Self-image in the Age of Anxiety: Noise-Cancelling Technologies for Smartphone Cameras (Abstract)

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


Noise-cancelling technologies allow individuals to fight the noise of the world. Headphones with audio noise-cancelling capability, for instance, allow users to eliminate unwanted sounds and enjoy music on a rowdy bus. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, these technologies are today available in smartphone cameras to automatically eliminate unwanted visual noise, such as skin stains, wrinkles and acne, and transform a noisy selfie into one noise-free and thus pleasant. By 'intelligently' reconstructing parts of an image, superimposing newly created pixels on other pixels, noise-cancelling technologies offer users a noise-free version of themself. However, although these technologies provide individuals with solutions by freeing them from unwanted self-noise, they also affect their perception of the self by determining new visual anxieties. A case in point is the phenomenon of Snapchat dysmorphia and, more recently, that of Zoom dysmorphia, characterised by prolonged screen staring and rumination upon self-image and the consequent request for cosmetic treatments to look like the noise-free versions of themselves. This paper aims to a) demonstrate how noise-cancelling technologies act as sociocultural filters by establishing standards of self-desirability, noise phobias, body dissatisfaction, and visual anxieties. Moreover, b) reflect on the role of noise-cancelling automatisms in shaping future world imaginaries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScreen Studies Conference 2023
Subtitle of host publicationScreen Worlds
PublisherGlasgow University
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Event32nd International Screen Studies Conference 2023 - Glasgow University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Jun 20232 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameScreen Journal
ISSN (Print)0036-9543
ISSN (Electronic)1460-2474


Conference32nd International Screen Studies Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleSSC2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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