Becoming What We Behold: A CFC Media Lab Project

Ana Serrano, Meagan Durlak, Pearl Chen, Creative & Technical Team, Brandon Hocura, Matthew Fabb, Priam Givord


Marshall McLuhan’s idea that “we shape our tools and then our tools shape us” has particular relevance to the way social media has defined the 21st century. From Facebook to Flickr, these applications evolve, give form, and satisfy our insatiable appetite to share subjective experience. This interactive installation features a geometric configuration of wall-mounted tablet computers in the atrium of the TIFF Bell Lightbox that brings together user-generated content. The viewer becomes an active participant in the work, as they upload images, curate, and share personal imagery. Becoming What We Behold uses the language of cinema–fades, dissolves, wipes, freeze-frames, and moving images–to create narratives from the digital aggregate of our lives.

As the installation shifts between figure and ground, the viewer gains a real-time portrait of the individual and the social systems that underlie contemporary culture. The story is not so much about a single person; rather, it reveals the interconnectedness of lives that are mediated through a field of common experience.