Posted by: glue | October 1, 2009

Interscene 1. Miami Virtue: Community

Avatar Emergency outline:  continued.

Crossroads (composite)

Crossroads (composite)

The Interscenes document an experiment in consulting, known as the EmerAgency, conducted by the Florida Research Ensemble, a creative arts collaboration, in the city of Miami.  This consultation on public policy problems demonstrates a practice of imaging showing the practical possibilities of flash reason (image metaphysics) theorized in the chapters. The insight unpacked historically through the theoretical chapters is that the identity dimension of the apparatus mutates out of a new kind of experience that occurs through engagement with the new recording equipment and its institutionalization.  Selfhood is an invention relative to alphabetic writing, as Eric Havelock has shown, originating in a different experience of thought undergone during reading and writing.  “Avatar” similarly names a different experience of thought, undergone through filmic media, leading similarly to new behaviors and ultimately to an ethics and politics native to electracy.  Shorthand terms for this experience are “post-human,” or “terminal identity.”  The experience in question is the “uncanny,” a particular version of “alienation,” theorized primarily by Marx, Freud and Heidegger, and manifested generally in the aesthetics of modernists arts.  The “uncanny” names the process, underway since the beginning of electracy in the rise of the industrial city, by which individual agency separates from itself and returns from the outside (return of the repressed, commodity fetishism, Event, the Neutral).

Avatar inhabits this experience, capturing its force in a logic derived from modernist poetics, named flash reason.   It is poetic epiphany put into a rhetoric for general electracy.  The rhetoric of this practice is not itself new, in that it is the mystory pedagogy first introduced in Teletheory (Ulmer, 1989), and developed in subsequent books, through Electronic Monuments (Ulmer, 2005).  What is new in Miami Virtue is the extension of the mystory into a group collaborative mode of inquiry.  This experimental practice for an Internet public sphere is described through four Interscenes, providing along the way an example of flash reason.  Mystory, in the digital prosthesis, allows the consultant to think in four discourses simultaneously.  Each discourse of the Miami mystory is treated separately, in its own Interscene, beginning here with the Community discourse setting up the public policy problem engaging the consultancy:  the Caribbean Code safety policy that excluded Haitian trading boats from the Miami River port.  Documentation is used to establish the atmosphere of the setting:  news reports, tourist guides, policy pamphlets, interviews, all relevant to the consultation.  The rationale for this documentary approach is to allow readers to discover and track the constellation or choral pattern as it emerges within the archive of the policy zone.

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