Concept, Styling & Editing : Alexandra Roman
Photographs: Lameya Aamir
ASHES OF ANGELS
We no longer have private conversations. You no longer speak with one person. You speak to one, you speak to hundreds, thousands, millions.
If you’re one of the many; one that has either Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat or Pinterest, YouTube Chanel, etc, then congratulations. You’re a micro-influencer. It’s important to define however the term “micro-influencer”: they’re the everyday people. They’re you and I (well unless you’re someone with over 100, 000 followers). Etymology wise, in Old French, it referred to the “emanation from the stars that act upon one’s character and destiny" . Yet I am tempted to ask, what does being an influencer today mean?
In modern days, everyone is trying to be an influencer of sorts. Most people want to be popular,
But does popularity have a price?
In virtual, we have created counterfeit coins in a shady yet booming economy with either fake accounts and fake likes and fake influence,
yet even more interesting is the aspect of:
fake personalities (yet that is a bit too negatively connoted)
so then maybe:
Who are you in virtual? You are reborn. Is your IRL identity synonymous with your URL? You are reborn. Are they inherently different? You are reborn.
Your new (screen) identity can be monetized. A new market is opening up, dipped in micro-influencers due to their less costly status. So how does that change the game?
I argue that a geometrical figure begins forming. A geometrical figure formed by your own perception of yourself, the perception of others (your viewers), and the gaps in those perceptions. An image of the distances between them —between perceptions, is formed, with a thin line connecting them all.
So you start having three structural components,
much like Plato’s tripartite soul chart
mind, spirit, appetites
or perhaps you start adopting Homeric poems and wonder if your soul will survive your death
for a life online
or perhaps you soak yourself in Sappho’s ways
and start looking for Queen Kypris (Aphrodite)
in all the posts you make…
to fill the hole with gigabytes and megabytes
Or perhaps you are all,
I’ll say this this though,
We become minds, constantly captured in the act of constructing desires
with every photograph, every status, every snapchat, every text message, every instagram, every dm, every tinder message, every video posted, every meme sent
we are constantly trying to construct and immortalize our desires
what we most desire
because virtual keeps it all
it’s forever there, backed up
lacking the “fading” component a piece of paper might posses
virtual invites you to immortalize your idealized self
perhaps the fun, never-giving-a-fuck type (yet we both know that’s not true), or the self-empowering and seemingly confident type (yet we both know that’s not true)
however, virtual idealization comes at a price.
So what happens when a mind has a world fueled by desire?
It becomes its desires.
It becomes its temptations.
But it loses its soul.
Consciously or subconsciously, we start dictating our lives in the pursuit of attractive feeds & cool snaps & funny posts & 'monetizable' features, or
people we’d rather be
We slowly skin ourselves alive to make way for our new pixellated skins
and you’ll see…
some of us will give in to excess…
maybe some will drink more than they’d have too for a funny or “let’s-be-seen” photo (surface reason), maybe others will dress more ostentatiously so they can tag labels, maybe others will carefully only show a glamorous lifestyle, leaving aside their deeper layers, perhaps others will order food or coffee just for its gram potential, etc
it’s difficult, that’s for sure
I’ve been there myself and maybe still am
in my pursuit of becoming popular online
my own sort of influencer,
I find myself doing things and acting ways
that don’t represent who I am and God help me for my
persona has been misconstrued for so many years due to my virtual identity
or where my actions and words have been misinterpreted
because you see, with virtual, with a screen, with perceptions and interpretations
there’s no guarantee you get
authenticity or truth
or at least my truth, the author’s truth
you only get your viewer's truth
your viewer's own insecurities lashing out
your viewer's own projections
that then turn into either praise or hate
and i think i'm one that's had many comments thrown at my hybrid identity
some justified some not, but then I also come across those rare humans who see past this identity i've forged, past this extravagant character I've put together
and see with simple, innocent eyes
perhaps still not my whole truth
but with virtual, truth becomes a fallacy
and i'm in the midst of accepting that.
that which i deem divine
becomes ashes when
put on screen
so here lie
the ashes of angel thoughts
for my truth will only be heard
when air will lay its breaths on it.