In November 2013, Oxford Dictionaries announced that “selfie” was the International Word of the Year – a kind of official recognition of the worldwide phenomenon. In order to investigate this self-portrait trend, three students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design created The Selfie Plant – a plant that is just as mad about snapping photos of itself as we.
The Selfie Plant is programmed to snap shots of itself in favourable circumstances based on the weather, its mood or a special occasion. The design students responsible for the project, Shruti KNR, Haoyu Li and Manu Dixit, used a programmable controller board called Arduino Yun to power the camera and the rotating platform on which the plant sits. They use a programming language to instantly send the captured photos to The Selfie Plant’s social media platforms.
The surge of selfie culture is evident everywhere. Versions of selfie-assist products are flooding the market, theorists are delving into the psychology of selfie-taking and even animals are getting behind the camera in animal selfies going viral over social media.
The students’ aim was to provide insight into selfies as a form of self-expression fed by social sharing. They ask if the selfie is “an expression for admiration” or a means of achieving “a sense of self, place and community”? The plant mimics human behaviour and adopts a type of autonomy in its expression and interaction with people on social platforms.
What is the future looking like for The Selfie Plant? The designers said this:
“Possibly in a future scenario, the plant can become autonomous and not be owned by an individual, but shared within a community. With its unique social behaviour the plant might be able to draw public attention and would act as a bridge between humans and nature.”