RHIZOME DIGEST: June 26, 1998に掲載された、Keiko SuzukiとMouchetteのパーソナリティ問題。サイバースペースの中で、バーチャル・アイデンティティが話題になることも多いが、個人のパーソナリティ(人格)、アイデンティティ、生活を無視されたとき、その人はどうなるのか？人格権問題についてを転載する。ただし、データベース管理上問題になる文字は近い文字に変換した。また、この論文をどのように読むかは読者自身で判断して欲しい。
内務大臣のJacqui Smithは、オンラインでに若年層を保護することを目的に設立された「UKCCIS(The UK Council for Child Internet Safety)」は公共で、プライベートな最大連合機関になると言った。
3月に、心理学者のタニア・バイロン(Tanya Byron)による政府のためのレポートは、子供を保護するさまざまな調査を含んで、子供安全協議会(child safety council)を設立するという要求がある。
また、「UKCCIS(The UK Council for Child Internet Safety)」では、暴力ゲームにも取り組んで、その原因となる広告展開を促進する。
BT、Facebook、Google、マイクロソフト、およびボーダフォンを含んだ100人のメンバーは、直接ゴードン・ブラウン首相(Prime Minister Gordon Brown)に報告することになる。
自覚意識が欠如した常識人が増えている。詳細情報はURL(http://uk.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUKTRE48S1KD20080929?sp=true)または、URL(http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/byronreview/)または、「Safer Children in a Digital World: Full Report」のURL(http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/byronreview/pdfs/Final%20Report%20Bookmarked.pdf)または、「Safer Children in a Digital World: Executive Summary」のURL(http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/byronreview/pdfs/Executive%20summary.pdf)または、「Safer Children in a Digital World: A Summary for Children and Young People」のURL(http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/byronreview/pdfs/A%20Summary%20for%20Children%20and%20Young%20People%20FINAL.pdf)または、URL(http://www.jiten.com/index.php?itemid=11158)で知ることができる。
From: Josephine Bosma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Keiko Suzuki and Mouchette
Keiko Suzuki and Mouchette--Some thoughts about constructions of personalities on the net.
What is identity and what is life? Different types of created or fake identities and personalities roam the net. There have been many discussions about identity and self-representation in moos and muds, but the creation of completely new and separate entities is quite different. One can divide these new entities into two rough categories: the 'comic book hero' type and the 'drifter' or 'ghost,' the first having more manifestations than the second. I will compare two 'famous' fake online personalities (I use 'fake' reluctantly), one of whom is charming...
What is interesting about online personalities? To me, it is the mystery and variety of their realities, the way such a personality connects to real people, and in how far their life online is original, 'free,' and reflects the qualities of the Internet.
First the mud or moo variant. Though my division is rough, and ignores certain exceptions, I include most avatars in this group. These kinds of (re)presentations and creations of personae can usually be seen as one-to-one relations: one being the 'real life' person, the other one being the created personality. Contrary to the way they are often characterized, these personalities are not always, completely, fake. They belong quite exclusively to somebody, and are built from this person's imagination and fantasy. The creator and the online character overlap: they are in some ways one.
Comic book heroes are plenty. These rather flat characters are designed by an individual or group to represent an archetype. The archetypes are adapted to present day standards. One cannot so much call them stereotypes, though their presence in different media would nearly force you to see them as such. An example of this is the sexy, strong woman. This character is a primitively emancipated form of the dangerous woman, the man eater. There are some creatures present(ed) on the net that escape the rather rigid status of this type of online identity (which of course is not very specific for the medium really). However, compared to the fragmented composition of the created 'lifeform' of the 'drifter,' even extreme looking examples of the comic book hero or heroine are quite shallow considering the medium in which they live and play.
The 'drifter' is not so much drifting--but in a state of constant composition. The character or personality of a drifter is not set, or is very loosely set. This is a rare species. Its features can be added and changed by many who do not necessarily know each other. A drifter is by and large a work of love, for this lifeform can only stay alive if its creators care about its continuity and shape, and are willing to collaborate with others. When the spell is broken and the creature's personality changes too abruptly, too often, or people start abusing it to show its fragile presence is 'just a creation,' the drifter can start to crumble. It can even (almost) be killed. The point is, though, that it has *lived* at all. Its life can be very ghostlike, fragmented, and spreads like a fog between threads on mailinglists and compositions of websites. I have no satisfying images from real life to describe meeting this type of personality.
What is rather puzzling to me is that the strongest created online personalities I know are females. Where are the males? There is of course Shu Lea Cheang's Brandon, but this is an androgynous figure, who is a drifter too. I would like to compare two girls: Keiko Suzuki and Mouchette, the latter being a comic book hero with ghost potential.
Both Keiko and Mouchette were typical male fantasies made into virtual flesh. I say 'were' because Keiko Suzuki's character and presence developed in very interesting ways, making her outgrow her near stereotypical, comic book heroine destiny to become a psychically complex, ghostlike drifter. Mouchette has, however, been glued to the traits she has had since being invented, and works like a little terrorist from a central, partially-hidden base.
The biggest difference between the two is their basic feed, their source. This is what stipulates their appearance or apparition to an audience, to outsiders. Mouchette has an email address and a website. At this email address you can reach her, and she will answer you. But what or who do you reach? The authors of Mouchette have given her a character based on staggeringly repulsive male fantasies.
