Margarete Jahrmann

Only a Dead Avatar is a Good Avatar

Avatarik Prologue

What the following involves is not a linguistic game with terms, phenomena and facts, but rather a differentiation of the reference systems inherent to technologies. The terms avatar and Indra_Net are to be described not only as a symptom of a contemporary cultural praxis, but also and in parallel as actual technological manifestations. The intention is to trace a procedural logic of art, which recontextualizes these phenomena, provokes associations and enables ongoing theoretical reflection, which cannot be done solely on the basis of linguistic conjunctions.

In cutting edge art production, metaphors of net culture are exaggerated and subversively materialized in an ironic tournament1, for which references are provided by the patterns of thinking that are today based on communication and software. An illustrative reference for this is provided, for instance, by the 3D language for the Internet Virtual Reality Modeling Language2 as a cross-platform protocol standard for representing three-dimensional objects and environments in real time within a web browser. In this context, it is interesting to look back at the expectations that were placed in this "human interface of the web", since movements in time and space were regarded as a prerequisite for understanding further dimensions of information. In joint "community based" concerns and endeavors, the syntax for the language of describing 3D scenes was recognized as the ISO standard for the Internet within only one year, 1997. The mental model of a three-dimensionally, interconnectively interwoven world of mutual dependency, in which it is a matter of interpolation and real-time rendering between individual, predefined viewpoints, refers, as an official explanatory model, directly to mythological imagined worlds. On the one hand, these concrete experimental arrangements for net culture may be site-specifically contextualized, yet on the other hand, the issues relating to this online context are not raised only on the net - whether intentionally or casually, but never by chance, because they are always symbolically constructed - but rather are realized in physically experiencable, so-called real space as objectiles3. Inspired by Deleuze and Guattari with their idea of founders of discursivity rather than authors, objectiles correspond to a conglomerate of visual and acoustic set pieces in the electronic milieu of cyberspace, aimed at discursivity. Social, political, economic and technological factors are condensed in this kind of net art arrangement and could be characterized as real media studies.

Insights into these new cultural practices in relation to the computer and new media in the awareness of the intertwinedness4 of real phenomena with so-called virtual phenomena spotlight not only net life, but also new cultural forms of the present. For the themes of computer and net culture, and of online contexts of life and thus the exploration of questions of identity, are directly linked with questions of forming difference and redundancy in programming.

SuperSex Avatars

We live as avatars in the Inter_net. Avatars live in the Indra_net.

Indra_net is one of the Intra_net terms that is still reserved to an elite cybercaste5 with special insider knowledge. Post-colonial Third World structures are integrated into social behavior and software, serve as explanatory models and software blueprints for net culture. The cyber publics are not only discursive, but also productive: India currently produces the greatest amount of software in the world. General trans-humanist tendencies are equated with the elite of the cyber public, who regard themselves, because of their insider knowledge about certain technological syntaxes, as pure superhumans coding abstract symbols (cf. extropians). In neo-Keyesian Web3D, the organizational forms of these publics defined through certain needs for political control become evident. Since avatars increase attractivity in the fully immersive three-dimensional net, in the net based on the economy of attention they are in high demand.

In terms of causality, avatars6 have nothing to do with the web, because they have been present since the first text-oriented multi-user environments and early multi-dimensional data environments. Graphical and text-based avatars became popular with virtual role-playing games, so-called Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs). Avatar, which comes from Sanskrit etymologically, meaning in Hinduism the embodiment of a divine will, was introduced by techno-hippies in the first graphical communication environments (MUDs). Habitat, for instance, developed by Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer for Lucasfilm, was the first graphical multi-user game for Amiga in 1985, and Labyrinth7 was presented as the earliest technical proposal for a 3D exchange format for the net at the first international WWW Consortium meeting in Geneva in 1994. The "Moving Worlds Specification" developed from this revealed its software philosophy, which was rooted in community-based processes. The technological format contains transform nodes, which specify separate avatar information and define types of navigation, movement and viewpoints. Thus the protocol only allows certain perspectives of the context from the viewpoint of the avatar. As an avatar, it is possible to leave the reference system of observation, though, and examine an object-oriented context in Examine View from all sides - which corresponds to God Mode. In this way, link structures and relational objects are experienced in real time in the 1st person view, with which we have been familiar since the emergence of arcade games8.

