The Mobile Archive of the Self: On the Interplay between Aesthetic and Metric Modes of Communication

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This feature develops the concept of the mobile archive of the self to account for the communicative codification of self by way of metrics and aesthetics in the use of smartphone apps. We propose that research on digital self-representations would benefit from a more systematic and conceptually grounded integration of the metric and the aesthetic modes of communication in what we term ‘mobile selfhood,’ i.e., current practices for tracking and documenting the self with the smartphone. Positing that the two modes of communication are increasingly inseparable, we use selfies as a case in point to offer an integrating analysis, which focuses on processes of historicizing, commercializing and politicizing the self via smartphone applications. The resulting mobile archive of the self is at once bound to the hardware and software we use to perform and historicize it, and reconfigured, merged and reassembled as user profiles enter into data flows that run steadily from our personal devices to commercial and political actors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Pages (from-to)6006-6020
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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