This category contains 29 posts

Above & Beyond Time and Distance

Can we locate punctum in a live performance? Above&Beyond, a UK trance trio, bet the cathartic climax of their concert tour on it. This post considers how the act inventively deploys the meme form to incite an emotional response in the context of performance. But first – Roland Barthes’ punctum refers to the element of … Continue reading

My Selfie Practice: Self-Knowledge Production and Agency

Over the course of this term, we have debunked the popularized myth that selfies are shallow cultural artifacts. Domestic photography, snapshots, and #selfies of all genres have dynamic semiotic functions and play a major role in “backyard ethnographies” and (re)claiming agency. Borrowing methodology from Smith and Watson’s Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives … Continue reading

My Selfies are Much Better Than Yours (with a feeling so pure)

      For the entire part of my life during which I have been taking selfies (approximately the past five years), I have been taking selfies in which I am not “serious.”  I realize this now in looking back, yet never thought about it at the times of the photos.  Whether I am trying on hats … Continue reading

The social affordances of group selfie machines

Purikura is a type of high-tech photobooth where users can digitally manipulate their images before printing them off (or, more recently, sending the jpg versions to themselves). In “Play, Process and Materiality in Japanese Purikura Photography,” Mette Sandbye explores the cultural uses and ramifications of purikura photography practices. She observes that the practice of taking … Continue reading

Let me take a #groupselfie: A Reflection on my #selfie practices

We’ve talked a lot about #selfies and the generalized genres we see in them, such as haircut selfies, weight loss selfies, or mirror selfies.  I came at this from a very confused standpoint. This was, of course, not because I don’t take selfies, but instead, I don’t participate in genres with a single selfie subject. … Continue reading

Communicative Photos and Revisiting Smith and Watson

In class, we discussed how interpersonal communicative photos influence one’s identity, revisiting Smith and Watson’s idea of “Getting A Life”. While Linkedin avatars are more professional, Facebook tends to show the best version of a person, and neither is the most accurate representation or mediation of one’s identity. Extending the look into our archive of … Continue reading

Communicative Photographic Objects and the Archive of the Self

Martin Lister’s fascinating article, “Overlooking, Rarely Looking, and Not Looking” problematizes the sheer mass of digital photography stored online and on hard drives of cell phones, cameras, and computers. Lister argues that we are “drowning” (15) in snapshot images that are boring, mediocre and generally never even looked at (5). These sprawling masses of .jpgs … Continue reading

In Search of the Sisyphean Selfie

In his 1942 treatise The Myth of Sisyphus, noted French philosopher Albert Camus outlines his notion of the absurd, a concept which he would later develop most forcefully in his 1951 essay The Rebel. The absurd arises when man uses reason to understand an otherwise unreasonable world (unreasonable in that it cannot be reduced to a … Continue reading

Response: Revisiting Disney World and the #foodselfie

Two years ago, I went on a trip to Disney World with my partner during Reading Week. The trip would be my 5th time to “the World” but my first time going without the family, including my mom who is obsessed with taking the same pictures, by the same landmarks every time we go. Having … Continue reading

Mourning Your Past Self

Awkward Years Project is a website on which people post photographs of their younger selves looking certain ways which at some point in their lives embarrassed them. Posting on this site, I argue, is not just for the entertainment benefit of others (as on, say, Awkward Family Photos), but also functions as a means of re-writing … Continue reading