M3D143N717Y: Taking the Network over and Bringing It Down

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:45
Oral Presentation
Geraldine PELLEGRIN, University of Mauritius, Mauritius
Published as a hardcover comic book in June 2017 by éditions Delcourt, MediaEntity.04 closes the first cycle of a transmedia series titled MediaEntity that was first released online in episodes starting November 2012. Marketed as a “thriller d’anticipation paranoïaque” (a paranoid science fiction thriller), the series follows the misadventures of a victim of “mediatic mutation”, Eric Magoni, who must flee when his login is used to cause the bank where he works to lose five billion euros. A “mediatic mutation” occurs when an online identity takes on a life of its own and as the series unfolds, readers come to witness the downfall of other celebrities due to such mediatic mutations.

Originally, the series focused primarily on the dangers of sharing personal information through online social networks and warned readers with statements such as “Switch off your life! Become invisible! The network will take over yout [sic] identity...” while also relying on its readers’ knowledge and use of such networks. With time, however, the series has become less paranoid and advocates human collaboration and contact to bring down the all-seeing and all-controlling network.

To what extent does the series fit its label as a “paranoid” thriller? What is the place of social media in this series? To what extent does it promote collaboration and solidarity to overcome the ostracizing effects of mediatic mutations? I argue that through fiction and real-life online tools, the series attempts to bring down online networks from within to favour human contact.