As reflected in the title, a reference to Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, I was not particularly fond of the two selfie projects while taking the photos and while looking back upon them. However, despite my distaste at having to take pictures of myself in front of landmarks in Chicago and then in Barcelona, I found that the projects taught me a lot about each city and my reactions to the differences in each environment.
One of the main differences between my Chicago selfie experience and my Barcelona selfie experience was my level of comfort of taking the photos. I felt much more at ease when I was walking around Chicago for the pictures because I knew the transit system well and spoke the language. In Barcelona, especially when I was taking the selfie with the Statue of Antoni Gaudi, I was surrounded by a strictly Catalan neighborhood where no tourists were there for me to blend in with.
Without a crowd of other foreigners to hide in, I felt singled out and vulnerable while taking selfies, especially because I have picked up on a strong anti-tourist sentiment across Barcelona. While I am trying to deliberately avoid looking and acting like a tourist, which has negative connotations in Barcelona because of the lack of regulations of their presence, there was no way around doing my selfie project without looking and feeling inconsiderate.
On the bus ride to the statue of Gaudi, Asha and I were were speaking English to one another and were soon confronted by a Catalan man sitting in front of us. He was very agitated that we did not speak Catalan because we are in his country and we should know at least one of the traditional languages and he felt very disrespected by our presence. All Asha and I could do was sit and acknowledge what he was saying in Catalan but respond in Spanish, which did not make him any happier because of the language tension in Barcelona since Franco.
In Chicago, I did not face any criticism by the locals when taking selfies around the city, so I only felt uncomfortable taking the pictures because of my aversion to including myself in pictures of monuments that have meaning to me on a personal level. In Barcelona, I did not feel a personal connection to the monuments because I do not know their history or inspiration. In Barcelona, I was very preoccupied with not being confronted as being disrespectful to the locals who do find meaning in the monuments. Putting the experiences of the projects in retrospect, I am relieved to not have to unwillingly appear as an unwelcome tourist any further so I can connect more with the needs and opinions of the Catalan people.