2015, 2016

#KDDAPMEME is a hashtag created with the abbreviation of "Ke Dao Di American Portraits Meme" (1), which is also the title of a participatory self-portrait project. Same as American Portraits Performance (2015), the concept derived from the photographic and installation works of Pseudo/Mixed Light. This project is not only participatory, but also site-specific, as it requires the participation of the audience. It has now two installments--the first of which took place in 2015 at Da-Hsia Gallery in Taipei, and the second in 2016 at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fines Arts.

Above: A collection of memes created during Snap Taking-Slow Thinking exhibition at Kaihsiung Museum of Fine Arts, 2016.

A visitor posing for a self-portrait at Snap Taking-Slow Thinking. (Kaohsiung, 2016)

Visitors posing in front of backdrops at Pseudo/Mixed Light. (Taipei, 2015)

In #KDDAPMEME, the audience is invited to use the work on the gallery wall as the backdrop for self-portraits. They pose according to the instructional texts on the backdrops, and snap a selfie with their own device. After the picture is taken, they are asked to post the image onto any social media website with the designated hashtag (#KDDAP was first used in 2015 and #KDDAPMEME in 2016). Since these images are created with the same pose and the same backgrounds, the combination of the portrait and the backdrop become an actual internet meme once a certain amount of audience-generated images start circulating on the internet. And by clicking on the hashtag, one will be able to see all the images with the same tag that are made public to them—the results may vary according to different privacy settings of the images posted.

Above: Meme templates that include instructional texts on the backdrop. Both backdrops have the same texts, only in two languages: English and Chinese.

The blue background of #KDDAPMEME comes from the standard backdrop used by Lifetouch (2)—a well-known portrait photography company in the US—and the texts are standard instructions given to sitters by Lifetouch photographers during photo sessions. In this work, the artist combines a popular image format in today’s internet culture, the meme, with a standardized style of portrait photography to reinforce and rethink the conventions of photographic portraits, and to find similarities between formal portraits and images people maintain on the internet.

As in Pseudo/Mixed Light and American Portraits Performance, the audience-generated memes here examine “the formal conventions that shape the image”--a concept that connect the three projects.

(1) A meme is a piece of media that spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the internet. It is often in the form of an image super-imposed with text for humorous effect. (Source: Wikipedia)
(2) Lifetouch Inc. is an American photography company based in Minnesota. It has a well-established portraiture style and efficient photo-production system. The company has delivered the majority of school and church portraits in the US for decades, and their images are often seen in movies and television shows. (Source: Wikipedia)

Backdrops at the 2015 exhibit:
LEFT: "Knees to the window, hand on your hip, left shoulder back. Tilt your head. Tilt, tilt, tilt."
RIGHT: "Turn knees to left 45, straighten your back, lean toward camera with right shoulder. Chin up, big smile. Show teeth."

Visitor using a "selfie stick" while taking a self-portrait. (Taipei, 2015)

Here are some more individual memes: