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Open AccessArticle

Self-Portrait, Selfie, Self: Notes on Identity and Documentation in the Digital Age

College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Current Address: 3675 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Information 2019, 10(10), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/info10100297
Received: 29 August 2019 / Revised: 12 September 2019 / Accepted: 24 September 2019 / Published: 26 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Information Theory and Methodology)
Though the self-portrait has been hailed as the defining artistic genre of modernity, there is not yet a good account of what the self-portrait actually is. This paper provides such an account through the lens of document theory and the philosophy of information. In this paper, the self-portrait is conceptualized as a kind of document, more specifically a kind of self-document, to gain insight into the phenomenon. A self-portrait is shown to be a construction, and not just a representation, of oneself. Creating a self-portrait then is a matter of bringing oneself forth over time—constructing oneself, rather than simply depicting oneself. This account provides grounds to consider whether or how the selfie truly is a form of self-portrait, as is often asserted. In the end, it seems that while both are technologies for self-construction, the self-portrait has the capacity for deep self-construction, whereas the selfie is limited to fewer aspects of the self. This prospect leads into an ethical discussion of the changing concept of identity in the digital age. View Full-Text
Keywords: document; document theory; self-portait; art; phenomenology; identity document; document theory; self-portait; art; phenomenology; identity
MDPI and ACS Style

Gorichanaz, T. Self-Portrait, Selfie, Self: Notes on Identity and Documentation in the Digital Age. Information 2019, 10, 297.

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