Theory of the Selfie / Hyperallergic

New Museum Curator Lauren Cornell in her partner-as-mirror selfie via Facebook

New Museum Curator Lauren Cornell in her partner-as-mirror selfie via Facebook

CHICAGO — OxfordDictionaries.com recently announced that ‘selfie’ is their new Word of the Year, moving it beyond sanctified slang in the Urban Dictionary. Defining it as a “photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website,” Oxford Dictionaries notes that usage of the term ‘selfie’ increased by 17,000 percent in the last year. The Selfie Theory posits that as we increasingly live in public, our selfies are our networked identities, connected, refracted, and devoid of context — and those who see us are our mirrors, reflecting how we look back to ourselves, and out to the internet world.

The selfie is preceded by the self-portrait, a regular practice for artists and anyone who is perpetually “adolescent” in the sense that they recognize identity and the self as one that is always in the process of becoming. In an attempt to broaden the selfie definition in OxfordDictionaries.com, I consider selfies as self-portraits that appear on social networking sites either on one’s own accord, or through another person who becomes their mirror. Selfies are about connecting with others through mirroring processes, not about being alone in front of a static one-way mirror.

Read the full story on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/94461/theory-of-the-selfie/