My group email this week on Universal Experience discussed the familiar and unfamiliar in tourism, and Ulmer pointed out that I need to “make [my] criteria for action even more explicit (what in UE resonates with avatar functionality?).” In this post, what I would like to connect is the avatar functionality with the familiarizing of the unknown/unfamiliar and/or the defamiliarizing of the known/familiar.
First, we would do well to articulate/reiterate what the avatar’s functionality is. From Avatar Emergency, Ulmer posits at several moments that the function of avatar is to advise me on my decision, to consult on all matters of prudence. He continues: “The functionality of avatar concerns the ability of the persona and anecdote to materialize the attitude or stand (position, gesture) of thought as event” (17%). In one class meeting, Ulmer remarked that the avatar function is to connect the individual back to the collective. And finally, Ulmer noted today that the avatar function is “how we receive the reality of the world. . . . to teach people (how) to experience their collective individual behaviors. . . . to receive the capacity to be affected, to experience pleasure and pain.”
Now, as my email had articulated, if we are to design emblems that create “desires to evoke first an emotion, then the desire to share,” then where does the avatar function in this emblem creation? And, if our emblem should evoke questions about what’s familiar and what’s unfamiliar/unknown, how do we could avatar advise us on that generate questions? My attempt to explicitly lay out some criteria (and answer these questions):
1. Begin each day with an aesthetic attitude. In every look, gaze, act, or gesture we have, these actions should have an aesthetic angle, both to our internal thoughts and feelings and to the outside world (objects, people, etc.).
2a. Visit a tourist site in Alachua County (some possibilities: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Harn Museum of Art, Lake Alice, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, et al.). Attempt to construct an epiphany.
2b. Wander around Alachua County with your mobile phone. Attempt to construct an epiphany.
2c. Continue in our daily practices (going to seminar, class, grocery store, bar, etc.). Attempt to construct an epiphany.
3. Take pictures of the mundane in the tourist site, in the wandering, and in the daily practices when we experience pleasure or pain, regardless of whether or not the object is framed “perfectly” or your hand moves to create a blurry image (which is an instruction we get from Wenders’ Once). That pleasurable or painful moment of engagement may be the generator for a constructed epiphany.
4. Load the pictures onto our blog, possibly trying to contrast them. We may want to develop a very brief story of what was going on when those pictures were taken.
That’s all I have for now. My brain is mush. To be continued . . .