Private life is nothing more but the point in the time and space where I am not the object. I have the political right to be subject and I must protect it.
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
Can we say that nude narcissism is selfishness? Where is the line between the desire to be well-liked and the obsessive fear to lose the popularity? The average social media user multiplies his image on a daily basis, as if trying to find the perfect version of him, which gives an opportunity for further reproduction and breeding.
The wish to fix his image was inherent to man throughout history. From rock carvings to the Funerary cult of the ancient Egypt, from the Renaissance to nowadays, contemplation of your own image soothes you, makes you feel confident. Its preservation gives you the right to stay in the history, although it is not a remedy against the oblivion.
The neologism «selfie» became the word of the year according to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. The quantity of photos with the hashtag «selfie», «me», «I» has passed for the hundreds of millions. The function of hastag is interesting in this context. In fact, the hashtag is a manifestation of self-objectification. Through nominalization of his image, the person turns it into a commodity, thereby simplifying it to the typical characteristics that facilitate to find it on the social network. Paradoxically, “salfization” connects two opposite aspirations — typing / searching and further emphasizing their uniqueness.
One of the main theorists of new media, Marshall McLuhan, in the fourth chapter of his book «Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man » (1964) refers to the myth of Narcissus. It focuses on the fact that Narcissus fell in love not with himself, but with his face formalized in a very different form, in material which carries the image. McLuhan emphasizes that the first reaction of Narcissus when he first met his reflection was consternation, after that he accepted the image of another man, and only after that he was charmed. The process of recognizing ourselves in the mirror goes through the same stages of rejection –acceptance, it takes time. The only difference is that the user can freely adjust and play with his identity within the social network.
At the exhibition “All eyes on me” the concept of the image is stratified into several main topics:
– transfer of the image to the image
– my image- your image
– the attempt to aestheticize yourself through observation, decomposition and adoption
Each piece of art is “I”, formalized in another way. “I” will never be complete, it needs to be reflected by somebody. What is the form of my reflection? Where are the boundaries of me and my private life? Is there unchanging and constant “I”?