"There is a kind of thinking without thinkers. Matter thinks. Language thinks. When we have business with language, we are possessed by its dreams and demons, we grow intimate with monsters. We become hybrids, chimeras, centaurs ourself: steaming flanks and solid redoubtable hoofs galloping under a vaporous machinery."

Shelley Jackson, 1995

She was famous at twelve years old. She became famous first off at eleven, inside the microcosm of her school, when a friend did not fancy that kiss on the ex boyfriend and spread the rumor that she had gone down on thirty guys. I did not know what oral sex was. I became famous, but I liked it. It was a good excuse to change classrooms and hang out with kids that were also futureless.

There I belonged a lot more. An unwelcoming family life, domestic violence, abandonment, bad grades, social maladjustment. No one was trying to be ideal there. You could be trash. Your life was trash. That was allowed.

At twelve, I stole a compact digital camera. In 2003 it was expensive, but someone in my family had managed to buy one.

She would take it from his drawer while he was at work and take pictures. She would keep the images in a hidden folder on the family computer, then erase them from the memory card and return the camera. He noticed, and she was punished. He noticed and started leaving the camera in a locked space. And she kept finding ways around it.

For the first few years I used this camera and then another one. They were not mine, but I used them. The images were mine.

My father was a creator of one of the most used mIRC servers in Brazil, I think. The mIRC was a famous live chat platform of the late 1990s. I began going online on mIRC when I was 9 or 10 years old. On weekends, users met in person – it was what they called “IRCounters”. Most of these encounters were for adults or teenagers, but he took me with him.

Within mIRC, my father was also the creator of the largest chat room in my town. He was an OP, which more or less meant that he was one of the bosses of the room. Below the OPs, there were the "voices". These were the ones whose nicknames appeared right below the OPs; they were top on the list of those present in the room. Besides being more visible, I think being a "voice" was of no use. I really wanted to be a "voice".

My father did not want to give me a voice status because that would draw men's attention and there were a lot of pedophiles in mIRC, he said.

It's true that there were, I talked to some.

My father explained it to me very early on, I don't know when, but early on: not to give out any personal information that could be used to track you when talking to strangers on the internet. Name, address, name of your school, name of your parents, location reference. No. Nothing.

Anonymity was a protection and no matter how inadequate a conversation was, no one could touch me over the internet.

I felt very lonely. I didn't see my parents much and I didn't have siblings back then. When my first brother was born, as soon as he started to have a will of his own, it was confirmed that he hated me – a physiological, intuitive thing. It was just another confirmation that it would not be possible to escape loneliness at home.

But with the stolen camera, yes.

A website named Agitosbsb was created, which was a kind of Facebook of Brasília city. This was in 2001. Profiles with pictures and descriptions of your personality, in which other users could leave comments. I made lots of friends, took part in feuds. I remember the notice in my hotmail account warning there was a new feature called MSN. I must have been the first person in my circle of acquaintances to download it. Not even my father knew about it. When Fotolog was released, it was the same thing. She was the first.

The father guided her to anonymity, but she was already the whore. Anywhere, I was the whore. First because of that friend. Then because of a boy I dated. Then because of other boys and other friends. There would always be a reason that did not have so much to do with the material reality of my body. It had to do with other things. But that's alright.

At that time, I wrote in a diary that if they wanted me to be the whore, I would be the biggest whore in town. I think that was when I created my Fotolog account.

Inside Fotolog I was not really her, I was the little pompom: pompomzinha.

The pompomzinha made many friends.

She had a blog too, where she shared details of her love and sentimental life.

She was stopped at parties sometimes by people who knew who she was.

She received gifts in her building from anonymous stalkers.

She was 12 (2003) when this started and about 16 (2007) when it ended.

One day, she went to lunch after school with a friend who introduced her to another girl from another school. The three were talking as if it was the beginning of a new friendship, until the girl said: I know who you are. My friend follows your Fotolog. Now I'll be able to tell her if you're really pretty in reality or if it's just photoshop.

I don't know which of the two options was true.

But that's alright.

This character did not just exist in the image. But she was created in the image. In images and texts. In these numerical transactions. And in person, I performed it. There was freedom to it. Most people already knew she was a whore, dumb and pretty. So it was a kind of anonymity too. To be just an image.


After 16, she got tired of being an image. She deleted almost everything.

Fotolog was a Latin American landmark that emerged in 2002 and reached its peak of users a few years later. A photo-sharing website that allowed you to post just one photo per day (a non-cumulative agreement), receive up to ten (thereafter twenty) comments per photo, and offered choices regarding title, layout colors, and your own URL address. People could friend/favorite each other through the website, and when someone had recently posted, the thumbnail of the photo would appear in the right corner of the viewer's screen. The model offered a series of quantifiable symbolic coins: followers, comments, miniature appearance on someone else's page, frequency of published images. It was rare to get space to comment and every opportunity for daily publication should not be wasted.

The word selfie did not exist yet, but that's what most photographs were: self-portraits from the most varied angles, framing, lighting, costumes. The social inability I displayed live was superseded by the ability to curate myself. Within a few months, I had several so-called colleagues collected through that platform, who wrote in the comments: I love you. Te amo. txiaMo. I adore you..

“I fake it so real I am beyond fake”

To grow up carefully curating one's own image provides a feeling of distance and extreme palpability of what is at stake. Nothing is published by chance, nor does a typo occur without prior scrutiny or, at least, further evaluation and compensation. Or it happens and the price is paid. The amount of megapixels the camera provides is printed on the photograph and also denotes the device's market value. Every gesture and quality are currency, whether private or public.

