lived experience of being at home radically shifted during rolling COVID-19 lockdown restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021, with significant impacts on genderised working
and parenting practices. This selfie motif hashtag project draws on creative practice
ethnography (Hjorth et al. 2020), mobile media studies and new materialism to
critically unpack the performative shelfie as a digital-material assemblage
that literally displays these effects.
Many of the shelfies enacted
a collective sigh for the blurring dichotomies of public/private and mothering/working
practices, where the home became an entangled space of paid work and unpaid
participatory encounter #listeningtomediatedmothers (2020–2021) enacts
the shelfie as a qualitative
digital ethnographic probe to creatively explore work-life balance in the lives
of 13 participants located in regional Victoria, Australia. It
revealed mediated shelfies as complex, multidimensional, and dynamic
representations of the mothering self. Lively experiences of digital
materiality come to the fore with far reaching socio-technical and creative
implications for ethnographies of social media selfie motifs—as a creative practice
of participatory engagement, digital archiving and in situ research.
The hashtag itself can also be
understood as part of the new materialist process of intra-action (Barad 2007)—residing at the nexus between infrastructural platform affordances and collective quotidian
experience—also enabling more enhanced understandings of digital labour within the
networked home. By
utilising the selfie as one of the most inescapable barometers of popular
culture today, motifs such as the shelfie enables extended networked listening
and multisensorial forms of genderised ‘voice'.
View this quick response selfie motif project on ︎.