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History Science

Intrusive Clowns, Preserved Cats, and Centuries-Old Hair: Museums Are Sharing Their Creepiest Objects

April 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Top left via GR Public Museum, bottom left via Yorkshire Museum, right via Bell Museum

If you’re not into clowns, taxidermied creatures, or centuries-old piles of hair, you probably should avoid the #CreepiestObject hashtag on Twitter. In recent days, museums worldwide have been digging into their nightmare-inducing archives to uncover the most disturbing pieces their collections have to offer. Findings include a preserved mermaid-like animal, a cross-section of a pregnant cat, and a children’s toy that’s rumored to move on its own.

Similar to the virtual bouquets and the challenge to recreate famous artworks, the movement is one of the ways shuttered museums are engaging with—and now terrifying—their quarantined audiences. We’ve gathered some of their picks below, but please consider this your warning before you scroll down or dive deeper into the hashtag. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 

“STEP ASIDE ALL. These are hand-made models of figures playing cards and of gold miners hauling gold nuggets to the surface. BUT the figures are made from crab’s legs and claws… Typical Victorians, they loved weird/creepy stuff. #CreepiestObject” —York Castle Museum

 

 

 

“Bringin’ our A-game for this #CURATORBATTLE! What is it? Just a CURSED CHILDREN’S TOY that we found inside the walls of a 155-year-old mansion. We call it ‘Wheelie’ – and it MOVES ON ITS OWN: Staff put it in one place and find it in another spot later on…. #Creepiestobject” —PEI Museum

 

 

“Imagine rummaging through an archive and unwrapping this Down pointing backhand index MC 490A: Broken Dolls head in many parts with fair hair c.1920 Found on the grounds of @StJudesHead . Let’s hope they treat the pupils better Face with tears of joy #CuratorBattle #CreepiestObject” —Egham Museum

 

 

 



Art

People are Recreating Famous Artworks Using Whatever They Have at Home During Quarantine

April 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

By sporting a bonnet fashioned out of toilet paper and clutching a celery-stalk cigarette, people are finding ways to engage with their favorite artworks from a distance. This week, the Getty challenged folks to imitate classic pieces with whatever they can find around their homes and since has gotten thousands of hilarious (and well-done) responses.

The Los Angeles museum’s call was inspired by the account Between Art & Quarantine, which has been asking people to choose three aspects of their favorite works to recreate using anything they’ve got at home, hence the pets, kids, and vegetables in the mix. Check out a few of the Getty’s picks on its Instagram, and don’t forget to take a peek this hashtag for some gems. (via Design You Trust)

 

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Amazing

The World’s First Bee Influencer Uses Social Media to Raise Funds for Lifesaving Pollinator Research

October 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

We can only imagine the job description: Science Foundation seeks expert visual effects designer to create robust social media presence for imaginary insect influencer. B., billed as the world’s first bee influencer, reports from Instagram-friendly locations like Montemartre in Paris and beachfront lounge chairs. Channelling trends among young female influencers, B. flaunts her figure, does yoga in pretty places, and hosts Story A.M.A’s, answering queries about her favorite musicians (Beethoven, the Bee Gees, Beeyonce). B’s captions are a blend of educational and quippy—a “photo” of her rowing is captioned “I have only one flaw… (LOL) I don’t know how to swim!”

Following in the footsteps of other scientific non-profits like the California Academy of Sciences and the Field Museum in Chicago, Fondation de France seeks to meet people where they’re at—which is, by and large, on social media. Humor, au courant language, and memes have become powerful tools to convey important messages about our past, present, and future world.

But whereas other institutions use strong voices on social channels to indirectly raise funds through increased museum attendance and perhaps larger sponsorships for exhibitions, the foundation is channeling income directly from their in-house influencer. Companies and organizations who feel that their brand identity aligns with B. can pay the rising-star insect to promote their products in the same way that a #vanlife influencer might pose with a brand of potato chips or shampoo. The fees that a company pays for exposure with B. go directly to Fondation de France’s BEE FUND, which the 50 year-old foundation created “to fund the actions considered as the most fundamental and urgent in the protection of all species of bees.”

You can follow along with B. on Instagram. If you or your company is interested in working with her as an influencer, find out more on the Fondation de France’s BEE FUND microsite.

 

 



Art

FILTRATE: A Futurist Guerrilla-Style Short Film Shot on an iPhone in Montreal’s Subways

April 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A new short film titled FILTRATE imagines a future completely saturated with technology, where post-human figures interact using rune-like symbols on immersive social media platforms. The film, directed by Mishka Kornai, was created in the public spaces of Montréal’s underground Metro transit system.

The actors in FILTRATE sport futuristic costumes made by Odette Mattha with shimmering tinsel, long strands of party beads, and textured fabrics that match the setting’s architectural details. Mattha’s designs take advantage of the unique feel of different areas of the Metro system: each station was created by a different architect. Though the filmmakers clearly used the spaces during off-peak times, we can only wonder at the surprise of an unsuspecting commuter.

In a statement on the film’s website, the creators explain their impetus for FILTRATE. “If people retreat into smaller and more idiosyncratic groups, what will the evolutionary trajectory of our society look like? As social groups diverge further and further over the course of generations, when does humanity cease to be just one species?”

The whole process took two years to complete, including 43 days of shooting, six months of costume building, and a year of post-production. Despite its high-tech feel, the creators share that FILTRATE was filmed using just an iPhone 7, a wheelchair, a monopod, and a hand stabilizer. You can take a look behind the scenes in an additional making-of video.

 

 



Art

Cartoony Mural Depicts Man Obsessing over Facebook Likes

July 15, 2014

Christopher Jobson

mrthoms

There’s plenty of social commentary in this new mural titled ‘Like a Vision‘ from Mister Thoms (previously). The piece appeared somewhere in Ferentino, Italy last week and depicts a man obsessed with the feedback from Facebook likes, rendered in Mister Thoms’ signature illustrative style. Please revel in the irony of liking anything to do with this. (via StreetArtNews, Laughing Squid)

 

 



Design

@MayorEmanuel Embroidered Tweets

March 13, 2011

Christopher Jobson

Enterprising textile/embroidery artist cauchy09 has begun stitching some of @MayorEmanuel‘s most epic tweets into lovely embroidered notes. Quick backstory: Columbia College journalism professor Daniel Sinker recently outed himself as the individual behind a foul-mouthed twitter account that satirized former chief of staff (and Chicago mayoral candidate) Rahm Emanuel in the run-up to the 2011 election. This clip from the Colbert Report should explain everything. These embroidered tweets could become a cottage industry.

 

 



History Photography

My Parents Were Awesome Blog Becomes a Book

November 21, 2010

Christopher Jobson

Some recent submissions to My Parents Were Awesome, a great blog where people submit photos of their parents being awesome. Soon to be a book, My Parents Were Awesome: Before Fanny Packs and Minivans, They Were People Too.