Arts / Good Works / Lifestyle

A DC artist wants screenshots of your weirdest Tinder DMs

Finding love online is weird and awkward. A new exhibit aims to celebrate that with art.

~DATING~ (Photo by Flickr user Mayberry Health and Home, used under a Creative Commons license)

The artist known as etxe has always found self-commodification, of the kind required by online profiles, super difficult. Long before the artist studied communications at the University of Southern California, before becoming fascinated by how people present themselves online, exte struggled to build a MySpace profile that felt right.

It was always an intriguing struggle, though. “I’m just generally fascinated by digital communications in all forms,” the artist, who wishes to remain anonymous, told in a recent conversation.

Fast forward through the years and etxe is living in D.C., working in the “placemaking” (or the reimagining of IRL public spaces) realm of real estate. Etxe is still fascinated by online interactions, though, specifically in the realm of dating and love. And this brings us to the artist’s most recent outward-facing passion project — Emerging Love Markets.

Here’s the idea:

Submit a screenshot of an online interaction with a potential love interest (that weird Tinder DM you just got, for example, or an Instagram or text or… the list goes on). Etxe will curate the submissions and put together some kind of show — the context is still a bit TBD, the artist told, but ideally it’ll be in-person, and thereby take the online interactions out of context in more ways than one. “I’d like it to be in physical space,” etxe told

Why? Seeing these exchanges, etxe thinks, will transform the online love search from something stressful and challenging (who among us hasn’t struggled to create that dating app profile or decide what to say in a first message) to something human and normal.

“I’ve sent so many screen shots to friends to share a funny, stupid, embarrassing thing,” etxe told in an email. “And my theory is that seeing hundreds of other people’s screen-shot experiences would be cathartic for anyone who’s ever sent or received a ridiculous text message, had an onslaught of weird messages via a dating app or connected to a future significant other via Instagram.”

We should be able to laugh at ourselves, after all. “It’s just dating.”


Help make this passion project great by submitting proof of your (weird, wonderful, etc.) online dating experiences here. We know you’ve got ’em. And don’t worry — all submissions will be kept anonymous.

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

Our services Preferred partners The journalism fund

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


Here’s how the global tech outage impacted many of the vital systems across the mid-Atlantic region

Ready to start marketing your startup? 3 crucial questions all founders should ask

From Big Tech to a big bank, this leader puts innovation at the forefront of her entire career

A key healthcare innovation accelerator has a new name and timeline

Technically Media