Friday, April 13, 2007

gearing up for the Borders Conference

spent most of the day reading through sites and composing and recomposing my position statement for the conference. it is approaching fast. the borders conference is a three day academic conference about synthetic worlds/virtual realities/online life. We will be holding the sessions in online environments primarily in our gallery in Second Life (Ars Virtua) but also on World of Warcraft.

i am heading a panel discussion on the subject of out of body. my panelists are critic/historian/artist Dore Bowen (San Jose State), artist/theorist Michele White (Tulane University), and scripter/writer/theorist Eloise Pasteur.

this is my position as it stands this hour:

Despite the immediate association with new age spiritualist fringe cultures, Out of Body Experiences are not nearly as much hoodoo or metaphysics as one might associate. The use of the Out of Body Experience as a metaphor is not to be seen as coy or clever attempt to color this discussion. This seems point to a transitional space, a borderland of agency.

These experiences are part of many practices and arenas of social existence. And indeed, they are obvious deeply rooted as religious practices like meditation, prayer, or channeling. Out of Body Experiences appear in other areas such as battle and combat or sexual practice. These triggers can and do invoke the sensory separations from the corporeal. And don't allow us to forget the 'zone' that we hear often about from those in the artistic professions.

things to consider:

Thinking about the connections between telepresence and Out of Body Experience (OoBE). Are telematics and telepresence a OoBE or simply a seductive simulation?

When are appropriate times and arenas to manifest conciousness outside the body? Why is prayer socially acceptable when participation in immersive media such as SL seems socially deprecated?

Let's consider Baudrillardian Simulacra. Do the terms of simulation/real or virtual/genuine have any currency left? Are they stubborn stains of a pre-Media paradigm?

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