“What counts as human in this post human world? How do we rethink the unity of the human subject, without reference to humanistic beliefs, without dualistic oppositions, linking instead body and mind in a new flux of self? What is the view of the self that is operational in the world of the “informatics of domination”?
What if we could choose what we looked like? Is this what living in a post human world would be like? What if changing our appearance was as simple as creating an avatar or a character for an online game? With the current use of photo shop to edit images of people, it is that simple. We can change the whole appearance of someone to create something completely unrealistic and are exposed to hundreds of these images on a daily basis.
Magazines, catalogues and advertisements are all forms of media in which photo shopped images of men and women with flawless skin, slim bodies with no imperfections and glossy, perfectly styled hair are continuously used, in order to sell products and convince us as a mass audience that what we are viewing is real. However these images are not real, we know they’re not real, but the continuous exposure to the images alters our sense of beauty and the ideals of perfection,
Retouching is becoming more extreme. They are no longer making perfect skin; they are making impossible human beings. They are moving us, slowly and surely, in the direction of an over-idealised notion of beauty. If you are exposed to these images all the time your notion of a baseline is gone. They move the line of reality. What is real becomes the published reality. (Farid 2011)
We are constantly drilled with what is “right” and what is “wrong” when it comes to our own appearances and sold the idea we can change our flaws using products and surgery, but what if we were able to completely choose how we looked? With avatars and online gaming this is a virtual reality and it is why I have chosen to photo shop the image of myself the way I have. Although it doesn’t fit with the “ideal” of what a “perfect” woman would look like in a magazine or advertisement, it demonstrates the creativity and freedom we can use to represent ourselves in a virtual world and use technology to alter our appearances to something completely unrealistic and to the extreme.
People viewing the photo shopped image of myself would instantly recognize it is not real, and that is my ultimate intention, to make evident how a photo shopped image of one’s self does not just merely have to be about removing unwanted blemishes and imperfections and creating a flawless “ideal of beauty”. Like creating an avatar, I have chosen my skin, eye, hair and lip colour and used technology as an escape of reality to my actual appearance. I believe it is only a matter of time until this is actually possible, “Living in a post human world is not going to be that much different than living in the human world except we’ll have perfect bodies, except we’ll be ageless. We will become the gods that we once feared” (Kaku 2011)
Farid H 2011, “Exposed: Software reveals how much photos have been retouched”, The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/nov/29/exposed-software-reveals-photos-retouched
Kaku M,2011, “Living in a Post Human World”, Big Think http://bigthink.com/ideas/38580
Toffoletti, K 2007, “Cyborgs and Barbie dolls: feminism, popular culture and the posthuman body”