Mouchette is supposed to be a little girl on the cusp of puberty (and sexual ripeness), who has been raped and abused by relatives or close ones. She is 'French,' of course, and she coquettes with details from her gruesome past and publicizes her announcement that she will commit suicide when she reaches the age of thirteen. Mouchette has always been presented as a real person, and her/its creators are keen on keeping this myth alive. This is totally implausible though, and Mouchette's creators grossly overestimate their capability to be provocative in an interesting way. Their formula is: sex, death, child, internet and art equals guaranteed success, nothing more. Yet what world view is behind such a creation? What view of women?
Sorry if my rant amuses or bores you, as it of course is not immediately relevant to the comparison of basic differences in identity creation on hard and software levels. The individual traits of these online personalities are important though, as they inform how each is powerful. More important is the ability to intervene in the life and being of the creature; this is crucial to its liveliness, and in the case of Mouchette we have a potential drifter, a locked up ghost rattling her chains. What makes her attractive is this potential.
I didn't see this so clearly until I met Keiko Suzuki on the mailing list 7-11 and beyond. She was the hostess of 7-11. Though Keiko was rather stereotypical and maybe even a slightly racist project initially ('the Japanese equivalent of a blonde' in the eyes of a westerner), her character soon developed from a teasing, flirtatious doll into a multilayered personality. It was a mystery to many for quite a long time whether she was a real person or not.
The key to Keiko's success lay in her openness. 7-11's administration page had a function that allowed anyone to become Keiko. The ensuing game was a mixture of tenderness and provocation, of inside jokes and hidden agression. Keiko Suzuki's initial creators (though I am still tempted to say she did it all on her own) also produced a semi pornographic website. All mail sent to her via this site, but also via other channels, was directed to the 7-11 mailing list. What one experienced was poetry in motion, levels of thought that no train of ordinary email postings ever could draw. It was like a picture of the web and the people behind the list: anonymous, yet familiar, and, for a while amazingly coherent. Keiko Suzuki posted to other mailing lists as well, and created a few websites. The sometimes sexist input of her initial creators was disarmed and turned around by several voices on 7-11. Keiko Suzuki had human failures and whims. She contradicted herself. She was well-read, a lover, an activist and a dumb bimbo. She became independent. More important, her creators gave her the room to become independent, unafraid of its possible outcome. This created the possibility for this character to grow into a near visualisation of the net psyche.
Thinking about William Gibsons 'Idoru,' I am not sure we could compare the 'lives' of a 'drifter,' a 'ghost' identity, to what is described in this book. The Idoru is an intelligent piece of software (hardware too maybe), a created entity working from a central base. Though she feeds on the data of her real flesh boyfriend to become independent, she seems still restricted by the design of her human traits, a design made by a few. The technological innovation she represents is what is most amazing about her, not that she exposes the landscapes we enter almost every day with our computers, rarely seeing more then narrow glimpes...
Keiko Suzuki is now dead, or comatose. Her re-animation--after she was nearly choked to death by a artist-terrorist who took her administration page hostage--never succeeded completely.
Keiko Suzuki: http://www.irational.org/7-11/admin.html (You will almost immediately be redirected to another website, but you can still get a glimpse of what killed Keiko.)
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In the following excerpt from 'Deep Sleep' (1985) by John Jesurun, a boy is trapped in a celluloid world where the 'real' reality gets mixed up. His friend (Whitey) is outside now, but was a 'captive' before. Just a poetic and old illustration...
Whitey: Where will you go?
Sparky: Somewhere out into outer space. Hopelessly out into outer space. Alone. Alone. I will be dreamy and sad, dreamy and sad, always dreamy sad for a very long time and I will last forever because I am on film and it will be my pleasure to play you over and over and over again for my pleasure and freedom and my inspiration. I will play you over and over and over again until you are shredded year after year, year after year for a thousand years, real soft and real loud whenever I want, however I can, whenever I want because after that that's all I'll be able to do, over and over again for a thousand years because that's all I'll ever know how to do by then and I'll just keep doing it and I'll just keep playing over and over again for you, over and over again until I turn to shreds and when I turn to shreds you'll still hear me in your brain cavity over and over again for a thousand years and you'll always feel free because of that and even when they say I don't have a brain I will have a brain because I will have a brain because I do have a brain because I am a brain because the brain is right there in the plug or in your hand or in the light bulb or in the groove or whatever, over and over again because I do have a brain and I can sing if I want to because I can sing, because I can. Is that right? Do you understand me? Right? What is your name?
Sparky: You'll always remember my name.
Whitey: What did you say?
Whitey: That's what I thought.
Sparky: What is your name?
Whitey: You'll remember my name.
Sparky: Always, always and forever, forever and ever. Gloria in excelsis. Don't let me run of the reel.
Whitey: I won't.
Sparky: Please don't. If I go you won't have anything.
Whitey: I can always put you on again.
Sparky: Maybe not.
Whitey: Maybe yes.
Sparky: What was happy about it? What could I celebrate that was shining?
Whitey: Nothing was shining.
Sparky: And I will always trust you because you will never disintegrate and I will never disintegrate or grate on my nerves or get on my nerves or make me nervous because I can always shut you up or turn you off.
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