Visual Proxy

Visual Proxy

There was an odd, wonderful, disturbing post by Jan Chipchase a few days ago.

I’m looking for a face stand-in,” he stated in a rather matter-of-fact way, “someone who can join [him at a public talk in Seoul] who enjoys having their photo taken, and wouldn’t mind being tagged online as me.”

This feels utterly Gibsonian to me—we’re living in the world of Idoru. Or, perhaps, we’ve collectively traveled down the gray metal stairway of an emergency expressway exit in a Murakamian alternate universe only to realize that this is precisely where things should be headed.

This is as reasonable a response to the disappearing camera as any other. For every face, a visual proxy. For every ominous, creeping attempt by others to establish and stabilize an identity, a subversive but wholly rational response.

This is me.

This is me in Seoul.

This is (other) me in Manila.

This is (other other) me in San Francisco.

This is (other other other) me in Londonderry.

These visual proxies are me and not me. Fitter, happier, more productive. Tag me at your peril.

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