Samir’s Selection 06/25/2013 (p.m.)

  • During the seventeenth and eighteenth century, vanitas art flourished. The designation stems from the Latin phrase vanitas vanitatum omni vanitas, a recurring refrain throughout the biblical book of Ecclesiastes:  “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Paintings in the genre were still lifes depicting an assortment of objects which represented all of that we might pursue in this life. In their midst, however, one would also find a skull and an hour glass, symbols of death and the brevity of life…

    But while vanitas art has gone out of fashion, a new class of memento mori has emerged: the social media profile…

     a very typical Facebook friendship:  the sort that probably wouldn’t exist at all any longer were it not for Facebook. And that’s not necessarily a knock on the platform. I appreciate being able to maintain at least a minimal connection with people I’d once been quite close to…

    I don’t know what I think of the social media mourning…

    Facebook sometimes feels like a modern-day Arcadia. It is a carefully cultivated space in which life appears Edenic. The pictures are beautiful, the events exciting, the face are always smiling, the children always amusing, the couples always adoring. Certain studies even suggest that comparing our own experience to these immaculately curated slices of life leads to envy, discontent, and unhappiness. Naturally … if we assume that these slices of life are comprehensive representations of the lives people lead. Of course, they are not.

    But there, alongside the pets and witty status updates and wedding pictures and birth announcements, we will increasingly find our social media platforms haunted by the digital, disembodied presence of the dead….

    Et in Facebook ego.

    tags: presence identity death mementomori life friendship painting art socialmedia Facebook MichaelSacasas

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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