What does digital identity mean to you? Do you care? As more of our lives, from personal to professional activities, find their way online how do we cope with managing our digital presence(s)? Can we ever keep the 'personal' separate from 'professional' when tools and services mash-up our online identities in ways that are beyond our control?
Why rhizome? This project addresses, in part, the issues surrounding the increasingly fractured nature of the self when our online identities become distributed across multiple sites and services. Rhizome is a Deleuzian concept that has energised thinking and creativity in the arts, science and philosophy. It is used in this project as a cipher, or a departure point for representing digital identities as:
- branching in many directions
- having multiple entry points
- with no single true view, only partial perspectives
- and constituted as a multiplicity of dimensions where we lose the illusion of the objective all seeing eye/I
Deleuze leads us to cartography and the map, a space which has no privileged entry point and is always open to change. This is a metaphor we have played on with our chosen technical platform - Netvibes - a representation that captures the multiple views and entry points to our work.The project is taking a mutli-layered approach via narrative inquiry and scenario mapping to study the construction and deconstruction of digital identities (more detail on the methodology) and an overview of how we are planning our 14 months of work is outlined here in our 21 slide presentation:
Deleuze & Guattari (1987). A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. and Foreword by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U. of Minneso ta Press, 1987.
Sermijn, Devlieger and Loots (2008). The Narrative Construction of the Self: Selfhood as a Rhizomatic Story. Qualitative Inquiry, (14)4:632–650.