The subject of circulation: on the digital subject's technical individuations

Wark, Scott. 2019. The subject of circulation: on the digital subject's technical individuations. Subjectivity, 12(1), pp. 65-81. ISSN 1755-6341 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The concept of the digital subject proposes that online subjectivity is a mediated construct. This article extends this concept by arguing that online subjectivity is not a property of human users, but of digital subjects enacted in circulating data. It develops the digital subject by, first, using Phillip Agre’s concept of “grammars of action” to argue that computational architectures exclude humans from the position of the user; and, second, using Gilbert Simondon’s and Yuk Hui’s philosophies of technology to posit the digital subject as a determinate technical entity that, as per Hui’s reworking of Simondon, inhabits a “digital milieu”. Online, this digital subject inverts the human–technology relationship. It individuates by entering circulation, excluding us from individuating whilst individuating us in turn. This article expands upon this claim by analysing projects by Amalia Ulman and Zach Blas and their thematisation of visibility, identity and authenticity in online subjectivity.

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Additional Information:

“This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Subjectivity. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at:”


Subjectivity, Digital Media, Circulation, Individuation, Simondon, Post-internet art

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


14 December 2018Published Online
March 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2024 10:29

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2024 10:36

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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