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I don’t know why Foucault makes this assumption, that the practice of working on the self would involve a search for the truth rather than more effective ways of lying, perhaps lying so persuasively that one believes one’s own lies. 

This makes me think of Amalia Ulman’s Excellences and Perfections project, which draws explicitly on Foucault’s “technologies of the self” idea but uses social media to construct a false story about the self taken to be real, and thus becoming “real” as it is socially adopted and recirculated. The project takes as its starting point an intention to deceive people online, to attract attention by enacting a familiar, stereotypical narrative. It plays on consumers of social media preferring the story told by images and their eagerness to vindicate them as “real” and “true” — rendering what is not captured in the manipulated images as “not true." 

Foucault’s point may be that these technologies of the self need the alibi of authenticity to be effective. I wonder if the "technologies of domination” are really any different from the “technologies of the self,” or whether technologies of the self are merely technologies of domination self-applied.

LRB · Michel Foucault and Richard Sennett · Sexuality and Solitude

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