Proceedings of the Digital Generation International Conference

July 12, 2017 | Author: Mihai Pedestru | Category: Money, Communication, Philosophical Science, Science
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Descripción: Proceedings of The Digital Generation International Conference, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, 2011...

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PROCEEDINGS OF

THE DIGITAL GENERATION

SELF-REPRESENTATION, URBAN MYTHOLOGY AND CULTURAL PRACTICES

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CLUJ, ROMANIA, 16-18 SEPTEMBER 2011

Proceedings of

THE DIGITAL GENERATION SELF-REPRESENTATION, URBAN MYTHOLOGY AND CULTURAL PRACTICES

International Conference Cluj, 16-18 September 2011

Edited by Miruna Runcan & Mihai Pedestru

Editura Limes Cluj-Napoca -2011-

Acest volum a fost finanțat de către CNCS prin grantul ID_2569: Teatru, Film, Media. Mitosfera generației X-men și reunește o parte dintre lucrările prezentate la conferința Internațională ”The Digital Generation: Self-Representation, Urban Mythology and Cultural Practices”, finanțată de către CNCS prin grantul PN-ID-WE-2011-008: Generația digitală: auto‑prezentare, mitologie urbană și practici culturale. Organizatori:

Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca Facultatea de Teatru și Televiziune Centrul de Cercetare și Creație ”Vlad Mugur” Facultatea de Litere Phantasma - Centrul de Cercetare a Imaginarului This volume has been financed by the CNCS through the grant ID_2569: Theatre, Film, Media: X-Men and Women Generation’s Symbolic Universe and reunites part of the papers presented at the International Conference ”The Digital Generation: Self-Representation, Urban Mythology and Cultural Practices”, financed by the CNCS throug the grant PN-IDWE-2011-008: Generația digitală: auto‑prezentare, mitologie urbană și practici culturale. Organisers:

Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca Faculty of Theatre and Television ”Vlad Mugur” Research and Creation Center Faculty of Letters Phantasma - The Center for Imagination Studies

Conference team: Conference directors: Miruna Runcan, Călin Andrei Mihăilescu P.R. & Communication: Raluca Sas-Marinescu, Daniel Iftene Logistics: Andreea Chindriş, Ivona Vîstraş Proofreader: Magda Creţu Graphic design: Andrei Littvin

CONTENTS FOREWORD Miruna Runcan The Digital Generation. Who? Where? When? And, Most of All, Why?

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EMERGENT IDENTITIES Călin Andrei Mihăilescu 3Diocy

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Aurel Codoban Subjective Identity in the New Media

25

Codruța Pohrib Teenager’s Identity at Play: Digital Fandom and Techno Romanticism

34

Ruxandra Bularca Collaboration Architectures of a Story-Telling Bazaar

50

Mihai Pedestru Sharing and Privacy in the Digital Age

71

EMERGENT BEHAVIOURS Michael Thomas Deconstructing Digital Natives

78

Miruna Runcan Spectatorship vs. Gaming

87

Adriana Mihai Television Narratives Constructing Online Communities

95

Ozana Budău Creating-Learning Experiences in the Digital Era

115

Loredana Ghimfus Musical Subcultures in Romania: on-line polemics and controversies

128

Aura Andreea Petre La lutte pour le pouvoir entre les sexes. Teritoire de guerre : le club

140

Andreea Chindriş Immersion in Game Worlds

151

VISUAL MEDIA IN THE DIGITAL AGE Doru Pop Peer to Peer Financing, a New Model for the 21st Century Movie Making

160

Maria Cernat Parents, Children and Advertising: a History of Love and Hate

186

Delia Enyedi Video Me/Mine: Revisiting “the Cinema of Attractions”

195

Daniel Iftene Portraits of the Young in the New Romanian Cinema (2000-2011)

206

Andrei Biro The Migration of Television to Internet

216

DIGITIZING ANALOG CULTURE Nicolae Mandea The Anarchist Theatre

228

Alain Chevalier Pour une analyse du discours des pédagogues de théâtre et ses implications

235

Ruxandra Cesereanu Blogland. Synthesis of an Enquiry

248

Marius Conkan Romanian Writers in the Blogipelago

253

Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

FOREWORD Miruna Runcan

The Digital Generation Who? Where? When? And, Most of All, Why?

