Sunday, March 6, 2016

Birdwing: The "Virtual" - "virtual" for me refers to "as if" - and via computer generated multimedia representations, 12 definitions of "Virtual," re Packer and Jordan's "Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality" book see these "Teacher's Guide" courses at Wellesley and VR, "Tourism, Art and Modernity" UC Berkeley course, My 2001 paper "Gazing at the Box: Tourism in the Context of the Internet and Globalization (Internetity)", So if I substitute "as if" for "virtual" in Virtual Reality...

"Virtual" for me refers to "as if and via computer generated multimedia representations" ... 
Definitions from my book re Packer and Jordan's "Multimedia" book (2001)
To conceptualize virtual reality in terms of World Wide Web representations, I suggest that what is unique about multimedia are the following five characteristics: integration, interactivity, hypermedia, immersion, and new forms of narrativity (Packer & Jordan 2001).
A multimedia virtual Harbin which per Packer and Jordan's five key aspects of multimedia (2000:xviii), - e.g. which, “taken as a theoretical aggregate include: interactivity, integration of media elements, new kinds of narrativity, hypermedia and immersion” - do point toward both a disembeddedness of place, as well as developing of the significance of virtuality” (MacLeod 2004, “Physical and Online St. Kilda: A Comparison of ‘Senses of Place’”) potentially for people soaking in warm water in their home bathtubs, for touch, and including the use of digital goggles and specific kinds of digital interactivity in a virtual Harbin, and eventually even with brainwave headsets, that are only now in their infancies.

While terms like post-human, virtual subjectivity, the anthropological avatar, homo cyber (Boellstorff 2008:29), digital representational figures, and virtual, floating Harbinites may all aptly characterize aspects of what is new in conceptualizing the human in relation to the emergence of virtual worlds, I argue that personhood and people take on new significances vis-à-vis multimedia (Packer and Jordan 2001), which we can read in terms of the post-human, but which, in this ethnography, I find more helpful to limit to ethnographic readings of the Harbin experience for individuals, and for avatars on virtual Harbin. In this book, I argue that there are different ways of experiencing Harbin, actually and virtually, for people and for avatars. While “virtual worlds reconfigure selfhood and sociality” (Boellstorff 2008:29), this is due to new forms of symbolization and representation, informed by multimedia in this example of actual and virtual Harbin.

Virtual Harbin in this book, by contrast, refers to twelve aspects of conceiving of the virtual.

a) “computing slang referring or relating to interaction, connection, use, etc. via the Internet” (Chambers 21st century dictionary online 2015);

b) “something not physical, but created by software to appear so” (Apple Dictionary 2007), both metaphorically, and especially vis-à-vis Harbin Hot Springs; also as visionary, which includes giving shape or form to what could be in a shared sense among human bodyminds in culture, and in Harbin's counterculture, with respect to its pool area;

c) as something “that is so in essence or effect, although not formally or actually” (Complete OED 1971) so something not physical, but also “almost” or “nearly as described”;

d) “One useful definition of “virtual” is “a philosophical term meaning 'not actually, but as if’” (Heim 1998:220 in Boellstorff 2008:249), especially vis-à-vis digitally constructed and informational processes and

