The art ist of the Yolocaust project photoshopped gruesome images from

The art ist of the yolocaust project photoshopped

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had seen or were meant to commemorate genocide. The art- ist of the Yolocaust project photoshopped gruesome images from concentration camps into people’s selfies taken on the concrete pillars at the Berlin memorial. He has in turn been criticized for being arrogant and superimposing his own sim- plified view over a memorial, which, according to the people involved in designing it and running the museum underneath, is more complex. Both projects have also been criticized for shaming kids, most of whom were not being disrespectful, but rather marking and commemorating their visit to a his- torically and culturally relevant site. Scholars studying funeral-related social media have found that selfies feature prominently among social media images hashtagged with #funeral. The funeral selfies that have gone Downloaded by New York University At 10:48 07 September 2018 (PT)
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61 How Do We Selfie? viral and generated the most backlash usually show a smiling person in the same frame with the deceased person. Again, the contrast is what drives people’s sharp emotional reactions, but Australian scholars (Gibbs, Meese, Arnold, Nansen & Carter 2014) found that a significant number of funeral self- ies were quite mindful – captions reflected on loss, expressed family togetherness at a difficult time, prayed for the dead or expressed personal emotions. Adding what was communicat- ed in the comments sections of those selfies to the mix, it can be said that instead of disrespect, funeral selfies were mostly about shared mourning, connection and solidarity. James Meese, Gibbs, and Kohn (2015) suggest that these funeral selfies are not formal commemorative acts, in which context they could easily be deemed inappropriate, but rather, ways of communicating emotional information about the posters’ own circumstance. While there are certainly selfies that most everyone will agree are inappropriate, even callous, it seems that even in cat- egories that are often considered as socially unacceptable by default (memorial and funeral selfies), selfie practices can be multiple, and selfies can be misinterpreted when lifted out of the specific and complicated context in which they occurred. BUT WHAT ARE WE DOING, WHEN WE ARE DOING SELFIES? If selfies make sense as practices, as sets of contextual and situational doings and saying, then what else do we do, when we selfie? What social functions do selfie practices have? What do we take and share selfies for? In much of selfie scholarship we talk in analytical, abstract categories like self-expression, self-(re)presentation, self- exploration or self-transformation. I too have used these Downloaded by New York University At 10:48 07 September 2018 (PT)
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62 Selfies words in this book. These are useful but can also be confus- ing, because they cover a mix of concrete acts or practices. After all, we express ourselves when we yell at someone in anger, when we give them flowers and when we wave a pro- test flag, yet each of these could also be defined as having a different social function – to fight, to woo or to stand up for what we believe in. In more everyday terms, the graph in Fig. 1
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