I wanted to find out more about the religious use of “avatar” (it comes from Sanskrit, a deity sends his avatar to our world, avatars cross boundaries between worlds) and instead serendipitously found an article about female golems, dolls and cyborgs in Latin American literature (you’ll need access to Jstor for the full text), which again led me to find a book that uses second person address and is about a woman who creates a female, Carlos Fuentes’s Aura, and that reminds me of those Digital Beauties, or for that matter, Seducity (though the avatars there are both female and male, it’s the female they show you first), and that I was thinking of perhaps writing about Galatea in my trial lecture about user-avatar relations. I’m starting to enjoy this 🙂

3 thoughts on “female avatars

  1. Bill Cole

    Your mention of Galatea made me think of Richard Powers’s Galatea 2.0, which is not a cybertext, but is about a man who creates (or helps create) a “female” artficial intelligence. Maybe for your post-defence reading list.

  2. Rayne

    Fascinating concept. I’d liken the parallel of username:avatar to that of linear math:cellular automata scripts.

    Resolving a problem using traditional linear mathematics requires interpretation, calculation, integration, effort whether on the part of the person solving the problem or the person(s) analyzing the problem and solution. A CA script resolves itself based on predefined “rules”, leaving much less to interpretation. There is a greater sense of agency in the first than in the later. Using “Lara” as an example, the text “Lara” requires much more interaction to resolve as an identity, whereas “Lara” as “Tombraider” avatar is preset (gender and appearance are defined).

    Wonder, too, about the physical processing differences between alphabetic representation and pictogram/graphics; are there other unconscious pre-existing limitations in either text or graphic due to the nature of human processing?

    Thanks for sharing — great food for thought.

  3. Alex


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