The second self explored
Objectification, Ethics, and the Digital Frontier
Following the project "Do It for the Gram", the journey with the digital avatar - an uncanny replica of the creator - didn’t end. Instead, it paved the way for deeper explorations into the realm of digital identity, particularly focusing on the objectification of self in the virtual sphere and the murky waters of online ethics.
Guided by the thought-provoking narratives of "Adorned in Dreams" by Elizabeth Wilson and "Simulacra and Simulation," by Jean Baudrillard the avatar's exploration delved into the concept of the self as both observer and the observed. In the age of social media, where our images and identities are constantly curated, commodified, and consumed, the avatar became a tool to examine how we present, package, and perceive ourselves.
The murky ethical realm of platforms like OnlyFans was another focal point. With the digital avatar as a proxy, this exploration brought forth questions about the boundaries of digital consent, agency, and the commodification of virtual identity. What does it mean when a digital replica, an embodiment of the self, becomes an object for consumption?
Drawing inspiration from Eric Hoffman's "The Performance of the Self," the virtual explorations became a stage, an arena of performance. How do our online personas, whether true to reality or a hyperbolic version of it, affect the perceptions and expectations of our audiences?
Adding depth to this journey were the virtual celebrities like Hatsune Miku and the Gorillaz. These entities, devoid of a singular human counterpart, still evoke profound emotions, loyalty, and followings comparable to real-world celebrities. They added layers to the contemplation: How do we relate to entirely digital beings? Do they hold a mirror to our aspirations, or are they reflections of a society inching closer to a comprehensive digital immersion?
Staying with the Trouble by Donna Haraway provided a compass, hinting at the inevitable entanglements of the digital and the real, suggesting that perhaps the line was never truly there, to begin with.
As the avatar's journey continued, it transformed from a mere digital twin to a touchpoint – a conduit through which pressing questions about identity, objectification, and ethics in the digital age were channeled. This evolution isn’t just about understanding the self but is also an invitation to society to reflect on how technology reshapes our values, interactions, and very perceptions of reality.