[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 132, Issue 3

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Wed Dec 9 04:14:53 AEDT 2015

"Photographs, like physical monuments, often don’t allow for real
interaction with the creator or viewer,..."

Hi, Kelly,

I don't think the above statement is correct. Photographs, most
particularly those taken before digital photography, i.e. those created
through camera obscura/analog means, involve a subtle dialogue between the
viewer and what is before the lens. The passage of time permeates the
viewing of such photographs. (I go into great detail on this process, if
anyone is interested, in the essay *The Peripheral Space of Photography*
(Green Integer, 2004). Besides their digital origins, what is different
about selfies is that the viewer and the subject before the lens are the
same. Nevertheless, the passing of time  separates these two identities
(the viewer and the subject), the viewer becoming altered by time, *provided
anybody takes time (more than one or two seconds) to look at selfies or
clicking a "like" mark*.

Then there is the opposite impluse first expressed in Walter Benjamin's
essay "The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction": the impulse
photography creates in people to take (in digital parlance click) pictures.
>From that point, people takes selfies robotically, because the means is
there, inherent in the opportunity. It means nothing more. Nobody looks at
them more than once because there are so many of them.

Of course, that mechanical quality may make selfies commercially such a
fertile ground--self perpetuated logos.

Just a few thoughts.


On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 10:44 AM, Kelly Norris Martin <kellynmartin at gmail.com
> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi everyone, And thank you Jonathan and Joonas for initiating such an
> interesting discussion. My name is Kelly Norris Martin and I am also at
> Rochester Institute of Technology. I’m looking forward to the Kern
> Conference in the spring and participating in this current discussion,
> although I've only just recently begun to consider the selfie and the
> history of self representation in relation to my work with problematic
> material monuments and how decision-making and discourse surrounding these
> monuments can be so complicated.
> The frustration largely emanates from publics with an opposing view than
> that of the ideology depicted or commemorated. This dissenting response is
> difficult to express in a satisfying way. People cannot really interact
> with a purely material object on the same level as face-to-face
> conversation or through written text and it ends up being a very one-way
> form of communication. Discussion about these monuments may happen online
> or in public address but they are removed from the material object.
> Like Jonathan, I’m very interested in how Murray contests the purely
> narcissistic motives of selfies. He argues  selfies illustrate consumer
> resistance and I argue that the selfie allows for a greater sense of
> engagement combining multiple modalities. This engagement is likely more
> complicated and provides new challenges as Joonas points out because it
> “entails a new language, aesthetic, and trajectory of communication.”
> Photographs, like physical monuments, often don’t allow for real
> interaction with the creator or viewer, but the selfie provides an
> opportunity for the creator (sometimes viewer) to enter the discussion, to
> showcase belonging and expression, within the same medium.
> I'll stop here for now to try and keep this at 300 words. But I'm looking
> forward to further exploring this idea of  selfies and connecting disparate
> modes of existence.
> Thanks so much,
> Kelly
> On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 5:34 PM, Joonas Rokka <joonas.rokka at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Hi everyone and thanks Jonathan for the discussion opener and also for
>> including me as a discussant. My name is Joonas Rokka and currently work in
>> France at EMLYON Business School. In my ongoing research on the visual, I
>> am interested in studying how consumer-made selfies interrogate and impact
>> brands.
>> In other words, I try to understand the growingly popular phenomenon
>> where people tag, feature and express brands in their selfies. At this
>> point, I am trying to learn how that happens (the practices) and what
>> exactly they post (content) but also how the heterogeneity of brand-tagging
>> selfie images relate to and resonate with other brand images (for example
>> by the brand).
>> I find it interesting because much of the branding work that we know is
>> established on the idea that brands express their authentic and charismatic
>> “vision” through images (ads, video) that are carefully crafted, curated
>> and assembled. What the brand-tagging selfies bring is this whole multitude
>> of visions and expressions that are diffused on a massive scale. I would
>> argue this poses major new challenges to brands (and researchers) primarily
>> because of the visual: the selfie images entail a new language, aesthetic,
>> and trajectory of communication – as Jonathan has show in his research –
>> that is radically different from, for example, more traditional textual
>> interaction with brands. For example, while it is quite possible to code
>> textual postings as “negative” or “positive” (what data monitoring software
>> can readily and with some success do) the same is a very complex issue with
>> pictures.
>> But yes, I will explain how I deal with some of these issues at the Kern
>> conference and tell also about my project on “champagne selfies”. It’s a
>> project where I used a data monitoring software to gather selfie images
>> that feature most talked about champagne brands (I follow 19 different
>> brands).
>> I personally prefer to conceive selfies as a rather broadly defined type
>> of image. But I am curious to hear how you define the limits of what
>> selfies are, and where can we say selfie is different to say self-portrait
>> for example? How do you see it?
>> Thanks in advance,
>> Joonas
>> On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 6:42 PM, Jonathan Schroeder <jesgla at rit.edu>
>> wrote:
>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>> Here are the rest of my invitees for this discussion:
>>> Doug Allen is Chair of Markets, Innovation, and Design at Bucknell
>>> University’s School of Management. His research focuses on consumer culture
>>> and emphasizes practice theory in the context of various domains of
>>> experience ranging from consumer choice to financial investing practices.
>>> His work has appeared in a number of journals in marketing, consumer
>>> research, and finance.
>>> Mehita Iqani is Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University
>>> of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the author of
>>> Consumer Culture and the Media: Magazines in the Public Eye (2012) and
>>> Consumption, Media and the Global South: Aspiration Contested (2015).  She
>>> received her PhD from the Department of Media and Communications at London
>>> School of Economics and Political Science.
>>> Richard Kedzior is assistant professor of Markets, Innovation and Design
>>> at Bucknell University’s School of Management. As a consumer researcher he
>>> focuses on issues at the intersection of culture and technology such as
>>> digital materiality. His recent work on the interplay of digital
>>> technologies and consumer identities has been published in Journal of
>>> Marketing Management. His articles has also been published in numerous
>>> edited volumes dedicated to consumption and consumer culture.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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