The “selfie” is a very interesting contemporary social phenomenon. It is descriptive of the way that social interaction works these days. On one hand, the world is becoming more and more connected thanks to technology, but on the other hand, the individual is becoming more and more isolated. Instead of “real” (that is, non-electronic) social interaction, a lot of our daily lives now takes place on the Internet, and the selfie might be seen as a way to bridge the gap between our individual electronic isolation and our inherited need to interact with others.
The selfie is also descriptive of the narcissistic and self-centered personality traits that huge parts of our society show. It is a means of showing off, in much the same way that status symbols work. But at the same time, the modern selfie culture also shows how fragile our individual self-perception and self-esteem are. The selfie serves as a means to receive reassuring feedback about our appearance in a society where the “perfect” look is constantly advertised in the media.
At the conceptual website Selfeed, all of this comes together. By displaying Instagram photos tagged “#selfie” in real-time, Selfeed creates a constant stream of single-serving icons of self-reverence. Each picture being displayed for mere fractions of a second, Selfeed amalgamates this steady flow of individuality into a critical mass, impenetrable by the viewer. It is hard following the fast-paced change of images, with only one out of a dozen leaving an impression for a short while, until it is replaced by the next.
“We created it because we wanted it to exist,” Selfeed’s creators explain to TIME. “Most of the selfies that are aggregated are self-portraits with one singular figure. On Selfeed, these figures exist alone, but together.” The beauty of Selfeed is that while it is almost like an exhibition, thanks to its dynamic nature it isn’t limited to the bits that its curators saw fit to be shown to the world. Selfeed gives a raw and unaltered look at the reality of the selfie culture – sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful, but always captivating and mesmerizing.
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