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visual communication practice



Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

The visual work "Selfie" is a collection of images developed as a visual counterpart of a short text I wrote for the Italian magazine "Edel | semestrale di pratica cristallina". The text is dedicated to the self-referring and circular communication of the selfie practice which distopically appears as “I communicate myself to myself”, though whoever chooses to portrait him/herself desperately tries to signify it as “I communicate myself to the world”. Something like a missed or interrupted dialogue.
Text and images, digital collages, reflect on the very contradictory nature of the self-portrait, suspended between the allure of paintings honoured by the history of art and erotic, ironic and made-in-bathroom, contemporary pictures. Between controlled, fashionable or extreme gestures of the present, and ancient emphatic expressions, gazes and faces. "Selfie" wants to make explicit the contradictions of the self-portraiture as a communication practice: self-promotion, self-description, self-analysis, self-referring…
I submitted the text in the critical writing section.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

The images are digital collages where the heads of famous painters have been cut from their self-portraits and pasted over the bodies of celebrities or common people who took selfie. Two kind of self-portraits fused in one image which reveals all the difference between the two moods.
The images have been presented in a sort of strange and paradoxical academic lecture, which rethinks the cronological succession of the history of art.
The images are collected in a tumblr titled giorgioselfievasari.tumblr.com
The famous biographer of the renaissance artists, Giorgio Selfie Vasari, is imagined to be the recipient of the posts of his artists friends. He is collecting all the images in his blog.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

I believe the images could underline the contradictory nature of the selfie practice as a social practice of self affirmation. The 15 minutes, stated by Andy Warhol, for all the internet users are today a hollow, clumsy and overestimated communication, on the road to an overcrowded channel. In my opinion it is very important to be well aware about all the positive or negative values and consequences of this practice. It is especially important for the less informed and younger people.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I could understand better the phenomenology of self-portraiture. I have surprised myself by discovering the similarities and the differences between the classical forms of self-portraits and the current practice of selfie. I could contextualize both of the practices within the contexts of art history, visual culture, history of portraiture and self-portreiture.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

My work is strictly related with a widespread practice, that of taking selfie, which is abused but not clearly understood, among a large portion of people. The images raise a lot of curiosity, they stimulate a critical thinking and they make laugh.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

I am still realizing collages, mainly when some selfies become particularly famous. I am implementing the tumblr which collects the images and I am working to promote it.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Not yet.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This work engaged my attention, how and why?

The work draws me in because the images are initially familiar (in particular, the original 'selfie' photographs that are recognisable because they were social media memes) but when I look closer, they are suddenly unfamiliar (I recognise they are digital collages), then the collage element becomes familiar (I recognise the historical self-portraits). This clever manipulation of what I am seeing is achieved because the digital collage is well executed, particularly where you have managed to match skin tones (eg. Gustave Courbet) or the colour palette of the whole image (Rembrandt).

The artist states that the communication aim is to "make explicit the contradictions of the self-portraiture as a communication practice: self-promotion, self-description, self-analysis, self-referring…", is it possible to make this explicit through a series of images?

Perhaps not, but the images are intended to sit alongside a written essay. I would like the written essay to be accessible through the Tumblr site, or at least a link to the magazine it was published in, so I can experience the words and images together.

The written text on the Tubmlr site is half an explanation of the project, and half a fictional account of the character you have created "Giorgio Selfie Vasari". I think it should be one or the other – either make the entire Tumblr site as if it were the work of Georgio Selfie Vassari to build a stronger fiction (and post the project rationale elsewhere), or explain the whole site as a project rationale (rather than talking about Georgio as if he was a real character, state that you have created a fictional character whose site it is that we are observing).

I'd like to see a version of the written essay with these images dropped into it as 'figures' or 'illustrations'. The images alone hint at a deeper critical position you are trying to communicate, but without the written text I feel it's not communicating clearly.

There's something simply, cleverly engaging about this project, I want to see more.

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Entry details




Self-portrait between art history and current practices

Concept author(s)

Daniele Torcellini

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

I conceived the project and I created the images.



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory

web / interactive

Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

I am a collaborator of the Art Museum of The City of Ravenna. I am a teacher of Metodologies and Techniques of Contemporary at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ravenna and of Cromatology at the Academy of Fine Arts in Genoa. I am Ph.D. in contemporary art with a research on the history of color photographic reproduction of artwork. My work deals with color perception, art history, visual culture, art reproduction, color photography.