Side Effect The Instragram filter as art form.

Side Effect The Instragram filter as art form.

  • Words George Upton
  • Photograph Bea De Giacomo and Laurence Leenaert / LRNCE

When Instagram made its augmented reality software available to the public in August 2019, the platform was quickly flooded with novel, user-generated effects that alter your appearance and surroundings. Suddenly, it seemed, anyone with the time and inclination could create a filter that made it appear as if you were wearing comically large glasses or had sprouted dog’s ears. But the technology quickly caught the attention of contemporary artists too. 

Filters were developed to be a fun way to engage with followers, but many artists have been drawn by the ability to play with a sense of self and subvert the pressures to conform on social media. In the surreal Dream Machine effect by Mitsuko Ono, for example, a carousel of colorful figures, all wearing your face, spins slowly around y...

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