Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Virtual Kingdom: Human Branding in the Selfie Age

By Kofi Forson

As with the defining of a subject - forming of base, support, gravity, one begins from the beginning. I hereby reference songs by R.E.M., Feeling Gravity's Pull and Begin the Begin.

In Feeling Gravity’s Pull there’s a naturalizing of vision, an almost artist-shock of light. Gravity in essence is the substantive force that pulls us around.

“Read the scene where gravity is pulling me around. Peel back the mountains peel back the sky. Stomp gravity into the floor. It's a Man Ray kind of sky. Let me show you what I can do with it. Time and distance are out of place here”.

Begin the Begin on the other hand is a sentient entry into fortuitousness. There’s a giving and understandable merit for power and control.

“Let's begin again, begin the begin. Let's begin again like Martin Luther Zen. The mythology begins the begin. Answer me a question I can't itemize. I can't think clear, you look to me for reason. It's not there, I can't even rhyme here in the begin.”

In it all is the assertion of existence, merry and frivolous act of articulating and fussing with light, however intellectual or envisioned. It’s a combination mixing and matching of thought, double-downing on pre-eminence, ego and id.

There’s never a rhythm to the social media dance. People go there to flex their muscles, disclose a plan they may have botched in real life.

Authority is self-willed and in doing so definition of persona / personae is magnified based on how far one is willing to go. Body-sizing of appeal and attraction becomes counter-effective when there are no “likes” or “shares” of an image or post. This “love me” or “leave me” culture is less romantic as it is an attempt at celebrity on a smaller scale.

The self-purported instant sensation is governor and governess. Our brand is by deception showcasing brilliance, separating us from party speeches, bland attempts at entertainment.

The selfie was introduced to popular culture with use of I-phone or Smart phone as a way of chronicling spontaneous events without the officiality of actually taking a picture. This was manipulated much like the go-pro camera. Both items accentuated the knack and fun for adventurism. With productivity of I-phones and smart phones as replacement for professional cameras, what the Nikon, Point and Shoot prescribed, people were able to treat taking pictures as a fun activity. Social media was then a place where people posted and shared these images.

In the late seventies, Cindy Sherman unveiled her film stills, a series of black and white self-portraits which featured the American photographer in various circumstances taken from her poses and situating of her body as subject for detailing certain narratives and associations.

Petula Girndt - German Photographer

Given the stylized nature of this artistic venture it set a premise for something that had been earlier prioritized by such photographers as Lee Miller, an adventurist who captured her very own image on her many travels.

Modernistically, the works of Robert Mapplethorpe and Nan Goldin explored the extremes and edge of habit and emotional and physical violence. The images of Goldin as an abused woman and Mapplethorpe pushing the boundaries of sadomasochistic behavior are more far-reaching than the narcissistic and self-obsessed selfies paraded through social media.

The selfie should and can illustrate a series of emotions experienced during a period and time in the living experience. One such artist on Facebook takes selfies while in the studio. These images are timeless and are less the artist drawing attention to herself as they are portraits of a lifestyle. Another, an avid cyclist and fashion blogger takes selfies while on the road or experimenting with a variety of looks for her blog.

Julia Kristin - Cyclist and Fashion Blogger

In other words the selfie can be a way of articulating to the general public one’s persona and level of expertise and experience. Understandably at a party setting with drinks involved there are those who engage in the activity of senselessly taking pictures.

However expressive, selfies should become a way of communicating to the world and less a means of showmanship and orgiastic behavior.

Petula Girndt - German Photographer

If given a controlled and thematic approach we become celebrity. We are known for the definite thing that defines us, our glory and our stardom.

See it as talent needing exploration – what tweets eventually suppose, continuous thread of thought, however thrilling or furthering philosophy.

In the image concept, what we see bends on beauty and aesthetics. Image the self as an object of fancy. Make that an association which commercially keeps conduct and reiteration a constant imprint on the sight and senses.

Portrayal of subject intrinsic to our interests deepens frequency with which followers gallivant on social media Timelines. Attraction then revolves around replacement for the non-sex, non-drug craving.

That then is what rock and roll is! What is hip-hop! What is journalism! What is Goth! – Language is balance through which we make our selves known. Musicality is symmetry, order, vision.

The often and frequent need to post is a drive, the pull from a sex drive, manic proposal for immediate gratification.

In this dystopic orgy one must be self-rendered and manage togetherness with the human manager within the virtual. The person that is in isolation must become self-made.

None of what pours from the mind, heart and body should be taken for granted. Need for fulfillment no matter how necessary or belittling should be approached as if a show of magic, trick, thought.

What we are in the virtual are entertainers. In the giving off of self-display people are watching. The patented voyeurism is the fascination.

We are show-offs! We are psycho-superior! – Once we make this non-sex, non-drug party our very own means of disillusionment, we draw from each other the very disjointed energies which fall prey to an unimagined blood-sucking.

As an absolute must one should curtail the offense of being offended unless having undergone bullying or shaming. We are all non-nominative. We approach from the bizarre, our selves undefined.

What has to happen is the making and accentuating of I, Me, My prioritization. Branding of the human within the virtual begins much like puzzle. Our dispersive selves are throwaways we proportion in the virtual. Make this the delivery from non-conclusiveness.

The programmed and orchestrated plan is when someone moves within and without. Making of the threat, who and what you profess to be or want to be is designed not to fail. Once present in the virtual you are success. Key then becomes maintaining system with which we promote cadence, similarities and differences. Symbiosis is almost necessary to attract more followers.

What dimensions then does the virtual present? If perfected we are dealing with the highest representations of ourselves - customizing of the body as ghost in the otherness of what the body projects in physicality and spirit, represented as life encompassing, never-ending.

The cult of it is that we are masterminding a presentation. The act of venturing into nothingness, hoping to resonate and connect is in itself ridicule, as if blinded, forced to imagine the concept of the human as ghost.

In this circumstance we are presented with the profile picture or the thing that gives insight to the total form, unifying of all that we represent, symbolize, signify. Be it a cup with the world "love", cartoon of rabbit with bow tie or the selfie, passport picture, the virtual stranger is in need and in search of connectedness.

Like the night at the Foie Gras dinner party, one is in hope for a conversation. In order to achieve this one looks for a likeness, be it ordered in uniformity, color or balance.

Such is the capacity in the virtual world - without it we are lost. The certainty of being lost in the real world is what attracts us to the virtual world. Many are then able to hide and suppose a persona different from the original idea of self. Circumstance of which trolling has become disease.

The identifiable person is the official you, either that or poseur. Look to be accountable for tweets, status updates. Sensibly all that is transported across virtual lines comes from a place within, an unimaginable substation of ideas.

Make this central to logic.

In the long term, psycho-serenity is untroubled or questioned because we are managing a system whereby our posts are either made impenetrable as forms of linguistic fervor or informative for a community, perhaps gossip to meet demands of the what, why and with whom.

Further investigation would lead one to come to conclusion that we are less of what we had hoped and intended to be. And now are trying out subrealities in a card game we never expect to lose because the ginning up of who we hope to be is only made pure with a post or another comment.

Proportionately our lives are concurred and optimized with subjectivity of the virtual and human. This then brings to mind the thought of where we have come to, now being controlled and handcuffed in this very world of the virtual, more importantly "social media".

Social media is standardized as place of escape, the zeitgeist making common tug and pull of society’s ills, inconclusive terrorizing and outpouring of information. However and seemingly illogic in its blueprint, many ideas are exchanged, lives are made new, relationships start, needs are met, temporarily or in life’s distance.

The human life supposition has always given way to a life lived in exclusivity. Fanaticism of subcultures was the original idea that begot social media. Somehow it was a way for like-minded people to cavort.

Rhiannon Stephanie - NYC Photographer and Artist

Present sense of what is social media is more so the enriching of a life suspended.

The futuristic sentiment whether of space exploration or patterning of international relations, adjoining of allies or interconnectivity of friendships continents apart was to broaden communication.

The Jazz Age presented us with this formality. The medium of the novel transported visionary ideas to people all over the world. In doing so, musical performers traveled to different countries to make presentations of their music.

This alone was the original model for what we know virtually as "sharing" - to have something of note and worth and want to allow for mass consumption.

Suddenness of something going viral!

Credit must be given to the human element of curiosity, the playwright's fancy for dialogue. What is shared between two or more parties makes for an event. And as in the virtual understanding, the world is listening.

How then have virtual relationships deviated from what we knew as Facebook Friends, MySpace Friends. Is this still a tribal inventiveness or has that come to pass and we are now dealing with a web of fast moving thoughts presented as status updates with very little care for the understanding of who these people are behind these profiles.

What the editor of a Press upon defining for the public what their submission policies are would always want to know whether they are dealing with a human or robot.

Have we not become robots now? Are we not androids?

Our personal and cultural histories determine who we are in the virtual. In the deepening race, gender, identity factors we base our advancement on principles of livelihood, focus on the physical and imagined. Given forays into the fantasy and sensationalized space within we emerge from stupor of conditioned and unconditioned manifestations. Principally we are triggered by associations and disassociations in the life cycle.

Self-discovery is made relevant as to who we are and what we know. No getting around physical make up and identity. What forms of articulation we express plays into our place of birth, schooling, education, family and friends. Heartening what is central to us can allow for a concrete understanding of where everything is being channeled.

The next level would then be what we are passionate about. The system-projection deliverance, theme for our role in virtual reality would then be overall the very thing we make radical - how we approach bargaining of what we share and how it is interpreted. Such mechanizing renders itself as who we are in the virtual world, what we are known for.

With hands represented as tools we learn how to solve a problem. The major query we should always keep in mind is, are we justified in serving our followers and how do we keep them following. There’s always tendency to deviate from the plan given fluctuations in the life process. A systemized approach when tweeting or giving a status update can propel frequency with which followers build interest. Retweeting normally provides solidity in keeping a customized flow.

The reason then for being on social media is a question we need ask ourselves. What do we hope to achieve? We encourage and manifest a thinking pattern once we reach a point of professionalism. Our role on social media can be kept purely for enjoyment. Managing an account which serves the community it targets or builds an outreach can benefit many parties involved.

