Digital Expressions of the Self/ Special Issue of Convergence
This issue of ''Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies'' engages with the digital forms of expressions of the self. We invite papers that explore the ways in which, for instance, digital techniques now allow the construction of selves that often rely more on algorithms than any ‘original’ referent. Consider, for example, how algorithms simulate images, voices etc. and have become the basis for facial recognition, biometrics and similar datafication concerning the self. This shift is indicative of what we might term posthuman condition. Along these lines, we are interested in papers that engage with how expressions enhanced by algorithms produce multiple, fractured selves. Following Deleuze, we invite papers that engage with how the in-dividual has become ‘dividual’ in societies of post-control vis-a-vis the introduction of digital technologies. Finally we are interested in how people experiment with creative expressions of the self. Constructing the self in the digital sphere may involve processes of experimentation that in turn allow one to experience the self in multiple ways. This is mediated of course by the apparatus of the digital-codes and algorithms. Digital self-expression occurs both consciously and explicitly, and subconsciously and indirectly. Taking this as a point of departure, this special issue examines the broad range of digital expressions of the self. The issue will pivot around, but not be limited to, these concerns: • What, in the digital context, defines the self and its boundaries? How is the self articulated in digital culture and cultures of everyday life especially in relation to Web 2.0? When articulated digitally, where do we locate its forms and ontology? • How is the digital expression of the self different from its analogue counterpart? What affordances of the digital, if at all, reconfigure the self? Consider, certain digital expressions can be evidential (eg: the selfie), viral, emotive or even tactile. How do the materialities of the specific platforms (eg: Instagram, MySpace.com, TikTok videos, Soundcloud, Tinder etc.) then impact the digital self or its expression?• These platforms have become not only media of self-expression but also experimentation. How do users, especially youngsters, leverage these platforms to experiment with their gender, bodies, sexualities and identities, creating self-representations that often challenge normativity?• How (im)proximate, in terms of referentiality, is the digital self to the so-called ‘real’ self? What does the digital expression entail epistemologically? How does it speak to the question of referentiality? In other words, to what extent, if at all, can these expressions be perceived as simulacrum? What is the nature of the human-algorithm interaction involved here?• How does the notion of the (in)dividual play out while articulating one’s self in the context of digitality, when the (post)human can be prosthetically ‘engineered’, Artificial Intelligence can govern societies, and robots can acquire personhood (or even citizenship)? Please send a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bio-note to the guest editors: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com by 16 April 2021. Decisions on acceptance will be communicated by 30 April 2021. Full papers will be due by 30 July 2021.