Expanded Pictures/ The Alphabet of Stereotypes, 2015-2019
Expanded Pictures, 2014-2019
six-part research project: photographs & cutouts, interactive video installation (performance), photo installations + ca. 150 pages text booklet (more pictures upon request)
The motto 'You press the button, we do the rest', which was created by George Eastman in 1888 for the inauguration of his new Eastman Kodak camera, in a certain way anticipated the specific functionality and importance of the medium of photography in the age of cell-phone cameras – only today it is not Kodak but Google. In her six-part series ‚Expanded Pictures’, Sarah Straßmann investigates the functionality and distribution of images in the era of smartphones, internet, and social media. Her starting point is the selfie as the ultimate medium of contemporary self-staging. Selfies serve the representation of a purported uniqueness, although they are actually predetermined by virtue of technique, distribution, and a collectively codified pictorial language. The photographs in ‚DF Archive’, a collection of duckface selfies of young women, attest to the pictographic use of a pose that has degenerated into a universal cliché. In the era of cell-phone cameras, photography has become a (social) event that serves to feed global channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. In ‚Scatter Faces’ a collective (and unreflected) duckface pose is created using a specially developed computer program in a visual copy of the original project, now presented as an autonomous work. ‚Alphabet of Stereotypes’, on the other hand, refers to an arsenal of body expanders used to make selfies and casts a spotlight on the fetish-like character of this act. Sarah Straßmann invites exhibition visitors to participate with the instructions ‚email@example.com’, and the images created are continuously shown on one of the eight monitors in the interactive installation. This illustrates that nowadays the issue is not the autonomous image but the process photographing itself, which in the spirit of René Descartes’s ‚cogito ergo sum’ (I think therefore I am) declares: I photograph therefore I am.
(exhibition catalog 'gute aussichten - deluxe', 2018)
Within the artistic research work ‚Expanded Pictures’ there was created an archive of selfies first. This archive is the core of the artistic research, which is processed and developed through performatve/ interactive experiments further on.