Who Are You?

I feel like there is just so much to say regarding our digital identity because it is something so relevant to us right now in this time and age. We all hide behind social media platforms with an identity that we put forth on the web for everyone all around the world to see.

If we choose how we present ourselves, and we choose who we present ourselves to, don’t we risk just falling into a collective just-so-story about who we are and what we ought to believe? This is why so many of the chapters to follow are about authenticity in various forms—authentic selves, authentic relationships, and authentic communities.

D.E. Wittkower (A Reply to Facebook Critics)

How do we truly know someone if all we might know of them is only a part of them that they choose to show? What is worse is that the part that they show might not even be close to who they are because that is just how free we are on online platforms, we have the power to decide whatever we show!

In Carla Gannis’s work ‘Until the End of the World’, she questions about the hybrid nature of identity, of how our identity online and offline intersect in this time and age. The creation of the video was inspired by a film by Wim Wenders where a woman is addicted to watching her dreams in a small handheld device, hence Carla Gannis converts it to be more applicable to the current age to discuss about the digital identity politic issues. In the video, imagery of the mobile phones can be seen and there is some sort of narration that goes on in the background to narrate the changes as time passes from year 4545 to 5555 to 6565 and so on.

screenshot of the video from Carla Gannis
Source: http://carlagannis.com/blog/prints/until-the-end-of-the-world/

There was this particular scene which I felt was quite thought-provoking to me. The phones are buried on the ground and it resembled tombs on a cemetery and I wondered if this was meant to convey the message that we are all trying to portray a certain side of us online that we bring it to our ‘deathbeds’ because that is how we want people to remember us as. Then again, this is just something that came across my mind haha!

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One Reply to “Who Are You?”

  1. Very interesting remark at the end and I think you are right! We do construct, form and shape ourselves throughout our lifetime and then we take the identity with us into the grave. It may be gone but certainly it leaves a trace in others who we have known throughout our life. Very good observation! While you say at the beginning that there is much to say about digital identity, perhaps it would have strengthened your essay to discuss how “Until the End of the World” critiques and observes the construction of digital identity well into the future. That’s exactly what the narration is alluding to, though I admit, it may be a bit hard to understand. But perhaps a review of the video, as well as a discussion of her selfies might reveal much about the fantastical ways in which Gannis masterfully portrays her own digital identity.

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