#selfie examines how image sharing and the Internet have changed the role of photography in the digital age. The process of creating and disseminating imagery has fundamentally changed in the new context provided by digital photography, smartphones and more recently the ‘selfie’.
To create this work Tom commissioned bespoke computer software, which accesses the publicly available Instagram API and appropriates imagery tagged #selfie immediately after it is published. A custom facial recognition algorithm then scans the downloaded images to identify instances of the now ubiquitous single person, arms length portrait. These images are printed using a thermal receipt printer, one every twelve seconds and allowed to fall to the floor and accumulate during the exhibition.
Through physical transformation and defamiliarisation of this seemingly harmless content, #selfie highlights our readiness to trust the unknown and reveals its darker side; our unconscious participation in self-surveillance and the notional freedom it brings.
About the Artist
Living and working in Sheffield, England, Tom Stayte’s (b.1988, United Kingdom)creative practice provides commentary on the role of the individual in post digital culture, presenting a view of a world in transition. Through appropriated photography, installations and books, he gives physical form to our unavoidable interactions with digital entities.
Now seemingly omnipresent in our lives, Tom provides perspective on how these enormous structures affect our sense of identity. His work reflects on our inability to comprehend scale, our willingness to trust what we don’t understand and how our desire to be unique ultimately only reveals our similarities.