Kris Fallon, "Serial Subjectivity: Social Media and Evolving Forms of Autobiography"
Jan 22, 2015
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM
|Contact Name||Andrew Ventimiglia|
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In spite of its ubiquity, the “selfie” is difficult to pin down. Within the last year, it’s been characterized as both a cry for help and a dangerous form of self-centeredness, alternately deemed capable of empowering women while simultaneously demonized for endangering relationships. A closer look at the various feeds and streams in which the selfie appears reveals that it is one genre amongst many, no more or less common than a variety of landscapes, still-lifes, and other modes of photographic observation. Taken together, these various views of the world reveal an emplaced mode of image driven autobiography, one far more complex and nuanced than a straightforward meme would appear to be. This talk will utilize the framework of serial narrative and documentary autobiography to theorize the Instagram feed as an emerging mode of nonfiction self-portraiture that complicates existing narrative frameworks and media forms. While photography is often conceived of as the art of the ‘instant’, autobiographical photo feeds like Instagram blend observation and performance, seeing the world and being seen in the world, over an open-ended narrative horizon. The curatorial performance at work in constructing one’s world through various views, each a passing glimpse in an unending, transient feed, constructs a narrative thread in which author, subject and audience all become open boundaries.
Kris Fallon is the Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor in Digital Culture at UC Davis. His research focuses on nonfiction visual culture across a range of platforms, from still photography and film to data visualization. His essays on digital technology and documentary have recently appeared in Film Quarterly and Screen, and are forthcoming in several edited anthologies.