For the technological formats and object-oriented language syntaxes that condition the structure of the multidimensional electronic network, and for which segments of the net can only be viewed from the perspective of the avatar, the Indra_net serves as an ideal model for a three-dimensionally structured and multidimensionally networked, multivariate space (in other words an electronic or software-based structure that applies to multiple variables), relating data and abstract symbolic objects in reference to space and/or objects. Metaphysical models like the Indra_net serve as systems of inspiration and identification for developers of network standards and software and indirectly condition the set-up of the net and the electronic and logical topology and topography of the 3rd web. Pioneers of 3D standards for the net, such as Marc Pesce or Toni Parisi, describe the digital 3D net embodied through online applications as the implementation of this magical metaphor of a network of life, reflecting not only all the neighboring jewels9 of an imaginary cosmic net, but also representing its structure of connections between these jewels (corresponding to nodes or syntax nodes in software protocols) in their own respective facets.

In the Flower Garden of Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha explains the Indra_Net as a three-dimensional network of the reciprocal permeation of identities in a phenomenological reality: "According to the Hua-Yen philosophers who obsessed over the Flower Garden Sutra in seventh and eighth century China, the vision of the sutra can be understood through the image of the Net of Indra: High above heaven,on the roof of the palace of the ancient sky-god Indra, there hangs a resplendent canopy of crystal jewels, woven into a net that stretches into infinity. Every intersecting eye of the webwork lodges a jewel, and if you gaze into one of these crystal stones, you will see a reflection of the entire jam-packed cosmos of stars and worlds -- not to mention the simultaneous reflection of every other jewel in the network ...Joanna Macy argues in her book Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory."10

In Neal Stephenson's novel Diamond Age11, the Indra_net is cited in the form of a diamond network, in which the operating protagonists exchange data on collective sex12. Through the exchange of "wetware", the subjects and their bodies become supersex avatars in the Diamond Age DNA computer.

3rd Web Colonialism

In First World net culture, Third World philosophies are appropriated to form metaphors and develop technologies. The Buddhist-Hindu notions of Indra_net and avatar provide associative network models, from which programming languages and net worlds are developed. The term avatar, which defines the embodiment of a divine will, among other things, in Hinduism, has risen since the first multi-user game Habitat in the 80's to a become a key term for the supposed embodiment of identities or visualizations of data packets in jointly used net locations13. In this sense, TechGnosis, myths, occultism and religious undertones of the information age are just as present as science fiction14 visions.

With graphical multi-user environments, the avatar has become established as an online representative, which becomes relevant especially in collective environments, in so-called communities. Software standards in keeping with a self-understanding as Beachhead Technologies have also been created in collective endeavors as community software15. This means that techno tribes and rave culture dissolve archaic notions of engineering in cybermystical conglomerations, and the newly adapted terms of software models based on ideological and philosophical sources are correspondingly dazzling and intricate.

The graphical web now becomes a three-dimensionally networked electronic matrix16, which means that net_life becomes tangible and physically experiencable: there is talk of a human interface of the web, and 3D multi-user environments are populated by humanoid avatars. The three-dimensional net may be seen as the third phase of the development of the electronic network, in which, following the text-only-based network and the graphical two-dimensional network, the text and graphics now become independent as textures of the online self. One navigates through this 3D web in First Person View mode, which requires an online ID, whose entity, whether it is a bot or a psycho-organic system configuration, needs some form of manifestation in order to appear in online worlds.