e) primatology, in this interpretation “ … referring or relating to interaction, connection, use” (Chambers Concise Dictionary 2004) again, but here, in my interpretation, symbolically or language-wise, and across primate species that use symbols (e.g., humans, orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas, for example);
f) "having virtue or efficacy: having the efficacy without the material part: in effect though not in fact; unreal but capable of being considered as real for some purposes" ... [and a few definitions further along] “virtuality” - "essential nature; potentiality" (Chambers 1956, within the definition of “virtue”);
g) “unreal but capable of being considered as real for some purposes...” (Chambers 1956, within the definition of “virtue”);
h) having “potentiality”(Chambers 1956, within the definition of “virtue”); and  
i) simulated, artificial, imitation, make-believe; computer-generated, online, virtual reality (The Free Dictionary);
j) “virtual: being so in practice though not strictly in name,” and “real: actually existing” (Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 1992, in Castells 2000:403).
k) where virtual refers to something both disembodied and ‘not quite’ adequate for practical purposes (Hine 2000: 64-65);
l) “carried out, accessed, or stored by means of a computer, especially over a network: a virtual library | virtual learning” (Apple Dictionary 2007).
Castells - we all become producers of information ... in this distributed many to many technology ... 
re my book
re virtual Harbin
re ethno-wiki-virtual-world-graphy - that we can all become ethnographic virtual representers or generators 
re the internet and information technology 
re Packer and Jordan's "Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality" book

 "Teacher's Guide" to "Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality"

and -

re Communication Studies


Hi All,

It was very nice to meet many of you last Thursday in Nelson's "Tourism, Art and Modernity" course, and greetings! Thank you for these great readings too Nelson.

I'm so glad that Nelson is going to write the Foreward to my "Naked Harbin Ethnography: Hippies, Warm Pools, Counterculture, Clothing-Optionality & the Virtual," my 400 page actual~virtual Harbin Hot Springs' book due to be published imminently! - - in a new
Academic Press at World University and School - - planned for all 7,097 languages. (On my Actual~Virtual Harbin book web page above, you'll also find a 2 hour video TSWG talk, and 6 minute abstract, which I gave in the next door Gifford Room on related themes in Nov 2012, plus another about building virtual Harbin in a 3D virtual world). Thank you, Nelson!

Nelson asked if I would write a succinct/simple (1? page) paper that introduces "Virtual" for this Thursday's class, which I'm working on, and which I hope to post first here tomorrow - (and see too - - but in the meanwhile -

"virtual" for me refers to "as if" - and computer generated multimedia representations -

(which you'll find here in my UC Berkeley TSWG talk from Nov 2015 in the
7th slide here - - and accessible from here -

In the meanwhile, I'm attaching too my 2001 paper -
Gazing at the Box: Tourism in the Context of the Internet and Globalization (Internetity) 
 - which I wrote in Nelson's course, and in which I suggest that modernity yields one interpretation of touristic experience, post-modernity may construct another, and Thurot and Thurots’ interpretation of advertising discourse produces yet another. Tourism, now, in the context of the growth of the Internet and information technology supersedes and incorporates these previous analyses and produces other interpretations of tourism with characteristics which I shall identify.

I've added this email address - - to our emails here as well.

Fun to travel with Scott Elder too yesterday to Stanford's "Digitizing the Grand Tour" day-long conference.

Looking forward too seeing and meeting you!

Best regards,


Hi All, 
Here's my blog entry from today with a simple construing of "virtual" - .  "Virtual" for me refers to "as if and via computer generated multimedia representations" ... and you could substitute this phrase for the word "virtual" pretty much anywhere in Internet Studies, Communication Studies, and vis-a-vis Tourism Studies - and also in the phrase "Virtual Reality," for example, which I do at the end of this blog entry a couple of times.  I'm working on a brief paper with a simple definition of "virtual" from this.  Best,  Scott

So if I substitute "as if" for "virtual" in Virtual Reality,

I'd get "as if and via computer generated multimedia representations" reality ...

And substituting "as if" for "virtual" in this sentence on page 2 of my "Gazing at the Box: Tourism in the Context of the Internet and Globalization" paper,

"I shall also argue that virtual tourism by surfing the web for  museums, monuments, and other heritage sites, such as for  UNESCO World Heritage sites or the online Louvre, is a new form of tourism, different from mobile tourism". ... 

it would read ...
"I shall also argue that AS IF tourism by surfing the web for museums, monuments, and other heritage sites, such as for UNESCO World Heritage sites or the online Louvre, is a new form of tourism, different from mobile tourism"... which is a helpful construal of virtual I think.



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