Art Papers  

more from the July/August 2013 issue:

Art After
Social Media

by Brad Troemel


Letter From
the Guest Editors:
MALONE


Index of Contributors



18+
Whatever Bodies, Races, and Things


Text / Em Rooney


18+, still from Drawl / Demo. < Watch Video >

There isn't a lot of information to find on the Internet about Boy and Sis, the duo from Los Angeles who together create the sounds and visions of 18+. The music is drag-pop that "leaves you with a physical feeling though you haven't been touched."1 The duo's simple synth percussion, moody melodies, and perverted lyrics are paired with computer-generated animation by way of Second Life babes and spaces, creating a vision of the posthuman that is both nihilistic and erotic.

The music of 18+ is amazing. Its spellbinding aura reminds me of Cliff Martinez's score for Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 movie Drive. The duo's songs are an eclectic mix of R&B (including some covers), samples, homemade beats, and rap lyrics. Its mixtapes, some of which are an hour long, bleed one track into another, almost completely drowning out any distinction in lyric or song. In the legacy of electronic music, many 18+ tracks evade commercial viability by being too short, too long, too slow, or too dirty for radio. You cannot download 18+ videos from YouTube without your computer contracting some horrible, slow-moving virus, but 18+ does make some of its mixtapes available for download on SoundCloud.

Despite these mediated removals from the mainstream, 18+ seems to understand the way music works and what club kids need. They want you to feel okay about getting yourself off, alone, in your Second Life, on the dance floor, or while kinking out with your inflatable. In Deep House style, 18+ moves away from strictly robotic, endless music, or acid house, adding a pop sensibility, with touches of Miami bass, electro-goth, and witch house. Their absurdly dirty, sensual raps share a desperation, lack of humility, and simplicity with some of the songs I loved in the sixth grade, like Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop," TLC's "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls." In "Shoop," Salt-N-Pepa reverse the male gaze by scrutinizing, objectifying, and soliciting any random man they choose. These simple reversals, or exaggerated expressions of normalcy or decency (TLC begs for sex—outright, Prince doesn't care if you're a boy or a girl, and 18+ tells you to take your "pussy drama home to your Momma"2) exemplify or perform hysteria: the hysteria of our bodies, the hysteria of our sexualities.


18+, still from BITCH / 2013 Venice Biennale / Lithuania & Cyprus Pavilion
< Watch Video >

18+, still from Pussy Drama / Demo. < Watch Video >

The need to articulate our bodies' relationship to technology seems to be a part of this necessary hysteria. Assuming that 18+'s branding reflects this desire, in line with the current trend of using computer-generated animation and high-definition/3-D in video art and film, I logged into Second Life for research.

Second Life (made by Linden Lab) is in its 10th year and seems not to be on the tip of people's tongues anymore. It has the distinct feeling that it just isn't what it used to be. Perhaps there is a generation gap between the virtual class of the late 90s and the dot-com era—for whom Second Life became a natural progression in the world of social media—and my generation, which reached young adulthood (and Silicon Valley) just after the dot-com bubble burst. Or maybe the apparent emptiness is the result of a series of lawsuits and some major stakeholders threatening to leave Second Life because of its explicit content, forcing Linden Lab to eradicate gambling and to privatize the places where sex and prostitution happen. These places aren't that hard to find, though; you just have to prove that you're over 18. Once passing into 18+ territories, you can pay (in Linden Dollars) for bondage gear, voice chats, rough sex, and rape—a divisive and coveted experiential component for many of Second Life's devotees. Perhaps it is this nostalgic, criminalized territory that attracts 18+ to Second Life as a narrative reference for its videos.

A closer look at 18+ and the politics of their formal devices might help to resolve the discrepancy between opposing takes on our posthuman existence. On the one hand, there's the lateral, expansive body drift theorized by Arthur Kroker and its utopic potential seen in Donna Haraway's cyborgs or what could be a benevolent mirror reflecting the ambivalence we still feel as a society towards difference—the fact that we still favor the gaining of material goods over the greater good, alas, that we are still the children of and parents to patriarchy and capitalism, on the other. Pitting these two distinctly different narratives about the not-so-far-off future against each other, the songs/videos of 18+ address a series of relevant and pressing questions about race, gender, and the ways that body, sign, and commodity merge to create an unapologetically reflective version of post-humanity.


