"Disaster selfie": The new fashion that is spreading dangerously

Selfie Disaster Selfie

Deep in the jungle of Bali, in the Trunyan Cemetery where the dead rest in bamboo cages and can be touched. At the Chernobyl thermal power plant in Ukraine, especially after the sensational HBO TV series. At Grenfell Tower in London, which was destroyed by fire.

In these places - and similar - tourists flock and, in a rage, indulge in the popular sport of tourists today: taking selfies. Residents of Grenfell Tower asked passers-by to stop taking selfies while the Tower was burning.

"Dark tourism" has always been popular with those with quirky tastes, but the proliferation of social media has given birth to another "monster": the "disaster selfie", as it is now characterized.

"People gain a degree of social credibility with this because it shows that the person being pushed pushes themselves to the limits in a way that the rest of us typically do not," explains Karen Correia da Dilva, a social scientist at Canvas8. Fascinated by places associated with war and disaster, and having already visited Dunkirk, Cuswicz and the like, Fiona Barnes - who describes herself as a "history nerd" - insists that these are places for mute meditation.

You should go there for the right reasons, instead of going because it is "in fashion". "These are not holiday destinations with lots of fun activities." Of course, Fiona Barnes was not consulted by the hugely popular YouTube account Logan Paul, who last year posted a video of himself and friends grinning as they passed in front of a tree in Japan's Aokigahara forest where a desperate man had hung.

"We try to educate people and remind them that this is a place of destruction and a sad place for Ukrainians, but it is their moral choice - if they want to take a selfie, we can not stop them," said Sergii Ivanchuck, founder of Ukrainian SoloEast Travel Agency, which organizes visits to Chernobyl.

"On a psychological level, when people are scared, dopamine is released into the brain. "Consequently, when people experience, in groups, a 'dark tourism' experience, a bond is created between them because they all release dopamine at the same time," recalls Correia da Dilva.

In an article entitled "Dark Tourism, Heterotopias and Post-Apocalyptic Places: The Case of Chernobyl", written in 2013, Philip Stone, executive director of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research, argues that Chernobyl's attraction and other destinations "Dark tourism" lies "in the confrontations of the real and the familiar with the surreal and foreign", which allows tourists to consume not only a sense of tragic beauty and embarrassment but also a sense of anxiety and misunderstanding in a place that is petrified and in which our world is reflected ”.

"It is much easier to consume something that you feel is over," says Correia da Dilva, "something that is not a stressful crisis. "You can go to Chernobyl knowing that it has already happened - you are required to do nothing but consume the fact that something terrible has happened."

Source: KYPE