I

n the present-day Romanian society (as well as in any other European or American society), a crevice of disagreement and a lack of communication between the young generations and the adult ones have already been installed. The media signal, more and more often, uncommon cases, sometimes – apparently – bordering on the pathological, of mostly urban teens having inexplicable attitudes or committing inexplicable acts and sometimes even hurting themselves. As it is at this moment, their reflection in the media isn’t only shallow, simplifying and consequently dangerous; it competes with the installation in the public opinion of a deformed perception of youth’s issues as such and the functions of mass communication. Simultaneously, it is noticeable that, both in the theatre and in the literature of the last years, the sometimes autoscopical theme of the youth and their development, in the complex relations with family, mainstream education and insertion groups, has become more and more visible. This can naturally be understood as a symptom of adjustment of a society that feels something isn’t properly and coherently working in the inter-generational relations. Correct and coherent communication implies a common base of acknowledgement and understanding of the surrounding phenomena. The issue that the research and creation group constituted in the area of Everyday Life Drama found quite pressing is that of attempting to create, based on direct investigation, a platform of expression for the real problems of the contemporary teenagers and youth, and also a chance to a fair and sensible representation of them, by blending the young journalists’ and theatre specialists’ energy and capacity of reflection with the creational strength of artists-to-be whether actors, directors, theatre critics, or video-artists.



Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

How come nobody talks about the impressive amount of young people, from most of the Romanian cities, who dedicate a serious amount of their time to artistic, scientific and/or sports activities? How come, on the other hand, overwhelmingly many young people are completely discouraged, cannot cope with taking minimal responsibilities and are almost utterly uninterested in the world that surrounds them? What is it that unites these two margins of the contemporary young generation? How do the young see themselves? How do they represent themselves? Even more, how do they build their life project? These are only a few questions that we wish to debate through our research and creation program which settles definite goals in reconnecting fundamental research with community related cultural interventions. The interdisciplinary research and creation program Theatre, Film, Media: The X-Men Generation’s Mythosphere (awarded a national three-year research grant in 2008) intended to fill a void both in radiographing the young generation’s vision of itself and of the world, and in the real communication between teens and adults nowadays. In the Romanian space, the sociological interest and moreover the artistic and mediatic interest in the perceptional representational and imaginary/autoinsertional shifts in the young generation is as infrequent as it is shallow. Targeting not only the experiment but also the theoretical and artistic capitalization, the project wanted to intensify the insight into the issues regarding teenagers’ identities within their families, their age and common interest groups, within ethnic groups. Thus, the result would be a scanning of a well determined area, which is the urban areas of Cluj-Napoca, Targu Mures and Brasov and their surroundings. In its ground stage, the research made use of interviews, focus groups and anthropological features. In the second stage, that of processing the raw products and their transformation into theatre plays, photo and video reports and TV films, the team exploited, by complex and professional workshops, journalistic and dramatic writing techniques necessary in theatre, television and cinema. The studies that the reader will find in this collection intend to complete the three-year research and creation program initiated in 2009, but also to open the gates for new and more profound approaches on the same area of interest. In the frame of a complex set of activities devoted to reinitiating



Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

the connection between theoretical and empirical research and the artistic creation, under the name of “The Everyday Life Drama Laboratory”, the conference organized between 16 and 18 September, in Cluj-Napoca, by the Theatrical Research and Creation Centre Vlad Mugur and Phantasma, The Centre for Imagination Studies, (both institutions of the “Babes-Bolyai” University Cluj) sets a first step in the development of a ground of inter and trans-disciplinary research, having as object the teenagers’ and young people’s identity and practices. Our intention was based on the belief that the gap between research and artistic creation has to be filled with reciprocal knowledge, and arts and media have the mission to return to the community, giving this one, at the individual and group level, the right to exist in the area of representation. They also have to make the public opinion and the authorities sensitive to a proper management of the change, so as to avoid the crisis situations and the social slip. In this respect, the way in which young people, usually called the Digital Generation, perceive and represent themselves, in an attempt to build step by step a distinct identity, as well as the way the other generations, schools and the groups where one is inserted, perceive and represent the teenager - all these constitute, we think, an urgent theme of a multi-disciplinary approach, both for humanist research as well as for the performing arts. Focused simultaneously on experimental research, theoretical approaches and artistic response, the conference meant to accomplish a more profound and effective analysis of the controversial issues linked to the changes between the modern/traditional systems of thinking and the recent ones: what are, in fact, the challenges of building the identity of youngsters, what are their specific forms of self and contextual representation, of learning and of cultural practices? Why is everybody - from parents to education administrators - so scared by these particular changes? Do we really understand them and, if so, do we have an effective response? Perhaps the most ambitious goal of the conference was to build an exploratory platform of debate for academics in human sciences (philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, linguists, anthropologists), NGO-people and artists, interested in the issues of teenage and young people development. It seems, at least for our Everyday Life Drama Laboratory, that this first Romanian international conference on the topic is only the initial step of a worth doing work in progress, and we sincerely hope we’ll meet again.



Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

Emergent Identities

 KEYWORDS

3Diocy, 3Diot, cyberspace, posthuman, digital generation, communication as relations, subjective identity, other identity, reality, virtual, analog, digital, fandom, fan fiction, fanfic, digital fandom, Romanticism, Technoromanticism, the Cathedral and the Bazaar, digital native, digital immigrant, ludology, narratology, collaborative writing, privacy, sharing, avatar. 

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

Călin Andrei Mihăilescu

3Diocy Privatize pleasure, nationalize debt, outsource pain! ABSTRACT In the age of a new eugenic consciousness, physical bodies are cumbersome: their opacity is opposed to the transparency of the digital utopia that promotes a distance from experienced reality and a uniform space and time. The body and physical experiences are disruptive, because physical functions are both unpredictable and difficult to quantify. Cyberspace, that “kind of metaatmosphere composed of pure digitalized electronic information,” renders the human lived-body irrelevant in opposition to a purportedly ideal virtual form. Keywords: 3Diocy, 3Diot, cyberspace, posthuman, digital generation

T

his bricolage states that unwritten rules of our progressively illiterate, e-literate times impose the depletion of faculties once deemed essential to the constitution of the modern subject. Under pressures both internal and external, imagination, originality, and the hardness of subjectivity gladly give up their power and the power of a fascination they exerted for centuries gone. Imagination is becoming the maid of images – if the limits of my world are the limits of my imagination, then the world’s getting smaller in a process we misconstrue as globalization; then – originality; originality takes the backseat to the bricolage, the remix, the mash up, the pastime of pastiche, the collage and the alcohollage; finally, the subject’s autonomy, its once burly resistance, now minimized by the PC “going with the flow,” looks now passé, if not outright archaeological. This growing depletion, “required” by the spirit of the age, combines conformism to comfort with adaptation to / of technology and with a teenagerish replacement of the real by the possible. The Digital generation (roughly comprising those born between 1985 and 1995) rules the symbolic landscapes of our day. It rules, I’d say, by default, as the age busies itself with self-images. The master of the D-world – l’idiot du village mondial – may be the protagonist of our understanding of

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

contemporary infantilization. This idiot is not stupid; half Faust, half barky Pavlov, this idiot is just struck and embarrassed by fake riches, his fist opening to grab show after show. L’idiot du village mondial is not Musil’s man without qualities; not Marcuse’s one-dimensional man; not the green with guilt and red with wrath, Manichean power dealer of colonialism, totalitarianism or imperialism. Rather, he is hungry and accustomed to add a third dimension in which the depleted faculties of the modern subject may, as in a crucible, be bricolaged. Let us call him the 3Diot, the post-PoMo subject of spatial conquest, naïve and wise enough to add a third dimension to the illusion of the screen, but to also fence off the gusts of time which would blur the image beyond recognition. A rough voice utters1: kids nowadays read less. But they don’t write more. They don’t. They read off screens, not off pages. They’re digital, you know, they Twitter and Facebook, they text, the SMS, they Youtube. When they are not fragmented, then they are attention deficient; when not that, they are depressed. We, the old ones, use(d) our hands to hold the books, and our fingers to turn the pages only. Buddy, in the old times, we used to read like crazy to resist the freaking reds. Sure, we had no screens to distract our screams, but now we keep on reading as if to resist these young smarty-pants, the degenerates, hey! But then again, maybe, we were born too close to the war. We had a second to duck and a while to pray. To pray? Perchance to read books as full body armors. To us the body was the way. To them the body is in the way. In the way of the show that always comes from outside, from afar, like the suspicion that tous les jeux sont faits. There is little chance at getting redemptive discontinuity in the discontinuity of the age, in the pointillism that pixilates every image, zips it, unzips it, repeats it and alters it on the techno altar of insufficient transformations. Going with the flow is hiccupping and limping with the age: to be its and to be it in the only tag game in town – the quickie. What the quickies lack in orderly syntax, they gain in manipulability. The short-lived experiences split the accelerated humankind along the line of, on the one hand, the passive aggressiveness of the consumer, and, on the other, the active self-effacing of the producers, the programmers, and the proactive. There are two kinds of people: the entitled and the subtitled. The producer and the consumer; or, the colonizer and the colonized: the former needs no subtitle; the latter can’t do without at least one. The description of the entitled is absorbed in the title (Massa, Sahib, Maître, Herr), while even the proper name of the subtitle is absorbed in her/his description, or profiling.

