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ECREA Digital Culture Workshop
University of Salzburg 26-27 November 2015
Antoni Roig, Elisenda Ardèvol, Gemma San Corneli...
Context of the research
Focus on personal narratives generated by users in
social networks.
Selfie as object of study: cur...
Some theoretical references
Selfie as ‘performed’ in different social contexts as part of a personal or
collective narrati...
Selfie, a cultural standard?
Technical standards -> norms, values and
conventions to facilitate communication across
forma...
Selfie as a visual standard
The “selfie” can be considered a visual
standard as it is a formalized kind of media
image and...
Formal analysis of selfies
From a formal perspective, selfies have some
common traits that some authors have analysed,
try...
The communicative nature of selfies
Selfies are more than visual standards, they
are communicative objects (Gómez and
Thor...
The double nature of the selfie
The selfie as a digital object and cultural standard
is interpreted by different logics in...
Selfie narratives in database collections
Joan Fontcuberta (2010) Reflectograms -
Through the mirror exhibition (self-
por...
Selfie narratives: disrupting the standards
The disruptive selfies are based on the
social conventions of the standard to
...
Selfies and the personal narratives of the body
Health, the body and lifesyle Personal stories of survival
www.selfiestori...
Selfies and the personal narratives of the body
Selling a lifestyle Celebrities, authenticity and the
feminized body
www.s...
Digital celebrities and the selfie
Spanish Youtube Celebrities
Selfie between parody and self-
celebration
www.selfiestori...
Digital celebrities and the selfie
spanish Youtube Celebrities
Selfie between parody and self-
celebration
www.selfiestori...
Appropriations, critique and fakes
Abdou Diouf: a fake journey Amalia Ullman: a fake celebrity
www.selfiestories.net
Appropriations, critique and fakes
If Disney characters had Instagram accounts
(Illustrator Simona Bofanini project)
Selfi...
Conclusions
Formal canon is unable to grasp selfies meaning because
of its communicative character: its meaning depends on...
Conclusions
KEEP CALM
&
TAKE A SELFIE
Thank You!
www.selfiestories.net
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Visual standards and disruptive practices in selfies

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In this paper we want to present a first exploration of these canonical and disruptive uses of “selfie” through combining two approaches: first, we will explore through bigdata analysis the performance of different tags related to the practice of selfie on Instagram. Second, we will analyse with qualitative methods different ways to play and transgress the selfie ‘canon’(s) including art or activist practices.

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Visual standards and disruptive practices in selfies

  1. 1. ECREA Digital Culture Workshop University of Salzburg 26-27 November 2015 Antoni Roig, Elisenda Ardèvol, Gemma San Cornelio Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
  2. 2. Context of the research Focus on personal narratives generated by users in social networks. Selfie as object of study: current example of the modes of representation of self? Mixed methods: quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis with a two-folded aim: 1) to foster the debate on the possibilities and limitations of “Data Analytics” in social research 2) to expand qualitative research on this issue, providing a framework of analysis from Big Data. "Selfiestories and personal data" - Project funded by the BBVA - 12/2015- 12/2016 www.selfiestories.net
  3. 3. Some theoretical references Selfie as ‘performed’ in different social contexts as part of a personal or collective narrative (Vivien and Burgess, 2013). Selfie in a broader spectrum of images and narrative threads that emerge within and between images conforming larger narrative streams or feeds (Fallon, 2014). Selfie understood as a cultural form beyond the ‘selfie tag’ (Gunthert, 2015) Social and technological devices are key to the understanding of the practices of the selfie and constitute an ‘alternative genealogy’, along with chats and other ways of technology-mediated interaction (Gómez and Thornham, 2015) Big data needs thick data (Wang, 2013)www.selfiestories.net
  4. 4. Selfie, a cultural standard? Technical standards -> norms, values and conventions to facilitate communication across formats, platforms, etc. Aesthetic standards-> Canon as normative concept related to conventionally accepted that it is following the ‘correct’, ‘normal’ or common form. Photographic rules -> related to formal standards for portraiture. www.selfiestories.net
  5. 5. Selfie as a visual standard The “selfie” can be considered a visual standard as it is a formalized kind of media image and production, which is structured by a number of stylistic conventions. These include the conflation of photographer and subject, a framing in which the subject dominates the foreground of the image, and the subject typically looking directly into the lens, and a perspective that is generally front- view from above (Meese et al. p. 1820). www.selfiestories.net
  6. 6. Formal analysis of selfies From a formal perspective, selfies have some common traits that some authors have analysed, trying to find rules. Manovich - Selfiecity (2013) They find some slightly different poses (such as the head tilt, or the tendency to smile) in the different cities where the selfies were extracted Bruno et al (2014, 2015) look at photographic rules (thirds rule, the golden rule, eye centering, or choosing the right side of the profile). They are not applied mainly to selfies. www.selfiestories.net Thirds rule
  7. 7. The communicative nature of selfies Selfies are more than visual standards, they are communicative objects (Gómez and Thornham, 2015) ---> cultural standard Sel·fie: /ˈselfē/ noun (informal) A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. (Oxford dictionaries, 2013) www.selfiestories.net
  8. 8. The double nature of the selfie The selfie as a digital object and cultural standard is interpreted by different logics in digital narratives: the database and the storytelling (Manovich,2001) - Searching engines - Folk taxonomies and hashtags - Instagram streamline www.selfiestories.net
  9. 9. Selfie narratives in database collections Joan Fontcuberta (2010) Reflectograms - Through the mirror exhibition (self- portraits on the Internet, with a mirror) Richard Prince (2015) exhibition on instagram selfies (appropriation and curation without permission) Lev Manovich Selfiecity (2013) project collecting selfies from instagram in different cities www.selfiestories.net
  10. 10. Selfie narratives: disrupting the standards The disruptive selfies are based on the social conventions of the standard to be understandable. Disruptive selfies enrich the conversation by telling different stories. Its meaning is constructed by disrupting / playing with the social conventions of mass communication. www.selfiestories.net
  11. 11. Selfies and the personal narratives of the body Health, the body and lifesyle Personal stories of survival www.selfiestories.net
  12. 12. Selfies and the personal narratives of the body Selling a lifestyle Celebrities, authenticity and the feminized body www.selfiestories.net
  13. 13. Digital celebrities and the selfie Spanish Youtube Celebrities Selfie between parody and self- celebration www.selfiestories.net
  14. 14. Digital celebrities and the selfie spanish Youtube Celebrities Selfie between parody and self- celebration www.selfiestories.net
  15. 15. Appropriations, critique and fakes Abdou Diouf: a fake journey Amalia Ullman: a fake celebrity www.selfiestories.net
  16. 16. Appropriations, critique and fakes If Disney characters had Instagram accounts (Illustrator Simona Bofanini project) Selfies and the banalization of tragedy (the Carlos Herrera case) www.selfiestories.net
  17. 17. Conclusions Formal canon is unable to grasp selfies meaning because of its communicative character: its meaning depends on context (streams, text, comments, filters, social media platforms) Selfies: stories not only about the self, but about a self embedded in a socialized media world (don’t fit in the cultural standard). Its standardization (through mass-media) produces normativity which is playfully/seriously contested through disruption practices. Disruptive practices contribute to the enrichment of the communicative process (unlike in the case of technological standards) www.selfiestories.net
  18. 18. Conclusions KEEP CALM & TAKE A SELFIE Thank You! www.selfiestories.net

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