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July 08, 2006

Embodiment in the New Medias

Plurality of Othernesses

Andrew Bucksbarg's esssay The New Mediated (Em)Body Is My Others presented at the 2nd annual U of Florida Game Studies Conference, "Video Games and the Alien / Other" is archived (a video of him reading his paper), along with other proceedings, at Gameology, an online resource for the game studies community.

Abstract: "The imaginary of the networked, augmented self is unitary, but the practice of this multi-user self, this multiplicity of being in the cybernated, social dataspace is far from a cohesive, organic and maintained system. Networked identity is supplemental, like a link on a page, a page on a site, a node on a network or a server in a circuitous expanse.

Not only is dataspace continually invaded by the process of this other, but this realm of media saturation requires and reproduces a myriad of othernesses that shed and collect in archives and databases. These fragments of self assault the perceived purity of identity. Networked identity embodies competing notions of fluidity and fixity, of limitation and expanse, augmentation, embodiment / disembodiment, multiplicity, temporal change and stagnation and otherness. When we think about this reflectance, we are confronted with the problematics of this newly mediated self. We are challenged with the endlessly configurable in menu options and avatars. We engage in the practice of compressing ourselves into blurb-like containers, such as "about me," and profiles that begin as templates of favorite movies and music, which need continual updating. We exist somewhere in the detritus memories of user names and passwords and abandoned email accounts collecting endless amounts of spam. We utilize the reflectance of media to both understand our use of the media and how we are extended through their use. Aside from the freshness and excitement of new media, we are left to wonder how these complex systems lack and how they also delimit us, and in this process, produce something supplemental and other.

Archives of identifiers must be created and maintained; they are enacted upon us based upon corporate, gendered or racial components, but they lack in the biological. Their machinic logic is the cement from which we cannot escape and their supplement is the fracture we continuously attempt to heal. Even their evolution into the organic, the attempts at a biologic, are the offspring of this otherness, an artificial life, and an intermediate to our being.

This paper presentation will take a playful, creative look at network identity and the thought process of what it means to manage multiple user names, profiles and identities and the fixity of these databases of identifiers and how this multiplicity relates to otherness, as well as intermediate states of being."

Posted by michelle at July 8, 2006 08:02 PM