Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Melis: Harbin, Culture, Virtuality and Foucault

I'm interested in Harbin Hot Springs ethnographically for a wide variety of reasons.

Metaphorically, how does Harbin Hot Springs produce the "honey" {which may include the relaxation response and qualities of free sociality and creativity there} that it does, - in other words, how does this milieu {assemblage, apparatus?} give rise to the Harbin experience, which is varied and individual - a certain kind of neurophysiology - as part of a concept of mind, or subjectivity?

There are 'interesting minds' there that 'process code' remarkably and multi-facetedly, in countercultural, hippie and New Age ways, as well. How does this work?

Also, how do the serendipity and synchronicity I see and experience at Harbin work? I don't know the academic literature on the anthropology or philosophy of serendipity and synchronicity - aspects of humanness - nor of the 'present?' Thoughts? In what way might Michel Foucault address some of these questions? Also, how would Foucault approach questions of the experience of the 'present' - the now - in terms of history? Perhaps it's the opposite of stultitia and is, instead, an example of what remarkable practices, and 'decisive moments' of 'care of the self' give rise to. How might I examine all of this in Foucauldian terms? In general, these are all questions about how unique 'cultural phenomena,' subjectively experienced, work. Culture can be both very ephemeral, yet very real, through communication and language.

I'm also interested in documenting Harbin - it's a remarkable, unique, social constellation {an instantiation of 'care of the self'?}, both as ethnography and as virtual world, and both in the present, and since 1972, through observation, talking and writing. In doing so, I'd like to explore how one might generalize to ways of being, thinking processes as well as experiences {flow: the psychology of optimal experience' experiences, in the aggregate}, and then generate these in new form, ~ virtually.

In the context of a virtual world, which we might all edit and develop, people, in their creativity, might create new {Harbin-related} experiences (Harbin is experimental, and, as an assemblage, instantiates creative possibility; it's 'real,' and remarkable, when I think about it}. So, in documenting {archiving} it - what a folklorist might do - I'd like to understand it, to open the possibility to instantiate it in new ways, through a kind of generalization process, expressed virtually, that one might experience (might affect subjectivity, in Foucauldian terms).

These are current questions I'm interested in.

2 comments:

Sulis said...

Hello Scott - your blog entry came to my attention in a google alert just as I was about to post something about Harbin culture too. It's far too long since I've visited though so I am happy to hear that the air and water there are much the same. My own blog is new too, and I'd be delighted if you'd browse there and leave a comment if you feel so inspired. Ahh, the thought of heading north to Harbin as you were yesterday. I enjoyed Dandelion Seeds also. Here's a link to my posting today: http://www.aquapoetics.com/2008/10/my-first-visit.html.

Scott MacLeod: said...

Hi Sulis,

Just saw this. Thanks for your comments!

I'll continue to look at your blog through google reader.

Scott