project image
Margaret Timbrell

first performed on April 27, 2018
StARTup Art Fair, Hotel del Sol, San Francisco, CA
performed three times in 2018



San Francisco, CA


“The Selfie Wall” is both literally a selfie wall and a performance piece that occurs on social media. It is a way to reclaim the identities that have been stripped by the autocorrect application: a ubiquitous program that exhibits a bias against non traditional/non-Anglo Saxon names.

To create the piece, I collect names that are autocorrected to words. I then embroider the words onto a gorgeous dark blue velvet tapestry that is installed on a stand alone curtain rod. This acts as the selfie wall in front of which people will take their selfies before sharing their images to social media.

Through my earlier work using the autocorrect program, I noticed the strange word choice and bias of autocorrect. It is a very subtle issue, but it is indicative of a larger cultural bias that occurs within the tech industry. It feels very significant that this ubiquitous program changes specific types of names, regularly, into words. It almost becomes an identity erasure.

I’m also very interested in the curated selfie experience. This seems like a sort of digital performance art—where the act of taking and sharing a selfie becomes the main purpose of an otherwise visual art experience. This makes a selfie wall full of autocorrected names/words a means to reclaim identity, in a fun and lighthearted way.

“The Selfie Wall” performance encompasses all the steps of the selfie wall creation process: collecting the autocorrected names, embroidering the names/words onto the Selfie Wall tapestry, then taking and sharing the selfies. Sometimes all three steps occur at the same moment when I perform live—I actively embroider names onto the selfie wall as people “donate” their autocorrected names to me, all while selfie taking and sharing occurs.