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Blog Post 2-18-15

I love Alaska represents what it is that capture/control society seeks and how it functions. In our minds we make the same sorts of associations as we bridge together the different data points into a simulacrum user #711391.

The Dibbel piece represents to us another aspect to us in the story of virtual assault. Adjudicating punishment in the virtual world is difficult and easy to circumvent by virtue of the dis-possession of the virtual avatars, voluntarily constructed simulations. If possession is thought of as two much mind inhabiting and attempting to control a body, an excess of connection, virtual avatars are always dispossessed, we inhabit them only in the loosest way, with the mind/body connection being destructible and negotiable. Bungle comes back easily after his character is “killed” because of course the virtual body is only loosely connected to the “meat mind” and “meat body”. Electric bodies are easy to come by as long as there is no hard and fast connection. Of course systems of power and control function most easily when this connection is established. Such is what drives sites like Facebook to enforce a “real names only” policy, executing any electric bodies which do not directly correspond to a meat body. The levers of power within the MOO only really work with their intended gravity if punishment travels past the virtual and to the real. This dream of one avatar: one body: one mind is something which is already closer to being realized in the common phrase “you die in the game you die in real life”.

If this ratio must be enforced in order to allow the smooth regulation of the virtual, it necessitates a push toward the coalescence of all avatars, all simulations into one singular presence. If one examines all of their internet behavior, your devices act as the networked nervous system, tapping your meat mind into any number of virtual bodies. Quite unlike the matrix, the dream of the “free internet” is that one should be able to proliferate any number of virtual bodies, completely separate from all the others. If you consider your barnes and noble account, your spotify account, your facebook account, your amazon account, your grindr account, each of these is a way of customizing the always already present identifier with which you interact with the internet. User #711391 attains a level of pseudonymity because even though their individual searches can be linked together to form a virtual body of data, it is much more difficult to link this body to any of their other virtual bodies. If one thinks about it, one has one meat body with one meat mind. Then connected to this is a network of first, accounts that can be linked by sharing the same name (public profiles like linkedin, facebook, etc), second accounts that share deeper trackable points with your meat mind (writing style, exif data on photos you take, things you talk about, hobbies, etc) but which are under pseudonyms, and third rather isolated bits of data present on nearly every other website one might visit which can be tracked through technical aspects (ip address, browser identifiers, cookies) which are supposedly anonymous. The task of capture/ control society is to further the condensation of all of these trackable bits of data into one fleshed out virtual body. one avatar: one body : one mind.

Google I think goes to impressive lengths to accomplish this task making it easy to target ads to you all over the internet. Here (with the eternal assurance of no evil intent) Google provides numerous separate services for navigating and interacting online, not to mention the ability to link those accounts to any number of other sites (logging into third-party apps with your Google account). In this way Google can acquire a quite fuller picture of you than you may wish. Even if you opt out of their targeted ads or searches, they still collect this information. It is this condensation then which makes the prospect of I love Alaska far more frightening as the march of capture carries on. All of this I think is something we are quite aware of , at least implicitly, as a generation who grew up in a “””post 9-11″”” world, where it comes as no surprise that people could be shipped off to Guantanamo Bay or any number of secret prisons for anything mildly suspicious.