Multivariate Spaces of Experience

Avatars move through multidimensional simulations in dynamic real-time multi-user environments17, which recur to an intertextual and structural concept of space. Real-time environments of this type are based on the symbolic representation of data packets and navigational elements in a three-dimensional space, on/through/in which n-dimensions (information, relationships, links, relations) unfold. Various viewpoints (views related here to contents rather than to information) condition varying forms of the representation of data packets (object representations), whereby the term avatar now implies less online identities than various viewpoints and conventions of the experience of data-space. In addition to the online 3D standard for the Internet, VRML2.0, here GameEngines18 provide ongoing worlds, which create the conditions for a feeling of immersion for the user through an accelerated graphical real-time representation of three-dimensional space. This is the most important prerequisite for being able to imagine ongoing dimensions of space, enabling the materialization of previously existing but not visible information spaces, especially so that they may be experienced and shared with other users. In this sense, multi-user is the most important option aside from enterable and experiencable space in networked 3D games. However, networked does not always mean online, because the optimal speed for achieving personal involvement/interaction has so far only been provided by a Local Area Network (LAN). Even though users meet at LAN parties in real geographical locations, they only meet in the game as avatars.19

Structuralist Hybrid

The praxis of an active, concurrent, flowing self-construction as avatar in the electronic, real-time accelerated net needs to be more closely examined, because it is not only text that constitutes online presence, but also reaction speed, visibility, potential availability as a data-body and other input possibilities in the net, which serve to attract attention. For instance, control over net-paratexts through a self-assured way of dealing with programming and being able to deploy the syntax of data exchange formats as an activist way of online presence as a hybrid composed of data body and fictional text construct, becomes especially attractive.

Insights into online worlds may be attained when the self gives up the role of the observer in favor of the role of the observed. "Voyant se Voir" - the constructed subject of the one who sees him/herself, in Roland Barthes' sense - means seeing oneself in the 1st Person View, the view of the one actively experiencing, from the viewpoint of the avatar in digital net life. Enhanced real-time experience in networked 3D environments is perceived from the perspective of the active player, who remains invisible to himself or sees only her shooting hand, while appearing to all the others as an avatar.

In the future, an avatar criticism may be anchored in this thematic complex, because it seems that the pure symbolic code of the modern era has been fulfilled, just like the dissolution of a firm core of identity, in the pure syntax of programming languages, and is projected into the net as the location of fulfillment. The father tongue between 0 and 1 exists here as the structural basic law of the net, which now needs to be undermined. This kind of "protocol language criticism", which has yet to be undertaken, can only pick up from the point where net criticism has stopped. In other words, we are still lacking a fundamental reflection of concepts going beyond contents.19

Dominant until now has been the analysis of fictional identity or references to alleged contents, so-called content providing as the material of avatar research that is intended to be separated from the examination of the medium per se. By itself, "the medium is the message" is no longer attractive enough: hot media are already taken too much for granted and so are the cold networked ones in the meantime. Yet phenomena such as the variability of interpretation still continue to exist in newly reflected contents, for which reason it may now be matter of coding activism, redefining existing standards by shifting their symbolic use, recombining protocols, sampling script nodes and the introduction of protos20 from other contexts.

Here the question of the interface is significant not only in technical, but also in symbolic spaces of experience and thus particularly in the context of mediatized art. Connective interface experiments, such as the installation Aviatarik21 from the series The Artist as Avatar #19 by Thomas Feuerstein, thus focus on an immersive symbol-space, in order to propose an allegorical multi-user environment networking technical, semiotic, mythical, and political economic spaces together and textualizing them artistically.

The fact that the artist can switch aspects of his or her identity between the theorist and the artist, the symbolic generator and the real organizer, is only one possible association with the image of the avatar as an artificial personality, constituted from fragments of a supposedly coherent core identity. For in the analysis of the online avatar, the theorist-avatar in particular refers to (post) structuralist interpretations of a self that is constituted in the charged field between self-construction and construction by others. In the textural flux accelerated by real-time technologies, this self constructs itself in writing and deconstructs itself in reading.

