Virtual Identities
Palazzo Strozzi



Franziska Nori
Antonio Glessi
Roberto Simanowski
Michael Wesch
Sherry Turkle
Michael Wesch
Anonymous, Anonymity, and the End(s) of Identity and Groups Online

Fox 11 News in Los Angeles calls the “group” Anonymous “hackers on steroids”. The Economist calls them “internet activists”. They call themselves “the first internet-based superconsciousness” with a meta-laugh, laughing at all attempts to describe them, including their own. They interact with one another primarily on imageboards like 4chan but spread to other web domains as needed, strategically leveraging the tools and structure of the internet to accomplish their goals. They interact almost entirely anonymously, rarely if ever sharing any details of their offline identities. They continuously work to shed their collective identity as well, sometimes declaring themselves as harbingers of the end of identity and groups as we know them, while offering a critical commentary on the ends of identity and groups in our contemporary society and popular culture.
The phenomenon of Anonymous presents a scathing critique of the postmodern cult of celebrity, individualism and identity while serving itself as the inverted alternative – a “group” made up entirely of unidentified and unidentifiable “members” whose presence and membership is fleeting and ephemeral.

4chan is an imageboard created in 2003 by Christopher Poole, a kid who was then just fifteen years old, living in New York City. For years most people only knew Poole by his 4chan name “moot”, (as in: “of little or no practical value or meaning”) a name that could perhaps serve as an omen for the “Anonymous” community that would soon take root on the site. The site is now one of the largest online communities on the web, recording approximately 700,000 posts per day from about 7 million unique visitors (Poole 2010). While many recently launched social websites have extensive features such as profile and privacy management, multiple modes of communication and multiple forms of media-sharing, 4chan is remarkably simple. Based on the popular Japanese site 2chan, there is no sign-on or identity verification process. The user is greeted with a simple submit button next to six empty field boxes: name, e-mail, subject, comment, file and password. Anybody can post under any name, but most posters forgo the name field altogether. When the name field is not filled in, the post appears with the username field filled in as “Anonymous”.

Anonymity creates the foundation for a remarkably chaotic and creative space. As noted by psychologist John Suler in 2004, anonymity, invisibility, minimization of authority and other characteristics of certain online spaces can create an “online disinhibition effect”. On /b/, anonymity shields participants from any long-lasting social shame. While a poster on /b/ may feel a sting of shame when their post is ridiculed, they can quickly move on since it does not affect their long term standing in the community. With no persistent identity, there is no real “standing” or hierarchy on /b/. The environment not only allows participants to push beyond social norms and the status quo, it actively encourages such behavior as the only way to get any reaction at all on the site is to post something that stands out and affects others enough that they feel compelled to respond.   Everybody on /b/ is anonymous. Even those who choose to use a specific name cannot verify that they are the one’s posting with that name since no name can be registered to a single user. As a result, nobody except the poster can know who authored any specific post. Users can take on the identity of another user in the middle of a conversation. People can even have long conversations with themselves, posing as multiple different users in the same thread, making it appear as if there is great interest in the topic at hand even when there is not.  

Anonymous as Cultural Critique

Anonymous extends far beyond the confines of 4chan and other imageboards and messageboards though, and it is here that we see this core moral value of anonymity emerging as a full-fledged cultural critique of our cultural obsession with individualism and identity, and the cult of celebrity that emerges from it. As one of the mock-slogans prophetically declares: “With an identity you will eventually be found. The day will come when only Anonymous will walk the ground. We will stop at nothing until we’ve achieved our goal: permanent destruction of the identification role.”   Anons from /b/ often flock to other forums and online discussions , or arrange “raids” in which they use their swarming large numbers and technical skills to perform large scale pranks and manipulate internet culture – what one Anon described as “ultra-coordinated motherfuckery” according to Gabriella Coleman (2010 0:44)1. For example, as celebrities like Oprah and Ashton Kutcher raced to be the first with one million Twitter followers, Anonymous leveraged their technical skills to create a worthy competitor known as “BasementDad” with a Twitter profile based on an Austrian man who had imprisoned his daughter in his basement for twenty-four years. Using various hacks they managed to race to over 300,000 followers before Twitter started disallowing new followers of BasementDad. 

