Tag Archives: Lori Hepner

This artist turns celebrity tweets into psychedelic art

With the help of Arduino and LEDs, this Maker combines analog and digital tech to convert tweets into vibrant light shows. 

Today, it seems like just about every celebrity has a Twitter account. Whenever big names like Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus send out a post, not only do they receive thousands of retweets, they become an instant trending topic. Interestingly enough, artist Lori Hepner has taken their updates one step further by photographing them. Wait, what? You heard that correctly, she transforms their 140-character rants into psychedelic images.

@KimKardashian 4:06 PM - 1 Sep 2015 September Selfie Cover of @interviewmag #InterviewGang

@KimKardashian 4:06 PM – 1 Sep 2015
September Selfie Cover of @interviewmag #InterviewGang

As part of a series she calls Status Symbols, the Maker combines analog and digital tech to convert the tweets into an actual physical object, which she then photographs to create vibrant, circular shapes. Hepner’s Twitter portraits can best be described as a visual manifestation of celebrities’ fragmented thoughts — an exploration that recognizes the online musings of cultural icons and ultimately studies identity in the era of social media.

The idea for such an eccentric project came about nearly six years ago, after obtaining her first Arduino board and programming it to make eight spinning LEDs flash based on the binary code within a tweet. According to WIRED, a hashtag is red, the @ symbol is orange and quotes are purple. Every word becomes a random color in the light show. From there, Hepner uses a medium format camera to capture long exposures.

“I wanted to leave some of it to chance, but the patterns of language and the inherent patterns of the binary code come through. In my brain, I saw them as circular and presented in a way that you can’t undo the code, you can’t extract it,” the artist tells the magazine.

Intrigued? You can browse through her entire portfolio of Twitter portraits here. You’d be surprised. Even some of the most mundane, accidental pocket tweets translate into beautiful imagery… Right, Lady Gaga?

[h/t WIRED]