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

Colonization is also the introduction of the primitive, backward, subaltern, unwhite – into language. But not by title. The first element of the pair drags the latter into its sphere, into its civilization, technology and future. The entitled and the subtitled are not simultaneous. Or, more precisely, they are simultaneously non-simultaneous. Their opposition, as any opposition, is abstract, in that it arises on the manipulated ruins of the concreteness of its relata. In that, Hegel’s dialectic of the master and the slave applies only partially to this pair. Not only are the entitled and the subtitled not simultaneous, but they entertain a different relationship to the real and the potential. The timing of the “real entitled” and the “real subtitled” is tortuous, at times jagged. What drags the other on – the entitled of the day – is not real until its reality comes to the fore, as derived from the domination of the subtitled. The act of dragging the slave, the victim, the colonized, the pupil into my present, this is what makes me real. It also propels me into a future to which only I am entitled. This becoming real is ecstatic, as a moment of recognition that connects a state of things with a comfortable affect. But the continuous becoming of entitlement is neither new nor old: it is typical. Entitlement is attracted by the smoothness of the digital as much as subtitling is relegated to the asperities of the material, the detritus, or of what is called, faute de mieux, “substance”. In all its other moments, the entitled lives a digital life. The digital is a continuous becoming. What we now call ‘digital’ and contrast with the analog has been on the go forever. The history of exchange instruments offers a suggestive paradigm for the continuity of the digital: in the barter system, a dog was worth two cats and a goat was a goat was a sheep. The legal equivalent of bartering was the lex talionis (an eye for eye, a liver for a beaver). The exchangeable goat, as the exchangeable eye relied on the principle of self identity, which was to not be alienated in the exchange by the purview of profit or interest. The temporality of the barter talionis was either null or linear. The evolution of exchange, the introduction of mediating instances, led to their alienating essence. The metal coin, whose value was initially covered by its weight, was afterwards valued by the worth of its material base (gold, silver, copper), then replaced by paper money. Then, in early 20th century, paper money got disentangled from the gold standard that regulated its minting, then paper got supplemented by credit instruments, such as credit cards, or “plastics”, and by electronic transfers. The latter, one would say, are the true expression of the digital order, and, by the same token, the temporary conclusion to the ceaseless de-materialization of money. I see no reason why things should not move in a similar direction in the future, that is, before the human species, or its replacement, will somehow revert to another bartering climate. With any change on the way of the dematerialization of money, there were anxious, sometimes virulent reactions documented by Dame History: at the beginning of the 19th century Goethe’s Mephistopheles was giving metal-paper change a devilish air;

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

in the 20th, the Americans, among the last Westerners to abandon the gold standard, imposed on the one dollar bill the inscription “In God We Trust”, along with some much needed Masonic graphic accoutrements to keep Big Daddy’s phallus in the picture. If we regard each such jump from the material base of money as a digital step, then our present will not seem as different from other previous presents as the digital brouhaha of our age would want us to. And so with the materiality of knowledge, or something called the body: our times regard the digital, along with and similar to the virtual, as a post-meat space. To understand this space, we should refrain (I am quoting a series of echoes of the age’s critics, kept here anonymous) from the “complacent humanism,” which desires to “download consciousness into a gleaming digital environment which is itself downloaded from the distinctly humanist matrix of Cartesian dualism.” To the opponents of the “complacent humanism”, this stream of posthuman theory considers the body as a cumbersome and ultimately outdated “vessel” for consciousness, and therefore uncritically removes the body as a site of knowledge. The second, more critical stream of posthumanist thought (including that of Katherine Hayles, for example) is that which does not disregard the body as such, but implies that “we cannot know ourselves – nor can we reach our full embodied, human potential without some kind of technological ‘other’ to help us ‘re-connect’ with ourselves.” This latter theory therefore presupposes a unified and “knowing” subject invested in becoming “more completely human” via the incorporation of the other – that is, technology – into itself. In the age of a new eugenic consciousness, physical bodies are cumbersome: their opacity is opposed to the transparency of the digital utopia that promotes a distance from experienced reality and a uniform space and time. The body and physical experiences are disruptive, because physical functions are both unpredictable and difficult to quantify. Cyberspace, that “kind of metaatmosphere composed of pure digitalized electronic information,” renders the human lived-body irrelevant in opposition to a purportedly ideal virtual form. The highly-gendered, heterosexist accounts of cyberspace and virtuality suggest that the physical body has become an “inconsequential historical residue, a kind of chimera or puppet, an automatic image which is subject to almost infinite manipulation.” All this is not uncharacteristic of the trendy enthusiasm provoked by a new gimmick, doesn’t matter how sizeable the gimmick is. And virtual space is quite sizeable, as we have no units of measure for it. The disembodied, the dematerialized digital is but the first part of a two-pronged argument. The second one lies in the rematerialization of the new digital forms, the naturalization of what, in the shocking moment of its emergence, had appeared to be pristine and free of bodily charge. Call this, with a dubious term, the human fleshing out of

