SHOULD WE QUESTION SELFIES?

The act of creating a self portrait is nothing new. A visit to a gallery will reveal examples, whether by oil or pixel. Jasmine Chan takes a closer look…



In an age where we spend most of our time on social media, be that for the purpose of connecting with others, to following famous people.

There is one thing that is always present: selfies. With a rough estimate of 450 selfies taken by the average person per year. They are probable towards gaining the most likes and are seen on many social media platforms. Yet, they are just a picture of a person.

But what is the future of selfies?

The selfie has a long history, just in a different format. Portraiture in the west, can be dated back to ancient Greece and Rome. Back in the renaissance, wealthy people would commission an artist to paint or sculpt them. This was potentially a way of displaying their wealth, power, and preserving history. A good example of this, is The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the younger. The creator uses semiotics to convey who the people in the painting are. To some degree, the person’s character is affirmed through the artwork.

Identity has played a large role in art, with many creatives exploring it one way or another. Whether that is through self-portraits like Vincent Van Gogh’s, or through a more abstract expression such as Shahazia Sikander’s Amorial Bearing. Art is continually finding a new way to express existence.

However, selfies could just be a way to commemorate or validate someone’s pride, status, or beauty. Afterall, we could potentially be reading in too deeply about a picture that could just be something that was taken on a whim. Besides, sometimes it is fun to just take a picture to commemorate a joyful event.

Nonetheless, with technology developing faster than ever, we have come to see the rise of photo manipulation, along with deep fakes.

Deep fakes are an AI program that is designed to replicate a person’s face. There might be a possibility that we might begin to see more unauthentic selfies.

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Cover Photo: Milan Vadher


By Jasmine Chan: Arts Columnist.


This may lead to the question of what is real compared to the fake. Artisans will have to consider what it means to be authentic in terms of depicting a persona. How far will they take it?


“selfies could just be a way to commemorate or validate someone’s pride, status, or beauty.”

On the other hand, we must consider the benefits in using this technology.

In addition, it is already being used by both professionals and the public. Whether that be in the form of a snapchat filter, to films and museums using it to enhance an experience. One such incidence, is the Dali Museum using a deep fake to create an immersive experience for the public when visiting the museum. They did this by programming an AI to learn the facial and body expressions of the artist: Salvador Dali from photos and videos of him. Using these, they created a simulation of him that viewers in the museum could interact with.  

Thus, the selfie will continue to evolve into a new form. In addition, craftspeople with still find new ways to express, along with exploring personality. It has a long history that dates from ancient Greece and Rome. With technology improving, we will begin to see more selfies that are manipulated along with the possibility of experiences that are immersive due to deep fakes. Nevertheless, we should be wary of the danger that this technology poses. Particularly with how we understand what is false as opposed to real.


MACKAYAN: SHOULD WE QUESTION SELFIES?


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