Between Art and Promotion: Digital Self-Representation on Artists’ Instagram Profiles

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksArticle in conference proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper aims at analyzing selected visual artists’ Instagram profiles, under the aspect of digital narratology. In artists' profiles, it is argued, one can identify different, often converging patterns of digital self-representational stories which oscillate between aesthetic performance and self-narration, identity building and self-promotion. As a tool for self-narration in digital environments, social network sites provide structures that allow their users to optimize the mediatized identity construction on monetary and temporal counts. Through the "exteriorization" and publication of memories or the sharing of digital artifacts and their implementation into the narrated self, the individual makes the once-defined digital narrative accessible to a potentially exponentially larger audience than it would be possible via interpersonal communication. The findings indicate that artists' digital narratives on Instagram disclose a mechanism that is usually less explicit: the transmutation of an artifact into a work of art. The value of an artwork and of the artist who created it, is formed by mechanisms of public recognition, whereby recognition by important actors in the field of art is particularly advantageous for the accumulation of symbolic capital. The reciprocal effect of value formation in the field of art can be traced very well on the basis of social media platforms such as Instagram: because a person is considered an artist, his practices (e.g. the posting of a photograph on Instagram) are interpreted by other actors as artistic practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication6th Annual International Conference on Journalism & Mass Communications
EditorsLin Allen
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationSingapur
PublisherGlobal Science and Technology Forum
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event6th Annual International Conference on Journalism & Mass Communications - JMComm 2017: JOURNALISM, MEDIA AND MASS COMMUNICATION IN THE AGE OF INFORMATION - Singapur, Singapore
Duration: 09.10.201710.10.2017
Conference number: 6