Masks of the Internet

The role of masks today…

The role of masks and personas that we take on in everyday life came up on Radio 4 clip earlier this week, and their ever increasing role in how we interface with the online world.

Inventing the Self: Fact & Fiction (BBC Radio 4 Interview – from minute 07:20)
Andrew O’Hagan & Robert Lepage speak to Andrew Marr.

Andrew O’Hagan begins speaking on some of the great mystery figures he has written about (Julian Assange, Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto & false created identity “Ronald Pinn”).Bagman2

“Like so many of the people I have written about….. Satoshi was a person who wanted to take the mask off, he wanted to step out from the shadows, away from his secret life finally and be revealed. When he tried to do that his essence seemed to disappear completely.  He couldn’t bear stepping away from the fake identity into the real. In a sense a personal trauma came with it. These guys couldn’t be who they had announced themselves as actually being. In some sense they had concealed themselves too carefully.”


“The internet has become a big masquerade party, there is something more coming from the theatre. There is always something very liberating when you put on a mask, or put on a costume and you tell a story that is not your story. I think there is a lot of extraordinary people on the web that actually don’t exist.

I remember Laurie Anderson having these amazing conversations with this great poet that she really wanted to meet, and eventually discovered it was a 14year old boy. It is very misleading.”

“We are possibly living through the great age of artificiality, it has never been easier to be someone else perhaps than it is now. Theatre is very important in this regard, it helps us understand the putting on and taking off of masks, but it is nevertheless quite worrying to discover Facebook have admitted that there are 67 million fake facebook accounts. At the very least, there are 67 million people in the world who are having a second life, another identity, another way of being themselves or not being themselves.”