Living in today’s world, being at least slightly interested in contemporary culture, communication and cohabitation, one can easily state that the “Selfie” has replaced the black and white picture of the photomaton. I remember it well; I sometimes reminisce. My rather quirky group of friends squeezed into this small box to do funny faces in front of a flashing glass wall. There was no such thing as test shots to get the right angle, filters to get fuller lips and smaller hips. It was not about looking good and getting a remote, unreal, digital like. It was about spending time together and to like each other fully for those short 15 minutes between the schoolyard and home.
As I am writing these lines, I do see that these words may all seem a little to reactionary… Be reassured, it is not the case. I know that times were different with different available technology:
Neither better, nor worse. Neither more happy, nor more depressing. Neither more intelligent, nor more stupid.
Nineties to noughties
Remember, I am part of the generation that has been overwhelmed with “American freedom” and Beverly Hills 90210, while at the same time a few white guys shot a few hundred kids in a High School in Columbine. I am part of the generation that sang happily along any Spice Girls’ song and cried for weeks after Kurt Cobain shot his brains out. I am part of the generation that was obsessed with Nietzsche and Popper, but watched Jackass on television.
This is our selfie. This is who I could be… Remember the image is not called self-portrait.
Our faces may be on screens, with filters making us “shit rainbows”, while still looking amazing. We are not to be reduced to a single shot of ourselves. Our connections may like these images, be jealous of our beautiful skin (#nofilter), of us having the best job in world (#mylifemyjob), of us traveling this beautiful world in private jets (#deathtopoverty) and most importantly of us being happy twentyfourseven (#happyontheoutside #xanaxontheinside)…
Our selfies are empty, soulless, selfless…
“My face is on the screen” is clearly readable and not artificially pixelated as the rest of the photographic print. But still, the face remains invisible, hidden behind a device, apparently a phone. This multifaceted and multilayered “selfie” is a proposition of an ongoing series of “selfless selfies” incorporating a diverse range of mediums.
“selfless selfie (no.1)”, 2018
digital print on iridescent photo paper, 20 x 20 cm, framed, unique