Success and Failure in the Representation of the Self in the Age of Social Media

Since the advent of social media like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok – which are mainly based
on worldwide image sharing – we have witnessed the radicalisation of a phenomenon that was
already established: ‘iconomania’. Iconomania is the tendency to place images everywhere and to
document in pictures everything we do in daily life, from looking in the mirror to dressing, from
eating to travelling, from having a shower to crying. People feel the urge to share on social media
the happiest moments and the saddest circumstances of their lives, their successes and their failures,
and they do so constantly. The result is an entire life spent on devices such as computers and
smartphones. Often, this has dramatic social and psychological repercussions such as increased
anxiety, depression, and solitude. The consequences of this phenomenon may also be historical and
political, with direct implications for political elections, the notion of democracy, and the role of
truth(s) in society. During this event, Fabio Tononi will assess the effects of the production, circulation, and consumption of images in social networks on human existence. He will also assess the roles of
capitalism, consumerism, and liberalism in social media.

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Fabio Tononi is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for the Humanities
(CHAM) in the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (FCHS), NOVA University of
Lisbon. He is the editor-in-chief of The Edgar Wind Journal and a steering committee
member of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory at the Institute of Modern
Languages Research, which is part of the University of London’s School of Advanced
Study. His research interests include the essence and tasks of philosophy and science,
the writings of Aby Warburg and Edgar Wind, the aesthetics of Sigmund Freud, the
relationship between art and cognitive neuroscience (specifically as they relate to
memory, imagination, empathy, the unfinished, motion, and emotion), the
interconnection between art and ideology, and postmodernism. For more information
about Fabio Tononi’s work – please, click here.

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