While away on holidays the thought of the ubiquitious selfie struck me as an indicative misunderstanding of the way art functions in society. Without giving it too much thought I put the random thoughts to twitter.
There has been commentary on the narcissism of the selfie, and the selfie generation. Self portraits are nothing new in terms of the history of art but the selfie has predominated in a digital age and the shift in societal thinking. It is nothing more than self-aggrandisement.
The selfie misses the vital point of art and its function in society as a whole and the community on a smaller level, leading to this statement:
It can be a photograph, a drawing, a doodle, a sketch, done with crayons, pencils, textas, salt and pepper, the spilt milk on the table and played with to create a pattern.
The fact is, the art is deliberate and has a purpose. The fact a company can sell a book of Kim Kardashian selfies says a lot about the disposable artistic culture we live in. We have monetised narcissism which diminishes the value of art as a whole and what people are willing to pay to contribute to a vibrant arts culture. The same thing can be said for reality tv celebrities and their ‘biography.’ It cheapens the literary culture and pushes publishing to look for the next quick cash cow they can milk then slaughter.
If we want art to have longevity it must have purpose, definition and an audience. A selfie has none of them.
There is a place for art for the individual and the self. But it is not art to be shared publicly. It can be shared with a few select people but not for the whole community. I don’t show the scraps of sentences found littered in my notebook or my practice pieces to the readers of my blog (unless I am using it to illustrate a point). This is the art for myself. Only when the piece is completed, edited, refined will I show it to my audience. I know what is done for myself and what is done for my audience.
By all means, take selfies and share them with your audience. Just don’t cal it art.
Feel free to disagree with me in the comments; I would like your feedback on this.
What’s your opinion on the selfie as ‘art’?