... While participant-observation is key here – being there, and watching, as it were - especially in the Harbin pools, what's novel methodologically in this ethnographic 'water work,' includes the clothing-optionalness, and the amount of ease, and qualities of intimacy and connectedness, explored and experienced in the pools.
To understand actual and virtual Harbin Hot Springs in their own terms, however, involves both similar and different forms of participant observation, as ethnographic method. Actual Harbin Hot Springs, in its own terms, involves, for example, immersive, bodymind water work, talking and perhaps traveling far symbolically in bodymind with a Harbin friend like Heartsong, camping out on the redwood sleeping deck or on a tent platform, walking up by, and perhaps going to a dance in, the straw bale temple, or workshops or dances in the conference center, and being in the beautiful Harbin valley, at the end of a rural, California road, a few decades after the 1960s gave rise to multiple questions about freedom-seeking. Virtual Harbin Hot Springs, in its/their own terms, involves here crafting it using digital, virtual world technologies, in this instance, an island in Open Simulator, then exploring, and experimenting with, ways in which Harbin-related community, pools, clothing-optionalness, language, and fabric of life, may grow there. Then, eventually, being in the virtual Harbin warm pool with other avatars, in one's own bathtub, for example, becomes possible. In its own terms, virtual Harbin, involves, in addition to Techne, both generativity of communication processes, and new forms of the Harbin experience.
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/10/tulip-tree-actual-and-virtual-harbin.html - October 27, 2010)