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Bombe!! #turfu filter with @dizzyfae 😍

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Beauty 3000, Zoufriya, Blast, Turfu, IceVen, Odyssey… These are not the names of a gang of cyborgs from a movie but rather futuristic, psychedelic Instagram AR filters created by Johanna Jahkowska aka @johwska. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few months it is highly unlikely that you missed on these vaseline covered, shimmery holographic filters that bid farewell to the cute cat ears, long eyelashes and huge sparkly eyes that constituted the majority of “beautifying AR filters” on Instagram stories…

Beauty 3000 is the first born child of Jahkowska and can be described as a phophorescent mask that covers your face. It’s bizarre, yet intriguing. After all, the filter is far from Kardashian-esque beauty standards that reign the Instagram AR filter aesthetic of today but instead encourages a more groundbreaking, experimental approach to the notion of beauty. Ironically enough, as Kylie Jenner posed for the cover of a beauty magazine, with a face morphed into a pixelated, melted A.I., many celebrities had already taken on the trend and posted photos or videos, wearing the unconventional AR filter. Surely, the sudden burst of attention and relevance granted @johwska a considerable amount of Insta fame with over 676k followers as of today. Soon after the initial blow up of futuristic AR filters, many creators followed with similar creations that weren’t actually designed to make beauty influencers look prettier, in essence; but instead challenge the normative understanding of today’s beauty as presented on social media and offer an experimental stage to its users that are looking to break free of such norms. Parabola by @exitsimulation, Self Help by @fvckrender, Woop and Ysh by @tokyyto, Meta by @danmollervfx are a few to name within this genre, with just as many more playful options that don’t solely aim to transform your face into a living wax figure.

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@suelinpark | parabola

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The important question that arises from the success of such designs lies in the nature of narcissism. As today’s people obsess over multi-faceted self-promotion on a daily basis via social media, what do these high techs, eerie AR filters say about our “need” to present our best versions by quite literally hiding behind masks? After all, it is no coincidence that Jahkowska named her mirrored, metallic AR filter Narcisse… Food for thought…