This week was winter break so we haven’t had any lectures for our NetNarr module. So we were set some home assignments to do instead, including the #selfieunselfie project. Mia has designed this project as an installation to be featured in the Bergen Public Library from Spring 2018. First, we had to take a selfie that we would be comfortable posting on social media and explain why. This is my response:
‘I’m not normally someone who would post a selfie just of my face. If it’s a selfie with me and friend that’s different because I see it as a nice memory of us. But I don’t like the focus to be entirely on my face. I would post this selfie online as I like the way my hair has been styled and think that the angle of the lighting gives my face a nice shape. I like the way my make up looks, plus the pose I’m pulling gives off a slightly mysterious vibe!
All these reasons, however, sound very superficial to me so I still wouldn’t actually post this on my social media!’
The next part of the project is to deconstruct the selfie and talk about what is missing from it, parts of my identity that is not present in the selfie:
‘Of course, selfies are based entirely on aesthetics, so my selfie doesn’t show anything beyond what you would see by looking at my face. My passion for singing and my love for music is missing from the picture. The selfie doesn’t demonstrate how much I love nature and Norwegian mountains, or my love for dogs (especially my own two back at home in England). Or how much I love food and cooking and baking when I’m feeling adventurous. This raises a question as to the first impression you get by looking at someone for the first time. By looking at someone’s face (or a picture of it; a selfie) all you see are their facial features and nothing beyond that. The ability to know things about that person stops at the barrier of the selfie.’
The last part of the project is to post an ‘unselfie’; something that represents a different aspect of yourself, without showing any part of the self:
‘Since coming to Norway almost 8 months ago now, nature has become such a big part of my life. Before arriving here in August 2017, I had never even set foot on a mountain, never mind about climbing one. But within a week of coming to Bergen I had already hiked the tallest mountain in Bergen, Ulriken. Since then I haven’t stopped.
Hiking, sunsets and incredible views have become such an important part of my life that I hope to carry with me when I go back to England. This is one of my favourite photos I took from a hike in Bergen.’
I think that this project is a very thoughtful comment on what society consider’s ‘acceptable’ for social media and why. The standards that people compare themselves against when posting selfies are photos of celebrities that have usually been significantly edited and photoshopped. These goals are unattainable as they aren’t real!
I think people need to be reminded of that more often when being critical of themselves and other people.