Laís Pontes was born in 1981 in Fortaleza, Brazil. She is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2011, she graduated from the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. Her artwork is a process of research into social media issues and concerns of our time. She is interested in the construction of identity in the age of social media. Her artistic practice exists in the liminal space between the real and the digital. The artist uses virtual platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as tools in the process of creation in the same way as the camera and performance. The artist invites viewers to experience, interact, and develop a critical view about social media and how it affects our lives. Pontes has been exhibiting her work worldwide. Her work has been featured in Discoveries of Meeting Place FotoFest Biennal in Houston (2014), 6th Arte Laguna Prize in Italy (2012), Paraty em Foco 7th International Photo Festival in Brazil (2011), and Filter Photo Festival in Chicago (2011). Her work has been published in well-known magazines and blogs in South Korea, Romania, Spain, Italy, USA, Brazil, and Mexico. These publications include El País, The Creators Project, Lenscratch, Itsliquid, and PDN Pulse.

Born Now Here—Ongoing project

In her third social media art project, Born Now Here, Laís Pontes extends her investigation into the construction of identity influenced by social media. The artist returns to virtual characters created in her previous project, Born Nowhere (2011). She transforms the crowdsourced Facebook identities into real life activities, relationships, and behaviors in an ongoing performance in her everyday life. Each character gains its own personal Facebook account, outfits, and objects. The act of embodying the characters blends elements of virtual biography constructed by the users with personal and physical realities of the artist’s own life.

The fusion between the self and the other inspired Pontes to give control of the characters to other Facebook users. In this process, a third party embodies the character in his/her everyday life and creates a new interpretation of the digital personality. The third party actually lives an artwork and Pontes experiences a shift in her role as creator, becoming a viewer of her own artwork. The act of incorporation of the characters by third parties allows them to confront their inner world in terms of race, sexuality, class, gender, and career. The participants can return the characters, which at this point are completely transformed, to once again be embodied by the artist or, alternately, another party. The characters are in continuous transformation through the deconstruction and reconstruction of their personalities.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.