The performance of identity involves impression management, social skills, and self-reflexivity. To perform identity in media environments involves writing our identities into being. Media environments have facilitated a new kind of selfhood—brand—in which we model our identities on celebrities. However, because brand identity has no ethical grounding, it raises legitimate concerns. To incorporate ethics, I perform my identity through mystory, Gregory Ulmer’s genre of reflexive writing. By composing a mystory, I consult with an avatar—which in Hindu tradition was a god descended into earthly form—that reveals my ethical condition and a pathway through it. This consultation functions as pharmakon (Derrida, 1995), revealing truths to me which both wound and heal. I use mystory to address a personal question, “How do I lead an ethical life?” and a policy problem: water pollution in Florida. The conclusion of this essay presents a response to this problem: a performance art piece designed to teach manatees about mortality.
Performance; Identity; Media environments; Mystory; Ereignis