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

new media, gimmicks, or solutions. For, for a solution to become a problem, you just add time in the mix. Virtual space will, maybe slowly, become meaty, thus messy, thus measurable, thus ready to be overcome in the next digital leap. This sequence strikes one as having gone unchanged throughout the citable history of this species. Sameness, though, turns productive only when it exasperates. The technology of historical sameness is only marginally different from the history of technological sameness: they both share the same prison house mentality, but they differ in their contiguous relationship to time. And both need jolts to clean up the slate and start time anew. These jolts have been celebrated as ecstasies or as revolutions. In the old Old World, they were represented as intrusions of the transcendent into sublunary territories. The inspiration provided by the muses, Zeus’ thunderbolt, Yahweh’s thunderous voice on the mount remind us of the discharges of reservoirs of energy that were both infinitely obscure and obscurely infinite. The case in point here, and the point d’honneur, is the intrusion of sacred time into the daily. Aion, or aeternitas intersect the course of historical time to give the latter a jolt. In classical terminologies, aidiotés comes from aiôn (eternity) to name the contemplation of eternity (Plato, Timaeus; Philebus 66a, Phaedo 106d, among a few others; Plotinus, Enneads 3.7.5.919). This “idiotic” (eidos cum aion) contemplation) is pitted against discursive intercourse (logos); its subject, the dumbstruck, gets illuminated, as St Paul on the road to Damascus, or as Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin, epileptically retrofitted for life. Don’t, though, mistake idiocy for stupidity. The latter, against whom turned Erasmus’ foolosophers, is unbreakable, granite-like and, as Flaubert put it2, [the bêtise] “is always monumental, the size of a stone monument covered by inscriptions.” How foolishly pedantic would it be to distinguish between stupidity and the bêtise at this point or at any other? What would you fight either – as Bernard Stiegler intended to set out do soon after we had a chat last week –, when “[t]he dummkopf works with what is known because what is known, or what comes to us as knowable, is already dead, DOA. He is himself dull, half-dead yet dangerous. Because the stupid dummy cannot grasp things vitally.”3 The null vitality of stupidity (bêtise or Dummheit) shines forth as a monumental collection, or the monument of geological inscriptions – Flaubert’s Sottisier, for instance. Idiocy, on the other steady hand, issues out of a sublime event, as Kant would see it. Idiocy overwhelms imagination both in its origins and its purpose. 3Diocy – triggered by a sublime for the masses – represents and covers up this neo-protestant castration of imagination, this shrewd iconoclasm which this time wins the day not by the prohibition of images, but by their bullying excess. At our multi-channelled end, the idiotic jolt turns into both the origin

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

and the telos of shock culture. How the market of spectacles produces shocks whose intensity will mimic a blow coming from a transcendent zone, it’s up to the very market. But, as opposed to the early mass culture critiqued by the likes of Adorno, the central mechanism of control, the mainframe of late modern society’s ministries of propaganda, has been gradually replaced by the network. The circularity of fashioned desires and high sales meant to gratify them has been somewhat overwhelmed by the good life support systems, of which I list only two: the TV screen that manipulates the Homo zapiens, and the network covenant, according to which the computer screen lets us choose it in order for it to choose us and in order for us to choose ourselves through the screen’s mediation. The third dimension is not only the latest prosthesis; it is also the weakest and, potentially, the most dangerous. Historically speaking, 3D appears to rehash the emergence of linear perspective in early Renaissance. Perspective is said to have triumphally freed the viewing subject from the sacred bonds of the reverse perspective (die umgekehrte Perspektive, as Oskar Wulff teutonized Pavel Florensky’s genial observation) of icon painting. Thus disentangled from the Byzantine, tantalizing eye of God, the Renaissance subject was propelled out of the painting into the free cold. From there s/he could contemplate the painting by making eye cont(r)act with the vanishing point which, unseen as a puppeteer, rationalized the visual field. That line of power between the eye and the vanishing point, soon become the master consumer’s comfy habit, could afford the cute perversion with which Mona Lisa’s eyes survey the viewer in every corner with a playful, panoptical wink. Yet the society of control sketched in the androgynous smile of da Vinci’s dame extends over a world whose demographics have been eroded by centuries of droughts, plagues and tears. 3D emerges in a world taken aback by its demographics. Rather than offering an outer space to the viewer, 3D cushions it in its placenta. The society envisaged by 3D is not one of control, but of containment. Containment of the number of bio-fields and, in each of those, of their otherwise hard to domesticate imagination, originality and hard subjectivity. The perspective’s trompe l’œil is melancholically superseded by 3D’s trompe l’homme – the wo/man always betrayed by the eye and never by the idea. Also historically speaking, curtly though, 3D appears as the third and latest avatar of techno-framing. As opposed to the epic framing (starting in medias res and expanding into the cushioning tautology of life) and the mythic framing (de-singularizing the world’s causes and effects into its restless origins), techno-framing asserts the power of the frame over the framed (Heidegger would say that the frame frames the framed in both senses of the verb). Not the only one, but the one conspicuous site where this technique emerges systematically is Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979): here the camera wanders at the beginning,

