Updated: Jun 28
What is the value of the human face?
In our society the face has always been a crucial identifier used for various identification purposes such as passports or even nowadays to unlock a phone. But as we increasingly move into digitally mediated spaces, the face becomes more abstract. Faces can be appropriated, changed, augmented and modified. Behind a face can hide another, many others, or even no-one (in the case of AI generated faces). The face you are looking at, might not be real.
Behind a face can hide another, many others, or even no-one..I believe the face will always be some form of identifier but it has now also become a tool for self expression: a canvas, a mask, a weapon, a status symbol, a revealer and a deceiver.
Why is the ability to craft your own digital identity so crucial at this point in time?
Crafting your own digital identity is about mediating your digital self at a time when our data is being used to create our personalised and targeted user profile for marketing purposes. Crafting your own digital identity enables you to take back control over the narrative imposed on you and to build an environment you want to be represented in.
The digital self becomes a canvas for experimentation, enabling you to escape the limitation of the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Taking back control over our faces and our digital self is regaining control over our identity.
What opportunities does the move closer to the metaverse have for self expression?
The move closer to the metaverse opens a host of new means for self expression. By fusing with technology, the posthuman has the ability to think and move differently. Physical laws can be twisted and new narratives can emerge from it. In the metaverse we can perform multiple identities and explore many ways of being: Underneath our face can lie another one and underneath that one, another. We conceal and reveal what we want. We mediate the space around us and create an environment for the type of life and community we want.
In the metaverse I’m free
In the metaverse I have no gender, no norm, I’m fluid
In the metaverse I can become who I want to be
In the metaverse I become myself
Digital Identity- the collation of personal data that forms an online representation of a physical person or organisation. This ranges from photos, posts and comments on social media to your search engine history, text messages and your online bank account- anything that can be traced back to the ‘real’ you. Also known as: Digital Self
Metaverse- metaverse has become a word to illustrate the unbound potentials of future digital worlds. It is thought the metaverse will eventually become the gateway to most digital experiences.
With no universally agreed definition, Matthew Ball, author of The Metaverse Primer, admits it’s hard to define what the metaverse will be. However, he believes its core attributes are identifiable:
It will be persistent, meaning that it will continue indefinitely
It will be live, meaning it will exist in real time
It will be individual, meaning everyone can participate simultaneously and with a sense of agency
It will be a fully functioning economy
It will span both the physical world & the digital world, reality in a virtual world
It will include content from a huge range of contributors & creators
Can you share with us some of your influences?
My work deals with identity and body politics. In it I explore the black body and my own body in spectacular and unspectacular ways. The images I create are often inspired by cinema and photography. More generally my work is heavily inspired by sci-fi movies but more particularly I get a lot of inspiration from artists who frame and tell stories of cultures living in the diaspora, for example the brother duo Durimel. Another photographer I really like is Zanele Muholi and how she uses her body to confront the politics of race and representation, questioning the way the black body is shown and perceived. Similar to this I also want to mention the painter Kerry James Marshall, who centers the black body in his work.
Posthuman- the state of being beyond human. Posthumanism is a discipline interested in the idea that humans can be transcended or transformed by technological advancements. It seeks to undermine traditional boundaries between humans and technology in order to explore different modes of being in the future. For instance, posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences (AI), a mix of human and AI, or even uploaded consciousnesses.
Metaverse, a term first coined in science fiction, is a combination of the prefix "meta", meaning beyond, and "universe". It describes infinite, unbound potentials of future digital & 3D worlds. The metaverse will likely become the gateway to most digital experiences. The definition of the metaverse is still growing and evolving every day.