Image: Aric Snee
Image: Aric Snee
Everyone from Barack Obama and U.K. prime minister David Cameron to P. Diddy and that teenager down the block has used one, so it’s safe to say that the selfie stick has truly caught on. Yes, it’s become totally fine to start snapping selfies while completely alone – and yet it’s still a bit tragic, right?
Fortunately for those who want to snap themselves alone but still don’t want to appear friendless, there’s an ingenious, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, solution. Entrepreneurial artists Justin Crowe and Aric Snee have put their heads together and come up with a selfie stick cleverly crafted into the shape of an arm.
Taking vanity to a whole new unimaginable extreme, this weird device – succinctly known as the Selfie Arm – makes it look as though a buddy is standing right there, taking the photo of the selfie snapper. In reality, however, the photographer is just creepily holding on to a bit of arm-shaped fiberglass, grinning away at the phone attached to the fake limb’s other end.
Perhaps Instagram, Facebook and Twitter followers will be none the wiser, naively believing that their friend has got a constant companion while out sightseeing, traveling or just in the park. Of course, though, they’d have to not discern the fact that the Selfie Arm actually looks rather un-lifelike.
But those still wanting to get their hands on a Selfie Arm should note that the invention is easy to both transport and lift thanks to its fiberglass construction. The device was in fact initially molded from clay before being enveloped in the reinforced plastic material – something that allowed for the clay to then be scooped out.
Furthermore, the arm features an alterable phone holder, so it shouldn’t matter whether the user possesses an Android or an iOS smartphone. And it’s pretty sturdy as well, meaning it will stand up to the thousands of misleading selfies that it is bound to take.
This bizarre new addition to the world of selfie sticks was dreamt up by creative duo Crowe and Snee to address one modern-day dilemma: individuals not wishing “to look alone as they mindlessly snap pictures of themselves.”
Both artists hail from the U.S., with Snee based out of Indiana and Crowe located in New Mexico. Crowe has suggested that his creations are an observation on the interaction between technology and human society.
Sadly, it will be a while before the Selfie Arm can be added to anyone’s Amazon Wish List, as for the time being the invention is just a prototype. However, for those who can’t imagine life without one, the artists are presenting just ten special-edition, autographed Selfie Arms for purchase – albeit for a whopping $6,200 each.
That’s a pretty hefty price tag for something that started out as a joke. Indeed, the whole Selfie Arm idea is a satirical take on a vain and self-obsessed society that has become fixated with seeking out online personal affirmation.
That said, nowhere does the flippant nature of the concept become more apparent than in the designers’ description of the Selfie Arm. They claim that the arm is better than a real friend because “it doesn’t talk or have emotions… You can even create fake accounts and use its finger to like all your images; it’s not you, it’s the hand!”
“It’s supposed to be funny,” Aric Snee confirmed to CNN, adding, “It’s certainly not a sincere product for someone who’s actually lonely.” And the designer is also reportedly a fan of the device’s living dead-like appearance.
Meanwhile, Justin Crowe has explained to Bored Panda that the Selfie Arm’s origins lie in the “backwardness” of snapping a self-portrait – something that only serves to emphasize the photographer’s aloneness. As he said, “The Selfie Arm is a sarcastic Band-Aid to fix that feeling and it also compromises the whole premise behind taking the selfie.”
Still, if online comments are to be believed, the fact that Aric Snee and Justin Crowe are having a chuckle with their new creation seems to have been lost on many people.
In fact, when the Selfie Arm was featured on BuzzFeed, one commenter stated, “I’d rather chop off my arm and put a camera on the stump than be seen with this thing.” Another added, “It’s like a new, terrible spin on the invisible dog leash.”
And, responding to the designers’ claim that the contrivance caters to people’s need to not appear alone, one bemused commenter sarcastically noted, “Because whipping out a severed arm to take a picture with does not make you look lonely.”
Could the joke have backfired? Crowe and Snee were attempting to mock people’s self-absorption and make a timely social comment, but now it seems unclear as to who really is having the last laugh.
Image: Marco Verch
Furthermore, it now looks as though anybody who genuinely wants to buy this device could get his or her wish. Indeed, CNN has reported that several organizations have been in touch with the artists, looking to manufacture the Selfie Arm in large quantities as a novelty item.
This may not be such a bad idea, as there is certainly a big market for the selfie stick. After all, as Time magazine has said, “2014 was the year selfies became a cultural phenomenon.” Interestingly, on the other hand, the nifty photo-taking helper has sat on America’s store shelves for around four years now.
The seemingly unending selfie phenomenon has also been the source of one neat – and almost plausible – April Fools’ Day prank. In 2015 footwear brand Miz Mooz announced the “launch” of its Selfie Shoes: high heels with elongated toes containing smartphone docks for that perfect “shoefie.” In this light, the Selfie Arm doesn’t appear quite so ridiculous.