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

end and, sometimes, in the middle of the cinematic frame, until it masterfully gives in and, sleeves-up, focuses on what is to be filmed, the morning napalm, for example. That the frame came to afford an in-denting aura, a non-employed, désœuvré space, as if a skull too large for the brain, also points to its own benevolent power of framing – and to the imperial bureaucracy whose forms feed on their content. The second avatar of techno-framing – Blind TV – stuck out its head in the first Gulf War, with the cameras attached to the tip of the smart- and dumb-bombs, which were going blank at the moment of impact, thus acknowledging no debris, but only sanitizing, blind dematerialization. 3D fulfills both Coppola’s benevolent framing and Blind TV’s “job done” take on dematerialization as truth-in-power. In the undertheorized versions offered by media and net consultantcritics, the body is cleansed and the psyche is externalized by being plugged in the net. However, what seems to have occurred is that the older problems of body and soul have been muted as they migrated from the bodily and the psychological to the simulated, from the analog to the digital, and from the subjective to the “idiotic”. This is not to say that 3Diots are lesser beings than their predecessor clustered in the Y or X generations. The 3Diots dwell in a world of spinning DJ’s and loopy popcults, sports stars, politicians and financiers, where the individual, the state and the world are arranged as the largest 3D system, where pleasure is privatized as entitlement, debt is nationalized as a dumping ground of financial fictions, and pain is outsourced to the subtitled who make up the Third World within and, especially, without. Beyond the obvious connection between the Kantian sublime exception and its declassified, pop version called “shock culture,” one could hope to see how “shock” gives mass culture itself a clownish jolt from within to finally move into another, neomedieval aeon. There is hope; maybe the 3Diots will be luckier than Kafka at grabbing a chunk of it. As it would be unfair not to allow the members of the 3Diotic generation to express their views, here are some of their selected answers to a questionnaire given to ten teens and early twenty‑somethings from Romania and Canada How are we different from the baby boomers (the youngest of whom are in their fifties now); from the X generation (they’re approaching their forties); and from the XX generation (now on both slopes of their thirties)? Answer that. We need your answers to figure out what we – the teens and early twentysomethings – have in common: Are we more of an XXX generation than them? We’re HARD to the CORE.

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

Yes, literally and figuratively - both It’s far more present in the mass media these days (TV spots and video clips included), and in huge quantities. This is a profitable business today. This means that a lot of people are into this, but I don’t think teens represent the majority, they are not the ones paying for such things. What’s digital and what’s not? I’m not so sure there’s still a fine line between the two… Life’s digital yet analog’s the new black. We read, learn and speak ‘in’ and ‘through’ the digital, and reference the analog as ‘a goal’ or as ‘the substance.’ Everything’s digital, except ourselves. Are we quick, rather than beautiful? We’re beautifully quick, and quickly beautiful. We’re beautiful because we’re quick - even the ugly has its 15 minutes of fame nowadays. No, we’re more beautiful than quick - clearly (from the lateness of replying to this questionnaire) we don’t do very well with deadlines. Plus, who can say no to a bit of botox? Everything is happening so fast, we have to keep up. But that doesn’t mean we are not beautiful. For how long can we keep doing the same thing (like reading, or dancing, or chatting)? That depends on how often our mobile phone rings. We seem to be able to do them ALL at the same time, in quite mediocre ways. The question is how long is it going to take our culture to grind to a halt and re-assess the values that are getting lost in this shuffle. (better to read a good book until that happens). During commercials. chatting is a bit different - really depends on the person you’re chatting with.

