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The Facebook Portrait Project

9/13/12 - 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Anne Arundel Ground Floor Lounge


Professor Jessica Vitak of the iSchool will moderate a conversation between artist Tanja Hollander and sociologist Nathan Jurgenson about Hollander's "Facebook Portrait Project" -- her ongoing effort to create a portrait of every one of her Facebook friends in their homes all over the world -- and about the sociology of the internet that this project explores.

Tanja Hollander was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1972 and moved to Maine after receiving a B.A. in photography, film, and feminist studies in 1994 from Hampshire College. Her current project, “Are you really my friend,” was recently exhibited at the Portland Museum of Art and continues to receive international media attention.  Her work has been exhibited nationally at galleries in New York City and Boston and has twice been selected for the Portland Museum of Art Biennial, winning a purchase prize in 2007. She has also exhibited at the Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts; Whitney Art Works in Portland, Maine; and the Jim Kempner Fine Art in New York. In 1994 Hollander opened and directed Dead Space Gallery, Portland’s first art venue for local art, music, spoken word, and performance. Hollander founded and became the volunteer director of the Bakery Photographic Collective in 2001, a nonprofit member-based darkroom facility in Westbrook, Maine. In 2009, she was nominated and chosen for a month long residency at the La Napoule art foundation in La Napoule, France. Hollander is represented by Carroll and Sons in Boston, Massachusetts and Jim Kempner in New York City. She is currently a resident of Auburn, Maine.

Nathan Jurgenson is a social media theorist. A graduate student in Sociology at the University of Maryland, he is working on a dissertation on self-documentation and social media, which is driven most fundamentally by the understanding that we increasingly live in an “augmented reality,” a perspective that views the digital and physical as enmeshed rather than distinct.  With colleague PJ Rey, Nathan founded the Cyborgology blog and also created and run the Theorizing the Web conference.  Nathan writes for The Atlantic, Salon and multiple other publications. You can hear him discuss social media every month on WYPR (Baltimore NPR affiliate).  He is also a professional musician and photographer working out of Washington D.C.

Jessica Vitak is an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the social impacts of new communication technologies, especially how these technologies impact relationship maintenance practices and how users balance privacy and disclosure in online spaces. She has published her research in a number of journals, proceedings and book chapters. For more information about her research, please visit her website,, or follow her on Twitter at @jvitak.

For more information contact Dana Carluccio (