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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathCollective Bodies

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avatar or ‹self› can be composed by menu selection. The virtuoso play of the video game takes the metaphor of writing from inscription to processing to the creation of virtual worlds that can be entered via an extension of self. (What is self then but the shadow of corporeal control over one’s avatars?)

We have entered the mirror and the other scene behind the screen. ‹You› and your cursor body thus inhabit the physical and nonphysical world and employ more than one persona. The propriocentric body held in check in identification with film characters in action is virtually unleashed by the computer and given mobility confirmed by a mapped and plotted other scene. (Consider the implications of a relation to agency that is delegated to a persona in a virtual place.) ‹Your› cursor/avatar can also be linked to agency not only in the other scene, but also in the physical world; your acts at a keyboard co-ordinate not only action within the world to symbols in the other scene but also to war games or acts of war in physical space.

In other words, embodiment always entails multiple bodies that are coordinated into one or many; the


body as one is always already multiple. Thus embodiment is a collective process even when it constructs the individual. Furthermore, embodiment or selfconstruction relates engagement with vectors of motion through the space in-between in ways that are historical and changing.

The collective self is widely understood to be a negation of individuality, as Communism was in the West during the Cold War or The Borg is in «Star Trek: The Next Generation» (TV series 1987–1994) and «Star Trek: Voyager» (TV series 1995–2001). In fact, the language designating collective selves is impoverished and burdened with negative connotations of the crowd. (Oddly enough, the ‹corporate› self, in contrast, is nothing but a persona or mask of the ‹individual.›) Even ‹community› is a pale word for the links of and bonds of empathy leaking out of the fortress self. ‹Rhizome›, while irregular and networked, lacks the discontinuities of shifting affiliations and a partial and provisional self. Consider whether the cyborg seems all too mundane doing homework, writing at the computer, conversing on a mobile phone, or gaming with thousands on-line. «Cyborg imagery […] means

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