© Lilly Lulah, Digital Dust installationat-Gallery Kuckeikuckei. Image credit: Thomas Bruns

Instagram takeover: Lilly Lulay

Born 1985 in Frankfurt, Lilly Lulay studied photography, sculpture and media sociology in Germany and France. Her works examine photography as a cultural tool that forms an integral part of daily life.

Perfectly aware of today’s overproduction of images, Lulay uses her own and other people’s photographs as “raw material”. Applying a variety of techniques, that range from laser cutting to embroidery,  installation to collage, Lulay turns photographs into palpable objects. With her work, she investigates the influence the photographic medium has on social behavior and mechanisms of individual and collective perception.

The media with which we produce and consume the most images today is the smartphone. It is an interface or a junction between the private and the public sphere. The world comes to us through a small screen in our pockets − and through this digital frame, we show ourselves to the world. The layouts of apps like Instagram and Facebook have become the architecture inside which we meet our friends. Yet as we interact with our touchscreens, we never physically touch the objects, people and places we perceive. In order to point on this discrepancy my works combine objects with various material and haptic qualities. Based on image material from the online and the offline world I create fragmentary, semi-transparent and double-sided images. My works invite the beholder to take a look beyond the rectangular surfaces with which screens and photo prints confront us. They address questions of (in)visibility and (in)transparency within the new economy and culture of smartphone photography.

 

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An other project from my current smartphone research and a great text by @larissafischer “In “Our Writing Tools Take Part in the Forming of Our Thoughts”, Lulay explores the smartphone’s distinct language of iconic symbols. Unlike traditional photography, smartphone images nearly never appear full screen. They are framed by icons − hearts, speech bubbles, paper planes. These icons not only frame the photos we shoot, they also influence and guide our social interactions. Across different countries and cultures, people now communicate using this vocabulary. While architectural spaces shape our analogue encounters, the layouts and icons of apps shape and limit our social interactions online. In this series of laser-cuts, photographs taken inside the apartment of her 75 years old friend C. merge with iconic symbols from the digital world. Lulay catalogues and translates the analogue contents of her friend’s private living space into the digital language of smartphone icons. In an image of the home office, for example, a computer screen is superimposed with the icon of a globe, a cursor and file folders. In a second step a laser cuts this collage of icons out of the photo print. The flat surface of the printed photograph becomes an ornamental network structure which allows a fragmentary view into the private living space of Lulay’s friend. The network-like structures and semi-transparent qualities of the works echo how smartphone interactions make us transparent. As soon as we share, manipulate or archive our private photos, smartphone app companies take our location, interests and habits and add it to their data pools. Like the laser cuts themselves, our online interactions also cast shadows. Our casually and unconsciously left footprints are condensed into data portraits that unfold behind us like technical, non-visible labyrinths. Confronting the viewer with an overabundance of information, these complex works invite us to linger longer than the five seconds we generally spend looking at a smartphone image.” #photoworks_uk @lillylulay #instagramtakeover #photography #portrait #graphicdesign #architecture #lasercut #bigdata #kuckeiandkuckei

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An other project from my current smartphone research and a great text by @larissafischer “In “Our Writing Tools Take Part in the Forming of Our Thoughts”, Lulay explores the smartphone’s distinct language of iconic symbols. Unlike traditional photography, smartphone images nearly never appear full screen. They are framed by icons − hearts, speech bubbles, paper planes. These icons not only frame the photos we shoot, they also influence and guide our social interactions. Across different countries and cultures, people now communicate using this vocabulary. While architectural spaces shape our analogue encounters, the layouts and icons of apps shape and limit our social interactions online. In this series of laser-cuts, photographs taken inside the apartment of her 75 years old friend C. merge with iconic symbols from the digital world. Lulay catalogues and translates the analogue contents of her friend’s private living space into the digital language of smartphone icons. In an image of the home office, for example, a computer screen is superimposed with the icon of a globe, a cursor and file folders. In a second step a laser cuts this collage of icons out of the photo print. The flat surface of the printed photograph becomes an ornamental network structure which allows a fragmentary view into the private living space of Lulay’s friend. The network-like structures and semi-transparent qualities of the works echo how smartphone interactions make us transparent. As soon as we share, manipulate or archive our private photos, smartphone app companies take our location, interests and habits and add it to their data pools. Like the laser cuts themselves, our online interactions also cast shadows. Our casually and unconsciously left footprints are condensed into data portraits that unfold behind us like technical, non-visible labyrinths. Confronting the viewer with an overabundance of information, these complex works invite us to linger longer than the five seconds we generally spend looking at a smartphone image.” #photoworks_uk @lillylulay #instagramtakeover #photography #portrait #graphicdesign #architecture #lasercut #bigdata #kuckeiandkuckei

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For her photo-based works, Lilly Lulay has won several prizes and scholarships such as, 2019 Stiftung Kunstfonds grant, 2018 Foam Talent Award, 2017 Olympus recommended fellowship in cooperation with Foam Amsterdam, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, 2015 IEPA residency grant, 2013 Künstlerhilfe Frankfurt scholarship, and 2012 Deutsche Börse-HfG Offenbach photography prize. Lulay’s works form part of private and public collections such as George Eastman Museum Rochester, Fondazione Fotografia Modena, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Frankfurt, Art Collection DZ Bank Frankfurt as well as Artothèques in Pessac, Pau and Limoge, France. Her works have been shown in these institutions as well as at Aperture New York, Die Ecke Santiago de Chile, Ballarat Foto Biennale Australia, Beaconsfield London, Foam Next Door Amsterdam, Festival Circulations Paris, Benaki Museum Athens, and Museum für Konkrete Kunst Ingolstadt and other venues.

 

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Today I show you an other collage series of mine : #Zeitreisende / time travellers along with a text from #FrancescaLazzarini “While photographs provide cut-out views of reality they also act as eye-witnessing, physical objects, that transport information about one place and time to another. Addressing this topic, the Zeitreisende or time travellers series is a trip through the techniques and the uses made of photographs in the past and in the present. Every collage is a dialogue between two kinds of images: a found photograph, analogue and in black-and-white, and a cropped digital colour image, which the artist has manipulated to reveal the pixels that form its structure. The artist explains: ‘As a result the time travellers are portraits that do not depict identifiable individuals any longer. Rather, they raise questions about the materiality and the circulation of private photographs’. As in many of Lulay’s works, the Zeitreisende create a constant shifting between the private sphere – that of those who shot the images and that of the artist, who through manipulation confers new meanings upon these otherwise forgotten photographs –  and the public dimension relating to the modes of production, circulation and use of images in the present day.” #photoworks_uk @lillylulay #instagramtakeover #photography #collage #portrait #fondazionefotografiamodena #lillylulay

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For more of Lilly’s work, visit her website here