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

A couple of loosely connected responses, a bit of a walk in the woods...
Alan wrote,

Hi - I know I'm beating a dead horse (and I love all animals) - it's
the avatar, remains a delegate for an entity "on the
other side".
- that I find problematic - this duality as you say - I think it might
become more accurate to say that there are no sides, perhaps only mobius
flows -

And Gregory also yesterday wrote

> 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.

For people I am around and know well who are very young,early twenties in
Europe and in the states, who have the privileges of higher education, the
opportunities abounding to join the corporate structure  ...if they have
noticed that there is this weird engulfing commodification of space and time
-- what Baudrillard called the 3rd order of simulation --hypperreality What
I learn from their view in the trenches is that they feel the presence of
this core displacement as so central to their experience of being in the
world, their 'dasein' in combination with, ironically,  a very extensive
range of freedoms especially with respect to the erotic  For example women
experience themselves as erotically fluid, wave form, flowing in and out of
kind of "stylistics" of  'straight ' and 'gay'  to an extent not typical in
the previous modern period. the female machine identification so typical of
modernism worked within the industrial bourgeois cultural conditions
wherein gender and sexual behavior could be fetishized as fixed,
identifiable, quantifiable in terms of social sciences methodology. As long
as woman/machine = observed /object, in other words.  But now everything is
shifting subject, clash of subjectivities, wave after wave of icons of
sublective experience, iconoclash, avatarclash.  Now for women and men at
least the ones I know well there is a collapse of this gender superstructure
so that your style of being sensually and sexually may appear as extremely
anomalous  and the possibilities of being rejected as other, as, to use
Greg's examples, vampiric, alien, inhuman, monster, hovers right at the edge
of possibility. The self is thrown into a  performance of the self, an
acting out, a trying out of different modes on different days in the effort
to feel real to feel alive. ..because the biggest problem emotionally in the
commodified hyperreal culture is the feeling of being dead already,
depression. The performance of a 'self' or possible 'selves' is  a strategy
both engendered by the omnipresence of commodification--wanting to be 12
legged spider, or Spiderman, or to be in some way stylistically
distinguishable and yet recognizable and not monstrous. To want to  be
connected with others and yet to live with a terror of maybe being,
consumed, annihilated by this regard I agree with Greg about the
importance of the kinds of terrors in  of George Romero's Night of the
Living Dead.  Maybe just playing the avatar games (all over the world)
creates a commodities subculture of its own that neutralizes aggression and
the terror of annihilation by buying and selling avatars, for that matter,
How about an  an avatars futures market.  You could make money on the risk
valuation of longevity, popularity, etc ! Maybe that already exists too?

  As a resistant strain against and yet within the commodities flux, a
mobius strip to use Alan's apt characterization, the  Avatar becomes a basic
trope or interrogation, as well as accomodation to, the conditions of
everyday life, physical life.   At the same time, a really suffocating sense
that to stay 'real' as a human subject, to be avatar-performative  rather
than just a maker and consumer or killer of avataors, requires a level of
deep questioning of the foundations of the self.  The psychotraumatic
difficulties connected with this deep look are not inconsiderable and I
think are intensified of the extreme disassociative qualities of the
conditions of hypperreality.   So  that problems of life that might have
emerged later come thick and fast, and have to be dealt with. It's like
there is no time in the nomadic condition, as Paul Virillio notes in the The
Vision Machine.  It is very tough to get to the joy in the specific sense
Greg dscribes (via Guattari and Deleuze), nonetheless people keep trying.
That is I think the antidote to the stupidity, laziness and avarice on this
side of Eden.

Christina McPhee

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