Paste-up of #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity (2020) in the Foyer of RMIT’s School of Art. Image: Alison Bennett. 2021.
#unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity (2020) was a social media artwork engaging more than 300 participants over a one month period within the online and physical spaces of RMIT University, Australia. This artwork was activated on Facebook, Weibo and Instagram during the 2020 outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, in response to expressions of fear and isolation, travel bans, and growing racism targeting international students. Through its messages of care alongside signs of solidarity from Chinese students suffering social isolation and related anxiety, #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity employed the selfie to mobilise the individual self into the realm of socially engaged arts and public space.
Mobility and #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity (2020)—from online platform to offline wallpaper—School of Art Foyer, RMIT Melbourne. Image: Klare Lanson, 2020.
This project began with artist researchers Marnie Badham and Tammy
Wong Hulbert, based at RMIT University’s School of Art. They began conversing about a participatory art project as an act of care towards international students who were in lockdown in both China and in Melbourne, isolated
from their peers at university. With an interest in collaborative forms of DIT (Do
it Together) creative projects in community, and as a member of the Contemporary Art and Social Transformation (CAST) research group, I was invited to co-lead the project alongside Marnie Badham, Tammy Wong Hulbert, Sherry Lui, Isabella Capezio, and the RMIT Curatorial
Collective’s Chun Wai (Wilson) Yeung, Jan (Wing Ting) Sze and Rosina Yuan.
Instagram Screenshot: From Australia, to China, to France #unmaskedselfiesinsolidarity.