Thursday, February 04, 2010
Upload your photo. I did. Again. And thought about how many images of me are splashed around the internet, on Flickr, my blog, my home page, allconsuming, wikispaces and so on. There's a sort of chronology, too. One of the oldest is my icon on allconsuming, taken in the Gaudi park in Barcelona on my fiftieth birthday, whereas one of the most recent was taken last year in Sheffield just below the bar in this blog. (And yes, if you're reading this through a Safari or Firefox browser you don't get my forehead; wheras if you're using Explorer you get some extra space. I blame Blogger.) I'm confronted with representations of myself on a regular basis. The headshot has become a very popular identifier. Here it is a hypermediated self located, as Bolter and Grusin would have it, in a shifting network of affiliations. Each self is differently defined, both constructing and constructed by those networked contexts in a different way. Maybe they are only tied together by a likeness. Which brings me back to the photo of my surrogate self on a skiing holiday that heads this post. Perhaps you didn't recognise me. I changed my mouth shape a bit (cosmetic surgery). I added hair (a wig). And although you can't see I went for an earpiercing (just because you could). It's one of those quirky little things you can do online. But it's interesting because it hybridises the icon-headshot and the start-from-scratch avatar - the sort of thing you develop in Second Life. I wonder if I'm any different as a hypermediated self, but I guess one of me already knows I am.