Re: [-empyre-] RE: [-empyre-]::An Avatar Manifesto::response to Alan
On Thu, 21 Nov 2002, Gregory Little wrote:
> Alan writes.....
> >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).
> wow, a fascinating form of transference/countertransference, what would
> Freud think?
That's a good way to think of it. I was using the word "emanant" - from
emanation of course - to replace "avatar," because of the messiness of the
relationship. (By "messy" I'm also referencing Kristeva's notion of the
abject as part and parcel of the body, and not - Powers of Horror).
> >- 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 -
> I am aware of an "avatar" that Stelarc had online a few years ago, whose
> morphology was driven by users interactions, numbers of hits; I am also
> aware of his stunning "ping body" telematic performative piece; when you say
> that Stelarc's body/stance itself is modified, are you describing a
> performative work, like ping body?
It's a piece he described, I think at the Book/Ends conference, in which a
smart agent "uses" Stelarc - the agent roams the web. I don't think it's
completed yet, but I'm not sure. It's not the ping body or the performance
you mention (which I saw in Perth). I did an interview with him by the way
in Beehive, dealing with what I still see as the problematics of his
approach (among other things).
> >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.
> Yes, and fascinating journeys, but again, I am interested in what happens
> when the tearing does not occur, at least from the individual...I am
> interested in a tearing away of the avatar from Kapital. I recall Simon
> Penny's horror, recounted in his "The Virtualization of Artistic Practice",
> of someone stating at ISEA, that they do not share his nostalgia for the
> body. At this point in my investigations, I try and focus on interactivity
> and cybernetic systems of feedback, recursivity, and autopoesis from the
> point of view of the human, not the machine, even on excursions into liminal
> I have found a couple of AI projects that involved a tearing away to be
> really fascinating, most notably for me is Eric Mueller's Daydreamer
> It is entirely text based, and very rich...
> Alan, how does 'Nikuko' work, where can I find him/her?
Nikuko doesn't work; I've written through her or vice versa. I've used
perl scripts etc. to create a catalyst, already tearing away the text I
write, transforming it. But Nikuko as an entity/software body - I haven't
done that yet.
One question - doesn't the tearing-away always occur, the transference-
coupling, etc., to a greater or lesser degree? And wouldn't this degree be
on the increase? I wonder what happens psychoanalytically for example in a
Mud when external forces transform/tire/wound/kill/etc. one's avatar -
which in a way is at least acted upon idenpendently. And wouldn't this
then get into some sort of game-theory in relation to role-playing, which
is not only from within (i.e. projection) but without (i.e. the gamer is
acted upon, but only through the mediation of the character)?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Alan Sondheim
> Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 12:52 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: 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 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.
> empyre forum
> empyre forum
Trace projects http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/writers/sondheim/index.htm
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