18+, stills from Nectar featuring AIDS-3D. < Watch Video >

Body Drift, Improper Bodies, Whatever Bodies

In its video for a track called "Nectar," featuring AIDS-3D (an artist pair consisting of Daniel Keller and Nik Kosmas, who attended School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the early 2000s), 18+ lay out three simple visual elements. The first is homemade soft porn of three lesbians playfully three-way kissing. The second section is an animation of heart shapes made to look like cells floating in a bloodstream. The third is a lesbionic dance routine performed by two identical avatars wearing nothing but swatches of fabric over their crotches and nipples, in a virtual room that looks like something between a video projection box and a stripper stage. The two gals float through the space, careering into each other and slipping through impossible splits, meeting at their groins and continuing on in opposite directions, gyrating their hips outward.

18+'s collaboration with AIDS-3D creates a confrontation between real bodies and cyberspace. More forthright than 18+ about their intentions, AIDS-3D told Vice magazine in an interview from their Berlin studio rooftop that they have a distinct interest in the posthuman and the uncanny valley.3 Almost as though they picked up a line of thought directly from Katherine Hayles, their videos drive home the idea that the posthuman cannot really be understood without understanding humanism in turn, or at least understanding the interrelation between posthuman and humanism.4 Cyborgs do not "leave their history behind them [fully]; rather they carry it around with them like snails."5 Although the 18+ cyborgs' complexity, their history, isn't written on their bodies (the illusion of their physicality is devoid of the usual trappings of meaning placed on a human body), it is illustrated in the clips, functioning like flashbacks, shown between the dance routines of the avatars created by 18+.

18+ works our lived experience into their vision of our future selves in cyberspace in the video for their track "Cardiocleptomania," a remix of a LOGO song. A faceless, CGI fembot practices her runway walk back and forth across the interior of a massive bombed-out building while images of water disappearing over landmass (as environmental foreboding) interject. Clips of an androgynous body (a real body, depicted here using video) come in and out of complete darkness into a bright and directed stream of light. This series of images, like many of 18+'s juxtapositions, seems to be depicting Arthur Kroker's conception of body drift perfectly. Body drift is Kroker's term to describe our global condition of body displacement; Kroker uses war; genocide; government conspiracy; the denial of basic human rights to persons because of their race, gender, sexuality, or class; and the effects of global warming as examples of conditions that leave our bodies or "the bodies we would like to become … increasingly dispersed, intermediated, unfinished, spliced, [and strained]."6 He highlights the way that our bodies are already unfixed and unchanging, already evolved and evolving, "subject to random fluctuation, [and] always intermediated by other objects and other code perspectives."7 This theory considers Donna Haraway's seminal "Cyborg Manifesto" but adds a darker, more contemporary spin on Haraway's cyborgs,8 who possessed agency and weren't merely the byproduct of globalization's collapsing effect on our human bodies.

Haraway laid out two opposing structures for cyborg existence in a posthuman destiny: one in which the "final imposition of a grid of control reigns over the planet, imposing the [final] appropriation of women's bodies"9 and another in which people are not afraid of partial identities, contradictory standpoints, and varying relationships to property, the public, and the private. In the same way that it is necessary in order to understand (musical) globalization to re-evaluate the parameters of tradition and creativity, custom and art, text and subtext, exclusion and inclusion,10 it is also important that we understand that our bodies are created from histories, and that in turn our cyborgs will have a deeper sense of irony than we could ever imagine.

The "Cardiocleptomania" fembot, and, I presume, most of the avatars created by 18+ and company, exists not only (and sometimes not at all) in the utopic conception of the cyborg in which queerness, partiality, and dialectical neutrality reign, but also as a defiant symbol of patriarchal capitalism. Haraway reminds us, as if she were speaking directly to 18+'s androids, that "illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential."11 The existence (persistence and proliferation) of 18+'s avatars acknowledges our complicated, marginal, and real bodies' exclusion from popular culture. 18+'s defiance comes in their refusal to reflect real bodies or faces to a viewing public, in an effort to pacify the many who are still unseen in popular culture's images. Ignored or disregarded by antiquated mores, white supremacy, and corrosive governmental policies, marginalized peoples' unfulfilled human rights will not be granted by their misguided inclusion into the world of images.


