Identity: Skin and Flesh

How precious the ability to transition fluidly between multiple identities, particularly living in a society that says we can have only one? We may try on others like well-made Armani suits when we play sports videogames, for example, or manage fantasy sports teams or wear authentic replica jerseys to the stadium. But these are tightly manufactured identities that generally remain within a constellation of corporate consumer control.

* * *

"You know, the difference between you and me is that you look at a skin and see what's inside. I look at a skin and see what's outside."

"Um, you do realize you're talking to the mirror?"

"Sure, but it's really not just a mirror. Sean says it's more like a two-way mirror, or a video screen crossed with a mirror — simultaneously both-and. We see ourselves reflected in it but we can also be seen by everyone else. And the thing is, we all know what's behind the looking-glass."

"Still looks like a mirror to me."

"Quiet, you."

* * *

This identity constellation of corporate consumer control is marked by its architecture and interface, and it obscures its bodily remainders in the process. In navigating multiple identities, on the other hand, one explicitly acknowledges the remainders, indeed embraces them. The former is an administered, metered and exchanged passage into the skin, while the latter offers a contingent and outward invitation of the flesh.

* * *

Sean Smith earned an MBA from the University of Alberta’s International Institute for the Study of Sport Management and is currently a doctoral candidate in the PhD program in Media and Communications at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Prior to that, he served on faculty for two years in the Sport Management program at Acadia University, after earning a BKin (Sport Management) only three months earlier. His colleagues would describe him as an innovative team leader who diplomatically handles diverse individuals and situations, and who uses technology effectively for research and communications. Research focus: Critical inquiry at the nexus of international sport, technology, politics and the body.

Smithers was a basketball player and assistant coach at Acadia University, where he earned a Bachelor of Kinesiology in Sport Management. His colleagues would describe him as a team leader and he is a sometime contributor to the SportsFilter community.

sportsbabel is an artist and critical sport theorist living … … …

is … … …

(special thanks to icarus, purple, pia fuchs and the switch)


6 responses to Identity: Skin and Flesh

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  1. sportsBabel » Marginal Notes on Notes on Gesture says:

    [...] and expropriating the gestures of athletes and actors to create identity-constructs that may be tried on like well-made Armani suits. In playing these games, the user reduces one's own gestures to a programmed and nearly-pure [...]

  2. sportsBabel » Secure Volumes and Docile Identities says:

    [...] it so difficult then to entertain the notion that the superstar identity-vehicle within an NBA videogame, a three-dimensional or volumetric construct within the non-space created [...]

  3. sportsBabel » lines, flights, labouring says:

    [...] dividual social body (the predictive model of simulation described by Baudrillard) thereafter given spectacular flesh as the body+body+body of libidinal [...]

  4. sportsBabel » Metamorphosus Interruptus says:

    [...] or antagonism? Exodus and antagonism? If the passage is preordained, is there truly the possibility for [...]

  5. :) says:

    Love this one.

  6. sportsBabel » weaving: memory, relation, skin says:

    [...] sportsBabel, March 2009: [...]