Book presentation with Wolfgang Ullrich “Selfies”
Staged self-portrayals in the shape of selfies have revolutionised communication with images. In a very short time, small digital photographs have become a relevant form of pictoriality. Nowadays, everyone can change their own face with filters, right down to the grotesque or animalistic. The self-portrait has become a mask and can be sent anywhere in real time. Since the advent of smartphones, these picture messages, usually accompanied by emojis, have developed their own iconography and language, regardless of culture, nationality or social affiliation. With the digital selfie, the image has moved from the exclusivity of a few (painting, portrait photography), to a democratic form, which is now handled in a highly creative and global way.
On the occasion of the book series on Digital Image Cultures (“Digitale Bildkulturen”, Wagenbach Verlag) initiated by Wolfgang Ullrich, the art historian, philosopher and author not only presented the phenomenon of the selfie in all its consequences, but also placed it in the context of art history. Predecessors can be found in the masks of courtly festivities in the Baroque or pathos formulas of antiquity, in African and East Asian cultures, with Xaver Messerschmidt in the 18th century or Arnulf Rainer in the 1970s.
The stimulating lecture on the book was then discussed in detail and reflected upon vividly by the large audience.