Have you ever wondered what people see when they look at your selfie?
To provide an interactive answer to that question, Wickr, a messaging app that provides anonymous, private, and secure communication, is at South by Southwest today to launch Narcissus: The Selfie Installation Experience. This one-of-a-kind art show by visual artists Joan Bofill and Franc Aleu wants to show us what we miss by taking selfies.
“Selfies are the ultimate expression of narcissism,” Bofill, who is also creative director at Wickr, shares in an email to the Daily Dot. “I find it very interesting to display the action or process of taking a selfie instead of simply viewing the end product of a selfie.”
Narcissus is an interactive installation that is composed of three wooden pieces: a head, a hand holding a phone, and a helmet for the participant to wear. The helmet is composed of a mini-computer, video software, LED illumination (for the “real face”), battery, a microphone, and a high-definition camera all working together to capture footage of your face while wearing it. The video is then wirelessly sent to a computer that projects the imagery onto the wooden head sculpture, enabling to see yourself as “Narcissus.”
Bofill says the Narcissus helmet forces you to see yourself from the outside, as if you were an observer. You become the center of the installation as bystanders look on. “In the Narcissus experience, you can’t control what is happening to your selfie. You see yourself at the center of it all, and can view the people that are around you, but you cannot control the image itself or the reactions of onlookers,” he adds.
But how does this all tie into Wickr? According to Bofill, Wickr was created to allow people to take back control of their personal information and conversations. Narcissus exposes the often-ignored reality about selfie-taking: Once it’s uploaded online, you have zero control over what other people can do with your picture. “Through Narcissus, we are showcasing the lack of power you have surrounding an onlooker’s perceptions or ownership of your selfie. This draws a parallel with how your selfie can be perceived or later used on social media,” he explains.
Narcissus: The Selfie Installation Experience will have an invite-only debut at The Fairview Austin on Mar. 16, Monday, from 6:30pm to 9pm.
Screengrab via Wickr