Monday, March 26, 2007

life and death in digital space

I've been learning about SL with my pal Ignatius Onomatopoea who now has his own 'real world' blog called "In A Strange Land" where his avatar goes by the name "Joe Essid". Wait a minute...which is the avatar and which is the original?
Hmmm.

I visited Ignatius' blog and posted a question about whether Baudrillard's death had been simulated...or if he had created an avatar in SL before he died, could/would it live on in cyberspace?

This reminds me of the 1998 Dennis Danvers novel Circuit of Heaven where the invention of a vast silicon storage location called "the bin" began a trend of people 'downloading' themselves (memories, personality) into the bin and then sending their bodies...by the trainload to the crematorium. And this digital mania is not far from some of the hopes & claims of the digital hypesters so ready to disparage and dump the body.

In the bin, life is clean, smooth, safe, sanitary and eternal....the bin replicates itself, so there are multiple copies of you out there...but eventually people begin to miss having a body, they long for the chaos of biology, the joys and pains of embodiment. Eventually the limits of the program become evident and the inhabitants of the bin miss the unlimited potentialities of the bodies they cremated.

Some miss embodiment so much that they choose to download into other people's bodies who are just coming into the bin! What would you call that?!
It wouldn't be exactly trans-gender...but I guess it could be! Trans...organism?


1 comment:

Ignatius Onomatopoeia said...

As you'll see when I profile Hojo Kilda, "embodiment" takes on all sorts of meanings when one gets involved in the seamy side of SL.

It was fascinating to find a sex-worker who has the savvy of a PhD in literary theory. HoJo knows both William Gibson and Iggy Pop, key references in my own online identity.

So. . .Beeble. . .a large Q looms over all this: what DO we bring to the avatar that is part of us in real life? We always seems to focus on wish-fulfillment in-world instead of that inescapable part of the self that we drag along with us into the Lindens' big experiment.