Self/ download the text pdf and see the notes

In the age of social media, the self, as it once existed, has been reduced to an image-based format, constantly archived and witness by everyone we have ever met and often several we have never seen in the flesh. How does this gaze affect self expression? While once the internet was only a facet of our lives, now, our Facebook stands as a monument, a history, a documentation of our lives, which now takes the place of expression in real life, progression in real life, even communication in real life. There is, currently, a very strong social obligation to not only be present in this space, but to actively participate in it. Our social media profiles stand as a social resume, putting your life in the spotlight, but a very edited life at that. What exactly does this social pressure and hyperextended peer access do to us? Have you ever stopped yourself from posting something in fear that someone would see it-- another friend? an ex? someone you are interested in? a family member? a colleague? or an employer?

There is a principle in physics called the observer effect. It refers to the changes that occur when something is being observed; the very act of observing something changes that which is being observed. While in physics, this often refers to the instruments being used and their effects on the subject, I think the same principle applies to people. When isolated, people act differently than when they are with even one other person, so what then is the impact of every person you have ever known watching you at every moment? This makes me wonder whether it is even possible, in this day and age, for the self to exist separate and unaffected by this potential. Has the very notion of the self changed in response to technology?Our entire lives are now archived within our timeline. Once, we would naturally grow as people, leaving past mistakes and personality traits in the past. Only evidenced by photographs, stories, and memories, which demand a certain privilege to access. Now, our entire lives are archived, creating an obligation to this image of your self; if you do grow beyond a formal self, there is tactile evidence of it, This could create a sense of responsibility to that self, which can lead to guilt, regret, or even ego death.

Social media though very prevalent is not the first time that the self has been translated to image nor does it mark the first instance the surveilling of the self in our lives. Throughout our development, from birth through adulthood, there are several milestones in which we are under the watchful eye. As toddlers, parental observation is necessary to our survival. In the case if religion, a God figure is said to always be watching over us, watching us. This observation serves as a comfort as well as a means for constructing morals-- the good and the bad, the what you should or should not do. This is furthered by the authority figures physically present in our lives-- parents, professors, employers, even the government. Now this authoritative figure remains in the private sphere, constantly present on your computer. Through this on-going text and subsequent video and performance pieces, I explore these ideas in an attempt to find just how far technology has reached into our selves.