Test Yourself: The art of the self

Test Yourself: The art of the self

Photos courtesy of Reuters, EPA and AFP
Photos courtesy of Reuters, EPA and AFP

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these pages help you to read, understand and improve your English. This week's text is about taking selfies.

Read the following story from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

From old self-portraits to modern images captured on our smartphones, a London exhibition attempts to challenge the negative reputation of the selfie and elevate it to an art from.

EXPRESS YOURSELF

At the end of March, the Saatchi Gallery teamed up with Huawei to launch From Selfie to Self-Expression, the world's first exhibition looking at the history of selfies.

“This exhibition celebrates the truly creative potential of a form of expression often derided for its inanity. It also highlights the emerging role of the mobile phone as an artistic medium for self-expression. Ten exciting young British photographers have created new works using Huawei’s newest dual lens smartphones co-engineered with Leica,” the gallery said in a statement.

Running till the end of May, the exhibition is an eye-opening and entertaining collection that includes images by super-famous celebrities as well as some from more unlikely sources. Alongside pictures by footballer David Beckham and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, there’s the first selfie shot by an animal — a monkey.

A FAMILIAR STORY

In the digital age, the selfie has become ubiquitous. The word was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. However, as the exhibition shows, humans have a long history of trying to capture their own image.

The display kicks off with self-portraits by Rembrandt, the great 17th century Dutch artist. These remarkable paintings provide a detailed outline of his life. The works are represented on digital screens that visitors can "like," resulting in a red heart appearing over the image — just as on social media.

FACING REALITY

Rembrandt’s portraits were famously honest. The artist wanted them to be a true reflection of his appearance, regardless of how flawed that might be. However, modern-day selfies, according to Saatchi Gallery chief executive Nigel Hurst, are different because they show how we would like the world to see us, rather than how we really are.

"It's no coincidence that most selfies are shot in pretty exotic locations, on holiday when people are experiencing things that are away from their ordinary, mundane lives. It's not about sharing our humanity. It’s about sharing a version of our identity that we would like people to believe," he said.

A WORLD OF FACES

"People transform social media into something that is very representative of their culture, and that is also true of the selfie. In southern Italy, people feel they almost have a responsibility to represent Italian stylishness. In Trinidad, they want to be highly individualistic," said University College London Professor Daniel Miller.

The exhibition ends with a critical look at selfies, with an installation by Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko showing 12 surveillance cameras.

"Selfies are changing our identities. Sometimes for good but mostly for bad, because they’re helping to create a more controlling society," Lozano-Hemmer said.


Section 1

Read through the story and answer the following multiple-choice questions.

1. The exhibition does NOT feature which of the following?

a. A picture taken by an animal.
b. A photograph of Rembrandt.
c. An installation.

2. When does the exhibition end?

a. March.
b. April.
c. May.

3. When did Rembrandt live?

a. In the 1600s.
b. In the 1700s.
c. In the 1800s.

4. Which of the following is true, according to the article?

a. People often criticise selfies as being stupid and pointless.
b. People want their selfies to be a true reflection of themselves.
c. Selfies will become more and more popular in the future.

5. Where is Rafael Lozno-Hemmer from?

a. Trinidad.
b. Mexico.
c. Poland.

Section 2

Read the story and decide whether the following statements are true or false.

6. The exhibition is called From Selfies to Self-Portraits.

………………….

7. The exhibition features paintings as well as photographs.

………………….

8. Daniel Miller is a university lecturer.

………………….

9. Krzysztof Wodiczko contributed to the exhibition.

………………….

10. Rafael Lozno-Hemmer thinks that selfies are generally a good thing.

………………….

Section 3

Match each of the following words used in the story with the correct definitions from the choices given.

 11. reputation ……….  a. not interesting or exciting
 12. flawed ……….  b. the opinion that people have about what somebody or something is like, based on what has happened in the past
 13. stylishness ……….  c. being fashionable, elegant and attractive
 14. mundane ……….  d. to be an example or expression of something
 15. represent ……….  e. damaged or spoiled

Section 4

Specify whether each of the following words is used in the story as a verb, noun, adjective or adverb.

16. individualistic

……………………   

17. highly

……………………      

18. conclude

……………………    

19. highlight

……………………  

20. potential

……………………  

Section 5

Write down the noun forms of the following verbs used in the story.

21. related

……………

22. celebrate

……………..

23. Polish

……………..

24. creative

……………..


Answers

Section 1

1. b.
2. c.
3. a.
4. a.
5. b.

Section 2

6. False.
7. True.
8. True.
9. True.
10. False.

Section 3

11. b.
12. e.
13. c.
14. a.
15. d.

