Damien Messager

admin 18 Jul 2014

The construction of self is very closely linked to image. In studies of the psyche, the “mirror stage” illustrates first awareness of self-image. The perception of this image has thus come to symbolically embody the creation of conscience in the individual. In light of this, we too often forget when we explore the mirror stage that discourse is at the heart of this realisation (we should say more accurately that discourse is at the heart of the image itself).  Actually what happens is that a simple reflection becomes a self-image, conveyed by the discourse of the mother “look, it’s you!”. Perhaps this is how the performativity of language and our attachment to images is born in us at the same time. We will shortly point out the link between “seem to be” (paraître in French) and “by-being” (par-être in French). Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco and many others have observed a trivialisation of the “seem to be” gaining the upper hand over the “by-being”. With social networks on the Internet, the self is no longer confined to its singularity; it can multiply itself and transform itself: we then speak of avatars.

In a so-called communication society, where there are more and more screens, where the media, networks and signs are in constant revolution, what is happening to ethos and the representation of self? Are they also being reinvented? We suggest taking a look at the evolutions and the forms that ethos and the representation of self are undergoing and taking through today’s screens.