The signs of digital relationships, devices, affection, presence, portraits, quotations, transactions, narratives of success and failure were not a detail of life's composition because they were the ones that marked out life. Seemingly unnecessary and superfluous, but in their exercise they were not. These were elements that had the power to create and to exterminate.

"I, too, dislike it. Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it, after all, a place for the genuine."
Marianne Moore, 1967

Wandering the Internet did not use to give me the feeling of walking in circles. They said that internet addiction happened because the new way of thinking – fragmented, non-linear, concomitant – was similar to the way the web works. I may have misinterpreted it, as I felt as if wandering and disruption had become a legitimate way to exist for others through the validation of the computer.

Regardless of that, admitting the possibility of an analogy between ways of thought functioning and the online environment, the current form of the web has undergone changes in formal terms and in relation to the need for attention it imposes. In the gaps, the transverse circulation – through different hubs – continues to happen, but there is also a demand for an almost obsessive gaze while the scroll bar continues to descend, showing new contents that automatically appear in an infinite way, but which will, in the end, refer to the same locations.

If each click is immaterial and unpaid work that can be accumulated by third parties – your data, your content that adds value to that space –, it is also a construction of yourself on which “your future” and “your livelihood” may depend. If I upload a photo of my face, do I get more job offers? If I look trustworthy, do you hire me? If what I appear to be refers you to the image of what you would like to be if you had two lives, do you fund me? Please. How much can I guarantee with the perpetual training of myself?

I need safety.

Material and emotional safety.

Shall we discard the authenticity/artificiality dichotomy? Do you still believe that communication can become a free and pleasurable wander? She began to think that it will forever be the friction of a lustless fiction.

And it's nothing new, as it is perhaps most obvious to colonized, wretched, women: Survival and disguise have been side by side for centuries.

If I gaze at the internet I live in, the buttons I click, the questions I'm asked, the landscape photographs that come with the softwares, the advertisements I ignore, the materiality of that can reveal something. It is in matter that this dance is drawn. Is it something in the words, in the chosen font, in the alignment, in the resolution, in the algorithm that makes them appear for you, in the background image, in the automaticity? Where is it?

Why did I feel hopelessly connected to what was the beginning of the internet? Could it be for its protagonist role in my formative moments? Was it because my dad was almost a computer? For having slept under blue light and to the boisterous sound of keyboard typing during childhood?

¯_( ͠° ͟ʖ °͠ )_/¯


"I'm going to put on lipstick,
I'm going to look pretty
I'm going to twerk, going to twerk, going to twerk"

I don't know when I realized I was selling myself, but it did not take long.

The first answer I gave when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, at a very young age, was: a nanny. If that answer was acceptable, of course not. Since my first year of life I had lived in the day care center and when my mother started having a little more money, she was able to hire a nanny. My life got better as I saw someone taking care of me and of the house, watching Mexican telenovela Maria do Bairro in the afternoons. It seemed like a good life full of love. Of course it wasn't.

At the daycare it was not good, being with other children was not good. Fight. Being together in person had not been great since a long time ago. Online it was different.

Date of birth:
Favorite band:
Chatrooms I go to:
Love disposition:
Music style:
Physical exercises:
Do you smoke?
Places I go to:
Favorite drink:
Favorite city:
Favorite food:
Favorite movie:
Favourite song:
Favourite place to hang out:
One personality:
Dream trip:
ID: 4170
Registration date: 12/10/2002 11:34:53
Clicks: 3294
Average grade: 8.58
Total votes: 117 - 82nd place

Selling was better than getting hit or being alone. Selling yourself is also humiliating, for me. She feels humiliated.

To exist in a genuine way while watching the feedback of each of her moves – I don't know if it's possible. To exist in a genuine way I don't know if it's possible either.

“They say she is so lucky. She is a star.
But she cries, cries, cries in her lonely heart thinking
If there's nothing missing in her life,
then why do tears come at night?”

I found it humiliating but felt there was no alternative to it. In order to establish bonds, it was necessary to use the currency of each symbolic value of one's identity, one's gestures, one's customs, one's affections, one's subversions.

        pomzóka [i.have.you.in.my.sight.but.you.have.me.in.your.hands] says: i dont wear cleavage on my pics ;D so sorry if u dont have boobs but i cant hide mine, they end up being noticeable right :~~ even if i make an effort for them not to be ;D and i LOVE my thin thighs X) if i didnt i wouldnt put a pic of them here so dont you worryyy #) ohhh and yes i was cheated on ;D its true, it was stupid of me to forgive :} but what's that got to do with YOU?!

It exorcises what lies beneath. It exorcises the depth. A dissociating experience.

•._.••´¯``•.¸¸.•` Such peace being only an image. `•.¸¸.•´´¯`••._.• •._.••´¯``•.¸¸.•` Ethereal, empty, mathematical. `•.¸¸.•´´¯`••._.• •._.••´¯``•.¸¸.•` Being an image does not hurt. `•.¸¸.•´´¯`••._.• •._.••´¯``•.¸¸.•` The surface may protect. `•.¸¸.•´´¯`••._.• •._.••´¯``•.¸¸.•` You can be anonymous at the edge of the surface. `•.¸¸.•´´¯`••._.•

The transaction is what hurts.


Almost two decades later, the disclosure of the sale comforts me. While I was busy keeping my promise of trying not to exist, everyone came to understand it. Everyone understood.


Amanda Devulsky (2021)