Their Faces. Building the Semiotic Case of Animal Selfies

Paulius Jevsejevas

Punctum, 4(2): 10-32, 2018
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2018.0017


In this paper, I attempt to provide a tentative semiotic description of animal selfies. I treat animal selfies as part of the broader selfie phenomenon and interpret them with regard to some general considerations of how selfies might be seen as texts of a particular enunciative practice that is intertwined with social media. I argue that selfies are related to the mirror and depend on constructing the face-object; that they are a way of sharing enunciative positions; that they can be conceptualized as personal deixes that intimate the person sharing her experiences. All of these features feed into the peculiar morphologic invention of the animal face in animal selfies, which I take as a reference point for a description of a larger variety of anmal selfies. Through the animal face, animals take part in the enunciative practice of selfies and in the interfacial sphere of sharing personal experiences. To put animal face selfies in a broader context of animal selfies, I make use of the sociosemiotic framework of modes of meaning and interaction developed by Eric Landowski. I take animal face selfies to be representative of one mode, Manipulation, and then discuss animal selfies as dependent upon other modes, Programming, Adjustment and Accident.

KEYWORDS: selfies, animal selfies, human, animal, modes of meaning
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