Friday, February 27, 2004

Chapter 5 of the Telcom/Urban book.

The authors write about the 'fluid, anarchic, and parodic' dynamic that characterises post-modern social relations and the friction that is often created when cities try to 'sell' themselves by whitewashing all the grit and the grit doesn't like it. An example of that, to me, is the controversy (perfectly justified) spawned over the 'blackwashing' of a student at a UW football game for a university publication a couple of years ago. UW has yet to finish apologizing. But anyway, what I'm interested in is what they further talk about, the gap between signifer and signified. This gap has grown increasingly, and Roland Barthes has written eloquently about the problems arising from it. My question is, while the gap continues to grow, at what point do the two cease to be related, and instead become two seperate identies. This question becomes more pertinant in the Habitat sense: at what point do the Avatars quit signifying real human beings and become "Pac-Mans" as the authors say, destined to die a thousand deaths.

Paul Medenwaldt


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