'As We Are' – Columbus, Ohio - Atlas Obscura
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'As We Are'

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Known locally as "the giant head," this 14-foot LED sculpture has a photo booth in the neck where you can have a 3D picture taken and displayed. 

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Every time a large convention comes to Columbus, Ohio, there will be a line of people waiting to have their picture taken inside this sculpture in the convention center. “As We Are” is a gigantic head with a photo booth inside the neck. Once a person’s image is captured in 3D, the portrait is displayed on the sculpture within a couple of minutes.

The exhibit is the work of Matthew Mohr, and artist who teaches at the Columbus College of Art & Design. It sits in the North Atrium at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. People smile, laugh, chat, and get selfies with themselves on the sculpture. It’s fun to watch as well as participate. Some people are not comfortable with seeing their faces 14 feet tall, and occasionally participants have a mini-existential crisis when they see themselves (mostly teenagers).

As an art piece, “As We Are” uses the commonplace act of taking a selfie to pose an important question. It asks if we consider the impact of regularly sharing our faces on social media by enlarging the scenario and placing the experience in a public place.

When not in use, the sculpture cycles through a display of previously-taken portraits. Even if you don’t want to have your picture taken, it’s amazing to stand and watch all of the faces change. Every person whose face is displayed on the sculpture has sat in the booth inside at some point.

From a technical standpoint, the booth contains 29 cameras that take a simultaneous picture of the sitter, converts the images into a 3D model then stitches the photographs to the model. The finished image is displayed on the head which has over 850,000 individual LEDs.

“As We Are” is open to the public during business hours and on weekends. There is a docent on hand to help people use the sculpture but it is pretty intuitive. There is a lot of great works by other local artists in the convention center as well.

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