18+ with LOGO, stills from Cardiocleptomania, 18+ Remix. < Watch Video >

The Face

In some ways 18+'s visual robbery of "National Anthem" seems like a one-off or a one-liner. But the snarky erasure of Lana Del Rey's audio track and replacement with the duo's own track, not coincidentally called "Rebirth," offers another clue to who 18+ is and what it might care about. "National Anthem" is a straightforward song accompanied by a confusing video. Del Rey morphs from Marilyn Monroe to Jackie Onassis, eventually settling on some combination of the two. The video flashes forward to post-assassination scenes, in which the singer and her husband—I'll call him the president—are portrayed as lustful and rich, acting out their lives like a constant party at their presidential estate. Del Rey's co-star in this feature film–like music video is A$AP Rocky, a black recording artist, and the stereotypes of male, hip-hop artist blackness are played up, but the interraciality of their family isn't addressed so much as it is depicted. The president gambles, smokes cigars, and wears cornrows and gold chains. Del Rey looks more like the archetypal late-1960s, Long Island housewife than the First Lady, but then again it's hard to tell if the couple's high-class clan are the president's associates or nostalgic, modern-day "Corleones." Del Rey coddles her light-skinned brown babies, dances sexily for and with the president, smokes while buttering her toast, and sings:

Money is the anthem
Of success
So before we go out
What's your address?

I'm your national anthem
God, you're so handsome
Take me to the Hamptons
Bugatti Veyron

Money is the reason,
We exist.
Everybody knows it,
It's a fact. Kiss, kiss.
12



18+, still from Rebirth. < Watch Video >

Del Rey epitomizes the cyborg. Part organic, part inorganic, her character here is "committed to perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence."13 And the character's relationship to the president and his family portrays the confused racial tourism14 that has become integral to our experience of spaces, public and private, on the Internet or off it in media images. For their track, "Rebirth," 18+ lays down its own affected love story in song and repetitive electronic drumbeats, equally as hopeless as Del Rey's track but taking the self-exploited irony up a notch. By expressing comparable money lust and slightly more vulgarity, with lyrics almost spoken in monotones over the same repetitive beat, 18+ remediates the tired theme, already reappropriated by Del Rey from hip-hop artists: money is the anthem.

In another video, posted on 18+'s YouTube page, a teenage girl blinks repeatedly into her webcam. She tilts her head forward toward the camera to show the viewers her eyes. No information is listed with the video, which translates from Japanese to "Nothing 18." The video was made by Internet celebrity Magibon, a 27-year-old American whose vlogging (video blogging) career started in 2002. Nothing 18 has been viewed by almost 12 million people since its upload in May 2008. Magibon's videos are all nearly identical: she sits in front of the webcam, saying hello (in Japanese) and staring into the camera until she says goodbye. Her Wikipedia page reports that she is not fluent in Japanese and that she had learned only a handful of phrases from watching Japanese videos, but she has become a major celebrity in Japan, traveling there several times for interviews and television appearances. Early in her career, according to the comment threads on her YouTube page, there seemed to be much debate around her race. She attempted to end the debate by silently showing her viewers a family portrait, in which she is pictured as a young white child. The confusion around her race is perpetuated by her practiced anime gestures and insistence on showing her eyes to the camera, which look—instead of white or Asian—like creations of facial engineering, eyes with their epicanthic folds removed. Magibon's racial ambiguity and animation-like features (huge eyes, tiny frame, huge breasts) seem to serve as inspiration for many of 18+'s racially ambiguous characters, though the neutralizing and stereotyping of racial types is pervasive throughout the web.


18+, stills from & What. < Watch Video >

Because race, unlike gender, has no chromosomal relationship to our bodies, because it is entirely socially constructed, some believe that it can easily be eradicated from our virtual lives in an effort to break free from the constraining and oppressive role of race in our social, physical lives. The danger in this well-intentioned approach to cyber-communities is the removal of our own historicity and the continued marginalization of people who feel their racial identity does not disappear when they change their skin color. As Emmanuel Lévinas astutely observes, our history depends on the other; our situatedness becomes defined by having to answer to and for histories that we may not have previously conceived of as our own.15

Although it is true that identities, racial or otherwise, will be more "fixed, immutable, and shallow"16 online than off, we know that our behavior changes when we're in costume. The mask of anonymity allows us to violate taboos in safety; this masked behavior becomes more complicated by an experience in Second Life or any game in which you act through a virtual self, because you can see yourself acting in the mask, and others can see you too. Although you recognize yourself and others as masked, you are able to receive feedback from others and yourself. The construct then becomes a very effective mirror.17 Judith Butler presents an alternative perspective, arguing, "Those who remain faceless, or whose faces are presented to us as so many symbols of evil, authorize us to become senseless before those lives we have eradicated, and whose grievability is indefinitely postponed. Certain faces must be admitted into public view, must be seen and heard for some keener sense of the value of life, all life, to take hold."18

