Posted by: glue | July 3, 2008

Being Online (Beware the Patroklus Effect)

Performing my avatar online is to electracy what wrting an essay is to literacy. The Internet is the Lyceum in which the invention of avataring is underway, but not exclusively there, and certainly not by means of resources found only there. Apparatus theory helps us understand that the migration into social networking sites of all sorts is the equivalent of rushing the Bible into print in fifteenth century Europe, or the inscribing of the epics in Classical Greece. It is not enough to design (or purchase) a look for one’s avatar, anymore than it was enough for Patroklus to wear the armor of Achilles (clothes make not the person). The first step in the creation of sustainable avatars is to know what aspect of Being is suited for the conditions of virtuality. The answer, in a word, is duende.

John Craig Freman\'s avatar in SL

John Craig Freeman in Second Life

The Expression experiment explores a rhetoric of duende (to my literate voice I must add an electrate face).



  1. What is Duende?

    Lorca’s identification of duende with the genius of a specific region (Andalucia) and the soul of its people manifests the modifications in this Ancient spirit passed along through Romanticism. His description of the evening the Andalusian singer Pastora Pavon was performing in a little tavern in Cadiz is one of the best evocations of the peculiar nature of “genius” as conatus, in clarifying that this Kraft has nothing to do with craftsmanship or technical ability, but only with soul.

    Pastora is a master of craft. “For a while she played with her voice of shadow, of beaten tin, her moss-covered voice, braiding it into her hair or soaking it in wine or letting it wander away to the farthest, darkest bramble patches. No use. Nothing” (45). Lorca identifies by name and description several members of the legendary tough crowd. A tiny man sarcastically murmured from somewhere “Viva Paris!” implying “here we care nothing about ability, technique, skill. Here we are after something else.” “As though crazy, torn like a medieval weeper, La Nina de los Peines got to her feet, tossed off a big glass of firewater and began to sing with a scorched throat, without voice, without breath or color, but with duende. She was able to kill all trhe scaffolding of the song and leave way for a furious, enslaving duende, friend of sand winds, who made the listeners rip their clothes with the same fhythm as do the blacks of the Antills when, in the ‘lucumi’ rite, they huyddle in heaps before the statue of Santa Barbara.”

    Lorca places “duende” in the family of terms for the bittersweet feeling of eros, in all the versions that spread through the Black Atlantic, the creole cultures that invented the musics of tango, samba, jazz — each with its own mood (mufarse, saudade, blues). A key element in the description is that duende may be invited, but it comes and goes on its own terms, but is most likely to appear when “death” is a possibility and its preference is for the rim of the wound.

    No philosopher has ever been able to account for it, but Lorca as poet gathers a series of images to convey the sensory quality of the feeling: “The hut and the cart wheel and the razor and the prickly beards of the shepherds and the peeled moon and the fly and moist pantry shelves and torn-down buildings and lace-covered saints and lime and the wounding line of eaves and miradors possess, in Spain, fine weeds of death, the allusions and murmurings (perceptible to any alert spirit) that fill our memory with the stale air of our own passage.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: