A Globally Networked Public Art Project
Zhang Ga (US) (CN)
Alex Adriaansens (NL)
Gerfried Stocker (AT)
Christiane Paul (US)
Tia Ji Young Kim
MFA Design and Technology, Parsons School of Design
Claudia Giannetti (ES)
Portraits normally depict people in particular situations or settings, and are usually displayed in private homes, corporate boardrooms or galleries honoring prominent men and women in city halls or other public buildings. Zhang Ga has a completely new take on these preconceived notions of portraiture!
For this project, he’s set up portrait photography studios all over the world: one in the Times Square Alliance Information Center in New York, one each in Rotterdam, Brisbane and Singapore, and, last but not least, one in Linz. In these studios, a wide variety of people are being photographed in all sorts of settings. A central server located at the Parson School of Design regularly polls the respective studios and registers the portraits in the order they’re created. Finally, the images become part of an archive, from which they’re selected at random and sent on by the server.
The photos are displayed on the world’s largest video wall mounted on Reuters North American Headquarters on Times Square in Manhattan. They will also be shown during the SENI Festival and at the Multimedia Art Asia Pacific in Singapore’s business district, in the Rotterdam Municipal Library and at the Dutch Electronic Art Festival. In Austria, Ga’s portraits can be viewed at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, where they will be displayed after sunset on the large-scale projection screen of the Museum of the Future’s media façade. Web portals to the installation are being provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Media Center for Art and Design in Barcelona.
Zhang Ga seeks to come up with a visual language and a cultural metaphor reflecting the age of the Internet and globalization. He places the aesthetic of the portrait into a context of speed and large-format display, and creates symbolic connections among men and women of different ethnic origins and from many different cultures through the reproduction of their portraits all around the world.
“Peoples’ Portrait” was commissioned by SENI Singapore and the Dutch Electronic Art Festival.