iPad app takes protest movement global

French Street artist JR is very discreet about his fame, sporting sunglasses everywhere, even during his TED Talk in March 2012.

But that’s about to change.

Better known through his Instagram account, JR recently launched an iPad app that shows his mega size lithograph photographs around the world that relate to the local social issues – some of which are placed in actual galleries in museums while others are pasted on the side of buildings, or, for example, on a ship in Japan.

The app pinpoints his artwork to a map with Retina-optimised photos, video and interactive content to give viewers an idea of the context of the photograph and other behind-the-scenes.

The app comes in time of the third anniversary of JR’s three-year-long human rights project, Inside Out, where he opened the photography platform for his fans.

Participants can snap shots, mail it to the artist, who will then print it on large paper and send it back; people can then put the photo up wherever they see fit but without credit.

In Russia, crusaders against homophobia took life-sized photos of the people from the same-sex community and protested outside the embassies, for example; a native American from North Dakota posted pictures of his tribe around the reserve to show that they’re a part of the community; a Tehran citizen put up a photo of a woman on the streets to show his support for gender rights.

“Before, I wrote my name down so people know who I am; now I put other people’s faces up so people know who they are,” he said in a TED Talk back in 2012.

“Can art change the world? Maybe not in one year. So maybe we should change the question, can art change people’s lives. From what I see this year, yes.”