Re: [-empyre-] Re:[-empyre-]:An Avatar Manifesto::final
Gregory Little wrote:
> John and everyone:
> thank your for taking the time to read the paper. I will not be able to
> a considered response until Wed, as my online access is limited unti then.
> I will say that I think that you are missing the point in much of your post,
> not all but much.
> I sort of cringed when I hit the send btton this last time, as
> I was expecting a post like yours.
> gotta go, more in a day or so. Others jump in!
> no offense taken, this is fun
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of John Klima
> Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 12:54 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [-empyre-] Re:[-empyre-]:An Avatar Manifesto::final
> gregory +,
> i took the time to read your complete paper online, and forgive me, but
> for the sake of expediency, i'm gonna be blunt. your basic assumption
> and "call to arms," being: "take back the avatar" is largely flawed. it
> assumes that the avatar has been taken from "us" in the first place and
> this is simply not the case. in every online multi-user community i've
> ever participated in, from the palace, to ultima, everquest, and active
> worlds, a major component of the experience has been the customization
> (or creation from scratch), of an online visage -- one's avatar. in the
> case of the palace, the user gets a complete avatar editing "suite." in
> online fantasy games one chooses a gender and basic body type
> *appropriate to the fantasy genre,* and can then decorate it in a manner
> they see fit. in active worlds, the avatar selection is limited, but
> one's avatar here becomes the very unique spaces and architectures one
> can build. in all of these cases i have seen wildly imaginative
> manifestations of the avatar, considering the basic limitations of each
> platform or medium.
> also, you make the dangerous assumption that all users of online
> communities have the inclination, desire, time, and skills to create a
> wholly personal, "un-commodified" representation of themselves, in a
> sense you are saying that we all have to create our own, rather than use
> an "off-the-shelf," avatar. this is not, and should not be, the case.
> you draw a good parallel to the clothing industry where consumers buy
> the label and not the garment, but not all people in the real world wear
> tommy hilfiger sportswear, just as not all people in virtual worlds don
> a barbi or ken avatar. what you are suggesting is the equivalent to
> requiring people to design and sew their own clothes.
> suggesting that those who dont have the inclination to sew are somehow
> being brainwashed and manipulated is really unfair, which brings up the
> final point i take umbrage with -- the cliched and worn out argument
> that it's a global capital conspiracy at the root of all this evil.
> somehow, the egalitarian/utopian online world is insidiously under
> attack from right-wing sneaker manufacturers who force us all to become
> nike avat-isements as part of their ubiquitous brainwashing campaign.
> come now, there must be better targets for activism and manifestos than
> online chat rooms and fantasy games, and it has not been since junior
> high school that i cared if i was wearing the correct shoe.
> granted, for every creative and unique avatar i have seen, there are a
> dozen or more barbi and kens, but art and creativity are rare and
> beautiful things, just as they should be.
> no offense meant, just my opinion.
> Gregory Little wrote:
> > Here is the final post of the Avatar Manifesto:
> > Also welcome are any comments on the current condition of the avatar,
> > identity, viractualism, etc. are welcome!
> > I will be on the road until Tuesday night, but at that point will catch up
> > loose ends and respond to any new posts.
> > Images of my early avatars (1991-1995) are available at:
> > http://art.bgsu.edu/~glittle/avamenu.html
> > The VRML avatar generator (1996-7) at:
> > http://art.bgsu.edu/~glittle/idgene.wrl
> > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> > 5.0. Manifesto
> > This Manifesto is a call to artists, netomanics, software, hardware, and
> > wetware designers, creative directors, teachers, scientists, slackers,
> > hackers, CEOs, students, cyborgs, zombies, vampires, working groups,
> > technology officers, specialists, politicians, surgeons, doctors, rappers,
> > rockers, and clowns, a call to cast off the dumbing-down manacles of
> > wholistics, universals, boundaries, acceptablilities, salvations, moral
> > imperatives, family values, personal fantasies, dualisms, and "the God
> > trick" (Penley and Ross, 1991, 16). Let us make ourselves an unconsumable,
> > signifying, body without organs. The partial, the schizoid, the nomadic
> > local are threats to the primacy of capital. Fragmentation, irregularity,
> > dissolution, hybridity, swarming, and wandering stubbornly are lethal
> > weapons against globalization. The displacement of the self by the
> > insures the survival of the commodity and the perpetuation of the
> > of accumulation. The movement of capital into the avatar is an inevitable
> > part of capitalism's infinite return. It represents nothing less than the
> > wholesale loss of the possibility of liberation and awareness of the
> > processes of production and accumulation. The dominant, "universal" myths,
> > psychologies, sciences, philosophies, religions, and economies that form
> > New World Order perpetuate impulse disorder through the abhorrence of
> > partiality and the resultant movement outward toward the object of capital
> > in the guise of the illusion of wholeness. We have come to believe that we
> > are imperfect, incomplete creatures and that completion, oneness, and
> > wholeness is the Goal. It is this argument that permits the inscribing of
> > production across consciousness at the expense of tolerance, difference,
> > free desire. We are partial, parts of a network of drifts. We slip across
> > curved matrix whose beginning is everywhere, whose center is nowhere, and
> > whose diameter is infinite. We are unable to perceive a whole or pattern,
> > participate and form tendencies. We can connect and disconnect from
> > conduit without risk or loss, there is nothing to measure or acquire.