Materializations such as the work Aviatarik function themselves, conversely, as an avatar, as a representative for a technologically networked conjunction in n-dimensional space, because the information space that is created allows for multiple variables, which are not always visible, yet still present. Multivariate spaces result from the circumscription of objects, and especially the massive object (in other words, the real airplane) is a representative for the online world and its construction. In this sense, Aviatarik aims at the mythically influenced understanding of technology and questioning the concomitant concept transfer, of which both the construction and the deconstruction are based on studies in a geographically assignable, etymologically hypothesized source space. To this extent, objects consolidated in this way, which are also nonlocated online in the form of material, performative stagings, are comparable with a memorial theater in real space.


Representations of identities on the net are usually based on fictional personalities and their depiction in three-dimensional bodies and texts. Beyond fictional constructions, the electronic network and its protocols provide opportunities for a protocol-immanent self-representation as a data body. However, the text-based body is one of the most frequently used techniques for creating fragmented online personalities. Text bodies bring up new questions about self-construction and body construction in the Inter(net)zone. The economic ego22, for instance, defines itself along the way to the Interzone through e-mail and constant communication. Smileys, emoticons, text figures and even Web3D are merely text (All-in-One ASCII) and are located in the here and now of electronic space. Virtual subjects are "on the road", inspired by William S. Burroghs, Paul Bowles, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg. The net is the arena for fictional, multiple identities emanating from text-based environments, which inscribe the subject in the permanent fluctuation of text like in a "whirlpool of sentences."23 In this situation, the self loses itself, and the imaginary, the world of ideas, becomes concrete in the virtual world.


Graphical 2 and 1/2 D and 3D worlds are commercial mines. For example, a 3D chat environment like Alpha World has over 100,000 participants, who all want to represent themselves visually. This means that the "silicon wetware" human being becomes a data configuration in the electronic network, whereby the net as an apparatus and cyberspace as the adjunctive social space seem to allow subject-free socio-actions.

The first "100 percent virtual idol" is the manga-like, Euro-hybridized ideal Japanese girl Kyoko Date24; as the artificial female data_set of white male desire, she embodies the perfect avatar-partner. When the silicon wetware human being as a projective being recognizes itself in the electronic network as a data configuration, the data-body is also reformatted. Whereas General Ludd25 as one of the first con-dividualities was still the project of a blurred personality, products such as E-Cyas26 or Webbie Tokay27 are unpolitical avatars, which, being software generated (in other words, text-born), serve net culture as placeholder and embodiment of the omnipotent will of diverse consortia in the form of prophets, "evangelists" and models.


Virtual identities or avatars are described with terms such as multiplicity, fluidity and fragmentation28, which are terms of postmodern subject construction. The practical implementation of postmodern and poststructuralist ideas seems to be taking place on the net now. In the text-based construction29 of virtual identities, in MOOs, life on the screen seems to be a "symbol of postmodern identity."

In these online environments, the difference between the LOOK and the self has constitutive significance for the construction of the modern subject concept, although it is precisely here that the blurred edges of theories on subject construction that were previously thought revolutionary become evident in the electronic networks. The propagated concept of a fragmented, fluid self contains the hardly tenable assumption of a possible autonomous self-construction in networked multi-user environments. Starting from an analysis of the way that the construction of virtual identities takes place on the net, it is possible to compare the range of historical interpretations on the creation of fictional identities. Processes of self-stagings and self-design through literature form the starting point. However, the historical restrictions of real-world subjectivity must be noted, which led to a proclivity for the fictive. This in turn led to a reinterpretation of identity through text and reference systems, comparable with the romantic library, the personal bookmarks system or personal links on a web site.