While any Anon will tell you that their raids and mass pranks are not politically motivated, but simply “for the lulz” (for the laughs), the punch line requires a certain play with the rules, norms, mores and the general ethos of society. The more individualistic and identity-obsessed our society becomes, the more poignant their actions and their collective anonymous way of carrying them out. Anonymous does not just challenge the cult of identity and celebrity by raiding and trolling celebrities. They also mock celebrity culture by manufacturing celebrities out of nobodies. In 2009 they raided the online Time 100 Most Influential People Competition and “hacked” it so that the founder of 4chan, who uses the username “moot” was voted the most influential. They even managed to rig the entire top 21 so that the first letters of their names read “marble cake also the game” (referring to a slang term for an obscure scatological sex act). They have developed numerous techniques to hack such rating systems, and have also had some success launching the most unlikely celebrities like Tay Zonday into e-celebrity on YouTube. When interviewed about the Time magazine hack, moot made a reference to the core value against self-importance that is so pervasive among Anons: “If I asked the community to do this, they would have done everything in their power to make sure that I was at the bottom of that list that’s just the way they work.”  

Anonymous provides an insightful critical commentary on our cultural obsession with identity and the cult of celebrity, which itself emerges in reaction to the anonymity which has emerged as “a common structure of feeling” (to use the words of Raymond Williams, 1973) in the social conditions of modernity. As early as 1926, Henry Canby suggested that the desire for fame and celebrity could be explained as “a panicky, an almost hysterical, attempt to escape from the deadly anonymity of modern life, and the prime cause is not the vanity of our writers but the craving – I had almost said the terror – of the general man who feels his personality sinking lower and lower into a whirl of indistinguishable atoms to be lost in a mass civilization”. An Anonymous mock-serious slogan echoes the sentiment: “We are all Anonymous in some sense. The person on the bus. A customer in line. A stranger in another country”2.  

Beyond /b/, the people participating as Anonymous are very active and highly networked across the web, and highly skilled and knowledgeable about how to spread their creations across the web using multiple platforms, technologies and hacks. Their collective actions on image boards, message boards, chat channels and websites like Digg and YouTube are sometimes described as the “primordial ooze” from which many of the most prevalent internet cultural icons, images, sayings and trends (called “memes” 3) have been born. For example, one of their most successful memes started in 2005 when 4chan users started uploading pictures of cats with funny captions written in broken English. Saturdays were designated “Caturdays” and the pictures were called “lolcats” (Laugh Out Loud Cats). Lolcats proliferated throughout the web, entering e-mail boxes everywhere, inspiring several books and eventually finding their own home on popular mainstream sites like 4Chan has also greatly contributed and sometimes originated other widespread internet phenomena such as the grotesque image of “goatse”, the revival of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up as part of the Rickrolling prank, and many others. Encyclopædia Dramatica, the “Wikipedia” for all things related to Anonymous, jokes that Anonymous is “responsible for 85% of all quotes ever made”. Many of the memes build from anime, gamer, programmer and hacker culture. Taking stock of the imagery, Chris Landers of the Baltimore Sun quipped that “in the high school of the internet, /b/ is the kid with a collection of butterfly knives and a locker full of porn”. The memes become part of the shared repertoire of Anonymous participants. Clever referencing of these memes along with the creative use of words and language conventions drawn from previous interactions on /b/, computer code, or the internet-born and based language “leetspeak” create a peculiar ever-changing argot that allows a longtime user (“oldfag”) to recognize the posting of a new user (“newfag”).
Much of the argot involves shock-language generated from mainstream’s society’s ever-expanding list of politically incorrect language. They use the “n-word” frequently along with all other obscenities (often involving obscure scatological sex acts), refer to each other as “/b/tards” or call each other “fags” as “a term of derision/endearment, your affiliation/location suffixed with -fag”.    

