[-empyre-] The Self and Post-Reality

Kevin Wisniewski wisnie1 at umbc.edu
Wed Jan 8 06:20:42 EST 2014

Alan, your response gives us much to consider, and I agree that “the
clarity of virtual worlds” as described by some is “disturbing.”  Some of
what you write reminds me of artist Randall Packer’s notion of a
third-space, post-reality.  While I appreciate works that
create/demonstrate this collapse between the real and the virtual, I also
think that this is an opportunity to go beyond that model of “unmasking,” a
model that embraces making—invention—that escapes those “protocols,
scripts”, etc.

Alluding to the work of Eric Havelock, Walter Ong, and Greg Ulmer, part of
the problem with many discussions on the “self” is that this concept might
be outdated, outmoded, in the digital.  We forget that the “self” is itself
an invented concept—one that has become pinned down and mythologized from
print cultures.  As we continue our digital turn, artists, programmers,
designers, philosophers, etc. need carve a new path towards not a new
definition of the self but a new concept altogether.

“And what selves are there, and are there shelves, not selves?”  Maybe the
self is now something else (or something more).  Ong’s definition of
“second orality”—what others might call the digital, virtual, or
electrate—maintains elements of oral and print cultures, but is ultimately
something else entirely. Play and invention are critical to this transition
. . . Are there *shelves*, not selves? (Playing with this spelling error,
might offer some help…) What lessons or direction can be learned from the
recent work by Graham Harman, Ian Bogost, Eileen Joy, and others in
Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO)?
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