Identity Crises

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In Natural Born Cyborgs, Cognitive Scientist Andy Clark asks “Where, in this increasingly dense biotechnological matrix shall we locate our (human?) selves?” (Clark, 130).

This is the same question that continuously plagues the minds of the celebrity, whose value is created almost entirely through technological networks and human manipulation of image and distribution. In a way, the celebrity is the original Cyborg in that its image is continuously mechanically reproduced, and all tech and human actions go into producing the end-point of the celebrity – the spectacle that lasts only for a few minutes or hours, the form of a finally produced feature film or magazine cover.

A celebrity is made up of hundreds of people on an actor network. The experts that place the makeup on the celebrity’s skin, the cameraperson with the extension of the eye that takes photos of the celebrity, to the person who redefines the celebrity’s face through Photoshop and other post-reproduction programs. Then there is the printer, the PR agent, the distributor – all of the distribution channels that make the celebrity a powerful, multiplied, accessible object to many.

The important moment which is produced actually lasts for 2 or 3 hours, but is reproduced multiple times so that the original produced moment can be replayed multiple times, captured in further pictures and stuck to the wall of a teenager’s bedroom.

The machines, actors, and distribution networks, the reproduction mechanisms – all of these produce and stretch out a moment that lasts much longer than it initially did in the first place.