Playing with “identity”

The -fag suffix provides fleeting moments of identification and labeling in a social world that is otherwise devoid of identification markers. With no method of individual identity verification, /b/ becomes a community made up of non-persistent individual identities. When you post on /b/, nobody can pre-judge you based on your looks, age, wealth, status or style. They only have your words. One could even go so far as to say that there are no identities at all, though playing with “identity” is still very much a part of the serious fun of /b/. Most threads begin with a post that involves a funny, shocking or interesting picture along with a statement that comments on the picture, asks for similar pictures or asks for more comments related to the picture. Since most users do not fill in the name form, and because names that are used can be used again by any poster, the only unique identifiable mark for each post is an automatically generated post number. In this way, the post itself, not necessarily the person who posted it, becomes the relevant interlocutor. When a poster wants to respond to a specific post, they can write “>>(post number)” which will then link back to the relevant post 4.
The following sequence posted on June 5th 2009 is a fairly typical example of the kind of conversation that emerges on /b/. It is also an example of a classic “trolling” attempt in which somebody posts something inflammatory, off-topic, shocking or intentionally incorrect with the purpose of creating an argument with others. This particular trolling attempt begins with an image that reads: “Trolling is a art.”  

Original Post: Trolling is a art.
No. 139804092 i’m not taking the bait. no, not this time.
No. 139804103 old. No. 139804140 it would be AN art anyway. gtfo (get the fuck out)
No. 139804237 >>139804140 troll’d. nao, YOU gtfo  

As noted earlier, since all posters are anonymous, posters refer to specific posts. In this case, post 139804237 calls out 139804140 as being trolled, having taken the bait and attempting to correct the purposefully incorrect grammar of the original post. Keep in mind though that there is nothing that keeps somebody as posing as another poster or even talking to themselves. Somebody could also pose as multiple people in the same conversation. All of which add to the fun of the art of trolling on 4chan. The next post takes the trolling bit a step further  

No. 139804330 >>139804237 double trolled  

Here 139804237 is claiming that it is actually 139804237 who has been trolled, and that post 139804140 was not the trolled but the troller, setting new bait by pretending to be trolled by an obvious troll. The thread quickly (d)evolves into meta-trolling:

No. 139804618 Everyone who posted in this thread got trolled except for me.
No. 139805734 trolls trolling trolls trolling trolls ad infinitum  

Trolling celebrates and recreates the core values of /b/ while policing and rehabilitating those who transgress them. As one poster in the midst of the preceding trolling episode commented:  

No. 139804547 >>139804330

Another newfag made to look like an idiot, and trying to recover his pride. It’s anon, dumbass.  
Here the poster reminds the others that they are all anonymous. Where there is no identity there is no pride to have or regain.    

Anonymous as Core Moral Value

Within this playful world of anonymity, anonymity itself emerges not just as a feature of the interaction, but as a core moral value. As noticed in the preceding interaction, one should not take anything, especially one’s own self, too seriously. To be capital-A “Anonymous” one must always be anonymous, never taking on an identity, label, or name. When this rule is breached, the poster faces an onslaught of severe ridicule. For example, on March 21st 2010, somebody using the name “ANON STRAIGHT EDGE” (in all caps) posted the following with the subject line:


Instead of receiving responses from other “straight edgers” he received a barrage of hate. Playing with the anonymity of the medium, some mocked the poster by posing as the original poster (designated as OP in the /b/ vernacular), pointing out the poster’s identity posturing and call for attention.  


