Portrait of Meta-Citizens looks at the adjustability of the virtual avatar: the digital body. The more we are able to modify our images of ourselves on digital platforms, the more our identities seem unstable and uncertain. Nowadays we have devices that store our data automatically (sometimes beyond our control), giving us the ability to use these data to extend our “real selves” in online spaces, creating several identities. We are able to select and spread these images in our real lives across platforms on which we seemingly can be whatever we want. The possibility of modifying our avatars creates tensions between the real and digital selves. The question becomes whether the physical or online one is more one’s true “self.”
Is the avatar an emotional release, a way to transform oneself, a representation of what we would like to be beyond physical restrictions? Can we really be whoever we want to be in digital space? And if we can, how do our minds bring self and avatar together? Or are we still restricted and entangled by physical and offline conditions, which still have a powerful influence on the construction of our online representation? When we are required to use our real names or registered phone numbers to identify ourselves to service providers, our avatars are likely to become imitations of our offline lives. That means everyone will have a digital format that represents themselves.
This project was developed during a residency as part of a Summer Sessions residency at V2_.