Big Heads. Avatar Selfies. Fish crawl out of the ocean. They walk on land. Avatars crawled out of Text-Only MUDs and into 3D MMO’s. They shoot avatar selfies. The phone goes mobile. We shoot selfies. The mobile phone gets Instagram. We go nuts.
I find the sport of boxing difficult and disturbing. Yet lots of sports carry violence as subtext. Maybe boxing is just more honest? Is the selfie, self-absorbed? Perhaps. But with a boxing-like naked honesty, the selfie is one of the most fundamental forms of expressing identity.
Man is the measure of all things
— Protagoras, ca 490 – 420 BCE
It’s a big universe. A big galaxy. A big solar system. So much vastness. So much diversity. And on our tiny, pale blue dot? Millions of species. Mostly not-so-human. Even so. It would be disingenuous to think that 25 centuries later, Protagoras doesn’t have a powerful insight into who we are. A powerful insight into how we come to understand this life and this world.
Historical Avatar Selfies
Painters and other 2D artists have always been obsessed with the human figure. And with big heads. Subjects of the past included nobility & deities. In the modern period we’ve looked at “real” people. And at ourselves. From Victorine Meurent to Lady Gaga, self-identity has been discovered and expressed through the image. Have we been taking “avatar selfies” since before we even knew the words “avatar” or “selfie”?
Contemporary Avatar Selfies
All these ideas are true with avatar selfies. Avatar selfies also intersect with the state of the rendering platform. Second Life celebrated its 10th birthday last week. They took the moment to remember when everyone walked around looking like “Ruth”. In that spirit I was struck by these 4 avatar selfies. I was struck by these 4 “big heads” that were posted to flickr in the last few days. And so I have put them on one page. A page where you can consider this moment in avatar rendering. And avatar identity. And avatar self-awareness.
click images to see larger
Don’t be miffed! I know you take amazing avatar selfies / big heads too! Please post your photo / link in the comments below! 😀
o n . f l i c k r
No consideration of the selfie would be complete without remembering photographer Sheffield Quigley. Quigley invented the “fake selfie” on MySpace: