As if Chicago doesn’t already have enough of a chip on its shoulder, now we are, along with Texas, one of the only two states unable to access the museum-selfie app that’s gone viral this week.
Google’s Arts & Culture app has been available since 2016 but it didn’t zoom to the number one spot on the app charts until it released the new “Is your portrait in a museum” feature, in which you upload a selfie and Google scans its curated archives of gallery and museum collections to match your face with a classic work of art. The app then generates a side-by-side graphic and a percentage match. Since Monday, social media has been clogged with people posting their museum-portrait doppelgängers with a mixture of delight and disgust. It’s cool to be compared to, say, Picasso, but not so much to look like Ben Franklin—or any of the founding fathers, really.
Arguably, the app should match all users with art depicting Narcissus staring into his own reflection, but hey, it looks fun. If you’re like me, you downloaded the app on your phone and spent several minutes trying to track down the museum-portrait feature to no avail. The same goes for plenty of my Chicago-based friends on Twitter and Facebook.
Tovarisch (@nwbtcw) January 13, 2018
What gives? According to TechCrunch, the selfie-feature is still experimental and is blocked in certain regions—including ours. “Google declined to comment when we asked about its rollout intentions for the feature,” reporter Natasha Lomas writes. “So if you’re really desperate to try it out then you could try signing up to a (reputable) VPN with a US exit node to workaround the region-block.”
But don’t fret, Chicago. Tomorrow is Museum Selfie Day. Why leave up it to a creepy and invasive Silicon Valley algorithm to find your fine art twin when you can stop by the Art Institute or other local art museums and galleries and document it the old-fashioned way?
Also, we can always imagine the possibilities if Chicago ever gets access to the selfie museum app!
wow this thing is good pic.twitter.com/fXP01I7aGb
— Illinois Working Together (@IllinoisWorking) January 16, 2018