*Image : Crowd Sign (Creative Commons licence ) by Katmere
CIAC's ELECTRONIC MAGAZINE
Rimbaud’s expression, put into words in a letter to Paul Demeny the 15th of May 1871, is very well-known : « I is Another *», he wrote, the artist doesn’t master his own creation!
An antinomy for some thinkers, a pleonasm for others, whether we believe it or not, Rimbaud’s expression generates a great deal of reflections about identity phenomena in the era of digital technologies. Whether it’s by autobiographic, feminist, anti-colonialist, but mostly critical hypertexts or artworks, the idea of another expressing through ourselves is omnipresent in hypermedia productions. According to numerous articles from hypermedia art specialist Joanne Lalonde or considering Sheila Petty’s work on representation of African identity in new Medias, this theme, declined in multiple facets, naturally emerged from the very beginning of Net Art (net.art).
As one can read in Fanny Georges' recent publications, Web 2.0 exacerbates this phenomenon. It offers the netsurfer an opportunity to use the Web in an active way, but with a certain amount of control, through formatted interfaces and, above all, the idea of transforming himself and while becoming « another ». This is partly what Joanne Lalonde calls performativity. Online Games, such as world of Warcraft, generate their own avatars. New issues, feminists for some of them, were raised as we can read abundantly in collective books directed by Hilde G. Corneliussen. Avatars created, in return, their own artistic practice as we can read in Cyril Thomas’ work. If the democratization of web creation extended the identity problematic beyond the art field, as shown by Serge Tisseron’s psychoanalytic reflection on extimity as well as those of the hypertext author Penelope Trunk on the business world in the era of Internet, hypermedia artists replied by an art that is more and more engaged, thus becoming a critique and a reflection on a mass phenomenon.
Directly in tuned with this engaged art form we now see, in art theory, a transdisciplinary approach reflecting on the interactive image study, using Louise Boisclair's words, and, more recently, a very precise understanding of identity issues related to biotechnologies. The later is explored by Marianne Cloutier in her ongoing PhD in art history.
I would like to insist on the sharing dimensions that are at the origin of the identity exploration on the Web. « I is another » on the Web also means that the netsurfer is taking part in something that surpasses him. In that sense, all his contributions on line are interpreted, hyperlinked, commented, manipulated and appropriated by the « others ». The cyberculture as we know it today is essentially composed of a conglomerate of links created by the netsurfers. Therefore, I invite you to follow us on the Magazine’s Facebook page to discover a little bit more about this theme whilst discovering an array fictional blogs.
*The title of this issue is the original idea of Anne-Marie Boisvert (past Editor-In-Chief)
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