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FleshFactor: masquerade ball

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Perhaps a helpful analogy would be to compare the communication that
takes place on the Net/WWW to an aristocrat's masquerade ball.  The
seductiveness of the web is not that it frees us from our physical
bodies (an impossibility at this stage of our technology) but that it
lets us hide behind an infinitely malleable electronic "mask."  This
mask is for the elite due to its relatively high price tag (see Oliver
Hockenhull's last transmission).

This anonymity lets us explore parts of our personalities that would
otherwise never see the light of day due to cultural constraints.  The
shaman almost always dons a mask before the dance, as does the Kabuki
dancer.  The mask is a sort of pressure release valve for the id.  This
would adequately answer many of the questions about some of the bizarre
behavior that is exhibited on the net.

I took part in a "virtual happening" called "Getting in touch with
Chicken" organized by an artist named Cary Peppermint.  Artists improvised
in real time (almost) at remote locations via the WWW using CUSEEME
software.  My performance involved creating an ambient soundtrack using
guitars, synths and a small room full of processing gear.  Various other
musicians joined me in my endeavors (where were you when I needed you Dr.
Spooky?) and although our netcast sounded, due to limited bandwidth, like
it was coming from a tin can, all thought the performance was a success.
So much so, that on the second installation of GITWC, Cary asked us to
move from our location to the main chicken room.  Shortly after, he
revoked the invitation when he realized that it would taint the whole
"jamming" over the internet theme. 

Moral:  We all longed to be in the same physical location.  Perhaps our
performances would not have been as inspired with a real audience, who
could know?  I do know that it definitely lacked a certain intimacy that
can only be attained through close physical proximity.  

Perhaps if we had worn masks...


mark sottilaro <msottila@mailbox.syr.edu>

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