X Close

Events

Home

UCL events news and reviews

Menu

UCL Festival of Culture: Me and My Selfie

utnvlru1 June 2016

2015_White_House_Astronomy_Night_by_Harrison_Jones_03_(cropped_to_Ahmed_Mohamed)As part of the UCL Festival of Culture, Professor Lucy O’Brien (UCL Philosophy) delivered a talk entitled ‘Feeling self-conscious: Me and My Selfie’ on Friday 27th May.

The title of the lecture might have implied we were going to take a look at the popular current discourse that our current obsession with taking  ‘selfies’ – using smartphones to take images of ourselves to share online – is a sign that social media is damaging our psyches and turning us all into self-obsessed narcissists.

However, in her talk Professor O’Brien gave an overview of the philosophy of self-consciousness and self-image and tied this in with the implications of our use of smart phones, without making a judgement about whether or not our increasing desire to take and post images of ourselves is necessarily a negative thing.

The lecture gave us definitions of different forms of ‘self-consciousness’, such as ‘ordinary self-consciousness’ – which is being aware of oneself, perhaps if we are giving a talk or speech and people are therefore looking at us, but not necessarily in an uncomfortable or painful way.

“Human beings have different ways of being self-conscious” explained Professor O’Brien. “We can be self-conscious from the inside in an introspective way, or from the outside, aware of ourselves in an ‘objectual’ sense in relation to material things, or experience ‘interpersonal self-consciousness’ in relation to other people”.

People are of course self-conscious to different degrees – some may be more aware of themselves and how they feel others are perceiving them than others. What’s significant about the age we now live in is that “the props that enable us to become self-conscious from the outside have multiplied”.

(more…)

Virtual Control: Security and the Urban Imagination

ucyow3c17 July 2015

pencil-icon Written by Freya Rudd, work experience student, UCL Communications and Marketing

Virtual Control exhibition

Can you have imagination where there is also control? Is freedom possible where there is security? These questions are explored in photographer Max Colson’s new exhibition, ‘Virtual Control: Security and the Urban Imagination’, currently on display at the Practice Space of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Colson’s first solo exhibition at RIBA, presented and sponsored by UCL Urban Laboratory, showcases how public spaces seem to be guiding people toward social freedom and comfort; however, they are owned by commercial entities, with everyone venturing into these areas constantly being observed by security cameras, surrounding them at all times, watching.

Colson graduated from UCL in 2007 with a BA in English Literature, and from London College of Communication in 2012 with an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Since then, his work, mainly consisting of collaborations, has been exhibited at Brighton Photo Fringe, C/O Berlin and the UCL Slade Research Centre, just to name a few.

His involvement in the works Hide and Seek: The Hidden Nature of Plant Life in High Security Spaces and Neighbourhood Watch have been printed in Hotshoe and Darwin Photography magazines. In 2013, he won the title of UK winner in the Flash Forward Emerging Photographer competition. These achievements caught the attention of the Leverhulme Trust, who offered him a grant in 2014. So far, I’d say he’s doing pretty well.

(more…)