In these troubled digital times—times of trolls and Fake News and social media conspiracy theories—it can be helpful to remember that the Internet is good for more than hate speech and pictures of your third cousin’s hairless terrier. No, we’re not just talking about Chris Christie beach memes—though those haven’t gotten old yet.
Instead, we’re talking about a sweet new textbot courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Text 572-51 with the words “send me” followed by a keyword, a phrase or an emoji and you’ll receive a related artwork and caption. It’s like getting a personally curated tour of SFMoMA’s expansive galleries right in the palm of your hand.
It’d be easy to spend hours chatting with the text bot because the collections at SFMoMA are so expansive. The museum’s website estimates that if you were to walk past each artwork currently on view in the galleries, you would walk almost seven miles. And the artwork on view represents only about five percent of the total collection.
In the spirit of curating the curation, we entered all the Philly words we could think of to see which art works best represent our city. The results were sometimes surprising, sometimes silly and sometimes shockingly poignant.
Send me: Will Smith
Send me: West Philly
SFMoMA sent: Victoria Sambunaris, “Untitled, Wendover,Utah, 2007
Send me: water ice
Send me: Temple
Send me: soft pretzel
SFMoMA sent: Judith Joy Ross, “Scott Kreims, Juniper Systems, Silicon Valley 2000,” 2000
Send me: shore
Send me: Rocky Balboa
Send me: Point Breeze
SFMoMA sent: Robert Rauschenberg, “Sky Rite (Stoned Moon)”, 1969
Send me: Philadelphia
Send me: Old City
Send me: Northern Liberties
Send me: Liberty Bell
SFMoMA sent: Tsunehisa Kimura, “Untitled,” 1984
Send me: Independence Hall
SFMoMA sent: Keizo Kitajima, “1/10/1991 Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania. A festival to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the death of Grade Duke Gediminas., from the series 1991 USSR”; 1991, printed 2001
Send me: Eagles
Send me: Ben Franklin
Some words we tried but got no response: cheesesteak, Fishtown, Rittenhouse, jawn, Phillies, Flyers, Lawncrest, Passyunk, Wawa, citywide special, scrapple, roast pork, Boyz II Men and Springsteen.