Activity Group 1: Identity and Difference

These exercises are written for kids, with the idea that an adult or teen can help read the exercises aloud or help the child complete them however necessary.

Taking selfies is so commonplace today that we can forget that self-portraiture is a long-standing art practice and form. Yet our ability to take self-portraits on an immediate and daily basis perhaps allows us to see something new about the relationships between them. Does our selfie from two weeks ago hold up to the selfie from today? How do we change over years, days, or even with a different pose in the moment?

Self-portraiture is one key aspect of Horn's practice. Yet her work extends beyond simple images of herself. Instead, her "self-portraits" include landscapes, objects and other people.

Horn's work, This is Me, This is You, explores these ideas. One of Horn's doubles is her niece. You can learn more about the work by watching this video.

We would love to hear how you have used Reading Resources. Please share feedback and student work here.

Exercise One (Teens & Adults)

Take two selfies, or have someone take two pictures of you, one after the other. Look at them together side-by-side, on a screen or printed-out. Take a few moments to respond to the following prompts, either in writing or by discussing with someone else.

1. What do you observe by comparing/contrasting the two photos? Do you notice anything that you may have missed with only one photo? List or describe 3–4 observations.

2. You are no longer one; you are two. Which one looks more like you, and why? (You have to choose! Don't think too hard—just choose the one with which you first identity.)

Exercise Two (Teens & Adults)

Take a picture of someone else (you can have someone help you) and compare it to your picture. Make a T-Chart (template here) and write down what is the same and different in each of the photos. You can consider absolutely everything: lighting, hair, expressions, etc.

After you have 5–7 observations for each photo, take some time to respond in writing to the following questions:

1. When comparing your selfies with your partner's portraits, what details are similar? What details are different?

2. Now, what if their portraits were your selfies? They are you (for a moment). Who are you? Describe who you are in writing. Write at least two paragraphs, using "I" but speaking from the portrait of the other person.

You can both participate by exchanging your photos and simultaneously writing in response to the questions above. You can then read your writing aloud to each other!

Exercise Three (Teens & Adults)

If you were a landscape or an object, what would you be?

Take a photo or pull one from the internet. Write a one-paragraph statement describing how and why this is a self-portrait of you. Why did you choose it? What does it reflect about you?

After you write your paragraph, create a title for your self-portrait.

Further Learning (Adults)

For further learning, we suggest you pair these exercises with Reading Resources: Glenn Ligon, Activity Group 3: We Shape Our Stories through the Words of Others.


Reading Resources: Roni Horn was produced by Art Resources Transfer (A.R.T.) in collaboration with Wendy Tronrud (A.R.T. Education Consultant) in 2018–19.

A.R.T. acknowledges the invaluable generosity, assistance, and enthusiasm of all who contributed to Reading Resources production:

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

We also thank:
National Endowment for the Arts
H.W. Wilson Foundation
Hauser & Wirth
Florence Derieux
Abby Merrick, Roni Horn Studio Manager
A.R.T. Board of Directors
and most specially, Roni Horn.

Web programming by Jeff Khonsary.
Copyright © Art Resources Transfer, Inc 2019.

All images are protected under copyright by the original rights holders.

A.R.T. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Print this Page