If I were to mention social media and the contemporary culture of the internet, the ‘selfie’ would have to noted. A website named selfie city explores the identity and phenomenon of the modern-day trend. The front page of the website describes itself as

“Investigating the style of self-portraits (selfies) in five cities across the world.

Selfiecity investigates selfies using a mix of theoretic, artistic and quantitative methods:

  • We present our findings about the demographics of people taking selfies, their poses and expressions.
  • Rich media visualizations (imageplots) assemble thousands of photos to reveal interesting patterns.
  • The interactive selfiexploratory allows you to navigate the whole set of 3200 photos.
  • Finally, theoretical essays discuss selfies in the history of photography, the functions of images in social media, and methods and dataset.”

-Selfiecity . (unknown). Selfiecity. Available: http://selfiecity.net/. Last accessed 4th November 2014.

As you begin to run through their webpage You can tell that they take their work on the subject matter very seriously, even though it is seen as an everyday normality for everyone they discover there are a lot more things to it, the people who coordinated this project and put it together are as follows:


From what I can gather from their research there is a lot of research and polling that goes into discovering what is behind this internet phenomenon and the social culture around it. Below are some examples of the way they have approached in order to understand the phenomenon:

2 3 4 Capture

considering selfies are something we see everyday and don’t take a lot of notice of, its interesting to see the depth of research this team has produced, into the slightest detail, even how much people smile. What I found most interesting is the post above, where when everyone’s selfies are titled and shown in the same angle, without any colour they all look so incredibly similar.

This is just the beginning of my research into the internet and its phenomenon, eventually I can tell that what I will prefer to look into is Art and Designs association and involvement with the internet. But before I can begin to understand that, I can understand the research ‘SelfieCity’ has conducted give me another into the effects of social media on the general public, and how the selfie functions as a huge part of that.

This research resonates similar themes I was exploring in my summer Project Practice (See previous blog post- Summer project Practice: Blogging Culture). I was looking at the importance of Social Media for the promotion of artists and illustrators and its one of the most popular ways of artists getting their work out there, and what Selfie City looks at, is everyday people utilising the internet to for their own self promotion. Tifentale, (2014) references Karen Nelson-Field in her essay from selfie city ‘The Selfie:Making sense of the“Masturbation of Self Image” and the “Virtual Mini Me”’ who suggests that selfies allow people to put themselves in an online social circle that acts as a position for self promotion to gain recognition and support, which is no different to consumer brand promotion, Nelson-Field 2013 cited Tifentale 2014. Nelson and Tifentale are referring to the selfie as a form of marketing, but  feel as though these rules can be applied to the effect of artists putting their work on the using social media, they are looking for the same amount of recognition and support. From this I can learn the boost in social media allows artists to and illustrators to boost their work as a form of self promotion to gain interaction from their targeted audience Nelson-Field 2013 cited Tifentale 2014.

Furthermore, reading some of the other essays selfie city, I can gain a deeper understanding of why they carry out the research that they do. Hochman states that the thorough research they have conducted (pictured above allows them to illustrate the current and near futures of visual material within and outside the social media stream (Hochman, 2014). The way in which the collective has conducted this research shows an understanding of the small details within people’s ‘self promotion’ that causes the phenomenon. This is really inspiring for my own project and especially makes me think about the importance of conducting thorough research around a subject matter, internet art for example, to gain a stronger understanding of the ways in which I can understand the effect of the internet on contemporary artists and designers.

So far i have looked into GIF art, the context of selfiecity’s research and the importance of cultural capital when applied. After starting to understand why artists use the internet as a platform for self promotion, next I want to find some more key works and writers who have further looked into its effect on the art world, compared to just something such as the selfie. I need to understand Internet art and the reason it came to be, this is the next logical step in my  research.

references from this blog post:

Nadav Hochman. (2014). Imagined Data Communities. Available: http://d25rsf93iwlmgu.cloudfront.net/downloads/Nadav_Hochman_selfiecity.pdf. Last accessed 8th November 2014.

Alise Tifentale. (2014). Making sense of the “Masturbation of Self – Image” and the “Virtual Mini – Me”. Available: http://d25rsf93iwlmgu.cloudfront.net/downloads/Tifentale_Alise_Selfiecity.pdf. Last accessed 4th November 2014.

Selfiecity . (unknown). Selfiecity. Available: http://selfiecity.net/. Last accessed 4th November 2014.


Karen Nelson-Field (2013). Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing. Australia: Oxford University Press . unknown.


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