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See Every Selfie on Instagram in One Interactive Installation

The #selfie clock never stops counting.
Images courtesy the artist

While the doomsday clock counts down to midnight, a different measure of society's well-being is on a seemingly endless upswing: the selfie clock. For her senior thesis at the California College of the Arts, designer Suwanna Ruayrinsaowarot built a counting program that visualizes in real-time all the Instagram photos tagged "#selfie."

In order to access the clock, you must first take your own selfie, adding to the deluge which, at the time of posting, numbered nearly 280 million and counting. The counter is the centerpiece of the larger exhibition OnDisplay, which features computer stations for people to upload selfies most efficiently, and a giant projected screen to view them at max capacity.


Like other Instagram crowdsourcing projects, including Michelle Chandra's Chasing Double Rainbows and All Our Yesterdays, when you view OnDisplay yourself you can click on each selfie to link back the user's account to favorite and comment at your leisure. Select the "See Yourself" button and the site will begin rapidly opening individual selfies in pop-up windows, overloading your eyes with the self-indulgent self-portraits, culminating in your own hastily snapped visage from earlier (for best results, use Chrome—you'll have to give the site permission to access your webcam).

"OnDisplay examines our obsession with sharing," Ruayrinsaowarot tells The Creators Project. "Technology has made it easier than ever for us to share images. The information is being shared so fast that we need to work harder to maintain privacy. Our desire to be popular leads us to post on public forums. The rise of the use of selfie in today’s world is one perfect example for this increasingly narcissistic culture, where many have relinquished the control they have over their own images when posting themselves online."

Big data and art converge in the first installment of our Reform video series, Data Becomes Art In Immersive Visualizations:

See more of Suwanna Ruayrinsaowarot's work on her website.

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