RE: [-empyre-] Re:[-empyre-]:An Avatar Manifesto::final

I am very tired but am going to work at a response to the many very
interesting posts of late.

Melinda wrote:
>> back to avatar business -  there is  huge kapital behind these spaces,
> offer players/users basic dumbded down avatar design..

Yes, absolutely!

Christiano wrote:
>John is right in pointing how in Active World one's avatar is
>his own place.

Yes, like Marcos Novak's avatarcatecture!  This is actually what I have been
exploring in my work since 1999, when I wrote the Manifesto; a collapsing
into the avatar....

Alan wrote:
> > > think of _spam_ for example as spew - ephemeral,
> > > network-dependent, a
> > > flooding or unfolding - exfoliation - then
> > > collapse/disappearance -
> > >
> spam lasts a short time until deleted - it only
> exists momentarily within
> the network - it floods, unfolds, then disappears
> in other words, the notion of avatar discussed here
> is that of an
> "object," software or otherwise; I'm personally more
> concerned with the
> flight of objects, with a tearing-away of the
> singularity - which
> parallels in a way Lacan's deconstruction of the
> self -

Alan, again, I think that the avatar as I see it is NOT object only, it is a
duality, both object and representation, a virtual/actual
I wrote in response to Christina on the 21st:
"The avatar alone may not represent a co-joining, but when taken as a hybrid
construction of consciousness (human) or pure metastasis (Kapital)  on one
plane, and signification into another plane, does represent a condition of
egreore--as long as it, the avatar, remains a delegate for an entity "on the
other side".
I am interested in an avatar that does not "tear away", but potentially
pulls the self into new definitions, new areas of meaning, what Deleuze and
Guattari refered to as deterritorialization, which I think is very similar
to the Lacanian deconstruction of the self.  For me, if the avatar "tears
away", it leaves the self behind, "same as it ever was" and then any
potential for the self to reconfigure is lost....

>Greyson wrote:

>Here too I've been wondering if we have come across a cyborgian creature, a
massively decentralized, >disruptive, ironic humans-machine system of
backfirings and re-injections.

I love this idea of spam, although I see it as an avatar, it is the ultimate
avatar of Kapital, as Alan writes, spewing, flooding, collapsing,
disappearing.  Avatar because it passes through, from one world to another,
not a cyborg because a cyborg has a physical presence, the "human enhanced"
was Klines and Cline's original definition.  Where does spam come from,
these little secret agents, like little terrorists, untraceable, absent
causes, bugged and wired.  But again, Alan, they have not torn away from
their referents, have they?  Probably they should.

And this brings me to John's first post.....

John, thank you again for taking the time to read the whole thing...

I used to inhabit the spaces you mention, Palace, activeworlds, etc..  I
recall when I was writing the essay, that the palace was just making
promises toward the potential to make your own avatar from scratch, but it
did not exist at that time.  I later attempted to use one of my avatars in
the palace, and it did not last long.  They were zapped, I guess
inappropriate for the fantasy genre...but no where in the manifesto do I
state that these spaces do not allow you to make your own, I am trying to
get at the reasons people usually don't, as you yourself wrote:  ">and 99%
of the 2.5 million players *want* to be george clooney or cindy crawford,
not a 12 legged robot.<"  I am with Melinda, I would find it totally creepy
to be george, or cindy. I also don't agree that making your own avatar is
like sewing your own clothes, maybe conceptually, sort of, but in terms of
difficulty...sewing a pair of pants for myself, I wouldn't have a clue.  I
think that people who access these communities do probably have access to
scanners, digital cameras, they web surf, and could, without great
difficulty, begin constructing things.  Yes, 3D can more difficult etc.  It
is not even that I think that everyone should be making art of their
avatars, not so-called "high art" at least, possibly a wonderful sort of
folk art, but art or not is not the issue.  It is, to me, not really about
time either, probably could take less time than to buy a pair of shoes and
put them on.

I think the biggest misunderstanding, John, concerns how I think about

>- 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.

This is not it at all.....Look at Marx, even Adam Smith for that
matter...Capitalism is a force, a process, a movement.  I am not referring
to a conspiracy invented by individuals, right wing or left wing or
otherwise. It has little to do with individual conspiracies...that is a
gross oversimplification.  Both Marx and Smith use the terms "organic
capitalism" and "social capitalism".  The total force of social capitalism
is much greater than the sum of the parts, parts being the individuals
involved, the goods exchanged, etc.  Organic capitalism refers to the
force's ability to mutate, to change, to survive.  Dialectical Materialism,
the process of organic capitalism, refers to self-movement, self
organization, stigmurgy.  Marx predicted 3 stages of capitalism, we are now
quite deeply in the 3rd stage...he stated that capital works toward and
increasing scale of accumulation, eventually turning everything into a
commodity...and in the final stage of capital, everything's value can be
measured by its relationship to the perpetuation of Capital--the body,
animals, time, nature, food, caring: look at the medical system in the US,
health insurance companies make medical decisions based in perpetuating the
positive bottom line, doctors are just technicians.  look at Cornell West's
recent book about the mutation of the family into two full-time working
parents, day care providers, what he calls the attack on the family, by
capital...highway systems supporting the auto industry that break up
geographies of neighborhoods and family structures, insurance companies,
maternity leaves, the food industry, the lifestyle industry, etc. etc. etc.
Benjamin's arcade has collapsed into the home, the core of the home can
revolve around the home shopping network, multiple commercials, fast food,
the video arcade is now in the home.  I do not blame or accuse the
"right-wing sneaker manufacturers":  that is the beauty of capital, there is
no one to blame.  It is again, as I wrote to Christina on the 22nd, the
Althusserian phrase "absent cause".  Even in the recent Enron crimes, okay,
you can say, look, the CEOs and accountants got caught, they will serve
their time, pay their fines, the system works...there is
that I say, yes, the system works, there is the illusion of accountability.
There is no accountability because, the people who lost their retirement
funds get nothing, the $$ has been absorbed back into the system, like spam,
it is here and gone.  The crime has not be resolved, capital gets what it
needs to takes no prisoners.
The Avatar Manifesto is not written without a heavy dose of irony, it is, as
Haraway's cyborg manifesto, in Haraway's words, an "ironic political myth".
I use the avatar to make a point, the point is that maybe it is possible to
create a condition of a viractual self, a construction that can resist the
movement of Capitalism into the self.  It is the core displacement of
personal values and creative process by the process of commodities and
accumulation that concerns me most, that is the argument, flawed or not,
that is at the core of my essay.  But I am too tired, and most definitely


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