Whose faces are included, and who has the privilege to choose to include them, however, remains problematic. In 18+'s & What, a home video of a circle of black and other dark-skinned women (some of whom are potentially white women with dark tans) practicing booty-shaking dance moves in the ocean is spliced with computer-generated images of chocolate being poured over strawberries and neon fruits exploding into liquid. This video, slightly disconcerting if the viewer doesn't know the race of its makers, perhaps speaks to a trend among some artists who find restrictions around racial conversations an exhaustive practice that perpetuates the segregation of people of color from the art world. Artists such as Ryan Trecartin and K8 Hardy use face paint and costume to articulate otherness and racial difference without distinctly addressing race as such. Wu Tsang addresses the way race and queerness affect class in his video/installation piece Green Room, seen at the 2012 Whitney Biennial. Here, his interaction with Latina, genderqueer performers at a nightclub highlights the tension between his privilege and their exploitation in what one hopes is a self-reflective, dialectical portrayal of what happens when depictions of race and class are mediated through the bourgeois. Joe Scanlan is a Princeton professor and artist who for the past decade has appropriated a black, female alter ego by way of a real-life hired assistant. Donelle Woolford, the character created by Scanlan, was invented to infuse his banal assemblages with biographical content.19

Extracting affect from race (via buyable hand gestures, body movements, voices, and speech patterns for avatars), without addressing the way race (and its social constructs) produces affect, and without acknowledging the implications of affect being traded, or used like currency in the art world or in cyberspaces, the Internet will become yet another place where difference is annexed (the art world already is). Although crossing boundaries of difference can be a great aid to social movements and social networking, it should not allow or require the erasure of social, historical, and economic difference.

Affect is not separable from the circulation of signs—including visual signs—that produce it or derive from it. However, eliciting affect, in the form of prepackaged desires, might be one of capitalism's most successful means of self-production.20 18+ seems to place racial inequality and appropriation, commodity culture, and sexploitation on equal playing fields in an effort, deeply conscious of humor and irony, to acknowledge nihilism, like a film or residue left behind after the many failures of the civil rights movement. When skin color, clothing, affectations, and movements are marketed and sold on the Internet, the lines between commodity, object, identity, and cyborg become blurry.



18+, stills from Midnight Lucy. < Watch Video >

Commodity as Affect and Avatar:
Affect as Commodity, Affect as Historical, Commodity as Cyborg


18+'s computer-generated animations dig deep into the uncanny valley with images of Prada-clad, pale, zombie-eyed, and pristine models. The intro beats to the duo's track "Drawl" were used in a Prada ad with Heidi Klum's hypnotic voice over the track. The two-way endorsement between 18+ and Prada exemplifies perfectly the way the atheism that piggybacks extreme commodity fetish is exploited in advertising. Both entities use it to their advantage. The bourgeois myth, now more than 100 years old in this country, makes the dreams, desires, and fantasies of the very rich become the fantasies of the very poor as well. Robert Miklitsch argued, "Humans, like the goods and services they consume, become things."21 And in turn, things become humans, or at least cyborgs. We have long since thought of our possessions as part of ourselves, and now another component brings them to life outside ourselves. Objects and images made with the newest software meld human-made engineering with robotic cloning (via file-sharing, content stealing, and virus), creating cyborgs in and of themselves. Images, now our creations and possessions, move independently, travel, get sick, get famous, morph into infinity, and become the possessions of other entities across the globe. Just as our bodies have a public dimension, so too now do our things.

The life of a commodity has become complicated and convoluted on the Internet. Objects on pages or other fixed surfaces have transitioned to objects in games, in your Second Life, on dump.fm, on Tumblr, as animated GIFs. What's interesting is that as dematerialization expands and physical things disappear before our eyes, our connectedness to things-as-cyborgs becomes deeper, stronger, more familial. Arthur Kroker described shopping malls as the "liquid TVs of the twentieth century ... a whole micro-circuity of desire, ideology and expenditure for processed bodies drifting through the cyber-space of ultra capitalism."22 Like 18+'s Tumblr page, and Tumblrs in general, "Liquid TV" is an apt description for blogs, information streams, and cyber spaces on the Internet today where advertising images, objects, pornography, GIFs, videos, and photographs are all treated with the same undiscerned touch.

