Origin Stories, Surveillance, and Digital Alter Egos
The origin story is an important element for any superhero/villain, as it provides context for a character’s seemingly out-of-this-world abilities. A radioactive spider bit Spiderman, and the Penguin was bullied in his youth. It can also be beneficial for surveillance scholars, inasmuch as it provides context for a once invisible but superhuman body of digital information that circulates as a proxy for us in digital milieus. This body is best understood through contemporary surveillance practices, yet metaphors of the panopticon and George Orwell’s 1984 proliferate in the surveillant imagination. I argue here that mapping an origin story onto a view of our data as a superhuman body not only creates a tangible representation of surveillance, but it also emphasizes and animates alternative surveillance theories useful for circulation in the surveillant imagination.
|Keywords||digital bodies, Foucault, origin story, Orwell, panopticon, surveillance, surveillant imagination|
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.3167/screen.2019.040207, hdl.handle.net/1765/125520|
Young, S.M. (2019). Origin Stories, Surveillance, and Digital Alter Egos. Screen Bodies, 4(2), 93–110. doi:10.3167/screen.2019.040207