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.
Take two selfies (pictures of yourself), 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.
- 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.
- You are no longer one; you are two. Which one looks more like you, and why?
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 2–4 observations for each photo, take some time to respond to the following questions, in writing or conversation:
- When comparing your selfies with your partner's portraits, what details are similar? What details are different?
- Now, what if their portraits were your selfies? They are you (for a moment). Who are you? Describe who you are, beginning with "I am..." and use details from the photographs.
You can both participate by exchanging your photos and responding to the questions above (with an adult writing down your answers if necessary). You can then read your writing aloud to each other!
If you were a landscape or an object, what would you be?
Take a photo or pull one from the internet. You could be an owl, a boat, a chair, a cloud, etc. Write down a few details about why this image is you. Why are you a cloud or a boat, for example? You could begin by saying: "I am a [ ] because..." or "This photo of a [ ] is also a photo of me because...".
After you come up with reasons, create a title for your self-portrait.
For further learning, we suggest you pair these exercises with Reading Resources: Lawrence Weiner, Activity Group 1: Language as Material.
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.
Web programming by Jeff Khonsary, with typography by Benedikt Reichenbach.
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.