1stfans Twitter Art Feed Artist for December 2009: Lori Hepner

December’s artist for the 1stfans Twitter Art Feed is Lori Hepner, and it’s fitting that her project Status Symbols will grace the Feed for the month of December since it involves giving 1stfans individualized “portraits” based on their responses to her tweets. Lori’s work deals with translations of code through performance, video, and photography, and twitter is just the latest way that she is exploring these ideas. One of her previous projects, Code Words, is featured in the current issue of the Society for Photographic Education’s Exposure magazine. Lori’s proposal, as submitted through the open call, is below:


I have been working on the project Status Symbols, which uses twitter to create abstract portraits of individual’s virtual identity.  Status Symbols is a look at the individuals who are commenting on digital openness in various constructs around the world. The portraits are created photographically with film using a spinning LED array that converts the text of the tweets into the ons and offs of binary code using light to make the abstracted portraits.

The series focuses on politicians, world leaders, student protesters, and citizens personally witnessing digital censorship. Recent portraits have included: individuals posting with the #FUCKGFW hashtag that deals with China’s blockage of the internet; the Green Dam censorship software; and of the #IranElection hashtag that continues to deal with the events surrounding the June 2009 elections and protests in Iran that included the use of digital censorship.

I am interested in producing portraits of 1stfans through their replies to my tweets throughout the month. The initial tweets that I post will be to provoke responses from 1stfans on digital censorship and identity. I will then selectively use the responses to create portraits that will be shared as image links in later tweets.

The 1stfans Twitter Art Feed is no longer a benefit of 1stfans membership, but the original feed in its entirety has been archived on the Brooklyn Museum website.