Ubiquitous Self: From Self-Portrait to Selfie

Ubiquitous Self: From Self-Portrait to Selfie

Giorgio Cipolletta (University of Macerata, Italy)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1796-3.ch006
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In 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries announced “selfie” as the word of the year. The dictionary defined it as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Selfies are also a complex form of social interaction, an emerging aesthetics, thus having an irrevocable impact on self-portraiture. All visual culture revolves around the body and the body par excellence is the face. The 21st century portrait represents a kind of black mirror where we project ourselves into a kind of blindness. Mask and face are confused by an omnipresent multividuality in which the shield reveals itself and reveals other possible worlds. The face-mask melts in between Real and Virtual and the self becomes augmented.
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Background (Etymologies)

At this point, it seems important to clarify a few recurrent terms: person, face, visage and derivatives.

Key Terms in this Chapter

“Touch-Screen” Aesthetic: The diffusion of new digital trends involves all disciplines and influences the status of the body at various levels, both psychological and physical, cultural and biological. This digital experiential contamination is born a new subjectivity based on the possibility of being connected and of “touching” us virtually. It develops, what I call a “touch-screen” aesthetic.

Selfie: A Present since 2009 in Wiktionary , it was recently registered as a neologism (August 2013) and elected “word of the year” by the Oxford Dictionaries. Selfie is not a perfect synonym of selfie (in neither of its two senses of “device for late shooting of a camera” and “photography in which the shooter is also the subject”), as it is not in English of automatic shutter release or self-shot or self-portrait: as suggested by the Oxford Dictionaries Online, the term means a photograph taken to oneself and typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website, typically without the aid of time, with a smartphone or webcam, destined to be shared on social networks ( a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website ). It is no coincidence, in fact, that the practice of selfie has had a boom in popularity at the same time as the introduction of the front camera in smartphones.

Facial Society: This term was coined by Thomas Macho. The face-to-face contact is transferred to the Internet–Facebook where the mass media subtract its body presence from the face, changing one of the fundamental habits of our perception that involves the need to recognize faces.

Infosphere: This term was coined by Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information and Director of the Digital Ethics Lab, at the University of Oxford. This neologism describes our lives online as a combination of adaptation in digital environments, between our being physically-analogically (based on carbon and offline) and the ubiquitous and digital there (based on silicon and online).

Fourth Revolution: This term was coined by Luciano Floridi. In the ubiquitous dimension the conditions of presence and absence are mixed, participating in the fourth revolution (after the Copernicus, Darwinian and Freudian one) that brings to light the intrinsic nature of information of human identity, in other words we are living beings, that is, understood as entities composed of information (inforg) ready to be sold or purchased.

Metrobody: It is a neologism for representing the idea of a new metrics of the body, conceived both as a mutant parameter and a transitive variable. It does not measure, it is not measure, but is measured in relation to the physical and digital environment at the same time, losing even the limits of reality.

Post-Photography: It refers to photography that flows into the hybrid space of digital sociality and is a consequence of visual overabundance.

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