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Design Week Portland: ‘I’m Kanye West’

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


By Dell's Official Flickr Page Kanye West @ SXSW 2009 (image cropped)

If you're wondering who exactly Kanye West is, you may - or may not - find the answer tonight at the interactive art display titled "I’m Kanye West [A Paradigm of Social Reach]."

The exhibition is part of Design Week Portland, and shows how in the social media age a meme can go viral and become a large-scale art project. 

It all started about a year ago when someone posted a photo of themselves online wearing a Kanye West face cut-out. Soon other groups started making their own Kanye West face cut-outs and posting photos online, and the meme took off. 

The marketing company LMG LLC. created a beta version website of the phenomenon and provided a downloadable Kanye West mask. Over the ensuing months, faux Kanye Wests were everywhere, with people posting photos of themselves with the Kanye mask at tourist destinations, nightclubs, and restaurants in and outside of the United States. Custom-made Kanye West masks have been donned at international landmarks such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China and Sydney Opera House. 

The project is now completed and LGM LLC. launches a new website Thursday during Design Week Portland. The new site is a collection of all the photos and art work submitted to the project. Those behind it say it's less about Kanye West and more about social interaction and social reach. It turns out it only took six months for the meme to reach every nation in the world, according to those behind the website imkanyewest.com

And why not? It's Kanye West, after all. Or is it? 

"I’m Kanye West," Interactive display and guest symposium. Open Gallery, 323 NW 6th Ave, Portland, 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 8. Free.

Hompage Photo Credit: By rodrigoferrari (Kanye West 05) via Wikimedia Commons


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