Section 4

16. Adjective.
17. Adverb.
18. Verb.
19. Verb.
20. Noun.

Section 5

21. Relation/relationship.
22. Celebration.
23. Poland.
24. Creativity/creation.

SCORE

21-24: Excellent!
17-20: Good.
13-16: Fair.
12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

Vocabulary

  • appearance: the way that somebody/something looks on the outside - ลักษณะภายนอก, การปรากฏตัว
  • celebrate (verb): to praise somebody/something - ยกย่อง, สรรเสริญ
  • celebrity: someone who is famous, especially in the entertainment business - คนมีชื่อเสียง
  • century: a period of one hundred years - ศตวรรษ
  • chief executive: the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation - ผู้บริหารสูงสุด
  • coincidence: a situation in which separate things happen by chance at the same time or in the same way - เหตุบังเอิญ
  • collection (noun): a group of objects, often of the same sort, that have been collected (gathered together over period of time) - สิ่งของที่รวบรวมไว้, การสะสม การเก็บรวบรวม
  • creative: involving a lot of imagination and new ideas - ซึ่งมีความคิดริเริ่ม, ซึ่งมีความคิดสร้างสรรค์
  • critical: (adj) serious, uncertain and possibly dangerous -
  • culture (noun): the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม
  • deride (verb): to treat somebody/something as ridiculous and not worth considering seriously - หัวเราะเยาะ, ดูถูก
  • dual: having two parts or aspects - ประกอบด้วยสองส่วน, เป็นคู่
  • emerging (adj): starting to exist; appearing - เกิดขึ้น
  • entertaining: interesting, exciting, amusing, etc.; fun to watch - ซึ่งสนุกสนานเพลิดเพลิน
  • exhibition: a public show where art or other interesting things are put so that people can go and look at them - นิทรรศการ งานแสดง
  • exotic: interesting or exciting because of being unusual or not familiar - ผิดธรรมดา,ประหลาด
  • expression: things that people say, write or do in order to show their feelings, opinions and ideas - การแสดงความคิด, การแสดงออก
  • eye-opening (adj): of an event or experience that is surprising and shows you something that you did not already know -
  • flawed: spoiled by something - มีข้อบกพร่อง
  • gallery (noun): a room or building for showing works of art or other items of interest, especially to the public - ห้องแสดงผลงานศิลปะ, ห้องแสดงผลงาน
  • highlight: to make something more noticeable - เน้น,ทำให้เด่น
  • humanity: people in general - คนทั่วไป, มนุษย์โลก
  • identity (noun): who someone is; what something is - เอกลักษณ์, ลักษณะพิเศษ, ลักษณะเฉพาะ
  • inanity (noun): the fact of being stupid or silly or of having no meaning; a statement that is like this - ความโง่เขลา
  • individualistic: acting according to their own goals and ideas -
  • kick off: to begin an event; to launch - เริ่มต้น, เริ่มทำ
  • launch (verb): to start something - เริ่มต้น, เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มทำ
  • locations (noun): places - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
  • medium: a method or way of expressing something - สื่อ
  • mundane: very ordinary - ปกติ, ธรรมดา
  • outline (verb): to give the main ideas of a plan or a piece of writing without giving all the details - สรุปส่วนสำคัญ
  • portrait: a painting, photograph, drawing, etc. of a person - ภาพวาดหรือภาพถ่ายคน
  • potential: qualities that exist and can be developed - ศักยภาพที่จะพัฒนาได้
  • reflection: something that clearly shows something - การสะท้อน
  • regardless: despite; not being affected by something - โดยไม่คำนึงถึง
  • remarkable: unusual or special and therefore surprising and worth mentioning - ไม่ธรรมดา
  • representative: typical of people or things in a group - เป็นตัวอย่าง, เป็นแบบอย่าง
  • responsibility: a duty; a duty to deal with or take care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong - ความรับผิดชอบ
  • role: the purpose or influence of someone or something in a particular situation - บทบาท
  • selfie (noun): a photo you take of yourself or of yourself with someone else -
  • source: the place something comes from or starts at, or the cause of something - แหล่ง, แหล่งกำเนิด
  • surveillance camera: a camera kept in a place to record what happens there, especially criminal activity - กล้องวงจรปิดเพื่อรักษาการความปลอดภัย
  • transform: to change from one form into another - เปลี่ยนไปสู่อีกสิ่งหนึ่ง
  • ubiquitous: found everywhere, existing everywhere -
  • unlikely: not expected to happen; probably won’t happen - ที่ไม่น่าจะเกิดขึ้น
  • version: a particular form of something which varies slightly from other forms of the same thing - ชุด, เวอร์ชั่น
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