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Volume 9 Number 4
  • ISSN: 2050-0726
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0734

Abstract

Since her debut on Instagram in 2016, Lil Miquela has amassed over 3 million followers. She was the first of many virtual influencers; avatars with a hyper-realistic humanoid appearance who operate on social media. This article investigates how the fashioning of virtual influencers informs the relationship between virtual and human bodies. A visual and textual analysis of virtual influencers on Instagram has revealed that they are emblematic of a coalescence between the virtual and the actual. Virtual influencers often evoke discussions about human nature because their cyberpunk narratives and uncanny appearance position them as autonomous posthuman subjects. Virtual influencers are positioned as , as their bodies can be manipulated into any form. Yet, they adhere to normative ideals of youth, slimness and beauty, encouraging their audiences to follow suit. Their fashion reflects the streetwear aesthetic but is often designed by luxury brands. This strategy positions virtual influencers as authentic, while generating visibility within the attention economy. Further, the Deleuzian concept of the serves as a metaphor to understand fashion as an interface between surface and depth. It is fashion in its folded form that hominizes virtual influencers, although they are merely a fashionable surface.

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2022-10-01
2024-05-29
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