A team of programmers, designers, media theorists and art historians from UC San Diego, the Graduate Center, City University of New York and elsewhere is using advanced media tools to parse the selfie phenomenon.
The term ‘selfie’ took on a life of its own in 2013, especially after the Oxford English Dictionary selected it as the “international word of the year.”The Internet and mobile phones were awash in self-portraits as consumers purchased more smartphones with front-facing cameras – turning the selfie into a truly worldwide phenomenon.
Now comes more evidence that selfies have come to inhabit a unique place in world culture – a place with a Web address of its own: Selfiecity.net.
Their findings went viral when they made their findings available and easily navigable at the interactive website, which allows viewers to visualize 3,200 Instagram selfies from five cities.
“We analyzed and visualized thousands of selfies from Instagram, comparing patterns across New York, Bangkok, Berlin, Moscow and São Paulo,” said CUNY computer science professor Lev Manovich, who leads the Selfiecity project as well as the Software Studies Initiative in the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego.
“We were able to create a rich project which combines innovative interactive visualization of the photo collection, research findings, and theoretical essays, and it is gratifying to see how the media and the public have responded.”
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