24 August 2016

Cidade do Selfie

 Rio`s new iconographic landscapes
The City of Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly situated in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world, with one of the most pleasant climates, and is surrounded by oceans and mountains that provide escapes from the summer heat. The iconic physical landscapes are complimented by iconic architectural and urban designs: Cristo, Parque do Flamengo, Calçadão de Copacabana, Sambódromo, Arcos da Lapa, Maracanã. Now, the city government has added the VLT, BRT, and the Museu da Amanhã to the pictography of the city.




As I was watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics, one of the commentators on SporTv said: “This has been the selfie Olympics.” And then it struck me: this was the selfie Olympics in the Cidade do Selfie.

Central do Brasil w old selfies on the wall
When tourists, commuters, workers, vagabundos, and geographers walk into the main hall of the Central do Brasil train station they are faced with murals that depict the city around them. On front of the Rio Sul Shopping is always a gigantic mural of some scene in the Zona Sul. In restaurants and bars, the pictures on the wall are always of Rio. It’s not uncommon to see Cariocas preening in front of their cameras and then flipping through their selfie collection while stuck in traffic.  There is a Brazilian fascination with the selfie that I will leave to the anthropologists to dissect, but I would guess that Rio is the epicenter of this phenomenon that may come from a historically situated condition of perpetual self-reflection on the natural beauty of the city.

A brilliant place for a selfie
Of course, Brazil and Rio are not alone in this, as the selfie as a mode of personal expression has gown around the world to merit more serious attention. The selfie phenomenon may indicate a general switch in human consciousness or simply a different way of experiencing the world, or it may be just another way of fetishizing lived experience as an act of consumption. With the explosion of cell phones and digital cameras, photography has become such an integral part of our daily lives that we forget that as recently as 15 years ago, we still printed our pictures, increasing the time and space between the moment of the picture and its remembrance.

In the cidade do selfie, I take a picture (with a me-phone) and immediately look at it, admiring my own beauty and marveling at my good fortune or privileged leisure before the moment or experience has actually passed. The collapsing of personal experience into a constant echo chamber of selfie reflection may eventually force us to evolve longer arms and more delicate index fingers, but it does not permit much space for reflection about the world in which the selfies happens. It is as if we are afraid that we will not remember where we were ten minutes ago without encapsulating the moment in a photo.

The selfie is a perfect expression of reality within the Olympic Bubble. As with the USAmerican rower who was so adamant that she would “row through shit for you”, the Olympism is a self-referential moral system that projects the desires of the individual onto Others as a means of justifying that pursuit. The gringa was never rowing through shit for anyone but herself and completely ignored the rather obvious fact that she can choose to do this while the people who live here are rather mired in it.

It is within this selfie bubble that Thomas Bach can say “There was no public money involved in Rio 2016” or that the IOC “is not responsible” for the risk that whistleblowers run when denouncing state sponsored doping programs. The Olympic City is always a city constructed to be photographed, within which Olympic tourists descend to take selfies, consuming the landscape and experience before heading home to show their friends and family their pictures of themselves in front of iconographic scenarios specifically constructed for their selfies.  Thus, Olympic urbanism meets Samsung and begets 916 million instagram photos in 16 days. 

The selfie is part of a larger trend towards the instant historicization of the present and recent past. Within an hour of the closing ceremonies, there were already retrospective montages of the Games that encapsulated the best moments for us, before we could think about it ourselves. The government is rushing to say that the Games were a success without allowing the dust to settle. Play-acting president Temer launched a press release yesterday saying that “The World has rediscovered Brazil” – a tidy articulation with the IOC’s “A New World” slogan. How did the world rediscover Brazil? What world? What Brazil? What (re)discovery? This way of promoting and interpreting Rio’s mega-event cycle is fraught, eliding problems and challenges that can only be adequately digested and addressed with the passage of time.


Prolonged consideration, public engagement, and collective action are actions that the Olympic Cidade do Selfie does not encourage. It is the Cidade de Nós Todos that needs to be constructed in its stead.

2 comments:

Dr Purva Pius said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
urgent cash offer said...

Are you in need of a loan? Do you want to pay off your bills? Do you want to be financially stable? All you have to do is to contact us for more information on how to get started and get the loan you desire. This offer is open to all that will be able to repay back in due time. Note-that repayment time frame is negotiable and at interest rate of 3% just email us creditloan11@gmail.com

Labels

2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar