"In the "real" world, the presence of the body is an absolute clue of existence. In the "digital" one, it is not because you are consulting a website that you do exist. Thus, a user has to take existence to communicate"
[Georges, 2009]

"Through the fact that the user has to fill out repetitively subscription forms, a model of digital identity is progressively shaped or "informed" (in the etymological sense of informare "to shape"), influencing the cultural representation of the person"
[Turkle, 1995]

Accepting the foundation that Georges presents, and the works they reference, role-identity (the way someone views themselves as an acting entity in their own position) is based on both the actions a user consciously takes to present themselves and the inherent shaping of one's self into a format presentable online. For example, you can choose a display name, but what glyphs and how many characters are allowed in it shapes your ultimate decision. And then that display name is used by yourself and others, and your persona becomes attached to it. There are infinite points of shaping that occur on the web, where one uses the digital space to enhance a part of themselves in a way that couldn't be managed in person, or where one is limited by the specifications of the digital format and the templates of popular social media. The more one exists on the internet, a new mythology of identity occurs through evolving usernames, interests, aesthetics, friends, and information that begets itself unto a user, at a speed and consistency unprecedented to the offline. The "real" world cannot often keep up with the online identity, in its presentation, perception, and feedback loop.

The persona that takes space on the internet, that is acted out and translated through text and image and emoji and reshares, is entirely decided and curated by a living person who may live an entirely different type of life in the flesh. It is long form performance, collaboration, lie, and honesty beyond what one might ever be able to live outside the screen. I aim to explore that constructed role-identity through interview with people who see a dividing line between their habitus on the internet, and off it.

Recipient of the 2020 Fall Anderson Publishing Grant

Organized and coded by Alexis "Svvord" Wizardkicks