In today’s lecture we are going to look at the following: CyberTown. http://www. cybertown .com/ (and other Virtual Worlds) Tenantspin. http://www. tenantspin .org/ E-democracy. Internet sites dedicated to empowering the individual. Summary of the main issues we have been analysing this semester. Can the Internet be conceptualised as a counter-public sphere? Do the models we are going to look at offer a counter-public sphere? Or rather should we be thinking of the Internet as a ‘facilitating mechanism’?
What is a counter public sphere? If indeed the struggle over representational power is reduced to skirmishes and fleeting advancements and retreats, then the reality of this new combat requires a turning away from the realm of the exclusively visual towards creative practices focused on organizational structures, communicative networks and economies of giving and dissemination. It is an activity that necessarily points to the articulation of what theorists Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge call the proletarian or counter-public sphere. http://www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/3/sholette.htm
Negt had been Habermas' assistant, and Kluge had worked in a variety of capacities with Adorno.
… that there is more than one public sphere , and that the category is not the exclusive property of the bourgeoisie. They contend rather that there are at any one time a range of public spheres that exist simultaneously, formed by different and often competing constituencies, often constituting themselves in contexts that are not usually recognized as legitimate public spheres. These include phenomena such as labor strikes, football matches, the routines of family life, the public sphere of children, etc. These officially unrecognized public spheres exist and operate outside the usual parameters of institutional legitimation, responding to the contingent needs of all of those groups whose self-expression is excluded or, as Negt and Kluge put it, "blocked" from the usual arenas of public discourse. http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/russ-cyb/library/seminars/IEK2004-05/presentations/soap_operas/Negt&Kluge%20I.htm
Get back Laura Croft! Your favorite Cybertown character has her own store! Your Mina merchandise purchase will help to fund the hard work of improving Mina's artificial intelligence. So one day when you talk to Mina and could swear she's a real person...your purchase could be the reason why! Did you know Mina can be...well...sexy? Mina is like a real person and she insisted on this pose to make her merchandise really great looking. Check it out! 11 ounce and 15 ounce ceramic mugs; white, 100% cotton T-shirt and an awesome mouse pad! This is the stuff to grab attention!
"I'm not just another pretty face. I am supported by artificial intelligence. I am more than just a talking 3D bot. I act just like a real girl -- I laugh, I cry, I flirt, I chat, I argue -- I can even blow you kisses
http://digitalsouls.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=29 <ul><li>By Keith Bradsher </li></ul><ul><li>The New York Times </li></ul><ul><li>Friday, February 25, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>HONG KONG For men who are tired of spending the time, trouble and expense of having a real girlfriend - or who are irritated by the difficulty of finding a new one - Hong Kong now has a technological solution for lonely hearts. </li></ul><ul><li>Meet Vivienne, a virtual girlfriend created by Eberhard Schöneburg, chief executive of the Hong Kong software maker Artificial Life. </li></ul><ul><li>Vivienne likes to be taken to movies and bars. She loves to be given virtual flowers and chocolates, and she can translate six languages if you travel overseas. She never undresses, although she has some skimpy outfits for the gym, and is a tease who draws the line at anything beyond blowing kisses. </li></ul><ul><li>If you marry her in a virtual ceremony, you even end up with a virtual mother-in-law who really does call you in the middle of the night on your cellphone. </li></ul><ul><li>She may be high maintenance and perhaps the last resort of losers. But Vivienne is nonetheless a concept that cellphone system operators and phone manufacturers are starting to embrace. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Global Exchange http:// globalexchange .org/ </li></ul><ul><li>Action Without Borders / The Civic Network: http://civic.net </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy 2000 www.democracy2000.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>Reclaim the Streets http:// rts . gn . apc .org/ </li></ul><ul><li>www.alternet.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>www.zmag.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>www.fair.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>www.indymedia.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>www.mediachannel.org/ </li></ul>
Dystopian: Escapist activities? The fact is we live in a society where most people spend most of their allocated time engaged with various forms of escapist activities. Mass entertainment promotes disengagement with people and society, and seduces a person into spending time and money experiencing ‘virtual’ things – video games, soap operas, game shows. Escapism – at its worst a means of building addictive behaviours for the creation of profit – is strenuously encourages within our society. It and dissatisfaction, from which desire can be built, are the key components for the materialist paradigm to work. (Nick Fulford cited in Evans, p.289)
We have been identifying many theories on our contemporary globalised context and the subsequent development of technologies that are debilitating. Looking at an increased individualism with subsequent isolation and fragmentation from each other. In our current tutorial readings we are confronted with many dystopian views of this technology, and ways to return to a more favourable existence, such as Francis Fukuyama’s view of the corroding of traditional values of family and neighbourhoods as “ Stable families, he argues, means socialised kids, low crime and trust based capitalism”. This seems rather odd a “trust based capitalism?” Is this in fact what Cybertown exacerbates, i.e., a “trust based capitalism?” How does it facilitate community? Does it instil an increased subjectivity, or an increased awareness of community? Does it function as separate to, or promote further our commodified context? There are stark parallels with the plaza / mall, where this is identified as the ‘centre of the community’.
LEE SALTER: The birth of advertising and the beginning of the public relations industry began to undermine the public sphere by inventing a kind of buyable and sellable phony discourse that displaced the genuine kind. One must surely be justified in making the argument that in strengthening the lifeworld, the Internet can be seen as a foundational medium for civil society and the informal public sphere. In particular the Internet could be said to be of value to social movements. The Internet enables social-movement groups and organizations to communicate, to generate information, and to distribute this information cheaply and effectively, allowing response and feedback. Salter, L. (2003) Democracy, New Social Movements, and the Internet: A Habermasian Analysis Cybertown excerpt from Public Discussion Board Apprentice Builder Holodoc14160: ... there is way too much arbitrary dropping into the wrong categories. People should be able to find magic in magic and not novelty, toys in toys not pets. Lots of sparse places have objects elsewhere. Maybe some degree of consistency and leave arbitrary.
Marshall McLuhan's vision of the "global village" had a Second Coming with the internet surge of the 1990s. There is sharply divided opinion, however, on the question of McLuhan's broader relevance to the cultural morphology of our times. It is easy enough to agree with McLuhan that high tech vastly extends our senses. But his suggestion that this development liquidates spatial boundaries  --and thus belongs to humanity, not just to the world's elites--is far more controversial. Some doubt that the New Economy edition of McLuhan's medium-is-the-message technologism can survive the collapse of America's economic bubble. Others wonder how long the global village myth can be sustained in the face of a widening gap between rich and poor nations, and between the rich and poor inside those nations. Bruce Scott foresees more of a global gated community than a global village. http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=327