Specified accounts in the academic, journalistic or art oriented realms are in keeping with a method. These then can be managed as organizations and not the rancor and vilification perpetrated by some isolated individuals. Majority of those who venture into the virtual world are there for hijinks. Manner and behavior then harp on hilarity and exaggeration.

Art subtext gives off the premise for collaboration. What we are entertaining is a form of art collaboration without the expediency of philosophical thought. Grammatically this is a wording without principle as in the emoji or acronym.

The supposition would then be we are comfortable with ourselves in social media. There are those who use it professionally to promote events. Given choice of social media account one can prioritize what they want to say or share. But we are comfortable with ourselves in social media. It has become the firing range. Seemingly the in-crowd has been invaded by the cultural mass that no one is special. It is true to form an anecdote - no one is special and the cultural mass rules. Our faux believability gives us a premise to continuously channel the god or diva within.

What is then the human presentation? How are we living our lives if not to report it back to the virtual - what has become "instagramming". Is life less important if not given a priority in social media?

Are the cameras always watching? Is this, the social media world, the human person circumventing death? Has this become our means of enlightenment?

Rhiannon Stephanie - NYC Photographer and Artist

What is then the trick that defines the virtual from the human quotient? Does one continue to believe that valuing a human connection is greater than the virtual assumption? What is human? What is virtual? Has social media become an "androidal" party?

First twenty years of any life is spent making mistakes. The next twenty affords us a chance to clarify and make solid our determination. As with the adventurous self the twentieth year is when a person forms and conditions a program furthering the intention and continuance in becoming someone expected. The prolonging of our intention brings about a call for higher education or acquiring a trade. Acknowledgement of what we already know allows for growth. We make this possible in concert with other participants by exchanging ideas, premise for what we know in the virtual.

Livability of the human dynamic in stereo has to assume relations within the virtual. Phenomena that we’re not here alone should provide us with conduct for organizing an effort to reach out. An ingrained courage and fierceness pushes us into the unknown. We are at once giving of ourselves, hoping to gain something in return. Such was the original intent. What is happening now is a virtual highway where thoughts crash and explode. Accordance with the identifiable persona either resonates as human or rhetoric.

The most important woman I have ever known I met in the virtual and we have yet to meet face to face. Humanizing of a virtual person takes on many challenges. It is sustainable with the various ways to communicate. Ours was a gradual committing of time and patience in discovery and learning about another person, about another place. The basis for wanting to know about another place on earth seen through communication with a person in the virtual is outrightly futuristic. Understandably she and I were of the mindset that we were both intellectually curious. The supposition for our exchange was then certified in her knowingness and wanting to share. Importance was then suggested in how I was to perceive this as a growing and learning circumstance.

When confronted with availability and presence of a person incredibly eloquent and more advanced in their existence, credit should be given. We then should take a chance, be willing to participate knowing both roles are interchangeable. What I walked away with in our projects online, continuous dialogue and preoccupation with language was a carry-over of my interest in the muse, aestheticizing of beauty. That relevance was present in all that we achieved as a glorified philosophical interconnectivity. An example I failed to reach in all my years at university. The virtual supposition allowing for a reality sensed and felt in all the entreaties of acquired tastes of intellectualism, power positioning, rules and conduct and the lauding of a person’s worth however impressionable, transparent.

Artness and made-to-feel-pretty personifying of the human animal lends a lot of itself to the virtual. Having encouraged a professional and personal relationship with a woman I have known for thirteen years and we never sat face to face ever and this to this date is the most gratifying relationship ever - because it affected my language and with most artists that is sacred.

Language is sacred.

Preoccupation with how thinking originates from nothingness can mold a conscience into welcoming other mindsets in the hallowed virtual world. These become interventions, mild and polite intrusions on the mundane. They can be achieved with a feeling for respect and trust becoming more or less intimate moments shared with followers, messaging, tweets or Skype conversations.

In the real and human redirect, we promote maturity. Constant growth rendered in the physical body feeling, interpreting and collaborating is essential for sustenance.

The body electric is built on love and intellect. Of the utmost importance we need to accelerate the learning potential, something achieved in the here and now. Each moment we gain momentum if and when we pay attention to circumstance and uniformity.

Love and intellect perfects us, that which drives us from fear, the very thing we confront in the real and virtual.

An astute observation would then be how we have come far from torture and trauma. We as humans have survived interrogation of what it means to exist mortally and conscionably.

Love and death is our entry into the future. We die to live. And in death we see into another world.

The virtual is our minds and bodies disengaged. This psycho-circus is made up of ghosts in transition.

It is at once our intellectual selves misbehaving or coordinating a thread conversation. There are no boundaries.

Once we log on we fall in line. We leave behind the stressors and in posting and tweeting something magical happens. The human person acquires light, takes a bold step into the future.

We are made divisible as human creatures. As mortal beings we long for acceptance. Within the virtual world we challenge our fate. We become less mortal. Our half-lives positioned like portraits.

In this we see ourselves as important, represented, governed and governing.