Having started to explore the “public sphere” / “social exclusion” side of the project I also started to look into the “selfie” phenomena from an academic point of view.
I found this really interesting project a group of academics (yes, Manovich himself + others!) has started called selfiecity: http://selfiecity.net
It gathers a lot of data, from poses to gender over to mood. It also has a few academic essays on there which I will start reading now.
The Selfie: Making sense of the “Masturbation of Self-Image” and the “Virtual Mini-Me”
Alise Tifentale, The Graduate Center, CUNY
This essay reviews some of the most recent debates on the selfie phenomenon and places it into a broader context of photographic self-portraiture, investigating how the Instagrammed selfie differs from its precursors. The Selfie phenomenon should be viewed in the light of history of photography as a sub-genre of self-portraiture and as a new subject of vernacular photography studies as well as treated as a side product of technological developments that have led to the easy availability of image-making devices and image-sharing platforms.
Imagined Data Communities
Nadav Hochman, University of Pittsburgh
Writing about media interface presentations and their relation to larger cultural trends is tricky. Different elements are constantly added, changed or removed, new services are frequently developed and released to public use, and new technologies capture the imaginations of many. Within this flux, what can we say about social photography in particular and contemporary image productions in general, that is not confined to the characteristics of one platform or another? Can we identify overarching processes that cross platforms and are destined to change the way we interact with images?
Beyond Biometrics: Feminist Media Theory Looks at Selfiecity
Elizabeth Losh, University of California, San Diego
As large-scale media visualizations from the Selfiecity database of images shot in five cities on four continents indicate, the selfie has become a truly transnational genre that is as much about placemaking as it is about the narrowcasting of particular faces and bodies. At the same time, the scholarly literature around this specific form of self-representation through closely distant mobile photography has struggled to keep up with theorizing emergent new media practices that utilize lenses, screens, mirrors, and armatures in novel ways and generate compositions with distinctive framing and posing that mark belonging to selfie taxonomies.