The construction of fictional identities and condividualities are subversive, mannerist tactics in contending with technologies of the self, similar to the intricate passageways of the German Romantic era. Following a radically constructivist theory of play, notations of western philosophy on identity, individuality, values and truth are undermined. The cultural terrorist Luther Blisset30, for instance, is a multity of this type, which is distinct from socially established notions of subject unity and the coherent self. Online identity husks find their embodiment on the net, similarly to the proven real life model El Subcommandante Marcos, who hid his facial identity as the masked South American Zappatist leader and thus became the mask of a political activist/avatar that anyone could use (his actual likeness as a fixation of identity is unknown). A counter-example of a facial icon that still embodies a closed identity would be the face, still associated with television media, of Che Guevara, whose face - Face2Face to Interface 31- became contents bound to an identity.

In closing, it remains only to be noted that in the neo-right-wing populist reality of Europe, online identity husks constituted along these lines were able to become the means/tools/weapons of the so-called "Internet generation32" for political intervention in Austria in real life contexts. In addition to concrete server identities and their solidarity sites that are clearly recognizable through their URL face, now - metaphorically speaking - it is a matter of formulating, somewhat louder than in the German Romantic era: "Everyone is El Sub!"

Avatar Glossary

"Avatars are not supposed to die. Not supposed to fall apart… The Graveyard Daemons will take the avatar to the Pyre, an eternal underground bonfire beneath the center of The Black Sun, and burn it. As soon as the flames consume the avatar, it will vanish from the Metaverse, and then its owner will be able to sign on as usual, creating a new avatar to run around in. But, hopefully, he will be more cautious and polite next time." Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, 1991, p.102-103.

"Well, in the beginning of the net there was the word, with email, usenet, MUDs and other ingredients of an all-textual online experience. Next came thedocument, with the Web and its many offshoots. And now finally we are moving toward putting the space in Cyberspace with the rise of graphical virtual worlds inhabited by people interacting in real-time using digital personae known as "avatars", your visible alter ego in cyberspace."

"It is your body double in Cyberspace, your presence in the virtual communities growing inside two and three dimensional virtual worlds online."

Bruce Damer, Avatars! Exploring and Building Virtual Worlds on the Internet, Peachpit Press, Berkeley 1997,

"... Avatars99 colony ship, destined for new worlds in cyberspace.....any of you out there have built worlds, created communities. ...a greater Cyberspace. ... that takes its inspiration from the Matrix inWilliam Gibson's Neuromancer and from the Metaverse in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. This is a Cyberspace of inhabited virtual worlds, worlds which will take you way beyond the web.This is not just an interface, it is a real place!"

"Avatars99 Colonizing Cyberspace." The Fourth Annual Conference on Inhabited Cyberspace Oct 30-Dec 4th, 1999.

"An avatar is a 3D representation of you that other people can see when you are chatting or building. Our avatars even have the ability to run, jump, fly, dance, and express a whole host of emotions and actions! "

"Fashioning Vishnu in Spacetime: Avatara: incarnations of Vishnu from age to age, descents of the deity into the world to correct imbalances. Inherently multiple versions of self; toolbox identities to get the jobdone; compromised bodies with purposes in lesser worlds. Designs by which to inhabit designs. Ten embodiment-versions like wishes, the last one requesting ten more wishes:Meta-meat.... Architecture bursts into three: liquid architecture in cyberspace, transarchitecture at the hybrid linkage of physical and virtual space, and avatarchitecture, the design of self and other in augmented space." Marcos Novak, 1997 bei 5th Cyberconf Oslo.

1 The UNREAL Tournament,, is a daily online battle between 3000 and more avatars simultaneously, who play for the virtual honor of their team. Red or blue - not in a political sense - capture the flag or shoot `em up as a third person game, in which one sees one's own embodiment and that of others and their actions, generally kills, represented on the Net in real-time 3D environments. The players move through the tournaments as digital selves, avatars, and their group statistics form data-self-representations or data-avatars (as the data VRML objects by Margarete Jahrmann, are entitled).

