Nathan Jurgenson – The web ethnography

1- The Will to Document: the social image and the self: how subjectivity is tied into image-based self-documentation strategies, especially since the rise of social media. How do we understand the relationship of life-for-itself and life-for-documentation? What drives this will-to-document? How does power work within this framework? How might the document not be seen as a byproduct of experience, but, instead, experience as a byproduct of the will-to-document? Ultimately, I’d like to describe social media documentation as engendering a nostalgic phenomenology, an experience of
the present as always some future past.

2- Digital Dualism, Augmented Reality, and the social photo: how does photography on social media sit in that intersection of the on and offline? How do we understand the on and offline and relate it to images, especially since the rise of social media? Here, I want to provide a theory of the on and offline that challenges those terms. I’d like to critique the understanding of the online as a different world, a new reality, a separate « cyber » space. Opposed to that « digital dualism » (a phrase i coined), I’d like to propose a more synthetic or augmented view that hold digitality and materiality as always enmeshed, co-implicated, and co-determining. The social media photo should be understood in this light. Further, the social photo might be the paradigmatic example of on/offline synthesis in action.


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