> > Through the dismantling of the neurosis of the individual, alienated self,
> > the celebration of locality and partiality, and the unbinding of our
> > consciousness from dilemmas of bifurcation, the lust for uniformity, and
> > impulse disorders of lack-based desire; we can experience "a joy that is
> > immanent to desire as though desire were filled by itself and its
> > contemplations, a joy that implies no lack or impossibility and is not
> > measured by pleasure since it distributes intensities of pleasure and
> > prevents us from being suffused by anxiety, shame, and guilt" (Deleuze and
> > Guattari , A Thousand Plateaus, 155). At present our collective social
> > is paralyzed by loss. Like an amputee dreaming about a phantom limb we
> > re-remember our irrevocable body, we hallucinate its presence, long for
> > return, wait to wake up from the nightmare. We must move on from the
> > bifurcating past and build a new body.
> > 5.1. Imaging Wildcards
> > [Figure 2. Composite]
> > The avatar signifies through the visual as an image. As postmodern
> > the avatar signifies in a public sphere (the Web), is a social
> > representation that can be both target and weapon. The postmodern artist
> > less a producer of rarified objects than a manipulator of visual codes,
> > social signs, and media images (Foster, 1985). Particular kinds of marks,
> > styles, images, and forms have come to signify modes of expression or
> > feeling, like the spiritual, the personal, the expressive, the exotic, and
> > high or low culture. These elements form a system of signs, tropes, or
> > for the artist to manipulate and combine. The social and virtual context
> > the Web distances the artist entirely from the production of the corporeal
> > art object and frees her for the activity of coding/recoding. This
> > often gives attention to the particular institutional framework or site in
> > order to reveal how an exhibition context participates in the construction
> > of the meaning and audience of the art object. The signifying avatar will
> > take a resistant, reactive position relative to its institutional context,
> > the commodified Web. The strategies available to the avatar include: 1)
> > freedom of choice of self-image and the lack of need for consensus
> > to self imaging; this frees the avatar from any singular representation
> > opens the individual to a plurality of possibilities; 2) an emphasis on
> > radical embodiment, on all that is the literal body, and on all that it is
> > to be grounded in the body at the expense of social, biological, cultural,
> > economic, psychoanalytic, and religious discourse; this can free the
> > individual from lack-based desire and myths of wholeness and transcendence
> > that cause us to abandon the body to rehabitation by capital; and 3)
> > from various alternative narratives of abjection, the alien, and the
> > this can offer us visual and procedural models for constructing
> > images.
> > To combine visual codes, signifying signs, and social images into avatars
> > that take a combative stance toward the forces of capital:
> > 1. Seek, rarify, and valorize disintegration and instability
> > [Figure 3. Photoshop]
> > 2. Resist unified identity relative to race, gender, age, human, animal,
> > machine
> > [Figure 4. Satyr]
> > 3. Refuse participation in wholeness and actively dismantle myths of
> > transcendentalism
> > [Figure 5. Garth]
> > 4. Create tensions and conflicts through the simultaneous presentation of
> > the desiring subject and the fetishized object of desire [Figure 6. The
> > Enforcer] 5. Draw from narratives of abjection, the alien, and the other
> > [Figure 7]
> > 6. Pierce the skin, do the taboo, show the insides, destroy the
> > internal/external binary
> > [Figure 8. The Clown]
> > 7. Refuse the temptation to succumb to the slick, seamless special effects
> > of emergent technology
> > [Figure 9]
> > 8. Avoid personal or social fantasy, step out of bounds, lose your
> > boundaries altogether
> > [Figure 10. Dolly]
> > 9. Avoid mystery, make analysis of the unconscious impossible, be hyper
> > literal
> > [Figure 11]
> > 10. Use images that speak of hyperembodiment, of extremes of physicality,
> > like the visceral, the abject, the defiled, and the horrific
> > [Figure 12]
> > The avatar offers a new territory for understanding ourselves. Let us
> > construct the avatar as a revolutionary site of resistance inside the
> > of an armed-to-the-teeth multinational monster of exchange. Polymorphic,
> > bi-gendered, unstable nomadic, pained and maimed representations of the
> > as subject could act, in Donna Haraway's terms, as "trickster figures,"
> > "potent wild cards" to undermine, infect, and terrorize the monster from
> > inside out. The avatar is thus born of the dialectic of the body
> > simultaneously as the idealized, commodified body of capital; and as the
> > abject, transgressive, hyper-visceral embodied body. This is a call to
> > avatars, computers, images, discourses, and relationships that refuse and
> > subvert the "self exterminating impulses of the discourses of
> > (Sobchack 314). This is a call to joy, the joy of mortality, partiality,
> > finality; a call to the lived body of desire.
> > Works Cited
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> > _______________________________________________
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