Dara Vandor: Search Portrait

Toronto, Canada

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Black Sheet Metal Casing with Hanging Frame
Stock Font with Custom Image Flaps
Custom Search History Messaging

In today’s world, where we carefully craft our online identities – “Search Portrait” is a refreshing departure from the norm. This project, created by the Canadian artist Dara Vandor, was on display at Birch Contemporary in Toronto from September 9 to October 14, 2023. The exhibition offers an immersive experience that invites viewers to contemplate the multifaceted nature of individuality.

“Search Portrait” uses a Split Flap display connected to Dara’s real-time Google searches, visually representing the artist’s internet journey. The constant changing shows the artist’s unfiltered searches, giving viewers an authentic view into her life. The choice of the Split Flap display symbolizes the ever-changing nature of our online searches.

This unfiltered stream of search terms reveals the person behind the digital façade. It’s an unedited glimpse into an individual’s internal world, like a modern version of a diary. “Search Portrait” encourages viewers to think about their own online portrait and the underlying messages in their search histories.

A Snapshot of Dara Vandor’s Searches:

  • Luminary Definition
  • Carl Jung Wine
  • Cat Marnell Instagram
  • Group of Seven Artists Ranked
  • Is Sparkling Water Bad For You
  • Funeral Jokes
  • Places to Eat Florence
  • Bing Crosby Real Name

Dara Vandor’s vision goes beyond the exhibition’s current form. She expects the displayed searches to change over time, with age – reflecting the stages of life from youthful curiosity to mature introspection. As it evolves, “Search Portrait” will provide an enduring analysis of the changing nature of human curiosity. “Search Portrait” goes beyond a mere snapshot; it captures a time-lapse, revealing layers of complexity and authenticity.

“Search Portrait” challenges the boundaries between public and private selves. The combination of visual and auditory elements in the exhibition intensifies its impact. Some searches may feel relatable – like shopping for summer sandals – while others might capture more of a hivemind reaction to global events such as elections and other world news. It can be fascinating to witness the arc of life through the lens of online searches. Currently, it reflects a youthful and vibrant stage. Still, as time progresses, it could delve into more poignant and reflective areas, mirroring the stages of life from youth to retirement and beyond. By merging the every day and the profound, the project encourages reflection and compassion. Forging a strong connection between the audience and the digital journey it reveals.

The Split Flap is one of a kind. It hangs in the center of the gallery room with a custom hanging frame. The black color stands out in the bright, white room as Dara’s searches appear one after the other. The classic, nostalgic sound grabs each visitor’s attention in the gallery. Each search appears next to a custom magnifying glass icon printed right on the flaps. Art installations are some of our favorite builds because of Split Flaps minimalist style and maximalist function.

Through the physical Split Flap display, “Search Portrait” innovates traditional art – weaving a fascinating narrative that resonates with modern audiences. Dara Vandor’s exploration of the digital world and human reflection leave an enduring impression. “Search Portrait” offers a timeless reflection on the complexities of online identities and human adventure.

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    Artist: Dara Vandor
    Location: Birch Contemporary
    Photographer: Erich DeLeeuw

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