[-empyre-] networked self and the netopticon

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Wed Jan 26 21:20:00 EST 2011

I like the way you describe the fragmented and plural self here Heidi. Very
much in tune with my own apprehension (and experience) of the subject.

In respect of the netopticon/panopticon as part of that - I have always
found Freud's concept of the super-ego very useful in describing the social
dimension of self (although I struggle with his concepts of id and ego a
bit). If we accept that self is a negotiated state and that the result is a
socially reflexive self (a super-ego) then I would argue you could conflate
this with the idea of the panopticon/netopticon as an internalised
apparatus. In this regard it becomes difficult to consider a "self" without
accepting the panoptic as an aspect of its ontology. This has both positive
and negative implications...



On 26/01/2011 00:57, "Heidi May" <mayh at ecuad.ca> wrote:

> *"As we hand over to next week, we do wonder whether and how
> individual responsibility is altered by being online and what effects
> that has on us all, whether at the hands of panoptic forces or
> not?"(Jon & Alison, Jan 22)*
> My interests with the networked self are influenced by Calvin Schrag's
> (1997) "The Self After Postmodernity," in which Schrag explores the
> self in discourse, the self in action, the self in community, and the
> self in transcendence. Although I am fascinated by this continual
> desire we have to connect with and understand the self, I do not
> believe a unitary self exists, however, I am not completely convinced
> that the self is constructed entirely by social forces...which is why,
> I guess, my work overall as a scholar/artist lies in-between the
> phenomenological and constructive, and (schizophrenically, perhaps) in-
> between the areas of art and education. To give you a little
> background about my own multiple selves...As an artist, I work at
> questioning and disrupting our relationships with technology in an
> attempt to think and see something through a different lens. As a
> researcher, I argue for self-reflexivity that is "referential" towards
> our relationships with culture, not just "endogenous" and inward-
> looking (Tim May, 1998). As an educator, I work towards embracing the
> uncertainty of a pedagogy that is guided by a temporal epistemology,
> "a quest for knowledge not based on developing accurate understandings
> of a finished reality but rather, "discovering more and more complex
> and creative ways of interacting with our reality (Osberg, Biesta, and
> Cilliers, 2008, p. 215). A temporal epistemology contrasts a
> representational way of knowing that can often present a divide
> between the world and our knowledge of it - temporal ways of knowing
> are said to allow for emergent knowledge from transactions with out
> environment.
> My selves are definitely intertwined and I try my best to allow them
> to inform one another, however, sometimes life runs more efficiently
> when I choose to separate the results according to the different
> categories and networks I juggle and work within. I assume many of you
> subscribed to this list can understand these multiple roles we attempt
> to balance within the networks of art, media, and academia. I should
> also add to my list of selves the role of a student, both in the sense
> of being a life-long learner but also in the practical sense of being
> in the third year of a PhD program that straddles between areas of art
> and education..thus, I look to gain some words of wisdom from the rest
> of you. Specific to this week, I wonder, as you navigate your multiple
> selves, what role does the netopticon play in these acts? If the
> 'academy' isn't watching you, do you feel the netopticon creates a
> record for them to refer to later? Do these records misrepresent you?
> Do you think about that or is it nothing to be concerned about?
> In Simon's introduction to this month's theme, he described how George
> Orwell "evoked a state of perpetual government surveillance designed
> to crush deviation from mandated behaviour, seeking to implant the
> self-governing mechanism within the psyche of the individual."
> I invite us to become self-reflective towards our own individual
> relationships with/in the netopticon as it relates to our everyday
> existence as people whom maintain art and teaching practices, yet
> simultaneously partake in ongoing critical exploration of online
> networks. This also connects slightly with the 'Stockholm Syndrome'
> metaphor brought up last week and the dangerous risks of succumbing to
> the Internet through acts of resistance. In what ways do we manage to
> identify ourselves in one social media network vs. another and how
> much thought do we put into this act of self-alteration, or the fact
> that we are indeed participation in a "theatre" of the netopticon? How
> do we incorporate our critical questions of online networking into our
> everyday use of the Internet, and should we insert more self-
> reflexivity into these acts? Do you feel it's possible to disrupt the
> shallow nature of mainstream social media networks (facebook, twitter,
> etc.) with critical acts of questioning? with art? Or do we need to do
> this outside of the netopticon?
> - Heidi
> --
> http://heidimay.ca
> Sources:
> May, T. (1998). Reflexivity in the age of reconstructive social
> science. International Journal of  Social Research Methodology, 1(1),
> 7­24.
> Osberg, D., Biesta, G., & Cilliers, P. (2008). From representation to
> emergence: Complexity¹s  challenge to the epistemology of schooling.
> Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(1), 213-227.
> Schrag, Calvin (1997). The Self After Postmodernity. New Haven, CT:
> Yale University Press.
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Simon Biggs
simon at littlepig.org.uk

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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