Status Symbols: A Study in Tweets, is a series of virtual portraits that are studies of identity in the digital age of social media. Textual updates on sites such as Twitter and Facebook allow for virtual personas to be created with the prodding of - “What are you doing?” or “What’s on your mind?” - at the direction of the social networks.Status Symbols showcases the virtual identities derived from these self-scripted selfportraits. Abstract portraits are created with spinning LEDs that translate the written words into flashing bursts of light and reflecting the computer’s language of binary code. Custom created hardware and software are used to transform the text into ons and offs signatures of binary code which is usually invisible at the base level of digital communication. Each portrait then represents a fleeting moment of identity in the digital world. The conceptual basis for the project is based upon current events related to digital identity, censorship, and privacy as seen through Twitter posts.Collaborative portraits were made as a part of the @1stfans Twitter Art feed at the Brooklyn Museum in December 2010. The series also looks at portraiture through online updates from people who have larger than single-person identities, such as @BarackObama and @Britneyspears in addition to asking for the #status of everyday people whose portraits are then created in lights.
Lori Hepner is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in conceptually based photography and photographic installations. She is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, completing an MFA in Digital Media in 2005 and receiving her BFA in Fine Art Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003. Lori’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including Duke University, Houston Center for Photography, SRO Photo Gallery, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, amongst others. She has been featured in SPE’s Exposure Magazine and Center for Photography at Woodstock’s PQ#99. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Silver Eye Center for Photography’s Fellowship Competition in 2008 and was selected to participate in Descubrimientos PHE at PhotoEspaña 2010 in Madrid. A traveling exhibition with 11 other photographers from PHE10 was exhibited in Valencia, Seville, and Bilbao, Spain in 2010-11. Lori currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.