Ever since Apple introduced the front-facing camera in 2010, selfies have become the undisputed king of social media. The incessant need to share breathtaking self-portraits on popular mobile photo services like Instagram and Snapchat has often proved to be dangerous and, in some cases, even deadly. Fortunately, that will not be the case for those using a new art installation in Columbus, Ohio, which transforms an ordinary phone selfie into a 14-feet-high 3D sculpture, which can be admired by all.
Dubbed “As We Are,” the permanent exhibit, located at the Columbus Convention Center, is the brainchild of Matthew Mohr, an assistant professor at the Columbus College of Art & Design. The artist says he was contemplating several ideas for the center but ultimately settled on the selfie sculpture because it reflects our modern culture, diversity, and, most important of all, is fun to interact with.
The art installation, which cost around $1.4 million, is made using 3,000 ultra-bright LED ribbons or panels that are wrapped around a head-shaped skeleton, with the narrowest radius at the bridge of the nose.
Visitors wishing to obtain a giant selfie, simply need to step into the onsite photo booth that is equipped with 29 high-definition cameras. The images, captured from various angles, are stitched together to create the perfect 3-D selfie of the model’s head and projected onto the “As We Are” sculpture for the world to admire. The exhibit, which can store up to 100,000 headshots, rotates different selfies throughout the day. To ensure they are visible at all times, the sculpture is turned outwards at night to face the city’s main street.
Mohr hopes his creation, which allows everyone to be “part of a public art piece,” makes visitors feel welcome and allows them to connect with Columbus. Don Brown, the Convention Center’s executive director, is optimistic that “As We Are” will become a big tourist draw, similar to Chicago’s Cloud Gate sculpture, which attracts thousands of visitors to the city each year.