To Selfie or not  to selfie

Oct 25, 2020

Selfie” in 2013 was elected as “word of the year”, and still maintains its place in the vocabulary. Selfies are not just an ephemeral fashion and it doesn’t matter if the first assonance is with selfish. Being is sharing and if you don’t share, you are nobody.

Art often ends up being just a background. And more than enjoying the moment, it appears a spasmodic anxiety of showing that moment in which we are ourselves in front of that important monument. Works of art and more or less famous architectures are often perceived only as an impressive scenography, and the time of the visit is consumed in a few quick gestures: framing, shooting, posting.

It is, clearly, a transitory, ephemeral moment: the sharing of our selfie becomes the essential part, the place where it is done becomes secondary, however fascinating or famous is the location, it all boils down to a paradoxical and grotesque snapshot in which the viewer becomes an integral part of the work of art, as protagonist, of course.

What is needed is to attract attention, and the only requirement concerning the artwork is that it has to be photogenic, amazing, in short, “instagrammable”. 

But this has also a positive side. In fact, this ever more pervasive need to show the place where we are, feeds curiosity and more and more “influencers” are attracted by the desire to immortalise themselves right in front of a work of art or monument. This could be a powerful tool for cultural dissemination.

More and more museums, which previously prohibited taking photographs, now are the first to invite and photograph the artworks, invent hashtags to publicise and share news about the exhibitions or the planned events.

This is a different way of bringing more people closer to art. Certainly very direct and effective.
Whether it is artistic or not, therefore, today the “selfie” represents a creative medium to convey culture, together with thoughts, stated of mind, social conditions.