Rudolph Laban (1971) lamented "[T]he European has lost the habit and
capacity to pray through movement." The origins of this loss can be traced
to Greek culture. Greek philosophers introduced a dualistic approach to
the perception of the self. The mind, perceived as the seat of the soul,
and the body were envisioned as distinct, though connected, entities. While
the Greeks celebrated the beauty of the human body, their philosophers
increasingly saw the two aspects of self as separate and not equal. Plato
opined, "the body is the tomb of the soul." St. Paul, as a Greek Jew, combined
the Greek preeminence of the soul over the body with the Jewish ("the people
of the Book") emphasis upon the Word. The "western" devaluation of the
body is put into sharp relief by comparing the Judeo-Christian creation
myth with the Hindu version: Yahweh creates the universe by uttering the
Divine Word - Shiva creates and destroys the universe through His Dance.
In The House of The Digital Gods:
Meditations On The New Rituals of Cyberspace
But a ritual that stops with mere theatrics is still just a slick, expensive stage show. The ingredient that raises participants out of the mundane world and into a transcendant experience is one that the new technologies give us in abundance: interactivity. Unlike other performing arts, in which there is an enforced hierarchy between the performers and the audience, the most powerful rituals work to reach over the proscenium, to include everyone in the creative effor
One of Pesce's goals in creating VRML was to create a place in Cyberspace
that was safe for sacred being, where people could use VR to experience
the sacred in themselves. This led to the cybersamhain, an attempt to create
a ritual that pointed up the fact that cyberspace and the astral shadowlands
were in fact the same thing. Dedicated to Hermes Cybernanus, the god of
communication of thought.
In the beginning, there were the gods.
It is in their service that we build the Net, the Web, and the new art forms that manipulate time and space the way our ancestors manipulated stone and pigment. Our communal rites will combine mind, spirit, energy, and technology to break down the barriers between performer and audience, artist and viewer, priest and celebrant, mind and body, self and other. Our glory will be illuminated and reflected in a hundred million mirrors as we look around the world and see each other - really see each other - for the first time. And, as these billions of flashes of the divine spark begin to shimmer all around us, setting this electronic Matrix alight with wonder, we will begin to reckon with the transformative truth that seemed so preposterous when Stewart Brand first published it, lo, these 30 years ago:
We are as gods.
And we might as well get good at it.
smart skin of the future will be a multi-functional design coalescing safety and survival, sensation and texture, beauty and elegance, fluidity and mobility, and terraced layers of what we know as the "self". The smart skin of the future will function as an exterior protection and interior utility; it will combine artificial and natural design options; fuzzy membrane, both natural and synthetic; a sensorial surface; and ultimately square the curve of design.
The paper argues that the authenticity of experiences in both 'virtual' and 'psychic' space is directly the measure of their efficacy in the subject's consciousness.
Finally, there is a discussion of the relative merits of spiritual enactment and public performance as they apply to objectives of shamanic ritual and museum-based interactive art. The paper concludes that both the practice and theory of art in cyberspace could be invigorated and enhanced by the assimilation of attitudes and intentions engendered by the culture of espiritismo.
ÝBriefly, despite their predilection for such apocalyptic claims as Baudrillardís suggested in The Perfect Crime (1995) that techno-mediation is ëextirpating all the magic from thoughtí (1996:18), cultural theoryís most lucid recent texts almost inevitably eventually acknowledge that far from being lost, auratic creativity may well be presently enjoying a new lease of life as it explores technologyís positive potential as what Baudrillard calls ëan instrument of magicí (1997a:38).