Hello, World! Welcome to Person of the Crowd. My name is Man, and I'll be your guide today. Your digital sherpa. Your soothsayer. Your guy who lives and breathes A LIFE OF THE ETERNAL CYBER. Your...
I've said too much.
You can think of this introductory text as a welcome mat and an online version of the exhibition of the same name, Person of the Crowd, on view at and around the Barnes Foundation from February 25 through May 22, 2017.
There’s a lot here, representing work born from the hands, hearts, and minds of scores of artists and assistants, and shepherded by a small army of arts administrators and curators. The last (and most critical) piece of this art puzzle is you, dear visitor! To this end, I have a simple question:
Where do you stand?
As the digital flâneur-in-residence, I'm asking you to respond to that question with the hashtag #personofthecrowd. To see how your responses are being used, simply watch the text below.
The text you see flashing on this page is an AI bot's real-time interpretation of the Instagram photos being tagged #personofthecrowd. Developed by Kyle McDonald, these translations of images will be projected alongside "WE HEAR" in the lobby of the Barnes. To participate, post a photo to Instagram using the hashtag. Your photo can respond to the exhibition, both inside of the museum and the events in the surrounding area, reflect where you happen to be at the moment or, more abstractly, something you stand for. I leave this up to you.
With the help of Jennifer Nadler (Director of K–12 and Educator Programs at the Barnes), in December of 2016 I met with two groups of high school students from Philadelphia. We went to 30th Street Station to act as flâneurs of sound, spending 11 minutes listening to the space around us, then writing down what we heard and reciting it to each other. The results were edited into a 7-minute video, to be shown alongside "WE SEE" in the lobby of the Barnes.
As an addendum to the project, the students went out on their own and recreated the exercise in a location of their choosing, and took a single photo from where they chose.
Over the course of the exhibition, commissioned performances will be documented on this site, which was designed by Brian Feeney. In collaboration with with curators Thom Collins and Judith Tannenbaum, various ancillary materials drawn from and related to these performances will be incorporated and dispersed throughout this site, with the aim of creating a new, digital-based work as performative documentation.
Collectively, "WE SEE / WE HEAR / WE ARE" is the culmination of both physical and virtual wanderings into the nature of what it means to be a flâneur in the 21st century, and, fundamentally, what it means to live in contemporary society.