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Do we have more ADD than them? We’ve got more ADD, more “gtg”, more “idc”, more “lol”, more “omg”, more “brb”, more “btw”, and especially more “wtf”. Yes, although now it’s called ‘multitasking’ - all hail the era of dilettantism. If you have to get up to go to the bathroom before commercials are on, you have ADD. We definitely have more ADD than them. I say this because we tend to get bored easily, for example at school, during the classes. Sometimes even in our conversations we talk before we think and we find it difficult to stay focused if more people are talking. Maybe. But they aren’t doing great either. They are a lot more “used” than us. One thing is certain: we will definitely have more when we’ll be 50. Are we more depressed than them (does the world suck more today)? We like to believe so, yes. “First come, first served” sounds more comforting than “been there, done that”. We’re more ‘inclined’ to be depressed because its current acceptability as a widespread condition. The world doesn’t suck any more than it used to, we just think it does. Depression now means “I’m depressed because I have the sniffles” it’s no longer “I’m depressed because there’s a blitzkrieg going on outside.” Yeah. I heard that over 2 hours of TV or PC causes depression. Or realizing that you are poor and some of your neighbours are rich because they got the chance to be corrupt gets you depressed from time to time. We’re way more depressed than them, ‘cause we worry about too much CRAP. And the nowadays world sucks way more today, because everything’s got faked, nothin’s natural, and all it matters is people’s opinion. Everything’s surrounded by the one and only goal: MONEY. Nothing’s done for pleasure anymore. Take soccer for example.

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It’s a bit difficult to say whether we are more depressed than them. Of course there were many problems in the past too, but I think they were not known worldwide. What I mean is that we tend to more and more depressed because we can watch all the day the TV or open a webpage and to find out what happened all around the world. Moreover, here in Romania, the mass-media have a big power. It is able to influence the people and to create a worse image, for example about the economic crisis, than it is. The world does suck more today and it gets worse as time passes. Everybody feels that. More and more people are depressed, more teens and more adults. Who’s guilty? Who are THEY? They”R”Us The guilty are those that THEY tell us. THEY are also now a plurality of voices and opinions, and thus the theatre begins anew and with more pomp & circumstance. Everyone but you is guilty - parents, teachers, professors, the system, the government, your boss. I don’t think that there is someone guilty, because I simply don’t see the world as being negative. It’s just a phase of human evolution with advantages and disadvantages. What lies ahead for us? Do we even care? If ahead=beyond today, then it’s probably out of our depths. The future remains as usual undecided and worthy of being anticipated (personal opinion). We care, but are concerned only with our own sense of self-worth based on our dedication to ‘causes’ - as in, we care, but not really. Future? What’s that? I heard is a kind of grammatical tense... How can you expect me to care about my future when my parents didn’t care much about my future, they were too exhausted after work (they weren’t prepared to face capitalism). Anyhow, what chances do we have against corruption? You lose the battle before you even start it if you

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don’t have the connexions. What should I care about? Apocalypse. No we don’t. We’re too busy to care about anything else but us. Maybe a lot of us realize that we’re in deep sh*t, but everybody’s doin’ nothin about it. Hard times. The end of this world is very close, for sure. I’m sure God will clean the Earth as He promised, I just hope I won’t disappear in the process. Any reason to get together to start a rally? A rebellion? A revolution? We’ve got every reason to start a revolution, but we’ve got no motivation to do it. Or not enough of it, anyway. We are now up in arms about anything and everything. We rally for “slut-walks” and rebel against the culture through its appropriation (indie/hipster culture). Fortunately, revolutions still retain their worth (see the Middle-East). In Canada? sure. will anyone do it? .... haha! Well, there are surely some reasons for which we could start a rebellion, but I don’t think that we are strong enough or we care enough in order to get together and make a change in our lives. I don’t think it would do any good. The problems of this world can’t be solved by a revolution. What music gives us the KICKS? That which speaks to us. Recycled genres, re-played and re-interpreted. What films? Films that we can download. See music (although on a grander scale with less variety). Every ‘70-’80-’90 movie. That’s just my opinion. ‘cause i haven’t seen a movie yet, a recent movie, that would make me wanna change somethin’, no matter how touching the movie was.

