Right from its start, cultural pessimism has embraced the #museumselfie, although the #museumselfie is not the fault of the internet (or Instagram; or omnipresent phones). Instead, it is a logical continuance of what has been coined “the art-architecture complex” (Hal Foster), a transformation that changed the field of art in the 90’s. In other words: not selfies, but the spectacle of beautifull titanium bent side museum constructs by Frank Gehry reduced the artwork to wallpaper; and art fairs becoming the spectacle they are today did the same for contemporary art. Corresponding to this change, the first #museumselfie day was launched 2014 by UK’s Cultural Themes campaign. Quickly, Jay-Z got involved.
A common theme runs from the first art portraits all the way through the centuries up to our time and into our mobile devices that are taking selfies: looking at people looking out of pictures. The past, Walter Benjamin once wrote, can be seized as an image that flashes up at the moment of its recognisability – and this is exactly what is happening here in this great project with the far too benign name “Museum of Selfies”, started by Danish designer Olivia Muus. An intelligent version of the playful mass phenomenon the next entry talks about.
Once a thriving and highly distributed metropolis of citizens and users from all ages and backgrounds, Geocities found itself in the space of less than a decade outdated, accused of nostalgia and of an infantile history better forgotten. The aesthetics and customs that had evolved in parallel were no longer capable of tolerating its presence.
In April 2009 an announcement was posted online. Yahoo! a once benevolent landowner of this kingdom had chosen to purge every settlement without exception – eradicating without a moment of thought for preservation an entire culture. Leaving in its wake but a few caring and diligent librarians with the task of urgent preservation.
Efforts still continue to this day to restore and maintain the fragments of this once thriving civilisation most notably ArchiveTeam, Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied and InternetArchaeology.org.
This online “museum” was borne out of a symposium on post-digital cultures taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland in December 2013. It contains a collection of links, texts, and artworks, videos, etc., that are “donated” by friends of the museum. The collection is then expanded and rearranged by visiting curators, and is a great resource for discovering—or rediscovering—everything new media.