'Life imitates art' is so often the case. Look at all those sci-fi films from the 80's that talk about the incoming dangers of artificial intelligence and 'big data', scary. It's a lot less regular though to see something and not quite know which one is imitating the other - so meet Miquela.
She's just a normal girl doing things that normal girls do. Her Instagram account, boasting 169k followers has her at parties, shopping and on road trips. By 'normal', her life looks pretty good, she isn't scraping by, she wears good clothes and attends exclusive events, but from the pictures on Instagram, she is clearly CGI, but to what extent?
There are several theories that range from a marketing stunt for the new Sims game to a girl who is a graphic/games designer and edits her pictures to make her look a certain way. If it all ends up as an advert for a game, it will feel like a bit of a letdown, but nonetheless it has made people think and talk.
What is clear is that the life portrayed is good. She's a good looking girl and seems to be having fun, never sad or dishevelled in her photos. So,at this point she is no different to celebrities like Kim Kardashian and internet celebrities/models like Adrianne Ho. She isn't 'real' like her fans are real, she's a little bit more than that, she's perfectly real, or 'hyperreal'.
In our quest for the ideal, we are often prepared to glance over the reality. When you see a famously beautiful person up close, they might be smaller or just not as good looking as you expected. When you look at a suave President's policies or laws, they're often more harmful than you'd believe. But who cares? At least their Brooks Brothers suit looks good.
Miquela might be real, we don't know. But borrowing from Jean Baudrillard, she is definitely 'hyperreal'. The French sociologist and philosopher explored the idea that we are quicker to fall for, or believe in something's symbolic value, rather than what it actually is. The world would have started out as a simple place. To a caveman a rock was a rock and a river was a river. But now, with communication and advertising becoming increasingly image-based, things are no longer what they 'really' are - they are a symbol of something. A river has now become the something that shows movement, energy and change.
Like Disneyland to a child, everything seems perfect. Everyone is happy and everything is just so. You needn't give it any more thought. But in reality, somebody has to clean the place when the visitors aren't there. Childhood isn't rollercoasters and giftshops, but jumping in puddles and playing football on a dirty field. Disneyland is more a symbol of 'perfect childhood' than our actual childhood was perfect. To many, like a lot of celebrities, Miquela is just that - the Disneyland of our childhood. She-s a perfect rendering of life, but not necessarily a realistic one.
The people we see on Instagram are more a symbol of beauty and happiness than people can ever dream to be. When you walk out of Disneyland and go back to your villa, everything is normal again - but not quite as good, if you judge it by Disneyland's standard.
When you look at people up close and not in a photograph online. Maybe this is what Miquela is - a representation of someone who is better than real. She's poking fun at the whole idea of 'perfect' by taking it beyond where the idea has ever been before. The hyperreal existing in the real.
It might be that to her, the 'real' she experienced in day-to-day life just wasn't as good as the 'hyperreal' she was seeing day-to-day in magazines and online. If that's the case, then she has fought back in the best possible way - by becoming perfect and making us wonder if that is really what we want.
Check her out on Instagram @lilmiquela
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