Others took on the poster more directly after the poster (or somebody posing as the poster) asked for clarification on why they had offended the /b/ community:  

No.208493552 biggest problem with straight edge is that they call themselves straight edge, giving yourself a title always makes you a douche.  
No.208493671 Because people who call themselves “straight edge” are fucking attention whores. I know many people that dont do drugs and dont drink alcohol, but they dont call themselves “straight edge” to be cool…  

This core value extends to other message boards in which Anons interact, such as the Chanology boards used to discuss and organize the Anonymous protests against the Church of Scientology. Here users take on pseudonyms but maintain the core value of anonymity. When Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist studying the protest, was invited to the forum she was warned by “Ann O’nymous” that “there are people here who do not like rockstars. As a IRL person, you are an easy target in a asymmetrical game. If you fall for their provocations, you might get hurt. Having said that, do as you please.” Another clarified that a “rockstar” is simply “anyone who is not anonymous and who may be important”, someone who has been “namefagged” as another noted. Fortunately she had strong contacts in the group who could vouch for her as one promised to “have a buttfuck cannon aimed at anyone who doesn’t know how to act”. “Consensus” summed it up: “Here’s the long and short of it: the cardinal sin of Anonymous is Unwarranted Self-Importance.”  

Anonymous carries this aversion to self-importance, names, and identity to their own group identity as well, playing with and mocking concepts such as “culture”, “community” and “group” that artificially bound, reify and label. A plethora of Anonymous sayings that Chris Landers of the Baltimore Sun dubbed “mock-serious slogans” capture this ethos in phrases like: “Anonymous is not a person, nor is it a group, movement or cause: Anonymous is… a commune of human thought and useless imagery.”   Indeed, Anons often point out with some pride that defining themselves as Anonymous creates a logical impasse to any definition or label, for any definition or label is by definition not anonymous. One of their mock-serious slogans gloats: “No one shall learn the identity of Anonymous, for in finding identity, we lose our anonymous selves.” They demonstrate their pride in their collective non-identity by sharing and mocking any definitions, labels and explanations of their existence offered by journalists, scholars or other critics and commentators.  

As Charles Taylor has noted, the late modern self has formed in conditions in which identity and recognition are not givens. Meanwhile, our technologized consciousness begins to see identity as just another thing to be engineered (Berger 1973), and so we find ourselves struggling to engineer and create our own identities in the search for identity and recognition.
This “search for the authentic self” creates two trends (or “slides” as Taylor calls them), one toward “self-centered modes of self-fulfilment” and another toward “the negation of all horizons of significance”. The possibilities for identity proliferate at the cost of an increasingly fragmented and disconnected society that leaves its members starving for meaning and recognition. In Thomas de Zengotita’s analysis of mediated culture, we find that these two slides co-generate one another. He connects the malaise that goes along with the lack of meaning and recognition with the blossoming of YouTube-celebrity and the eagerness with which people rush onto the new stages that the internet provides to become e-famous. “Now the representational spaces have been technologically magnified”, he notes. “That’s the condition that allows the virtual revolution to take place. […] spectators were primed for it, motivated to undertake what the technology only made possible” (2006:116). And so the incessant striving for celebrity takes to the internet, and we enter the age of the e-famous and the microcelebrity. Such an analysis is not far from the “disturbing phenomenon” noted by the Anonymous user in which “everyone thinks they are SPECIAL” on the internet. As another Anonymous mock-serious proverb notes, it would seem that the meaningful recognition that people seek and the confirmation and external validation of one’s identity is something exceedingly rare and perhaps a thing of the past: “Identity. One of our most precious possessions. You believe we all have one, but you are sadly mistaken. Identity belongs only to those who are important. Those who have earned it by struggle and blood. Those who matter. You, my friend, do not.”  

Anonymous offers the ultimate alternative to identity, asking people to give up the superficial struggle for identity and celebrity: “Identity is a fragile and weak thing. It can be stolen or replaced. Even forgotten. Identity is a pointless thing for people like us. […] so break away from your identity. Become one with Anonymous and give up the struggle for identity. Join us and belong.”   In an ever-increasingly-fragmented society, anonymous offers the ultimate group to belong to, a group that could never deny you, a group you can always fit into, a group with no demands or constraints, a group that asks (quite literally) nothing of you, and you don’t even have to accomplish that impossible task of “just being yourself” since you don’t know what that means anyway. It’s the group to end all groups, and an identity to end all identities: “Being Anonymous protects us in some way, making us feel safe at night and keeping us sane. How, you may ask. Simple. Being Anonymous is to be part of the world, the ones like you who do not matter and do not stand out. It makes us feel like we belong.”    

