusão®

Status Symbols is a series of virtual portraits that present studies of identity in a digital age. 140 character updates on Twitter allow for virtual personas to be created that always, inevitable, differ from their authors physical appearance. This ongoing series looks at mapping self-identity through the lens of social media updates from larger than life personalities, corporate entities and ordinary individuals.

The abstract portraits are created with spinning LEDs that translate the words into flashing bursts of light through custom-created hardware and software. These ONs and OFFs of binary code are at the base level of all digital communication. Each portrait displayed here represents a fleeting moment of identity – valid at least until the next status update…

Lori Hepner is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in conceptually based photography and photographic installations. Her most recent body of work, Status Symbols, is a series of portraits that are studies of identity in the digital age of social media through. The portraits focus on visualizing text-based tweets into abstracted visual portraits by using the on/off signature of the computer’s native language, binary code. She is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, having earned an MFA in Digital Media in 2005 and a BFA in Fine Art Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003. She has shown her work internationally in touring exhibitions with Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward 12, a 6-person show curated by the PhotoEspaña Festival, and in the @1stfans project with the Brooklyn Museum. Hepner lives and works in Pittsburgh, where she is Associate Professor of Integrative Arts at the Greater Allegheny campus of the Pennsylvania State University.

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