The tactic of the tournament further differentiates subversion, by twisting or turning around existing aesthetic or formal givens. This procedural logic was established particularly with the Situationist International, reminiscent of the diverse "Internationals" that emerged in the first decades of the 20th century in the wake of political upheavals. Now one finds a revival of techniques such as surrealism, montage and cut-up in the activist net tradition at the beginning of the 21st century.

2 "`VRML worlds' got their name from an original goal of VRML: shared virtual worlds on the Internet. A VRML file is a plain UTF-8 or ASCII (a subset of the UTF-8 character set) text file."

3 DJ Spooky, a.k.a. Paul D. Miller speaks of objectiles in his booklet text for the CD "Songs of a Dead Dreamer", Asphodel Records 1996.

4 This sociological intertwinedness was addressed in the 1998-99 lecture series with RealVideo WebCast, mailing list and web site, entitled "Intertwinedness" and realized by M. Jahrmann and C. Schneebauer:

5 Ravi Sundaram, cultural scholar at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi, describes the boundaries of technological potency in the Land of Avatars: Although India is located at the periphery of industrial power, it is not only the world's largest producer of B-movies and videos, it has now also become the largest software producer. Cyberbraceros (braceros = hand in Mexico) keep this system of exploitation running. Indian manual labor at the keyboard is cheap and, thanks to Silicon Valley networks, much in demand. India is confronted with a new environment of telematic workers. The reciprocal effect of a growing cheap software industry and the state panopticon of control over net access and connectivity because a state caste believes that a boundary must be maintained in post-colonial India, is exemplary. In this context, it is interesting to note the equation of modernist principles of development with new cyber metaphors (e.g. Neheru as head of state with a laptop as a symbol of progress).

6 MUDs regard so-called "Technopagans" as a shadow world, as another dimension of the "real" analog world. cf.

7 On "Labyrinth",

8 cf. J.C. Herz, "Joystick Nations, New York 1997

9 "... some of the gems I´ve found on my tour through Indra´s Net", Marc Pesce,

10 Erik Davis, science fiction author from San Francisco, explains the theoretical prerequisites of the Indra_Net and Techgnosis for Net_Life_Indra_Net in "Lance Daybreak's Digital Dharma",

11 Neal Stephenson, Diamond Age, Peachpit Press, Berkeley 1995

12 "The Lawn Mower Man is one of the commercially released films featuring `virtual reality' images, which are in fact only computer images....The images of penetration of the brain are crucial to the visual impact of this film: it is all about `opening up' to the influence of a higher power. You can compare this to Cronenberg's `invaginated' male bodies, penetrated by the cathode tube radiations of Videodrome and more recently to the brain implants in Johnny Memonic. Thanks to this technology, the retarded man blossoms first into a normal boy, then grows into a superhuman figure. ..The film implicitly raises questions about the interaction of sexuality and technologies, and both of them as forms of masturbatory and masculinist power." Rosi Braidotti, "Re-figuring the subject" in Nomadic Subjects, Columbia University Press, New York 1994,

13 As explained in other places,, avatars are based on computer game environments such as Dungeons and Dragons.

14 Blaxxun is one of the first multi-user plug-ins for VRML worlds. The company of the same name turned Snowcrash models of cyberspace into the common property of a whole generation of VRML world-builders.

15 "VRML was developed in a community based effort."

16 The idea that reality is constructed, a simulation so to speak, is taken up in "Matrix" (directed by L. Wachowsky, 1999): "The net is as real or fake as you want it to be. After all, we've seen the Matrix, the world is however you project it to be. And if you've seen Being John Malkovich, you know that everyone in the world is just your own interpretation of the way they are."


17 The colonization of cyberspace seems to be the main concern of commercial multi-user worlds. Alpha World, 1995, is the first and to date the largest chat world: "With over 37 million objects covering thousands of acres of virtual land in cyberspace, AlphaWorld is the largest and eldest virtual planet on the Internet."