In another video/track called Midnight Lucy, 18+ mashes videos of male models getting ready for a shoot with high-definition computer animation of a cheese-and-jam Danish being filled. These clips evoke Tom of Finland's drawings and a joke—What's the difference between jelly and jam? I can't jelly my cock up your ass. Humans are both consumptive and productive entities, but because we have to consume to produce, we are weaker than our cyborg relatives or our cyborg-image children because we cannot (yet) multiply, reproducing ourselves endlessly, drastically cutting down on our need for survival.23

In Simulations, Baudrillard argues that when "dead work wins out over living work"—that is, as soon as the era of material accumulation is over—the models of serial production will be generated by other models.24 As cyborgs give birth to other cyborgs, and to cyborg images, further disassociating from their human relatives, they colonize the web with their hysterical production. Baudrillard writes, "The entire analysis of production changes according to whether you no longer see it in an original process, or even the one that is at the core of all others, and all original beings, but on the contrary a process of absorption of all original being and of introduction to a series of identical beings."25

18+'s Tumblr "utilizes succession,"26 but does so using the types of sign (those of the index) that establish a relation between formal considerations and meaning that is physical, spatial, and casual. In one section of their Tumblr, an animated GIF of a CGI woman with a massive erect penis repeatedly impales a man against a freestanding white box, as he bounces, explodes, and flows to shreds like video of a balloon being popped in slow motion. Above that, a still image of two black figures leaning together for a kiss in a black environment sits next to an image of a collagen-injected blond woman who emerges from darkness and wears a white, plastic blouse with "18+" scrawled on it in Sharpie, eerily resembling a film noir cadaver in a body bag. Below this sequence is an MP3 of one of the group's mixtapes, a candid photo of two people leaning against a red convertible on an overcast day (taken from a Russian fashion blog), and a photo of what looks like the back office of an Asian porn ephemera shop, where several women in the exact same pose (heads peeking between erect spread legs with shaved pussies showing) are pictured through miniature figurines on modular metal shelves, on dorm-room posters, and on the laptop of the office's user. Surely Roland Barthes would revere 18+ and other producers of image streams on the web, who, by defacing authorship, rely on the index as a "repository of evidence," and "by refusing to assign to the text (and to the world as text) ... ultimate meaning, liberat[e] an activity which we might call counter-theological, properly revolutionary, for to refuse to arrest meaning is finally to refuse God and his hypostases, reason, science, and the law."27 This flagrantly approving view of content-sharing, however, fails to recognize that as content changes occur faster and with more frequency every day, so, too, must our ideas about our content's meaning. What, to put it in its simplest terms, makes 18+ art, instead of the automated regurgitation of culture via fashion blogs, Tumblr, dumps, chatrooms, and YouTube (not to negate the genius often born of these sites), is its ability to consistently assign meaning in a confrontational way, leaving the viewer to decipher the dialecticality of their juxtapositions, even if they seem flippant and evasive.


Stills from Prada Womenswear F/W 2011 shot by Steven Meisel with music by 18+.
< Watch Video >

Conclusion

Science fiction, perhaps more than any other genre, has a knack for inclusion. Because its cause is often to isolate social problems and postulate their resolution, the histories and futures of women and people of color are interwoven into the patriarchal narratives dominating the genre. Philip K. Dick, Donna Haraway, Samuel R. Delany, William Gibson, the Krokers, Nisi Shawl, and many others describe visions of our future in which reflective citizens interact with technology to rupture the predetermined narratives of patriarchy, capitalism, and war. Some of these accounts were written more than 30 years ago and offer startlingly accurate depictions of post-humanity, but within these viewpoints, the overall picture of humans' interactions with technology via cyberspace remains grim, reflecting poorly on the hard-fought battles of a civil rights movement almost 60 years old.

Although social networking cyber spaces have been, in many cases, invaluable tools for grassroots organizing internationally and aids to organizational strategies used during the Arab Spring, and have freed damaging private information through their practices of transparency with anonymity, many cyber spaces have also tried hard to hide the proliferation of user-to-user abuses. Sites such as LambdaMOO and Second Life are rife with cyber-crimes. Concerns about content stealing, hate-speech, violent protests, rape, and racism flood forum discussions and have been researched and written about constantly almost since the inception of social networking on the Internet.

