In the modern world, our identities are intimately tied to our technologies. We think of selfhood as residing in our everyday stream of consciousness. But could we possibly have a second digital self in our online behaviors? In their film Our Selves - An Imaginary Dialogue Between Brainwaves and Smartphones, Gianmaria Vernetti and Elisa Troglia reflect on the relationship between these two selves.
On the left side of the screen, the video presents the human mind as a simple digital interface. Thoughts flash across the top of the monitor, ranging from the mundane (“I should not waste time on Facebook”, “No more emails today”, “Selfie”) to the vulnerable and beautiful (“Feel sad”, “Inner self”, “Autumn leaves”). Beneath this, the interface tracks frustration and excitement as numerical values. Meanwhile on the right side, the text cycles through smartphone commands: “Established Internet”, “Established Facebook”.
At first these two streams do not interact - but the title suggests we are here for a dialogue. As the movie progresses the streams indeed begin to interact in quite poignant ways. Amid the continuing techno-babble, the words “I’ll be with you" briefly flash up on the smartphone side of the screen.
What do you make of Vernetti and Troglia’s film? Do you recognize your own thoughts and moods in it, or your own mode of interaction with technology? Is the movie a parable of loneliness in the postmodern world, or simply a reflection of our new hyperconnected way of being?
Credit: Our Selves - An Imaginary Dialogue Between Brainwaves and Smartphones by Gianmaria Vernetti and Elisa Troglia (IT)