Pictus Interruptus and Other Notes on the Selfie Written by Pablo Garcia For Creative Applications Network , 3 October 2014 (Note: the below text has underlined hyperlinks) of 1 14
1A. Technological Transparency This is a self portrait from 2001. I shot it on 35mm Kodak Tri-X film with my analog SLR. I was quite satisfied with it at the time, as the photo seemed to capture much of what interested me in photography: images that were self-conscious about their own making; techniques that highlighted innate processes and properties. Ostensibly this is a photo of me, but the background is in focus. It’s a grainy print; the texture spoke to the material quality of analog photography. And the shadow of the camera and my arm holding it seemed to collapse space into a perfect staging of technological transparency. That is, the means of production are represented in this representation. Above it all, the method by which the system is made apparent is the setting sun—original giver of light, maker of shadows. All elements required for a photograph are indexed here: the photographer, the subject, the camera, light- sensitive celluloid, and light. This photograph, in essence, is about photography, and less about me. Or at least that’s how 26-year-old me thought of it. Thirty-nine-year-old me looks at this now and muses: “Kinda looks like a selfie.” 2A. The Currency of Selfies If I can’t show it If you can’t see me What’s the point Of doing anything? So sings Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) in her Laurie Anderson-esque, intellectual-yet- anxious pop anthem “Digital Witness” (2014). of 2 14
2B. Dutch graphic designer Zilla van den Born told her friends she was going on a five- week tour of Asia. She posted photos on Facebook and Skyped home throughout her trip. It turns out she never left her home city of Amsterdam. Everything was faked. Why? “I did this to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media,” she told Dutch journalists. “We create an online world which reality can no longer meet.” Looking through the photos shared with the public, one thing should have tipped them off: no selfies. The photos are almost naively “touristic” in the 20th century sense: posing next to locals, or wide shots of her on the beach. As if she handed her camera to a stranger to take the photo. Who abdicates their role as documentarian anymore? The lesson here: Don’t trust selfie-less vacation pics. 3A. Tourists “In a little while we were speeding through the streets of Paris and delightfully recognizing certain names and places with which books had long ago made us familiar. It was like meeting an old friend when we read “Rue de Rivoli” on the street corner; we knew the genuine vast palace of the Louvre as well as we knew its picture; when we passed the Column of July we needed no one to tell us what it was or to remind us that on its site once stop the grim Bastille.”
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