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PRINT March 2014

CLOSE-UP: FOR REAL

Page detail from Friedrich Kunath’s You Owe Me a Feeling (Blum & Poe, 2012).

EVERYDAY LIFE IS FULL OF VOIDS: the suspended nowhere of idling in traffic, the serpentine line at the post office, the dreary waiting room at the dentist’s, 3:00 am insomnia. The creators of Instagram seem to have found a lucrative niche in these “empty” spaces throughout our circadian slog. More than just a means to fend off boredom or banality, the mobile photo feed proffers a temporary visual lifeline out of the abyss of anxiety and existential dread that can quickly overtake these vacant periods—images of voids to fill the void. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”: Today’s popular passe-temps is designed to thwart or at least divert Satan’s complots, albeit with filtered images and phantom communications that will eventually dissipate into the ether.

Killing time with my iPhone in the predawn hours, I stumbled on artist Friedrich Kunath’s Instagram account and found

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