The digital camera is a technological revolution that, in addition to fomenting the secularisation, democratisation and trivialisation of photography, has led to a radical shift in how we express ourselves, share our life and communicate with others. Platforms such as Instagram, Flickr, Photobucket, Tumblr and Picasa have changed the way we write our biographies and have heralded the death of the traditional family photo album. The recent rise of the selfie, has engendered a new generation of photography that straddles the self-portrait and “conversational” photography; today, images are photographic messages or visual stories.
The (SELFI)* exhibition by Darya von Berner, produced for the old cold storage room at the former Madrid Municipal slaughterhouse, is a perspective on the perception, attention, ecology and the selfie culture.
There are two key figures in this art project: the Abierto x Obras gallery and its active visitors. Thanks to the organic and creative lighting, the visitors can enjoy the site in its totality for the first time. The architectural space itself has been doubled, implying a selfie of itself, an imaginary and magnificent self-portrait. Only by paying close attention to the work is a new image of themselves revealed to its visitors through observing themselves and by being observed by others.
Carlota Alvarez Basso
* SELFI: a Spanish adaptation of the English term selfie, which has been chosen as the word of the year by FUNDEU (Fundación del Español Urgente).
(SELFI) is a public art experience where the content and the interaction level are equal. Inside the light installation a spotlight on the floor attracts the visitors towards the back of the exhibition space. When positioning themselves inside of this light circle, their reflection appears in the large mural mirror at the end of the room. From this point in the room, they can either take a picture of their reflection, from a rational Renaissance perspective point of view or they press the ‘twist icon’ to front-facing camera to take a selfie to share their experience with others (conversational photography). The interaction has a socio-political relevance, since viewers are invited to share their interaction via their interfaces, thus a potential is generated which expands the reach of human action. The historical point of view and understanding of selfhood is somewhat reconstructed from a modern point of view of selfhood.