Christina Smiros MFA LRVS Thesis 2017

Where Does AM Come From?

The human and their tool have been converging throughout history. Post-humanities argue that a novel form of subjectivity is necessary for understanding and describing being once the convergence becomes a complete merger of the human-tool. In our technophilic culture, where the silhouette of a hand includes a rectangular block and the head has two buds coming out of the ears, are we not already embodying the post-human subjectivity, at the very least in our perceptual movement through the world?

With an interest in the dynamics of interpersonal relationality and notions of selfhood, this paper focuses on how the tool of social media creates a feedback loop between the representational self and the embodied self of a user. Through the work of post-humanist Katherine N. Hayles and theorist Judith Butler, a definition of post-human performativity and the subjectivity of a cyborg actor is produced as a model of understanding the perceptual world of a person engaged with social media. Moving through the relationship between a cyborg actor and their “friend-followers,” and the transformational effects of turning stories into information, we arrive at a need to address the social media company’s effect on the cyborg actor and their perceptual world.

Using the metaphor of Foucault’s Panopticon and a reading of Baudrillard’s simulacra, we can address the social media company’s production of the informational-identity from the cyborg actor’s performance, and the cyborg actor’s dynamic relationship to the self-image. Together these two concepts create singular constructions of ideal cyborg actors, which perpetuate an often unattainable convergence to sameness in virtual and embodied productions of self for the self and for the other. This is where AM, a fictional character born of the virtual world, comes from.

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MFA in Visual Studies Thesis Works