Monday, October 10, 2011

Suggest a profile picture

Performance in public space
Karo Szmit 2011

Suggest a profile picture is a variation of emoticonize me (2009). Once again I perform as a street portrait artist referring to the imagery of an online social network. Pretending to portray people while drawing a default profile picture, my aim is to play with notions of self-expression and individuality.

"Suggest a profile picture" appears as an option below the default profile picture on a facebook profile page. Those users who did not choose to upload a profile picture are represented by the white silhouette of a male or female head on a light blue background. It may seem they didn't care about the opportunity to stand out visually. A former facebook default picture used to show a question mark, thus somehow pointing out that the lack of a profile picture was a flaw.

By staging a street portrait artist performance I attempt to shift ideas of individual expression online and in the so-called real world. While persons sit patiently in anticipation of a unique hand drawn portrait by an artist, they receive an unique hand drawn facebook default profile picture. Though I try to render the proportions and outlines of the head as accurate as possible, every picture looks different. The portrayed persons might upload the drawing on their facebook profile and receive a quasi semi-individual profile picture.