Through the creation of my own alter ego, called Gemella, this Practice-as-Research project interrogates the relationship between ‘self’ and ‘ego’, and how this relationship is performed on social media sites such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Using psychoanalytic theory, it considers how concepts such as the ‘shadow’ and ‘mask’ can work alongside creative performance strategies. Grounded in the experiences of my teenage years living in an expat community in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the thesis explores concepts such as ‘privilege’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’ – underpinned by scholars such as Jen Harvie, Urlich Beck and Peggy McIntosh – and how these can be negotiated to create ‘resistant’ performance. It pays particular attention to the initial stages of creating an alter ego with external presentation and costuming playing a major role. Considering the costuming choices of well-known alter egos such as Tammy WhyNot (Lois Weaver) and Miranda Sings (Colleen Ballinger), it can be noted how costumes can aid both personal and aesthetic transformation as a ‘symbolic signifier’. Moreover, the way an alter ego operates on a ‘continuum’ from acting to non-acting is explored further through digital presence. The thesis includes reflection on and documentation of formative practice research including photography, vlogs, google chats and gifs. The thesis will also include a summative live/digital performance outcome called Gemella Live: Stream 2.0.

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