Monday, August 30, 2010

Natural bathtub: Human agency of individuals shape all of these narratives & representations of Harbin, by envisioning, & especially writing, Harbin

Harbin ethnography:

... But Harbin's 'actual' histories, as prehistories for the virtual, are many and varied, both written, talked about and remembered, and thus richly informative of the virtual.

The human agency (choices) of individuals shapes all of these narratives and representations of Harbin, by envisioning, living, talking, writing, and digitally representing virtual Harbin, - most recently since Ishvara bought the property in 1972, and then sold it to Heart Consciousness Church in 1975. But actual Harbin virtuality finds its 'nowness' in the pools and hanging out on the Harbin sundeck, massaging, reading, doing Watsu-in-the-pools with, or talking with friends there, who are also mostly naked. These aspects of actual Harbin's virtuality – its nowness and the freedom there to explore what one wants, especially informed by the milieu of the 1960s, in this interpretation – is what will be so fascinating to learn about as virtual Harbin in Second Life develops, and as people start to hang out, head into the pools, and create things there digitally and communicatively. As avatars in virtual Harbin, individual end users will engage virtual world technologies to build virtual Harbin in newly imagined and unanticipated ways, as well as to type chat and talk with one another, from anywhere around the world with internet access. The choice to actually visit both actual and virtual Harbins, reflects choices to engage easy-going, Harbin culture, to participate in the life there, if only to ease into the Harbin warm pool, there, or at home in the bath tub, visiting virtual Harbin from afar.


In 2005, upon returning from Edinburgh, Scotland, where I had studied for a year in the School of Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and written a paper on virtual St. Kilda (MacLeod 2004), I applied to work at Harbin because I wanted to live in community, and also with the idea of writing an ethnography in the back of my mind. ...

( - August 30, 2010)

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