For good old number 69, I give you the selfie. The narcissistic activity that lies vaguely between the lines of love and lust. Sure it is a form of self-love, but it is act of self-loathing and boastfulness. A selfie doesn't necessarily have to be on Facebook or Instagram, it can be a polaroid or a painting. Since the dawn of civilization, humans have sought to express themselves and artists have tried to do so via self portraits. From the Bavarian artist Albrecht Durer to LA's own contemporary Marc Horowitz. It was through the portrait that Van Gogh to Andy Warhola tried to find their identity and better understand and love themselves.
The selfie is quite the phenomenon, a common bond that links us together, yet pushes us apart. You can share anything and everything, from your terrible haircut to your terrific vacation. I for one have been riding this ego expressway for quite sometime, where how else would I tell my tail of two weddings on two coasts in one week. And with this celebration of love I embarked from JFK-LAX-La Joila, San Diego-LA Santa Monica & Malibu, LAX-SFO Sausalito & Marin, SFO-ATL-RIC, RIC-NYC. My selfies not only showed my self-love, but my love for the couples getting hitched.
As humans we have an insatiable quest for knowledge, like an adult version of show and tell. We're all similar to Narcissus from Greek Mythology, we both have fallen in love with our own reflections, but it is how we see this reflection that differs. Narcissus had his faithful puddle, we have our loyal iPhones. Heck many of us will most likely die with some sort of smart device in our hand, sure you can easily equate this to a heart monitor or your reclining hospital chair, but if you're anything like me, you wake up with a phone in your hand and start your day by diving into the world wide web.
We are all so vain, it is most certain this blog is about us. Does this mean that Van Gogh was any less conceited or self absorbed than the lady shooting a selfie and checking herself out in a shinny window? Our culture is being inundated by the selfie, you need them for dating profiles, to make your friends jealous, to get a job. Products have also infiltrated the market such at the selfie-wand allow you to take distant shots, while a selfie toaster burns your face onto a piece of toast. This fall we'll have an entire TV show dedicated to the notion of a selfie. So what does it mean? Well you certainly don't want to be that girl who took a selfie at the Aushwitz, yikes. However once you start, it is easy to get sucked into the madness where I accidentally forgot and snapped a few pics on a 9/11 dinner boat cruise, agh! Luckily US President Barack Obama got pulled into taking a photo at Nelson Mandela's funeral, so it looks like everyone's doing it.
The selfie has been around as long as humans have existed, it was only a mater of capturing them that has become so easy. Where does the selfie reside between selfishness and selflessness while we are all selfsame experiencing selfdom, selfhood, and selfness with our battle between good and evil self-obsessed. We are self-assured, self-centered, self-loathing and self-healing which is why the selfie
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.