Talk on contemporary selfie culture by Professor Giovanna Borradori from Vassar College, US
“I am looking at the eyes that looked at the Emperor”, wrote Roland Barthes while staring at a photograph of Jerôme Bonaparte. I am haunted by a parallel question: what do we see when we look at the eyes of someone who are looking at themselves, while they pose as themselves for us? This projective interpellation complicates the “pathological” reading of selfies as narcissistic, voyeuristic and exhibitionist expressions of the millennial, Z, and Y generations. Rather than as self-portraits, or representations of a transcendent self, selfies will be discussed in this talk as representations of the spectacle of self-representation: screens onto which the neoliberal subject continuously projects itself through the lens of imagined others.
As Michel Foucault claimed, participation in this spectacle is a confessional practice that has expurgatory and salvific goals. This normative “incitement to speak” demands that we tell the truth about ourselves by exposing the most intimate details of our every experience, thought and emotion. This framework of confession will emerge as the disciplinary underpinning of what I will call “the narratable self”, the docile political subject produced and maintained by the reversible camera.
Giovanna Borradori is Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College in the US. She works at the intersection of aesthetics and politics. Her book, Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, was the first philosophical examination of the events of September 11 and their aftermath. Most recently, she has been working on the role of photographs in the formation of political subjectivity.
Image credit: Doctor Popular, AntiTagging, 2014. Self-portrait taken using the Anti-Tagging iPhone app that anonymizes photos by auto-detecting faces and glitching them out, thus producing a secure selfie. Source: Flickr. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0.
Dates & times
|Date||Time||Add to calendar|
|20 Mar 2018||5:00pm - 7:00pm|
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