Murmurations (100,000 selfies)

Murmurations is a series of ‘collective self-portraits’: abstract visualizations inspired by flocking patterns found in nature. Comprised entirely of selfies, the series explores how social media is influencing behavior and the large-scale patterns that emerge in society despite an emphasis on individualism. The series introduces questions around the idea of self ‘tagging’ — both through language (hashtagging) and geolocation — and explores the compulsion humans feel to leave traces of themselves. 

The forced grouping of these images highlights their extreme similarities, supporting the idea that human populations will always move toward conformity, no matter how individualistic each unique member imagines themselves. Trying to be unique creates patterns of likeness, and observing these patterns may offer new ways of understanding ourselves.

An excerpt from Palimpsest Journal’s 2020 review: “As participants in social media, we are continuously aware of ourselves, particularly in relation to trends, the collective, and the digital. Yet this is not a critical display of humans’ infatuation with the digital world, rather, it spectates as you might a flock of starlings; an idea which takes on new poignancy in a time where social media has been integral to life in a pandemic.”

Murmurations #23: 10,000 selfies (with a pink wall in Los Angeles) was shortlisted for the 2020 Aesthetica Art Prize.  

Duratrans with LED lightboxes; Video
48x64in ea.

So Close Yet So Far, LEVYdance, 460 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA, 03.14—04.25.2021
Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2020, York Art Gallery, York, UK, 03.13—07.18.2020 
The de Young Open 2020, de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, 10.10.2020—01.03.2021  

Exhibition photographs by Stuart McSpadden