Cybertypes

Cybertypes
By
Lisa Nakamura
Chapter 1-3

Factor
• Lack of access: found along race, class, gender
• Digital

Ways that identities are transforming in cyberspace
• Tool of communication
• Daily vocabulary: "cybersex, online, file compression, hypertext link, download
• Lev Monovich: two layers to new media: content, computer layer (interface)
• Old medium: writing
• Transcoding: translate into another format

Nakamura:
• Transcode language of race and racialism
• Cybertype describes distinctive ways that the internet propagates, disseminates and commodifies images of race
• Study of racial cybertypes brings together the cultural layer and the computer layer

Study of cybertypes:
• Brings together the cultural layer and the computer layer: computer/human interface
• Means where users are able to express themselves online interacts with the "cultural layer"

Identity Tourist?
• Tourist who are convinced they have seen through the natives
• Identity tourist took on other genders, other racial avatars
• Turning Point Project: coalition of more than eighty nonprofit organizations explains that cultural diversity cannot survive virtual reality. For example: television
• Monoculture of mind, pg 16: induced assimilation through globalization, internet, media

Internet
• Free space i.e. without gender, race, age
• Language and graphic images depicting their concealed identities
• "passing" cultural phenomena – computer cross-dressing
• Construct
• Product of culture
• Wish fulfillment and gratification
• Avatar, electronic gaming
• Club Connect: graphic chat space run by Avaterra
• Netnoir: oldest ethnic identity websites
• LamdaMoo: text based
• Ultima Online: graphic chat based
• Cartoon: "Nobody knows you are a dog"
• The degree of freedom in the internet: one can pose themselves as anything in terms of character, race. In LamdaMoo players have a choice of being neuter

Does Internet Create Monoculture?
• Groups such as racial and ethnic minorities are "remastered" to use more digital technology
• Cosmetic multiculturalism: i.e. software firm employees often consist of different backgrounds and cultures which is a form of culturalism without hyphenated Americans
• Bamboozled (2000) Spike Lee's film: depicts how media consistently fails to portray "black people" in a positive way.

LamdaMoo participants:
• Creating identity page- computer cross dressing
• Creating an imaginary world: castle, wizardry roles, genders, "race" not an option
• Physical descriptions such as hair and eye color where race is represented in subtle ways, this is what the author called assimilation

Asian within MOO:
• Players choose names from pop-culture media: video games, films, science fiction and historical romance.
• Names: Mr. Sulu, Chun Li, Huang Ling, Anjin Sau, Musashi, Bruce Lee, Little Dragon, Nunchaku, Hiroko, Miura Tetsuo, Akira

How does the Asiannes depicted through these characters?
• Stereotyping of Asian male persona as sword warrior
• Indication of Asian male as potent, antique, exotic, and anachronistic
• Most players in Moo are not "really" Asians. This role play is absent in LamdaMoo

Fantasy Tourism:
• Adventure that allows one to be among the natives
• Allows one to travel without ever leaving their seats, without borders "McDisneyization"
• Computer cross dressing: man who adapts an identity as an Asian female calls themselves: Asian Doll, Miss Saigon, Bisexual Asian Guest, Michelle Chang, Geisha Guest, Maiden Taiwan

Prosthetic Borders:
• Cyberspace national boundary
• Allucquere Rasanne Stone: describes online interaction as an activity occurring within a locus, a space, a world unto itself
• The realm between the real world and virtual world
• Racial comment is rather observed

Default Whiteness:
• Assimilation, utopian community of LamdaMoo: prevents counterculturalism according to Andrew Ross, Constance Penley
• Berkeley Macintosh Users's Group: BMUG: required players to use their real names and write the content of their identity that others may read freely

Graphic Chat:
• Fees to join
• Race is disguised into avatars and other interface design
• The graphics may represent an ethnicity of some sort
• The author: experiment with race body and features where the online Mspiggy offers help to change the head and figure entirely
• Race issue is clearly the price of the customs online
• If the option of race were available to users what would they choose? Why do people create the personae that they do?

Multiply Distributed Identity:
• Net hybrid medium, constantly revised
• Dean MacCannell's theories The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (1976) tourism is purely experience
• Importance of tourists in the native's land
• Be either a native or a tourist
• According to Trinh T. Minh-ha's "Woman Native Other", tourists are searching for difference without deviating far from the foundation of their beings
• Bernard Gordon categorizes the effect of technology on the human condition into: utopian, dystopian, and socialistic
• To pursue globalistic point, diversity
• Fantasy Island, Quantum Leap (movies) tourist realizes and appreciates at the end of the tour in Fantasy Island. In Quantum Leap: the multiple personae as a result of transporting from one individual to another individual
• Role play is not real

Cybertypes:
• Apparent form the construction of their online identity
• Book: Neuromancer by William Gibson, Blade Runner, Ridley Scott's film, the Matrix, Andy and Larry Wachowski
• Embodiment and disembodiment
• Blade Runner differs from the Matrix: in the Matrix the main character is a cross breed
• Movies depict orientalism much openly now
• Techno-Orientalism terms used by Greta Niu
• Cyberpunk movies create techno-orientalism as default factors
• Black Rain: movies about fear of multicultural dominance
• Subtle boundaries between mind and body
• Consensual hallucinations: cyberspace and race
• Anthony Appiah: science does not recognize "race": it does not exist
• Race as a function of consciousness rather than something that is visible and written on the body
• 1st generation –2nd generation cyberpunk movies

Analysis of the Matrix:
• Neo cross breed character
• Lived in deconstructive world of matrix
• Matrix: neural interactive simulation
• Celebrates and critiques the function of technology
• Matrix emphasizes visibility
• "equal parts of Luddite polemic and seeker of truth" (Anthony n.p.)
• Human must master machine
• Race as a means for humans to enter
• Hybrid fight scene that created spectacular cyberpunk movies
• Focuses on human vs. machines
• The visual representation of the corporate world is apparent in the agents dressed in suits
• Trinity and Switch are a representation of the female as warrior which represents the culture of cyberpunk
• World of privileged enjoyed by the machine (cipher)
• What is real?