[iDC] here, hear _UpgradeSL node

tobias c. van Veen tobias at techno.ca
Tue Mar 6 10:53:39 EST 2007

Thanks Charlie for your wonderful critical blasts of SL scholarship.

However I do find it intriguing, this constant parallel with masturbation,
insofar as it is part of a long, funny history in philosophy of guilt and
denial and apology and moralism over masturbation (pinpointed with such
acuity and humour in Derrida's analysis of auto-affection and "that
dangerous supplement" in Rousseau, Of Grammatology).

The point being that masturbation, aka simulacra of sex, is as REAL as "real
sex", it is not derived from real sex and thus a derivation or perversion,
it is just sex with one's other-hand, it already entails alterity -- there
is no need to debase it, is there? Thus to charge SL, even as polemic, with
"cultural pornography" in this case I think is to offend pornography, not
SL. Why degrade pornography and masturbation? Condemning sexual activities
online is yet another facet of the "Bush administration" as you put it, and
I think one of the more complex analyses yet to be grasped is the complex
relation all online realms hold between sexuality, affect (aka masturbation)
and alterity. It's what them younger kids are up too.

As for SL, Upgrade International has just launched a node there [
http://theupgrade.net]. So has Dorkbot from what I hear. Our current debate
(I curate UpgradeMTL) is trying to find where to put it on our Google
worldMap. Some suggest in the North Pole or middle of the Pacific; others, a
random location to be loaded each time; others, where the servers are

I find this intriguing, the concept of a media arts meeting online, once a
month, like the other Upgrade flesh gatherings, each based in its own city,
in the sense that our avatars can get together in some virtual space and
watch media clips of someone's media art, txt chat about it, ask questions,
and that this might flit over all those nation-state barriers, save for that
odd one concerning the curvature of the planetoid and that time thing. But
it is interesting in the way that television can be interesting, maybe up a
notch to some kind of participatory level, through the screen, always
bounded by this screen. It might even be that such meetings are really the
"proper" place of such media art, and not in the flesh, this nonplace,
nonproper, properly speaking. Perhaps the rest of us city-based nodes are
hanging on to some outdated mode of the f2f -- many of us struggling to make
it work on a regular basis, the perennial question, "where is the
community?" -- while SL demonstrates where media art finds its chez moi.
Toward nonmedia, uncanny nonplace of the screen medium, technics hyperdrive
on affect overload. I'm not sure if this is where my body wants to go
though... which is really nowhere, just my chair, the same one I've been at
all day. Now if Upgrade-I started having SL orgies, perhaps this would up
the interest meter a notch, it would keep one hand busy at least, maybe even
two... and if my partner were involved, would this classify as real sex, a
partial threesome, the third the screen / webcam interface? Hmm.

Keep the fire comin'.



tobias c. van Veen -----------++++
http://www.quadrantcrossing.org --
McGill Communication & Philosophy

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