Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blue-stemmed goldenrod: Benefits of a 'classic ethnography' of actual Harbin, with an emergent ethnography of Virtual Harbin: Watsu Duets

Harbin ethnography:

... Similarly, in what ways will actual Harbin find inspiration in this duet to generate new motifs, in the music of virtual Harbin, as it emerges, both in Open Simulator, as well as in this book?

The benefits of this comparative, ethnographic project of a kind of 'classic ethnography' of actual Harbin, with an ethnography of emergent, virtual Harbin, and its generation through informationalism (Castells in Himanen 2001:), are many anthropologically. As a first anthropological book of a virtual world of emergent Second Life, Tom Boellstorff's “Coming of Age in Second Life” (2008), based on 2 years of in-world, participant-observation, is here another voice with which the 2 duet-like ethnographies, as one, that I am writing here, engage. Metaphorically and ethnographically, there are many emergent, Watsu duets / sessions here, which help shape understandings of virtual Harbin, as well as the virtual, in new ethnographic methodologies. In addition to the Watsu, musical duet of actual and virtual Harbin Hot Springs mentioned in the previous paragraph, there is also the duet between Tom Boellstorff's book “Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human” and this book - “Harbin Hot Springs' Actual/Virtual Ethnography: Hippies, Warm Pools, Counterculture & Clothing-Optional, Virtual Harbin” examines the relationship between the actual and virtual with regard to a specific place and an emergent digital place. Boellstorff does field work on emerging virtual worlds, focusing his anthropological methods on Techne, as what is significant about interactive, digital, multimedia worlds like Second Life. Making music with these methods, this book examines generative communication of the virtual to focus on harmonies, synchronicities and relationships between the actual and virtual Harbin, almost as a kind of Watsu, where actual Harbin as practitioner gives a Watsu to virtual Harbin, to explore the all-directional releasing open of an emergent virtual world. And I, as ethnographer, do a kind of duet with the writing of this book, also giving form to, and making Watsu music with the virtual, of virtual Harbin.

In this “Harbin Hot Springs' Actual/Virtual Ethnography,” its goal is to begin to understand the people's freedoms of countercultural Harbin and especially the pool area, and explore relatedly how freedoms emerge in the making of Virtual Harbin Hot Springs, as ethnographic field site, as song of the virtual. ...

( - November 11, 2010)

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