The Peoples' Portrait

"The Peoples' Portrait" is a work by Zhang Ga. It was part of the DEAF04 exhibition.

The Peoples' Portrait

The Peoples' Portrait

The Peoples' Portrait utilizes the Internet as the underlying mechanism to create a global portrait of people, rendered in real time and displayed instantly and simultaneously on various museum websites and grand video walls often seen in cosmopolitan urban centres such as Rotterdams Central Library, Times Square in New York City, the Central Business District of Singapore City, Ars Electronica Center Linz, and QUT Cultural Center, Brisbane. All nodes draw images from the same source, a web server into which portrait images are uploaded and stored.

The artist will set up a kiosks which will consist of a camera that allows passers-by to take snapsshots; these snapshots will then be transmitted via Internet to an image database on a central server. Every few seconds, the video walls in different locations will retrieve from the same server the peoples' portraits and display them first in time stamped order, then randomly from the archive. Because of the simultaneity and instantaneity of the network, those freshly taken portraits from various locales in the world will be shown immediately and sometimes juxtaposed. For example, as a viewer in New York City watches a picture of himself/herself displayed, another portrait from Singapore follows subsequently; or as a viewer in Brisbane sees a portrait from New York, one from Rotterdam takes over in the next few seconds. Time and space will collapse in this transcendent moment.

The Peoples' Portrait actively investigates the aesthetics of portraiture in the context of speed and scale: the artist utilizes network and communication infrastructure as the underlying mechanism of the image making process to create a collective and instantaneous portrait at a global scale with unprecedented effect, which is otherwise unachievable, and therefore opens up a new discourse for the art of portraiture and challenges visual perception at large.

 

Location: Centrale Bibliotheek, Hoogstraat 110, Rotterdam
Date: Tuesday 9 - Sunday 21 November during opening hours of the library

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