An overview of the viral movement that Tati created that made waves through not only social media, but mainstream media.

Press Coverage

the movement has had coverage by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN, New York Times, Business of Fashion, Vogue, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, Business Insider, and more.

Project Overview

Tati Bruening, also known as @illumitati, has been a coveted voice of and advocate for Gen Z since the inception of her career. Tati began her digital journey in 2013 with zero followers and has now amassed a broadcast strength of 3,000,000 supporters across platforms. Her creator name and unique persona speak to her mission statement: celebrate individuality, collectively.

 Recently – in order to compete with short-form video content app giant, TikTok – Instagram released a beta that favored video content. Professional photographer by trade, Tati found her photos underrepresented by Instagram’s new algorithm. Instagram had abandoned its fundamental community characteristics, surprising unsuspecting users with feeds full of sponsored content, targeted ads, “viral” clips, and suggested accounts to compete with TikTok’s model. These changes were made without regard for user preferences or interest in personal curation — qualities native to the platform.  

 In a day and age where everyone has the opportunity to be a creator, this kind of media arbitrage has resulted in even more people left feeling unseen. Those who dedicate their resources to producing resonant images are buried by corporate content — the messages of their images are unheard. Platforms like Instagram are no longer democratic in determining authentic popularity based on engagement. Instead, they are flavored by the commercial interests of Big Tech companies.

Why does this matter? The content and culture we consume are no longer created, inspired, and primarily distributed by the users they are meant for. We are faced with the consequence of feeling more disconnected and isolated than ever — a far cry from the connective state social media platforms were initially built to foster amongst communities. With decreased access and exposure to content posted by the people we choose to follow, know, and celebrate, loneliness is exacerbated. What is social media without cultivating socialization?

​Tati will be auctioning off this piece of digital history with the mission of allocating profits to underrepresented artists who work to create art for platforms that foster community. Proceeds will go to the VFILES FOUNDATION, a NYC non profit focused on incubating and empowering young creators in underrepresented communities through grants and education.

  It took one user to start a movement.

What is to come once each user recognizes the power of their voice?