We live in a moment during which we have internalized surveillance and security cultures to such a degree that perhaps we also assume others can be rendered into their avatars, their tweets or their posts. But I would want to push against the premise that a stranger is knowable from their observable data. How do we recognize evidence of being a person under neoliberal capital? Do you exist in the absence of a selfie, or a tweet? What about all the commitments and histories you can’t account for solely through the digitized self? I am not at all saying selfies and tweets are bad, but I am saying that these are the conditions under which we fund ourselves complicit — and even locate pleasure — in our surveillance, and in surveying others, and upon which access to capital, love and other forms of sociality increasingly depend.
- Mimi Thi Nguyen, On Unproductivity