Week 4 Identity

This week's lectures from Martin Hosken as well as Tom Finn And Kristoffer Soelling from regular practice has sparked some interesting questions about our identities and how we try to be perceived and how we are actually perceived by society.

Hosken points out there are approximately 450 terms in the English language that contain the word self, However, further research questions the individualistic aspect of the word itself.

Kristoffer Soelling raises individuality in the Microsoft avatar that we can tell of its representation of the person but its non representative nature also. He further mentions that if we do not visually represent ourselves then others will.

The avatar is incredibly interesting in that we are attempting to create individuality in a digital form. As a example, Apple users can create a digital representation of themselves, but only using the templates provided by Apple. Is this then an expression of individualism or a very good marketing ploy to ensure that users are buying the most upto date products? Theodor Dorno and Max Horkheimer wrote of unequivocal commodities, that everything comes from an standardisation of construct.

The same can be suggested with our emails and social media accounts. Soelling continues that our handles are the first impression in the digital age. Similar to the avatar we are limited to what we can actually have. When looking at my accounts, having to make slight differences to what I really wanted as a representation of me. The is why you encounter the "John_Jones1234" accounts. JohnJones was probably already taking and a variation of this has to be made.

Looking past the names and avatars, our media is a larger projection of our identities. Each post is a reflection of our: political views, our family values, our careers and our successes. when exploring these values how much of this is attributed to what we are told to embrace?

On a platform of Instagram takes mass persuasion a new level. Edward Bernays pioneered product placement and linking luxury items to celebrities. Nowadays we have the social media influencer, who promotes items they are paid to. Consumers will be prompted to buy these items and then post on their own platform, normally using a hashtag to further promote the company. These posts can almost create a cult status within groups. One example is of the skate brand Supreme. The company, themselves promote a false scarcity. James Jebbia, founder once said, "If we can sell 600, I will make 400." The brand saw a spike in popularity in 2016 and some of this could be attributed to its media presence. Every Thursday a fresh wave of images will surface of people acquiring the latest drop. other posts of peoples large collections which people would refer to as the Supreme meme. Other accounts will post sellout times of items to further the hype and exclusivity of the items. The most exclusive of these is the Box logo (a rectangle with a Futura wordmark inside). These box logos, that can sell for hundreds and in some cases, thousands on the secondary market are essentially holding no different than other brands except that someone said it was rare. This is an example of people doing an irrational act based on desire. Like the avatar, this isn't a unique item and the company as this point has made thousands of them. But somehow the consumer believes it is special and feels the urge to project this object onto social media as if it contains some relevance to their or someone else life.

These cases raise the question of how much are any of us are individual. When thinking of how we are forming our identities, the question is, do we form our own identity or have the corporations formed them for us? Our all our actions carefully placed for us and true decision making has been taken away from us?


Curtis, Adam. “The Century of the Self - Part 1: ‘Happiness Machines.’” YouTube, 20 June 2016, Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

“From Skate Shop to Fashion Powerhouse: Business Lessons From Supreme’s Rise » THE PRES&S.” THE PRES&S, 2 Nov. 2018, Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

“James Jebbia Supreme Quotes.” The Age of Ideas, 4 Mar. 2018, Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

Letourneau, Alain. “(PDF) Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno. Critical Theory and Ethics.” ResearchGate, Sept. 2019, Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

Staff, Guardian. “The Best Business Card Scene: American Psycho.” The Guardian, 3 May 2000, Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

VanDerWerff, Todd. “Why Did Prince Change His Name to a Symbol?” Vox, Vox, 21 Apr. 2016, Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

Wisecrack. “The Philosophy of Fight Club – Wisecrack Edition.” YouTube, 9 Dec. 2017, Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

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all ready for week 1 now haha