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Post-Humanism: The Era of Digital Embodiment and Subjectivities – Emmanuel Johnson


Constant progress has been made by society as a collective entity in shaping its reality and making life more enjoyable for people; as opposed to sitting back and refusing to change things. This has fuelled the age of Digital Subjectivity – an era in which personal feelings, opinions and tastes are being constructed by the human-invented machine. Perhaps, this is only what we have been taught by society to believe?

According to Jurgenson (2011), ‘some have a bias to see the digital and the physical as separate; what I am calling Digital Dualism’. Correspondingly, I have become embodied with digital platforms due to intimate engagement with it. Therefore, the gap between the physical and digital have been bridged. As a result, technology should no longer be blamed for effects of social problems because, although the online and offline are different, they become one and the same through this embodiment.

BIGO Live as a digital stage elicits an online expression of agencies. This space merges online and offline identities together, and acts as a major stage for the performance of selves.

Via digital technology, I am now able to communicate with people across a global audience.

Communication is extended through the internet, and the human mind can connect with its virtual counterpart. The dynamic platform which is BIGO Live allows for me to be fluid, and express multiple personalities online.

The process of digital dualism is ignited during this process because, although I am an individual with feelings and emotions, I feel the need to be linked to a virtual ‘other’, to express myself in a greater dimension.

Contrary to popular belief, technology is a sum of body and mind; a carrier of presence (Argyle and Shields 1996: 58). I use BIGO Live as an avenue of extended expression of self. I am finally able to construct my personal feelings in more ‘sophisticated’ ways. Instead of typing a comment to a fellow user in texts-only, I can add emoticons, because I feel they would express my intentions and bodily gestures better. This has only been made possible through digital mediums. Therefore, technology is used as an extension of my mind and body. The mutuality of our engagement with technology creates a subjectivity; one which relies on our intentions and thrives on individual and collective desire.

Technology is a hub in which agencies roam freely. Within this sphere, multiple identities including online and offline ones are merged. This gives individuals the ability to act even more independently and make autonomous decisions. The technology is premised on the creation of a ‘world’ as ‘real’ as the one we experience on a day-to-day mundane basis (Hillis 1999).

BIGO as a live streaming application creates a subjectivity. Our identities are created by other users which encourage us to live our lives according to our ‘new identities’ shaped by the platform. The fusion of real life with the digital has broken the ‘barriers of identity’ i.e. restrictions on people’s freedom to express their opinions and ideology on race and religion, birthing a new perception on ways individual view and experience life. This creates a mutually connected space where people can see themselves as part of a whole (social group and community). BIGO Live has given its users the freedom to experiment with their identities which portray that we all can be who and whatever we choose and want to be.

Post-humanist technological mediums such as Social and Digital Media are visible embodiments of feelings, emotions and subjectivities of the human being. Technology does not make society more post-human than before, humans have uninterruptedly been both symbolic and embodied (Tufekci in Whitehead and Wesch 2012: 44). Communication is essential to society, because we express our feelings and emotions through it. Social Media (the machine) was created to fuel this human desire, and thus is subjected and mediated by us. It acts as an extension of our needs and feelings, which need to be expressed in some form or act.

From live broadcast showing the world how ‘sophisticated’ we are, to telling our (online) stories of how spiritual we are in religious settings. Human consciousness, notions on emotion and morality are all demonstrated through this new and widely embodied and ‘inevitable’ consciousness as expressed by Herbrechter (2013).

The 21st century human is on a quest to find who and what they are. In finding answers to these questions, the online space via live broadcast presents itself as a medium in finding our ‘authentic selves’. Documenting details of our lives online for social gratification is a performance in which we derive meaning from. Just like most artistes hope to be applauded by an admirer, post humanism thinks and wants to be seen and admired from all angles of human action and thought through the discourse created on consciousness, emotion and morality (Nietzsche in Kaufmann 1982:42).

In my opinion, this new change has in more ways than one affected the social and economic base of every human. The business of sharing our lives with ‘imaginary friends’ (because they only exist in most cases online). Technology has created a discourse among cultural researchers on the transformation of humans into a post humanised lifestyle online, moving humans from being the heroes of stories on activism and emancipation to becoming the stage with them as main actors in this evolving yet complex life (Herbrechter 2013).

The position of the individual in society is experiencing a change, as a result of Post-humanism. Agents such as Social Media are extending the human experience of communication and creating a fresh and chaotic identity, which entails online and offline personalities attached as one. BIGO Live acts as a mediator of this complex process and is helping to usher postmodern society into the era of digital embodiment and subjectivities.






Herbrechter, S. (2013) Posthumanism: A Critical Analysis. London: Bloomsbury.


Hillis, K. (1999) Digital Sensations. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Jurgenson, N. (2011) ‘Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality’ Cyborgology [online] available from <https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/02/24/digital-dualism-versus-augmented-reality/> [2nd April 2017].


Kaufmann, W. (1982) On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense. In The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin.


Sheilds, R. (1996) Cultures of the Internet: Virtual Spaces, Real Histories, Living Bodies. London: SAGE Publications.


Whitehead, N., Wesch, M. (2012) Human No More: Digital Subjectivities, Unhuman Subjects, and the End of Anthropology. Colorado: University of Colorado.


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