473🔥 was a collaborative exhibition between myself and fellow artist, Maya Hawk. Maya and I realized in 2015 that, even though we physically saw each other most days, our primary mode of communication was via the app Snapchat. The fire emoji on Snapchat indicates a “Snap streak”, aka how many days in a row two people have both sent each other Snapchat messages, hence the show’s title. We began screenshotting, saving, and archiving the images and videos we sent to each other, as a way of cataloguing our excessive use of the app, showing ourselves in a complete array of physical and emotional states. At the time, Snapchat was the only app that easily allowed users to send photos, videos, text, and drawings all at once. It combined traditional ways of communicating into one entity. The only thing it lacked was physicality. Everything about it existed only in the “cloud”, but the ways it allowed us to connect were still real. 473 Fires took something intangible and made it tangible.
Since 2016, Snapchat's technology has been replicated on other mainstream apps - mainly Instagram and TikTok - making it less unique than it was when Maya and I created 473🔥. As time passes, this project becomes more and more a product of its exact moment in time.