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Mara Vivien Güntensperger

The contemporary phenomenon of visual self-representation in social media is meaningful because self-portraits (selfies) contribute to the construction of identity. Through making selfies, young women develop their own personal ideas of femininity. The self is explored and modeled through poses and facial expressions, coiffures, accessories and clothing styles, and then photographed by cellphone and posted online. These images, first of all, can be published uninhibitedly on the internet and, secondly, can be immediately commented by other users. The correctional social mechanism of rejection and approval has its effects on the subsequent production of images. Therefore, social media platforms are a fundamental element in the processes of (youthful) self-identification mentioned above.

Mara Vivien Güntensperger has been engaged with the themes of identity, manipulation and self-portraits for several years. She considers herself part of the “selfie-phenomenon”, which has inspired her current project. She questions the development of a generation of young women who willingly expose themselves to the permanent regime of the gaze in social networks that dictate the conditions of their own self-representation.

The artist’s aim is to demonstrate the processes of mediating prototypical imageries. The project shows how such intensive propagation of validation leads to dependence and limits young women in developing their own images of femininity. In the cases under scrutiny, the resulting representations turn out to be rather uniform.

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