Shindelman and her photographic partner, Nate Larson, were commissioned by Format to map out the Tweets they found in Derby with the places from which they were sent, creating a series of images which make a sometimes mournful, sometimes funny connection between thought and surroundings. "I'm going to have a beautiful baby :)," reads one, accompanied by a photograph of a domestic window, with a net curtain, a model plane and a sculpture of a fairy. "If your daddy doesn't want to know, he doesn't deserve to know at all."
Larson + Shindelman, as they're collectively known, have been working together since 2008, starting out with a project on telepathy and moving on to a project on semaphore flag messages before getting interested in GPS and social networking technology. They've used the simple mobile phone technology to create walks which, when viewed from above, map out images such as Celine Dion's face. But, as they explained at Format yesterday, for the last two years they've also been working with messages posted on Twitter, mapping texts they find online with photographs taken at the place the message was sent.
"We're really interesting in all social networks but Twitter is most available in terms of its GPS," said Larson. "You can opt out of the location [eg from marking where the message is sent] but it's automatically checked in the settings, so you have to question whether people are always aware of whether they're doing it.
"We're thinking a lot about privacy issues and what you choose to keep private or chose to make public. Maybe you start posting for work, then you slip into things about your relationship or politics. It's really interesting what people put up there. When I was young we weren't allowed to tell anyone we were going on holiday and put all the lights on a timer; recently a playwright friend's house was burgled after she put an update that she was going out to a conference."
Larson added that one of the first inspriations for the project was an article by Charles Thompson in The New York Times Magazine, which discussed the 'brave new world of internet intimacy' and popularised the phrase "ambient awareness" to sum up the experience of knowing how someone is feeling through their updates, without actually having to speak with them. "The paradox of ambient awareness is that each little update is insignificant at the time," commented Larson. "But they add up."
Larson + Shindelman's work is on show at Derby Quad until 03 April, and you can also see some of their images and read an interview with them in the March edition of BJP.
Most Popular Articles
Updating your subscription status
We have a vacancy for a Key Account Manager working on The British Journal of Photography
Magnet Harlequin, one of the UK's leading Creative Production Agencies is seeking a new Head of Photography.
We have opportunities for two experienced photographic, audio or video technicians.