Furthermore, my own memory needs that kind of personal marker. If you’ve ever been to the Eiffel Tower, I challenge you to remember the Eiffel Tower as it was when you saw it and NOT remember your photos of it. Or better yet, someone else’s photos of it. How can we know we are remembering our own experiences with the number of photos we see everyday? Maybe we feel the need to take selfies to help anchor our photographs in our own timeline and not risk cross-contaminating our memory with Instagram posts. Pictus Interruptus is a vaccine against the scourge of ubiquitous images. 1B. We love peeking behind the scenes. Reality shows and “making of” specials hold our post-modern attention. Technology—and more specifically, technology’s deft hand at of 914
distribution—has provided more access than ever before. A celebrity’s bathroom? The newest CGI techniques? Inner thoughts by your next-door neighbor? We’ve got Instagram, DVD extras, and blogs for that. In contemporary media art, debug screens have slipped into the final works. Like seeing the Matrix code trickle down, media artists are including the operational languages into works. Greg Borenstein, in HOLO Magazine’s essay “Ghosts and Underwear”,credits several technological movements for this trend, namely open source ethics and a fascination with understanding the methods of cutting-edge tech. To wit: “The debug view demystifies technology by pulling away the curtain and teaching people how the magic is done.” We want to see the recipe, because we want to learn for ourselves, and we want to be part of the action. In related news, there’s a New Aesthetic you may have heard of. “Central to the New Aesthetic is a sense that we’re learning to ‘wave at machines’—and that perhaps in their glitchy, buzzy, algorithmic ways, they’re beginning to wave back in earnest”, says Matthew Battle. Is the selfie New Aesthetic? Not really, but if the New Aesthetic is loosely about the ways the complex interactions between humans, technology and media make themselves visible, then the selfie is the largest, by volume, index of it. 1C. James Bridle, as part of his essay for HOLO, took “surveillance selfies” by merely standing in the frame of London’s wide array of broadcast CCTVs. Wearing a bright pink shirt, Bridle is captured all around town. More importantly, he is looking at the camera in each image. Bridle converts surveillance into selfies by introducing a subject: himself. Surveillance doesn’t have a subject, it merely has a gaze. Subjects may appear later, if feeds are reviewed for criminal evidence, but surveillance cameras are just pointed in some direction. They don't really look at anything. Bridle presents photos of him looking at the camera taking a photo of him. When we look at these photos, the clandestine cameras cannot hide: we see the camera and its networked apparatus as much as we see a tiny figure in a pink shirt.