Re: [-empyre-] Virtual Construction::An Avatar Manifesto

You write

 The avatar is essentially a
visual representation, a virtual instrument or imaged prosthesis of its
referent-the user, and so fundamentally related to linguistic signs and
representational icons.

- which I think is more-or-less what occurs with chatrooms, etc. But there
are extensions which can be of incredible interest, at least to me. With
Stelarc, for example, some of his recent work deals with an online avatar
driven by expert systems that modifies Stelarc's stance/body itself - a
not-so-distant Net will enable 'its' intelligence, of one form or another,
to be embodied, almost as a secondary or parasitic entity, in a living
person. Stelarc talks about remapping of the body in this regard.

There are also things like the wandering Julia bots, which can be consid-
ered software that has broken away.

In my own work, 'Nikuko' is an avatar, but psychologically she 'takes
over' in my work, as if she's speaking through me; the psychoanalytical
processes of this internal ectoplasm are different from the usual
projections (i.e. such as I might use in a conference or IRC chat).

In other words, there's a tearing-away involved which is related to, but
not the same as, the usual issues dealing with the future autonomy or not
of virtual life and intelligence.


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