When does it stop becoming a selfie?

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Selfies whether they’re used for strategies, commercialisation or function are becoming a tool for empowerment used globally with the rise of cameras being linked to devices we use everyday. Not only is our mobile phone used for telephone calls, it’s also a GPS, video camera, calculator, voice recorder, computer, internet connection, mailbox, games console and the list goes on. This multi-purpose device is now a contender in the camera market, with more and more content being produced by a phone and an internet connection coining the rise of the “micro-celebrity”. Aided with the accessibility of social media, individuals are able to share stories and ideas within minutes to anyone who’s connected with them.

The human selfie is recognised as a way of empowerment as mentioned above in terms of political activism (or slacktivism), a coded language in lack of a better word. A commercial statement that allows individuals capture a particular aesthetic point in their lives and share it to a global following, or indeed a safety check up or review for a website that has some functionality to it that updates the intended recipient  of a whereabouts or a primary source about a location, ie: photo review of a landmark or attraction.

I want to perhaps discover a slightly different angle from this topic of the selfie, of when does it become something foreign or perhaps stop becoming a “self”-ie. More specifically, if an inanimate object or technological device manages to take a “self portrait” is this still considered the same thing. My exploration is that of a drone or quadcopter taking a selfie with its own camera installation, or a “dronie” so to speak. Not a selfie of a human which exists already, but the autonomous action of the drone taking a photo of it’s self in a mirror. I’m not sure how popular this is already, it was more a thought related to my cybercultural enthusiasm with robotics, thus the Drone selfie (of a drone):


Even if not a drone, I have a MiP Robot I purchased from Japan, that also has the ability to link to an app and take photos without the user physically holding it. What if this device was to then be able to produce content of enough quality to resemble the selfie, would we still allow this kind of content to enter the realm of micro-celebrity. It is an exciting entry point I believe for autonomous robotics to start creating their own aesthetic rather that we continue to produce the criteria for them.

This article explores the nature of humans interacting with robotics, in a device created and said to be able to “play iPad games, take selfies and even convey human emotion likeliness such as “moody” behaviours”(Motherboard, 2016). It is an interesting viewpoint on the way we think about attaching human emotions to electronics and perhaps an insight into their initial dependencies on us to keep them “company”.

I’d like to explore how this could infact interact with the drone taking a photo of the drone. Would the next step in photographic aesthetics or the “selfie” be giving the devices we use today the ability to take a selfie of themselves?. What if our phone or tablet or even SLR camera could suddenly explore the uncanny idea of themselves in the photo they’re capturing.

M, Margolin 2016, ‘This Robot Takes Selfies and Gets Moody, Just Like Us‘, Motherbaord, viewed 15th March 2016, <https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/this-robot-takes-selfies-and-gets-moody-just-like-us&gt;







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