Born in Fortaleza, Brazil, Laís Pontes is an interdisciplinary artist who currently lives and works in London. Her artwork is a socio-psychological investigation into social media issues and contemporary concerns. She is interested in the construction of identity in the digital age, as well as the role social media and its characters play in this construction. In the same way she uses a camera and performance, Pontes uses virtual platforms like Facebook and Instagram as tools in the process of creation. Pontes gives viewers the opportunity to take over the role of artist, allowing the artwork to shift in meaning during the collaborative artistic process. She invites viewers to experience, interact, and develop a critical view of the effect social media has on society and identity. Pontes graduated from the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York in 2011, and received a Master of Fine Arts in 2014 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
Pontes’ work has been exhibited worldwide and featured at the International Center of Photography in NYC (2015), Rencontres Internationales de La Photographie in Canada (2015), Brandts Museum in Denmark (2015), FotoFest Biennal in Houston (2014), 6th Arte Laguna Prize in Italy (2012), Paraty em Foco 7th International Photo Festival in Brazil (2011), and the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago (2011). Her work has been published in well-known magazines and blogs in South Korea, Spain, Italy, the United States, Brazil, and Mexico. These publications include El País, The Creators Project, Lenscratch, Itsliquid, PDN Pulse, and OjodePez. Pontes’ artwork is currently on display in both private and public museum collections.
Data artwork, “The Girls on Instagram”.
From the project The Girls on Instagram, but the images attached are not published on Instagram or any online platform.
In The Girls on Instagram, the virtual characters first created in Pontes’s previous work, Born Nowhere, transcend the realm of Facebook. In this, the artist’s second social media art project, audience and artist participation is no longer limited to the online environment, but takes place in the physical world as well.
The artist and fellow Instagram users make the characters come alive in a way that goes far beyond mere physical depiction. Through photographs taken in the course of their own travels, participants interpret the personalities of the characters and fashion for them an immediately credible social environment. By creating a contextual background to these images according to their own preferences, the participants not only determine and shape the characters’ existence in real-life spaces, they also allow them to become part of the participants’ own personal life and experience. The pictures are subsequently posted on Instagram to document the characters’ adventures, with the result that The Girls on Instagram remains in a constant state of flux and expansion.