Daniël de Zeeuw PhD Ceremony: Between Mass and Mask-The Profane Media Logic of Anonymous Imageboard Culture

On 18 December 2019 Daniël de Zeeuw will defend his dissertation before a committee of learned colleagues at the University of Amsterdam. He happily invites all of you to attend the ceremony.

Time: 11.45 Doors open (ceremony starts at 12.00 sharp), 13.00 Reception.

Location: Agnietenkapel, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229 – 231,  1012 EZ Amsterdam (NL).

For questions, please contact the paranymphs Patricia de Vries and Helmer Stoel via promotiedaniel2019@gmail.com.

Between Mass and Mask: The Profane Media Logic of Anonymous Imageboard Culture by Daniël de Zeeuw

This study analyzes the online “mask culture” of image boards like 4chan in opposition to the dominant “face culture” of social media platforms like Facebook. It is argued that whereas the latter casts the user as possessing a clearly delineated and persistent personal identity, the former fosters a paradoxical sense of (non)identity that is ephemeral and im-personal, and that forms a monstrous and grotesque media body, in which the boundaries of the self are rendered porous by way of a festive immersion in digital dirt and anonymous contact. In this, it is shown, mask culture radically embodies the profane media logic that inheres in contemporary culture as a whole. The study seeks to understand this logic with an eye to its emancipatory potentials as well as its more problematic aspects, by situating it in the larger historical and aesthetic lineages of modern mass (media) culture and the carnivalesque tradition in popular culture and art. What this reveals is an affinity between mass and mask that, albeit precariously, continues to resonate in the present.