The End(s) of Identity

Anonymous itself captures that double meaning of the “end” of identity and groups around which this paper has been structured. It declares itself as the end (conclusion) of identity and the categorically identified or identifiable group, while also providing a running commentary on the ends of identity and group formation in late modern society. Furthermore it is itself a special example of the kind of “group” or “identity” that can emerge (and be used) in the meta-reflexive age of late/post modernity. Most importantly for the discipline of anthropology, it exposes the “ends” to which we put the concepts of “group” and “identity” to work in our descriptive endeavors and challenges us to think of new ways to conceptualize human sociality. While the Anonymous (non)social (non)organization may seem novel, on further reflection it becomes apparent that there are many online contexts in which the metaphors of “groups” and “identity” are no longer useful for social analysis. While there has been plenty of cultural theory guiding us away from a focus on things and categories and towards process and practice for several decades, Anonymous leaves us no option because the “thing” itself is nothing but process. It only exists in the fleeting moment of its own activity. Name it, categorize it, and it is gone. Theoretical trends away from essences and toward processes may not have gone far enough.  

The activities of Anonymous help us see a broader and more important lacuna in current anthropological conceptions of human sociality, exposing such conceptions as primarily based in assumptions of embodied co-presence. Since the early days of internet communities, even prior to the advent of the World Wide Web, scholars have been speculating about and documenting the possibilities of identity play online (Rheingold 1993, Turkle 1995). The opportunities provided by anonymity and pseudonymity were captured for the public imagination by the now classic New Yorker cartoon “On the internet, nobody knows you are a dog”. But more recent forms of online sociality such as Facebook now make the opposite equally probable. As Zeynep Tufecki notes: “On the internet, everybody knows you are a dog.” Facebook, MySpace, imageboards, forums, chatrooms, e-mail and other internet-based social platforms all create different architectures for participation. Some, such as Facebook, require persistent and mostly verifiable identities while others allow for more identity play, pseudonymity or anonymity. Some connect people around the world, others emphasize local connections. Some are text-only, others audio-only, while some use video or some mix of all three. Some are synchronous while others are asynchronous. Some are open, others closed. Some are archived providing a running history of social interactions, others are not. Every feature shapes the possibilities for sociality.  

In the end, the most pertinent and active structuring principle of online sociality is not a simple list of features and characteristics but instead an open-ended range of possibilities limited only by human imagination. The internet has become a playground for new media forms, each one connecting people in different ways and allowing new forms of sociality to emerge. In the digital realm, the structures of our participation are not inevitable or permanent. We can restructure the structures themselves, and indeed more people than ever now have and even more soon will have the capability not just to add content to the web and participate in these emerging forms of sociality, but also to create the structures of participation by creating their own digital platforms. reviews over fifteen internet startups every day, many of them proposing yet another way for humans to relate to one another. Plugins and widgets can be used as building blocks in user-designed blogs and portals, creating new forms of communication in just a few hours with little technical expertise required. Dion Hinchcliffe notes that the web is “increasingly turning into a sort of online Home Depot with its shelves lined with thousands of useful, off-the-shelf parts of every description and utility” (2007).  

