F O L L O W E R
"Social media and the cellphone have given new meaning to the notion of devotion. In 'the West' during the 15th century, devoutness was directed (in a physical sense) to altarpieces in churches. These days however, one's cellphone might instead be the receptacle of such commitment. Follower explores the parallels of these behaviours and their disjunctures. 'Images' of worship then and now are juxtaposed through methods of framing, aiming to pose questions concerning the nature of social media, religion, change through time, and human behaviour.
Western European art of the past was for centuries intimately and often exclusively tied to the church, so much so that a cathedral in the 15th century took a form strikingly similar to that of a modern art museum. Elaborate paintings flanked the altar where religious followers and devotees performed their rituals. These altarpiece polyptychs - many panelled, conjoined artworks - were rich with symbolism and signs. Smaller triptychs and diptychs with religious iconography were often portable and could be used for personal, private devotion.
The idea of the icon, which can refer to a devotional painting of a holy figure used ceremonially, or a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration, is central here. Do the likes of Instagram represent a similar platform of reverence and worship, signification and symbolism? And what is the meaning of the daily social media ritual, often observed at dawn and dusk?"
---- This installation comprised five tiny art history slides, used in old mechanical projectors, of paintings from 15th century Europe. The subject matter of the paintings rendered in miniature is predominantly religious. They were placed on a window in order to light the acetate from behind and allow the viewer to see the details of each slide. Framed by vinyl cellphone shapes, and labeled with hashtags such as #sanctify #canonise and '120k followers @hallowedbethyname'.