Merging Identity: Exploration of identity, the body and life online
Image: Merging Identity main page
http://creativity.bgsu.edu/identity

Bonnie Mitchell

"Merging Identity" is an international World Wide Web art event that enables individuals to collectively explore the evolution of creative expression through manipulation of each other's ideas. As members of a global Internet community, our identity is defined not by our physical selves but instead by our ability to express ourselves via text and images. As we enter into dialog and interaction in our new world, we leave behind the body. Gender, race, and physical appearance are no longer a defining characteristic of our social selves. Without the body, identity can be boiled down to an email address, words and images. Rather than freeing us, the loss of the body begins to decompose our individuality and unify us into one large homogenous global identity.

"Merging Identity" enables participants to collectively explore the ways in which the body has helped shape our individual identities. Participants respond to each other's WWW contributions by submitting visual, audio and text-based responses to the web site. Collaborators are invited to take someone else's idea and expand, manipulate or mutate it to become a new idea and then resubmit it to the site. This enables ideas to flow and evolve freely as interactive artistic dialog expands the realm of possibilities. The site is fully automated so that contributions are instantly added to the site and existing pages are updated. Images are automatically converted to various interactive and animated formats and poetry becomes hyperlinked journeys through ideas.

Before the event, over 2000 invitations were sent to individuals in 20 different countries. "Merging Identity" is an active event during festivals and shows and open to show attendees to participate. During, and after the event the evolution of ideas is documented at http://creativity.bgsu.edu.edu/identity