Tuesday, February 17, 2015

desktop theatre, roleplaying and the webcam

Chapter 19 specifically talks about early internet drama and how the early development of webcam theater created a kind-of desktop theater.  However, the new virtual drama co-opted the old by dissolving it of the kind of conflict we were used to have unfold before us on film.  Chapter 18 references "Jennicam", the beginning of a new desktop theatre for everyone, not necessarily scripted and not with "actors" playing a character.  Perhaps Jenni herself began or ended up role-playing, and in sense perhaps the active webcam expects that from the subject, but without a doubt this has become the webcam performance, the virtual performance of real life.

But what about space?  I like to think of the digital space of activity as a parallel universe much like the notion in the book that "Cyberspace exists between different physical locations, a rainbow bridge supported on all sides by site-specific physical hardware and the 'wetware' of human bodies".
When engaging in Second Life for instance, the action clearly is real and tied to humans and hardware and electricity.  But where does it exist?  In role-playing my character, I have become somewhat addicted to it's appearance, to it's presence, to my (what is referred to in social psychology) "impression management"- my attempt to get others to see me as I want to be seen.  The terrain and universes I have been exploring now keep me from sleep, then percolate into my dreams when I am.

The text continues "like events on a theater stage, the transformations of space remain primarily imaginary, metaphorical, and representational; suspension of disbelief is thus as crucial to the cyberspace participant's transportation or immersion into imaginary space as it is for the theater spectator". 

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