If you think taking too many selfies is a waste of time, you might be right. If you think filling up your Instagram account with selfies is an indication of narcissism, you also might be right. However, Das Naiz is here to remind you that the selfie is a powerful tool that should be used time and time again; and just to be sure, one more time. All those selfies do serve a purpose, believe it or not. So go ahead, snap away, take a few dozen selfies, feel good about self, do self-care via the selfie, live vicariously through the selfie, be the selfie. There is no wrong or right way to do it. The only point is this: that you should be hashtagging the selfie life to death, the selfie life is where it’s at; and when you mix selfie with art you spiritually transcend.
Das Naiz is here to challenge your notions of selfie and the selfie culture. Armed with armfuls of Hindu gods and goddesses, the selfie gets put to work –transitioning meditation realms and battling against the powers that be, the selfie concept reworks itself into a state where all beings pray for happiness and teeter between bliss and dismiss. A little tongue in cheek, but something resonates like a Tibetan bowl chiming us into a deep state of mindfulness.
The selfie is not much different than a commissioned painting of yesteryear. Das Naiz hints at the obvious self-proclaimations made by both –the need to self-gaze, to navel-gaze, to self-worship, to document self, to leave self behind as legacy. Selfies will be, for future generations, a type of Baroque painting, highly stylized and coveted; except now, according to today’s technological artifice, the selfie is much more accessible and easy to do than an artistically contracted painting on canvas. Yet, one needs to consider the proper equipment. Just as funds prevented people from hiring an artist for portrait, certain people don’t have access to the means to take a selfie, they don’t have the capital to buy the phone or camera with which to selfie out into nirvana. The selfie is the modern day response to a portrait; albeit both equally as expensive and exclusive in their own rights. One must consider the status symbol that both paintings and selfies imply.
A selfie can be used to conjure. Whether you’re looking to combat patriarchy or parody any pop culture reference, the selfie is here to enlighten us all. It comes for the Tinder account scroller, the selfie pole tricks at social events, and Snapchat bae. What can glorify the selfie more than putting the selfie in the hands of Krishna and Radha? What can open our third eye better than seeing the Instagram logo beam from the heart chakra of Buddha? Das Naiz captivates us with the selfies that speak to our selfie souls. With modern day technological jargon and cultural references, these pieces of art are a product of our times. We feel at peace looking at them because they break us into pieces that can be seen as a reflection of our previous lives should you believe in reincarnation; they allude to future versions of selves that will evolve far beyond the selfie –god and goddess forbid.
So while you’ve over there pondering whether or not another selfie is one too many, one too much, Das Naiz encourages your behavior; Das Naiz pressures the selfie into existence and persistence. Das Naiz, aka Adrita Das, is an “illustration and visuals laced with dark humour intended mostly to make people feel better about their lives.” Therefore, if the selfie brings you happiness, then by all means, take a few more, make entire folders for selfies, turn all social media accounts into a shrine for the selfie. There are no limits; let the selfie make you limitless. Just as the elite were painting themselves time and again, reinventing poses, changing costumes, we, too, can model our current actions after those who came before us and in that way become mirror images of previous selves in order to replicate onto future selves. Selfie away, selfie until the future has swalows the selfie whole and we are nothing but a floating nebula of selfie ecstasy.
WORDS BY: Jacklyn Janeksela