, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 12–26 | Cite as

Face abstraction! Biometric identities and authentic subjectivities in the truth practices of data

  • Olga GoriunovaEmail author
Original Article


On social media, the face—and the body—act as sites of subjectivity, whose authenticity is anchored in the “truth” of verifiable identity. This claim to authentic subjectivity is grounded in the promise of access to the “real person” as a biologically unique identity. Establishing the supposed truth of such identities is often done through using techniques such as facial biometrics. I demonstrate how contemporary data modalities construct biologically unique identities and authentic subjectivities as two end poles connected through data practices. These practices seek to designate “reality” in order to establish their own validity and usefulness. Overall, I argue that current data practices designate the face and the body as “the real world” to generate further forms of abstraction that can be anchored upon the indexical promises of physical truths. These data practices then process the biological, the socio-political, the imaginary, layering and stitching abstractions together.


Subject Body Biopolitics Face Authenticity Identity Data analytics Biometrics Abstraction Truth 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media ArtsRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK

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