Digital Portrait Project – Part One [Practical Media]

Our first week’s task requires the making of a ‘Digital Portrait’, centred on personal identities, and how technology transforms that identity in the digital landscape. The question posed to us as a starting point was, ‘What is the relationship between the media you use and your own sense of self’? This in itself poses a question. What is my own sense of self? What am I? Well, I’m a comic book fan, I love films, and I’m a Masters student in Digital Media. I’m a researcher at heart, an Illustrator and podcaster. To a lesser extent, I am a gamer, though I spend more time looking through the history of games and working at conventions rather than playing them, a musician, a martial artist and, biologically speaking, I am a woman. With at least a surface Idea of what I am, I have to now review how each of these aspects relate to my digital self, and how that relates to my physical being.

A lot of my interests and subjects that I use to classify myself, are influenced by the World Wide Web. While most of them were cultivated in the physical world, with books, comics, VHS cassettes, DVD’s and cartridges littering my library (A physical collection of shelves that has stayed with me and feels to reflect myself, as a library should for any owner), the advent of the internet allowed for these passions and defining qualities to be shared with a much wider audience and be expanded upon with the freedom and infinite spread of knowledge the web allows. According to McLuhan’s theories of ‘The Extension of Man’, the infinite supply of information the web provides, is an extension of our own central nerve system. [McLuhan. 1964] The expansion of our own interests in real life through the internet, does provide a way for us to expand our thinking to an almost infinite space and share our thoughts.

Some interests, such as occasionally gaming and at times the temporary escape of films, books and comics, can allow the individual to live the life of another vicariously through the medium. Rather than extending one’s self, the individual can reinvent or inhabit another, while still expanding that experience through the global net.

The infinite nature for these expansions could be explored using an infinite canvas lay out. More research and planning required..

  • McLuhan, M. (1964) Understanding Media. The Extensions of Man. Routledge Classics. Oxon.

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