Tweets from Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj all seem like everyday mundanities, but for Lori Hepner these inspired a series called, “Status Symbols,” where she photographed celebrity tweets, transforming them into psychedelic visuals.
The artist combines analog and digital tech to convert the 140 characters into a physical object, which she then photographs to create colorful, circular shapes. Hepner’s “Twitter portraits” are a visual manifestation of celebrities’ fragmented thoughts—an exploration that recognizes the online musings of cultural icons and ultimately studies identity in the age of social media.
This bizarre concept came to Hepner six years ago, when she acquired an Arduino and programmed it to make spinning LEDs flash based on different elements within a tweet. According to Wired, a hashtag is red, the @ symbol is orange and quotes are purple; every different word is assigned a color at random. As tweets become a light show, Hepner uses a medium format camera to capture long exposures. Watch the Arduino in action, below.