Milan 2015: photography and product design students at Swiss university ÉCAL have paired up to create interactive objects and installations that investigate the selfie phenomenon (+ movie).
For the PhotoBooth exhibition in Milan, teachers at ÉCAL (École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne) asked students to explore ideas surrounding the craze for taking self-portraits on smartphones.
The results include a collection of open-source selfie sticks, reflective surfaces that enable a 180-degree portrait and an endless printout of images that have been posted to Instagram with the tag #selfie.
"It is a topic that everyone knows about," said photographer Nicolas Haeni, one of the project leaders. "It's not like taking something abstract, everyone knows selfies. It was interesting for us to take a current topic and try to reinterpret, give opinions and try to propose new solutions for taking selfies."
"Designers working with photographers, you don't really find that and that was the challenge," Haeni told Dezeen. "The result is something very different."
Kévin Gouriou and Calypso Mahieu created a range of contraptions for taking unusual portraits using photo, video and panorama camera for The Selfie Project.
"We wanted to work around this selfie tendency, and we wanted to create machines inspired by the DIY spirit and open source," Mahieu told Dezeen.
Designed to look low tech, their selfie sticks are made from materials including wooden dowel, metal bolts and black elastic.
The most simple of the sticks takes a photo by pulling its trigger like a gun, while another mounts the phone on an L-shaped frame for taking photos around corners.
Another of the objects acts like a catapult, shooting the phone towards the subject while on video mode to create a fast-zooming portrait.
The largest piece in the range is a giant weighted arm onto which the phone is attached at one end. When released, the arm swings upward and the phone captures a distorted vertical panorama.
"Today, with all the smartphone cameras, people are more fascinated by images of themselves," Mahieu said. "I hate selfies, but it was a really interesting idea to rethink."
Instructions for how to make the devices are available to download from the designers' website.
Gianni Camporota and Nils Ferber arranged a series of reflective strips that create a chopped and changed 180-degree portrait when the camera is pointed at the centre.
Part mirror and part scanner, Jules Moskovtchenko, Angélique Stehli and Sunil Vallu's project both captures and displays whoever is in front of it.
The scanning process can be stopped at any point, so the subject can swap with someone else before it continues and merges together the different portraits.
Jonas Hagenbusch, Gregory Monnerat and Jean-Vincent Simonet created a series of light boxes mounted with two black and white portraits of iconic designers, cut so one fits within the other.
The pair of spliced images are each covered with a polarised filter but orientated perpendicular to one another.
When viewed through another polarised filter placed over a smartphone camera, one of the images appears black against the other.
"When you have this polarised filter on your camera, it only shows half of the picture and reveals one of the designer's emblematic objects in between the portraits," Simonet told Dezeen.
The moment of taking a self portrait is captured by another picture in Kodai Iwamoto and Marine Vallotton's Light Box installation, while Jaehoon Jung and Purithat Thongphubal designed a translucent projected mask that users can align with their own facial features.
Finally, the installation by Tanya Kottler and Nadine Schaub projects an image that only appears within a shadow.
This is achieved by shining a bright light onto a fabric wall, overpowering the film projected from behind that is only revealed when the light is blocked by someone standing in front.
Meanwhile, a fan positioned to one side appears to be creating the effects of the moving image.
"We wanted to create a clean and subtle installation where you focus on yourself and your shadow," Schaub told Dezeen. "You see the projection and you feel the wind from the fan at the same time."
The exhibition is located at Via dell'Orso 16 and will remain open until 19 April.
Photography is by Nicolas Haeni.