Into the Looking Glass: How selfie culture is preparing us to meet our future selves

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Abstract

The ‘selfie’ is often conceived as a potent symbol of the narcissism at the heart of ‘Generation Me’. In contrast, this video essay aims to explain how this recent phenomenon is best understood as simply part of the viewer’s evolving relationship with the media. Where once the cinema and television ‘viewer’ sat at a relative distance from the screen, now digital ‘users’ actively engage with devices which they can carry, touch and even wear. This gradual journey towards the screen has arguably helped to transform the ‘passive voyeur’ into an ‘active exhibitionist’ i.e. a digital participant who is now increasingly able to frame and control the reproduction of their own image. This video essay explains how this historical process is only likely to intensify in the age of immersive media like Virtual and Augmented Reality. As the distance between spectator and spectacle gradually dissolves, so new forms of hybrid or ‘hyper reality’ will emerge that could radically reinvent levels of active agency. It will finally reveal how aspects of immersive media could help individuals to increasingly connect on a global level, producing new forms of empathetic and creative communication.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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