In November 2013 ‘selfie’ was named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year in both the UK and the US. Many other countries have in the meantime followed suit. In France, the specialized jury of the ‘Festival du Mot’ might have chosen ‘transition’ as word of the Year, les internautes still preferred ‘selfie’. In Italy, ‘selfie’ will appear in the Zingarelli 2015. Germany has ‘das Selfie’, Spain tries ‘autofoto’.

The selfie as such is a controversial phenomenon. An addiction for some, a bane for others, we take ’em, receive ’em, delete ’em, share ’em, photobomb ’em. Selfies have been blasphemously equated to the world’s greatest self portraits,  


“Look mum, a selfie!”

and have made for a linguistic first with Rembrandt and Kim Kardashian sharing the same sentence.
But now, the selfie has competition.
Say hello to the shapie, aka the 3D printed selfie.
The process of making a shapie, developed by Shapify, is simple; 3D scan yourself either at a scanning point or at home via a Kinect – a motion sensing device originally developed for the Xbox – and get your own, realistic 3D figurine of yourself sent to you at home.


Me Barbie, you Ken

Dressed up or dressed down, you can strike any pose you like – except lying down, which might curb some people’s enthusiasm – and immortalize the moment. You can gift shapies, collect shapies. In fact,  the shapie could mean the return of the dollhouse! And, best of all, for the real selfie-holic, you can take a selfie of a shapie of yourself.

Still, for those who have forgotten, for those too young, for those who were not yet born…
there, once upon a time, was an Italian animated series called La Linea, featuring a little man, moving on an infinite white line.

La Linea starts with a simple idea. A little man walks along his life-line, encounters an obstacle or abrupt interruption of said line and holds a loud and lengthy diatribe, uttered in sharp, high-pitched gibberish Italian against his creator/cartoonist, Osvaldo Cavandoli. Cavandoli, or at least his hand, holding a fat white pencil, then comes to the little man’s rescue, drawing him a solution for his predicament.
The little man in La Linea is nothing more than a simple, featureless shape, loud and angry, guileless, sometimes surprisingly naive, but also enthusiastic and entrepreneurial. Continuously facing obstacles, with the abyss a regular, if not constant threat, he indignantly interacts with his creator, the trying, teasing yet soothing hand.
La Linea is a funny cartoon. Short, vocal, not situational, not cerebral, not ‘du jour’, it lacks a story line, is impulsive and overwhelmingly sudden. But it is also comforting and reflective. La Linea has a philosophical quality. It makes us wonder about our daily struggles, about how we deal with adversity and ultimately, it challenges our relationship with our maker.
La Linea, capitalized. Line. Linear. A one-dimensional image of life and its unsuspecting protagonists.
So despite his 1D flatness, La Linea’s little man is unexpectedly real. He is me. He is us. In all our dimensions.

Truth be told though?
Selfie or self-portrait, sculpture or shapie, 1D, 2D or 3D, me? I am looking forward to the dollhouse.