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FleshFactor: Incorporated Flesh



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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"
(http://www.aec.at/fleshfactor/arch/)
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I am always fascinated by the fact that talk about identity, body as
language, as atlas, boundry and so on, is taken out of context of the
hardware and software market, the large corporate body this discussion is
taking inside of. You are on a Apple, IBM, SUN, SGI computer right now,
reading this -- connected through a telephone company. 

"Avatars" on the net are that manifestation -- of language, and
increasingly in a visual form. The visual form, however, can still be
reduced to language, or code. These representations of users on
the net are the promised future of the market that is being established.
Avatars on the net are also representations of the contradictions
all of us who venture in this space face -- incorporation into a large
group identity -- the corporate identity.

Max More wrote: "In one paper that upset some people, Paul Churchland
hypothesized that we might one day intercept signals from the corpus
collosum, sending and receiving them through a transceiver, allowing us to
communicate on a non-linguistic level."

We are indeed on our way of intercepting the signals from the corpus
collosum, sending them and receiving them through a machines built
by a hi-tech company. The non-linguistic communication will happen
visually, but it is not going to be enlightened necessarily. Just take a
look at some of the rapidly evolving graphical multi-user environments. 

The biggest problem facing the industry developing multi-user environments
for avatars, is the fact that people can assume many identities and are
still quite difficult to track down. This is largely due to lack of a
universal standard allowing the avatars to move from one virtual world to
another. There are a number of avatars currently on the Web -- VRML, 2D,
text, Voxel-drawn ones, and Virtual Humans, which refers to the group set
up by VR News to exchange information about the development of autonomous
agents that look like human beings.

Buying patterns, monetary exchange, security, and authentication must be
maintained in the avatar in order for a market to be fully developed. 
Using standardized avatars can help in using Internet search engines for
avatars and avatar properties. Finally, avatar companies have become
common -- they can price their avatars at a lower cost, make them
available to more people and guarantee broader applicability.


Victoria Vesna

<vesna@arts.ucsb.edu>


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