As adept manipulators of the online mediascape, Anonymous participants exploit and expose the possibilities of digital sociality while attempting to challenge and subvert our most basic assumptions about sociality itself. While many scholars have used and written about the digital space as an arena to try on and play with alternative identities and create virtual communities, Anonymous plays with and mocks the concepts of “identity”, “community” and “groups” themselves, making a joke out of them, and creating a dynamic and living social formation that is not based on identified or identifiable individuals in an identified or identifiable “group”. Their social forms and commentaries can help us question our own assumptions and expand upon our perspectives on the limits and possibilities of sociality and social forms in digital spaces.   This moves us quite far from the discipline Wagner described as “founded on the necessity to fix either groups or units (or both) as a beginning point to analysis”. But it does not yet offer a viable alternative for the beginning point to the analysis of Anonymous. While the people who collectively perform the actions that make up the phenomenon of Anonymous are embodied people in specific places, their particular form of sociality is not in any way relevant to this fact, and they are not involved in a conscious or unconscious process of “group” or “culture” creation. Quite the opposite, Anonymous is an ongoing experiment in sociality that attempts to undermine traditional notions of “groups”, “culture” and “identity” altogether.

Researching Anonymous
My Digital Ethnography research team of fifteen undergraduate students at Kansas State University set out to study Anonymous in Spring 2009 as part of a broader study of anonymity, both as a cultural motif (the general feeling of anonymity widely expressed in the social conditions of late modernity) and also how anonymity is used, experienced and negotiated in social interactions (especially online social interactions). We were drawn to Anonymous for the ways in which it complicated our taken-for-granted assumptions about identity and community. The primary place where we settled in to observe and participate in Anonymous was 4chan’s /b/ message board, one of the primary locations for Anonymous activity online. Two members of our research team also met and recorded interviews with Anonymous participants protesting the Church of Scientology in Kansas City on multiple occasions. However, the focus of this paper is primarily on the online activities of Anonymous, and particularly those that originated or centered on the /b/ message board.

The fieldwork for this project quickly proved to have its share of dangers. Anonymous is well-known for its disregard for social mores and its capacity to perform spectacular hacks and release awe-inspiring viruses which are sometimes malicious, sometimes vigilante, but almost always comical for those who are in on the joke. On my own first visit to /b/, all of my windows suddenly collapsed, my computer turned off, rebooted, and warned me that I had become seriously infected and that I should download Windows Antivirus 2009 immediately. Upon further research I discovered that Windows Antivirus 2009 actually was the virus, and that my computer had been hijacked by “scareware”, a program designed to scare me into downloading more malicious viruses. Ultimately, I had no choice but to wipe my entire hard drive clean. To the uninitiated, 4chan’s /b/ is not just dangerous, it is also disturbing, thriving on its “no rules” ethos. Shock-imagery and shock-language proliferate along with a heavy dose of irony and just enough self-mockery to let you know that they aren’t taking their lack of seriousness very seriously. It was the forum of choice for Sarah Palin’s Yahoo e-mail account hacker. After hacking the account he posted her password on 4chan. When the hack made national news, 4chan users prepared for the onslaught of news media by posting the most disturbing (to the mainstream) images they could find (mostly gay, scat, and bestiality pornography).
The image at the top of the board featured a naked hair chested man with an erect penis along with a note to visitors that read:


Fear and disgust were enough to drive most of my research team away from the study of Anonymous. After a few weeks of exploratory research, only two students were willing to study Anonymous directly, with the other students focusing their studies on other aspects of anonymity.    

1 It is in such raids that they seem to take on the most identifiable “group-like” formations, what Rogers Brubaker would call “high levels of groupness” (2005:172). But even in these circumstances they are not really a group. They are not a “they”. As Chris Landers notes, they are only a group “in the sense that a flock of birds is a group […] they’re traveling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely”.  
2 The Anonymous rage against e-celebrity and our cultural obsession with identity is not unlike that of many poets of the 1920s, who began urging their fellow writers to “not make a cult of expression” (EM Forster as quoted in Ferry 2002). Or as stated in a 29 page pamphlet authored by Walter Lowenfels and Michael Frankel titled Anonymous: The need for anonymity (1930): “The Anonymous struggle to project the completed novel, or poem, becomes the struggle for a world ideal, creation; not the advancement of any one poet’s standing, or recognition […] If he is an artist, that is enough.”  
3 “Meme” originated in Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene (1976) to describe an idea or cultural phenomenon that spreads.  
4 Sometimes the post numbers themselves become part of a game called a “GET” in which posters try to be the one who is assigned an especially significant or unique post number, such as 12345678 or 20000000. As noted on 4chan, “GETs are sought after by many, and normally over one thousand users will compete for one, often posting very quickly in order to better their chances of achieving the desired GET number”. 4chan moderators recently tired of this game, especially following the flurry of posts trying to achieve the “200MGET” on February 21, 2010. Since that time, the last three digits of each post appear as “XXX”. A Greasemonkey script can reveal the actual numbers. Post-naming and GETs are less common since February 21st 2010, but still continue, and so it appears that at least some users are using the Greasemonkey script or similar tool to see actual post numbers.      

 Literature Lila Abu-Lughod, “Writing Against Culture”, in Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present, edited by Richard G. Fox, NM: School of American Research Press, Santa Fe 1991, pp. 137-162.   «Anonymous», entry in Encyclopædia Dramatica (2009), in (Accessed November 25, 2009)   Peter L. Berger, Brigitte Berger and Hansfried Kellner, The Homeless Mind: modernization and consciousness, Random House, New York 1973.   Christoph Brumann, “Writing for Culture: Why a Successful Concept Should Not be Discarded”, in Current Anthropology, vol. 40, Supplement, February 1999, pp. 1-27.   Henry Canby, “Anon is Dead”, in The American Mercury, vol. 8, 1926, pp. 79-84.   James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (MA) 1988.   Gabriella Coleman, “Old and New Wars over Free Speech, Freedom and Secrecy or How to Understand the Lulz battle against the CO$” (2010), online video in (Accessed May 10, 2010)   Thomas de Zengotita, Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It, Bloomsbury USA, New York 2006.   Anne Ferry, “Anonymity: The Literary History of a Word”, in New Literary History, vol. 33, 2, Spring 2002, pp. 193-214.   J.R. Gillis (edited by), Commemorations: the politics of national identity, Princeton University Press, Princeton (NJ) 1994.   Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, “Beyond ‘Culture’: Space Identity and the Politics of Difference”, in Cultural Anthropology, vol. 7, 1, 1992, pp. 6-23.   Ulf Hannerz, Transnational Connections: Cultures, people, places, Routledge, London 1996.   Dion Hinchcliffe, “Tracking the DIY Phenomenon” (February 11, 2007), blog post in ZDNet, in (Accessed May 11, 2010)   Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New York 1983.   Paul Lamere, “Inside the Precision Hack” (April 15, 2009), blog post in Music Machinery, in   Walter Lowenfels and Michael Frankel, Anonymous: The Need for Anonymity, Carrefour Editions, Berkeley 1930.   George Marcus, “The End(s) of Ethnography: Social/Cultural Anthropology’s Signature Form of Producing Knowledge in Transition”, in Cultural Anthropology, vol. 23, 1, 2008, pp. 1-14.   Tim O’Reilly, “The Architecture of Participation” (April 26, 2003), in   Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community, Addison-Wesley, 1993, in (Accessed May 11, 2010)   Marshall Sahlins, “Goodbye to Tristes Tropes: Ethnography in the context of modern world history”, in Assessing cultural anthropology, edited by Robert Borofsky, McGraw-Hill, New York 1994, pp. 377-94.   Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (MA) 1991.   Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, Simon & Schuster, New York 1995.   Roy Wagner, “Are There Groups in the New Guinea Highlands?”, in Frontiers of Anthropology: An Introduction to Anthropological Thinking, edited by Murray J. Leaf, D. Van Nostrand Company, New York 1974, pp. 95-122.   Roy Wagner, The Invention of Culture, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1975.   Michael Wesch, “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” (2008), online video in   Raymond William, The Country and the City, Oxford University Press, New York 1973.  

From the exhibition catalogue "Virtual identities", published by Silvana Editoriale, 2011.


Special project: I AM NEDA
Special project: ME 2.0