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

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Wed Dec 9 06:14:26 AEDT 2015

Hi Kelly, no problem. I was just trying to expand the conversation.


On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Kelly Norris Martin <kellynmartin at gmail.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi Murat, I agree that I was using the term "interaction" somewhat loosely
> and these are arguments I'm still thinking through. Yes, in selfies, one
> difference is that "viewer and the subject before the lens are the same."
> And of course, this insertion of the artist or photographer within a
> creative work is nothing new. I was just trying to point out that the
> interaction that the selfie provides actually puts the creator within the
> medium and that offers an additional element of agency. Interactions with
> written text, the interaction is more uniform and there can be a lengthier
> back-and-forth. There is a different type of interaction with visuals and
> physical objects that the selfie complicates. On the one hand visuals and
> material artifacts may appeal to additional cognitive possibilities, on the
> other hand, we are somewhat separated.
> Aaron Hess’ recent piece in the International Journal of Communication
> offers another alternative interpretation to the notion of a “culture
> obsessed with itself” stating that, “the selfie also invites a different
> consideration about the complex nature of networked society. At the moment
> of capture, a selfie connects disparate modes of existence into one simple
> act…It features the corporeal self, understood in relation to the
> surrounding physical space, filtered through the digital device, and
> destined for social networks. In other words, the selfie exists at the
> intersection of multiple assemblages (DeLanda, 2006; Deleuze & Guattari,
> 1987; Wise, 2005) that draw complex and often contradictory subjectivities
> together.”
> On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 12:14 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> "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.
>> Ciao,
>> Murat
>> 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
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