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- "Your appearance now is what we call residual self image. It is the mental projection of your digital self."
- ―Morpheus to Neo [src]
Residual self image (RSI) is the subjective appearance of a human while connected to the Matrix.
The RSI's content may be defined in part from the semi-permanent programming of a redpill's headjack. Neo, while standing in the empty Construct with Morpheus, is seen wearing regular street clothes not much different from what he wore in his apartment.
The RSI may also be defined by the locale where the operative appears. Neo's avatar in Mobil Avenue station appeared in clothing very similar to that of the Merovingian's after Neo's mind was accidentally diverted there.
An avatar is a computerized representation of a human or a program in human guise that appears within the Matrix or similar computerized virtual world.
Zion operatives who re-enter the Matrix (or bluepills that live day-to-day in the Matrix) appear as avatars with appearances that can be totally different from their true appearance within the real world.
Programs are not actually human, but the rules of the Matrix require programs to conform with humanity's appearance so as not to cause bluepills to question the world they live in.
An avatar projects what the humans call a residual self image (or RSI). The RSI is typically an idealized subjective perception of the human's appearance. Neo's appearance in the Construct when Morpheus first tells him of the truth of the Matrix is an example of an RSI placed on Neo's avatar.