Day 54 of #100dayproject: Media landscapes and Instagram phenomenon.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Real Life Instagram and Refinery 29 Magazine

Real Life Instagram[1] is an art project by Brazilian designer Bruno Ribeiro that involves filters, hash-tags, and like buttons only it’s happening in the real world, not on your smartphone[2]. Ribeiro makes cardboard frames, complete with all the symbols and buttons you’re used to, adds a sheet of colored cellophane to mimic the filter, and sticks them in snap-worthy places around London and Manchester[3].

We could call this artist’s urban intervention a landscape? This is a very interesting question, because Instagram and the social networks are changing the way as we see and feel our urban landscape. According the landscape researcher J. Rekittke, through the continuing estrangement of technologically advanced nations from their natural environment and the intensive consumption of visual media, landscapes are very often perceived in a filtered form primed by the media[4].

The valiance of such perception of landscapes at the moment in which an observer identifies or interprets something as a landscape, a landscape is present in the mind of the observers and therefore exists. So, Instagram reveals a very ancient dream of people: modify our reality as we see in our minds, with colored filters and little details who makes special our cities or our social lives.

PROJETO Recortes Urbanos II. Video-wall in São Paulo Avenues

Sometimes the art makes that effect too. The Chilean artist Waldo Bravo, in their artwork called “Urban Scraps”, substituted the real landscape with photographs intervened by him in a big format, like advertising cartels, at Sao Paulo. His proposal was the intention to make a parallel between the reality and the representation: “The image, to merge into the landscape, causes self-quenching, the denial of self-image. At the point of greatest perfection of the work / environment relationship, it refuses itself, hides its mechanisms, its materiality makes it transparent.”[5]

Not everyone can read the work of Waldo Bravo, and not everyone is able to unravel the mechanisms that lie behind the discourses that construct reality. It requires an attentive reader to be able to determine what the limits of reality and its relation to the representation so as to effect the discovery and interpretation his Urban Scraps.

Usually, the Artists use lies to tell the truth. In the both cases above the artists show us the landscapes, but with a different focus. The use of Instagram’s filters and those intervened urban spaces, makes serious thoughts about what is the role of the observer, and even more: the role of landscape researcher. In our next researches we must ask ourselves: Should we put the photographs with the Natural filter or with Nashville filter? Must we put the complete picture or the fusion of reality or imagination? Is the Environmental Impact Evaluation a contemporary tool for the appraisal/evaluation of urban landscapes?

[1] http://reallifeinstagram.com/

[2]Thomas, Holly. 2013 11. Is This Guy The Banksy Of Instagram? Refinery 29 Magazine Retrieved from: http://www.refinery29.com/2013/11/56855/real-life-instagram-bruno-ribeiro#slide

[3] http://instagram.com/nitchows

[4] Fisher, Peter, and David Unwin. Virtual reality in geography. CRC Press, 2003.

[5] Drouilly, Mónica. 2005. Una Lectura de Recortes Urbanos del Artista Chileno Waldo Bravo. Retrieved from: http://www.portaldearte.cl/especial/una_lectura.htm

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