The complicated utopias of our future, imagined by our past, are places where multiplicities unite to create a breathing, throbbing, pansexual data field. Here, racial and economic inequalities are acknowledged and extinguished, and colonization ceases to disguise itself as development. However, these fantasies are still deadlocked with the hegemonic realities of our time. Artistic production's current preoccupation with high-definition video, computer-generated animation, 3-D visuals and objects is relational to burgeoning technology, as is often the case with trends in artistic production (video, digital photography, the Internet, Flash, Auto-Tune, etc.). And, many of these technologies have been made more accessible to a still-privileged class of artists. It seems this resurgence of CGI and commodity fetishism is a way not only to address the collapse of distinctions between high and low (in art and culture), but also to exploit our access to the uncanny, in safer ways than confronting our discomfort with the ever-encroaching non-white subject.

My arguments here offer a huge suspension of doubt for 18+—a couple of artists, presumably close to my age, who offer the public very few details about their identities or ideologies and present a troublingly exclusive repertoire of imagery by inserting crucial meaning into an intentionally vapid void created with an exploding, complex medium. There are so many effective alternatives to the dialectic approach to dealing with race and class in art. The discussion of these practices—and their sincerity—is a topic for another article. But something in the sarcastic tone of 18+'s videos and image streams exalts Haraway's claims; the duo performs rampant queerness, and perversion, and racial ambiguity to their max, almost to oblivion, but stopping just before, just in time, to be reabsorbed into the culture in which they were born. It is this last move that makes them fly under the radar and keeps them from fulfilling their prophecy as cyborg pimps, not quite independent enough to exist separately from, or only to exist ironically beside, capitalism.



Em Rooney is an artist living and working in Queens, New York. Her writing has appeared in The St. Claire, Performa Magazine, and in her recently released zine Love Is in the Flowers, available through The Good Press. More of her work can be seen at emrooney.com.


Notes
1. "18+: Prada-Endorsed Porno-Pop," blogger review, accessed May 15, 2013, Tumblr, http://owenmyers.tumblr.com/post/15825965992/18-prada-endorsed-porno-pop
2. "18+ Pussy Drama Demo," music video, accessed May 21, 2013, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vXWUf77LUQ
3. A term coined by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori that refers to the dip (or valley) in the chart that maps the human comfort level with a robot or CGI's human likeness.
4. Katherine Hayles, "The Human in the Posthuman," Cultural Critique 53 (Winter 2003), 134–137.
5. Hayles, 137.
6. Arthur Kroker, Body Drift: Butler, Hayles, Haraway (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 14.
7. Kroker, 16.
8. Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century," in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991), 150. The essay is an iconic, feminist, futurist examination of the potential for the cyborgs of our future to disrupt humanity.
9. Haraway, 161.
10. Johann Kroier, "Music, Global History, and Postcoloniality," International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 43, no. 1 (June 2012), 145.
11. Haraway, 151.
12. Lana Del Rey. "National Anthem" released January 31, 2012, Interscope Records, Direct Lyrics, Web, accessed June 9, 2013.
13. Haraway, 150.
14. Jennifer Gonzalez, "The Face and The Public: Race, Secrecy, and Digital Art Practice," Camera Obscura 70, (2009), 37–65.
15. Emmanuel Lévinas, "Ethics as First Philosophy," in The Lévinas Reader, ed. Seán Hand (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989), 82.
16. Gonzalez, 52.
17. Russell W. Belk, "Extended Self in a Digital World," Journal of Consumer Research (2013), 6.
18. Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, 2004), 28.
19. Jeremy Sigler, "Joe Scanlan," Bomb. July 2010, www.bombsite.com/issues/999/articles/3580
20. Gonzalez, 52.
21. Robert Miklitsch, "The Commodity-Body-Sign: Toward a General Economy of ‘Commodity Fetishism,'" Cultural Critique 33 (Spring 1996), 13.
22. Kroker, 17.
23. Miklitsch, 20.
24. Jean Baudrillard, "The Orders of Simulacra," from Simulations (Semiotext, 1983), 97.
25. Baudrillard, 100.
26. Rosalind Krauss, "Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America Part 2," (October Magazine) 1977, 66.
27. Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author," UbuWeb, www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen5and6/threeEssays.html#barthes Previously published in Aspen 5–6 (1967).

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