Enlarging the Sum – Project Proposal

For my project I would like to enhance the sum total of all of my data. Don Delillo contends that “You are the sum total of your data. No man escapes that.” Instead of trying to escape this debatable truth, I want to embrace it by recreating my life digitally through personal essays with visual and aural accompaniment. Three days ago I began writing a blog (http://thelockativecase.blogspot.com/) that I would like to continue to format and develop; the posts already up exemplify (albeit very, very succinctly) the style of the writing I intend to do, but not necessarily the subject matter or length. The posts will be illustrated namely with my own photography.

The blog will pair original content with some level regurgitation (e.g. songs) in order to create an existence online. It will certainly explore McLuhan’s ideas in “The Gadget Lover: Narcissus and Narcosis,” in which he theorizes that people become so fascinated with technological extensions of themselves that this amplification of the self leads to “self-amputation” or numbness to other ways of perceiving oneself and others. Can I amplify my existence so much that I will self-amputate? Perhaps, but then I wouldn’t have much to blog about. I would also like to probe the concept of online morality – Ong claims that when writing a diary the writer fictionalizes the reader, writing for some other self and creating one’s own fiction. Is recreating oneself online a method of building an unstable personal fiction? Do we, as Manovich suggests, have a moral responsibility to recreate ourselves and the world around us accurately?

The analytical essay component will be a page formatted to look like a paper essay, a sort of remediation of the paper essay to the electronic essay. However, the essay will attempt to avoid the drawbacks found in Manovich’s work – namely representing new media through an old medium. All of the terms I use will have examples, so the essay will be in a variable “Choose Your Own Adventure” format where it can be read differently every time and requires interactivity.

Check out http://thelockativecase.blogspot.com/ and let me know what you think of the idea. Thanks!

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