To some, contemporary art is challenging, even alien. To others, it is freedom. Artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins created the animatronic sculpture, piETa to raise questions about art, belief systems and the rise of popular culture.  Good Digital Culture created a social activation campaign to trigger a response from the public for the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The approach called for engaging the public pro-actively, making them the protagonists of an ongoing narrative.  The manifestation was articulated through a unique hashtag, #isartalien, proliferated throughout the city and online, inviting users to answer the question “Is Art Alien”/“What is Art?” on Instagram.   We wanted to position the AGO as the institution that pursues creativity, self-expression and authenticity, outside the construct of a traditional gallery.

At the core of the program was a digital hub for the #isartalien participants and all of its related activities. In order to set the stage for direct public interaction, some measure of awareness was required. Deploying localized, disruptive and a culturally relevant triggers - Stormtroopers,  provided a means to generate buzz quickly and more importantly, break down the walls of pretense of art and institution.

Momentum cumulated with calling upon Toronto's top Instagrammers and curating their assets online and in-Gallery (a first for the AGO).  Through these influencers, original content was shared across each of their networks and the word was spread - creating an open channel of exchange between the AGO and a new generation of gallery participants.

What we did

  • Digital Strategy
  • Communications Strategy
  • Event Design & Execution
  • Event Management
  • Visual Identity
  • Social Media Strategy & Management
  • Video Production
  • Visual and Digital Design
  • Micro-site Development
  • Print Design & Production
  • Analytics & Reporting


Within a two month span the #isartalien campaign generated over 180,000 likes, 11,500 comments with 1,400 original images submitted - making it one of the most successful social media campaign the Art Gallery of Ontario has undertaken to date. In comparison this is more than 35 times more engagement than all other concurrently running AGO Instagram initiatives combined.

By selecting top influential Instagrammers, with both local and global followings, the program has brought awareness of the AGO and the piETa around the world, including submissions from 4 continents.

Media coverage included MTV, The Huffington Post, Space TV, Torontoist, CTV News and the Grid.

The concept, that a tangible sculpture (piETa) in the real world could spark a massive creation of art in the virtual one by asking a simple question, is a beautiful thing. So as long as our online exhibits are open, the dialogue will never end.
— Taha Muharuma, Photographer, The Huffington Post