Inspiration and Research

For the purposes of research and idea development I went onto exploring various influential apps which are currently exhibited within museums and galleries. I was exceedingly inspired by one particular gallery, ‘Interactives – GalleryOne’ which is based at The Cleveland Museum of Art. The Gallery One experience consists of ten interactives: the Collection Wall, three interactives designed for children and six interactive displays (lenses). The six interactive stations collectively known as “lenses” feature touch screens that allow visitors to discover information about related artworks placed nearby, as well as engage in unique interactive activities. While all lenses share a similar home screen layout, each possesses its own theme related to the artwork on display (Clevelandart 2015).

Two particular interactive displays that have drawn my attention and inspired me include ‘Make a Face’ and ‘Strike a Pose’ :

– Make a Face  –

Make a Face incorporates facial recognition software which is employed to match visitors’ facial expressions with one of 189 artworks in the museum’s collection. The matched faces are displayed in photo-booth styled strips that are both displayed on the Beacon near the gallery’s entrance and are able to be shared via email.


– Strike a Pose –

Strike a Pose asks visitors to imitate the pose of a sculpture and gives relevant feedback relating to the accuracy of their pose. Visitors are able to share their poses and view others’ poses, in addition to trying another pose.

cleveland-museum-interactive clevelandmuseum

In reflecting upon these displays and the ideals which are demonstrated I believe that a selfie stylised app would not only comply to the brief, but would also be a great aspect to draw upon within the Magna Carta Exhibition. It incorporates  both successful user interaction and complies to this new digital era of millennial selfie takers. Hempel (2014) expresses the fact that ‘more than half of all millennials (age 18-33) have taken a selfie and shared it online’ – March 2014 Pew Research Centre Poll. This evidences the popularity of the selfie and its potential for development within the Magna Carta Exhibition.

The Selfie as a Phenomenon

We live in the age of the selfie. The selfie is deemed an expression of an active online identity (BBC News 2013). It is a fast self-portrait, made with a smartphone’s camera which can be immediately distributed and inscribed into a network as an instant visual communication of where we are, what we’re doing, who we think we are, and who we think is watching. Selfies have changed aspects of social interaction, body language, self-awareness, privacy, and humor,  which in turn alters temporality, irony, and public behaviour. It’s become a new visual genre—a type of self-portraiture formally distinct from all others in history. David Colman an artist-critic wrote in the New York Times that the selfie “is so common that it is changing photography itself”. Colman in turn quoted the art historian Geoffrey Batchen saying that selfies represent “the shift of the photograph [from] memorial function to a communication device” (Saltz 2014).


Furthermore with relation to social networking, over 130 million images have been uploaded to social media platforms with the quotations of ‘#Selfie’. These social networks include Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (Wendt 2014).


BBC News, 2013. Self-portraits and social media: The rise of the ‘selfie’ [online]. BBC. Available from: [Accessed 7 February 2015].

Clevelandart, 2015. Interactives [online]. Cleveland Museum of Art. Available from: [Accessed 7 February 2015].

Hempel, J., 2014. CONTAGION—How the “selfie” became a social epidemic [online]. Available from: [Accessed 7 February 2015]

Saltz, J., 2014. Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie [online]. Available from: [Accessed 7 February 2015].

Wendt, B., 2014. The Allure of the Selfie. Institute of Network Cultures: Amsterdam.


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