Richard Menke responds to Kimberly Hall
Kimberly Hall’s reflections deftly move us from media to mediation, from the material means of communication to the virtual space in which individualities and images can be constructed and circulated. In this zone between self and selfie, the “prosumer” can curate an invented personality, can add a filter and foment FOMO, or can express a more authentic identity—indeed, may perhaps even do all of these things simultaneously.
Hall highlights Zieger’s reparative readings of this Dorian Gray-area. In a larger sense, treating the zone of mediation as a place where marginal or socially invisible identities can be assembled helps free us from the stifling choice between stodgy fretting about the loss of an authentic self and insouciant retro postmodern declarations that the self was always an invented fiction anyway. But viewing self representation as part of the history of mediation might ultimately lead us full circle, back to the mechanics of media. From codex book to facebook, temperance tract to intemperate tweet, perhaps we might understand the histories of modern identity with new acuity once we view the affordances of media as also offering technics of the self.