18 Game Engines are software that use a certain algorithm for a compression procedure for the real-time rendering of DIS - Distributed Interactive Simulations - environments. They are also required to set up multi-user servers, which then enable a representation of the logged-in users and data. Although it is possible to access these graphical networked multi-user environments from the Internet, the difference from the Internet transfer protocol for Web3D is that, in this case, various private companies are developing their own versions of the engines at a breath-taking speed. They are made available to every purchaser of a game CD of this kind. The LAN factor (LAN = Local Area Network) is only relevant for the human user in the confrontation with a bot. It gives the human user an advantage over the software simulation. For database links and the dynamic visualization of information, on the other hand, the LAN factor is irrelevant.

19 The LAN factor (LAN = Local Area Network) is only relevant for the human user in the confrontation with a bot. It gives the human user an advantage over the software simulation. For database links and the dynamic visualization of information, on the other hand, the LAN factor is irrelevant.

20 A protocol language criticism would have to start from Ted Nelson, among others, to whom Hartmuth Winkler refers in his publication "Docuverse" (1998), as does Frank Hartmann in his "Cyberphilosophy" (1998), or from Otto Neurath's studies on the development of a universal pictorial language, the "isotopy" in so-called red Vienna around 1930.

21 Protos are special transformer nodes in the VRML standard, which usually introduce objects imported from other applications as their own language nodes. As such they continue to be callable and usable. In this sense, the language itself is being constantly expanded.

22 Additional texts, illustrations and concrete descriptions of the realization of the interface experiment may be found in: Margarete Jahrmann and O.K Center for Contemporary Art (Ed.), "ART_Server to Netculture", Triton Verlag, Vienna 2000.

23 "Ich lebe von E-Mail!", Esther Dyson, "Release2.o, Die Internetgesellschaft", New York 1997

24 Barbara Becker, "Die Inszenierung von Identität invirtuellen Räumen". In: Jahrmann/Schneebauer, Intertwinedness.Überlegungen zur Netzkultur, Ritterverlag 2000, p. 43.

25, Kyoko Date went online in 1997. cf. also William Gibson, Idoru, New York 1996.

26 Luddites, who attacked machines, were the bugbear of capitalism based on machine industrialization in 19th century England. cf. Richard Barbrook,

27 "Are you real", was the title of the first single (in January 2000)of the German counterpart to Kyoko Date, the virtual popstar:

28 Webbie Tokay is the product of a virtual model by the Swedish designer Steven Stahlberg, who sold his creation to Elite Illusion 2K,

29 cf. Sherry Turkle, Live on the Screen, New York 1995, p. 178.

30 In net discourse, structuralist and poststructuralist philosophers from Lacan, Foucault, Levi Strauss, Althusser to Sartre, Baudrillard and Senneth can be related to communication and manifestation forms of electronic identities in networks.

31 Luther Blisseth is a fictional identity for political action, defined by an ironic, subversive way of dealing with forms of social organization.

cf. also Luther Blisseth and Sonja Brünzels (Ed.), Handbuch der Kommunikationsguerilla, Verlag Rote Risse Libert‰re Assoziationen,1997

32 Thomas H. Macho, Das prominente Gesicht, Vom Face-to-Face zum Interface. In: Jahrmann/Schneebauer (Ed.), Intertwinedness,Überlegungen zur Netzkultur, Ritterverlag, Klagenfurt/Vienna 2000, p. 24ff.

33 A wealth of absurd, ironic and subversive sites were created in February 2000 in conjunction with the resistance actions against the inclusion of neo-right-wing populists in the government in Austria. They refer to server and domain names as an independent, net-immanent semiological tool. The necessity of a URL, a Uniform Resource Locator, a unique address in the electronic network, becomes a political statement. The lines in the URL field of the respective Internet browser may be read as concret net poetry (e.g.

Thomas Feuerstein
english | deutsch

Ulrike Mair

G. J. Lischka
english | deutsch

Rainer Fuchs
english | deutsch

Margarete Jahrmann
english | deutsch

Maia Damianovic