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Thinking about films, games and even books, the ones who give us the kicks are all science-fiction (like Harry Potter, Avatar, etc). We like them because we can get away from the real world and we can imagine ourselves in a totally different world, dimension. Drama, comedy and a few others. Seinfeld is the best. What games? Those in which we’re somebody else. Than ourselves. The more cinematic and immersive, the better. (Grand Theft Auto, Alan Wake, LA Noire, Portal, etc.) Ooo games - the latest, most realistic version of World of Warcraft on Xbox, Playstation, etc. I trust my handy 90’s Nintendo 64 and its amazing .. mario kart. What books? Books that do not talk about people who lay transfixed in front of a computer for more than 6 hours a day. And generally, books with pages you can physically flip with your fingers, not those whose pages you can scroll up and down. Let’s just be happy people still read - judging by the Stieg Larsson and JK Rowling the number of pages isn’t pushing anyone away from the typed word. Who reads anymore? For those who do - the south americans are a mainstay, the russians, czechs ... I’m gonna disappoint you, but no book ever changed my state of mind or my perception about something. I think i haven’t found the right one, or, as all teens say: it’s not for me. What drugs (in order of priorities, from 1 to n)? Eco-drugs. Cocaine, Crystal Meth, Marijuana, Ecstasy, Heroin, hallucinogenics, etc.

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Marijuana (it’s the cheapest) and ‘safest’, MDMA - pure form of ecstasy - provides a rocking good time at the club, cocaine - apparently makes you more confident in social settings, heroine; crystal meth; crack - once you’re on those, you’ve realized that nothing lies ahead for us. Coffee and from time to time a cigarette. Heroin LSD Mushrooms Crack, Cocaine, Extasy, Weed. Even if i would’ve started with weed i would’ve been right, ‘cause there’s no such thing as a not harmful drug. What people? Facebook profiles probably give us more kicks than people. Though we, essentially, prefer real people to any (inter)face. People of the minute - Obama, Palin, Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp, Brangelina, Arnold. DUMB ones. And peeps like us, the teens. even i step on my tail from time to time... I think that the parents are the ones who try to give us the kicks. What question(s)? Questions? That is, besides the “Is Justin Bieber still a virgin?” and “Will the world come to an end in 2012?”-sort of questions that people seem to think we’d die to find out the answers to? I think we’re the “why?” generation, just as much as we’re the “Warcraft/Counterstrike” generation. Not sure about specifics, but I think the questions that concern the general public are more focused (now more than ever) on the present or near-future, on socio-cultural/political issues. Larger philosophical issues have been replaced by immediate concerns - macro vs. micro (this way ANYONE can contribute to the conversation). We don’t ask that many, other than, “did you see what she was wearing yesterday!!!????” Anything else you’d like to add? Here’s where you can do it. The answers are clearly tinged with cynicism, but let them be taken as

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descriptive of the overall impression of our generation that is described by the culture we live in, not by the obvious existing exceptions that ‘make all this bad news go away.’ That would be all. How did i do?; are there some kind of results or smth.? i wanna be evaluated:)) We don’t live in a worse world than the ones before us. We just have to admit that the nowadays norm will be the anti-norm of tomorrow and the anti-norm of tomorrow will be the norm of the day after tomorrow. For example, the Beatles were regarded as being the anti-norm when they emerged in the 1960s, but afterwards, they were the norm. We are not better or worse than the ones before us or the ones to follow; we are just different and therefore we must stay positive and stop criticising the world we live in. We should take a deeper look at its positive elements rather than negative ones. The following lines insert a riddle and hidden in their enigmatic space-bars an answer: A near-infinite chubby finger descends in the sky, looming through the clouds in a dead-shot line to crush all planet earth with a single fingertip prick. The Baby Boomers gasp at the sky, paralysed like a rabbit bunny in LED incandescence, and take the earthbound digit as the rogue pointer-finger of God, now approaching to leave his final fingerprint on the impressionable planet. Generation X have been long awaiting the opposable member, through the blue air flies a heat-seeking moisture missile, an extra-terrestrial one-eyed baby-maker, coming to pound the young planet into alien submission, humans back-spaced into old time and a new life-force impregnated and ready to rise from the bottom of the sea-womb. Generation XX are thrown into a fiendish effort to digi-document the event; the recording explodes with such vigour, mapping its dimensions, probable weight, flight path, velocity, probably impact area, probably damage chart, that the finger is more clear than in plain nakedeye sight; they no longer look to the sky but retreat entirely to the digi-world. Youtube is the eyes; it is chalked with videos of the thing. Facebook is the mouth; it emanates with voices declaring every meaning of the thing. Skype is the ears; it rings with goodbye messages from across the planet. MySpace is the lips; puckering every last boy-band song dedicated to earth. The last touch is on the digi-funeral sites and Heaven.com, everyone frantic to leave their last note and book their room in Heaven. Generation X follows digi-suite, rushing in hordes over keyboards to Heaven.com, crashing the system. The nose is on the Baby Boomers, they catch wind of this digi-madness and awaken from their paralysis, but with their slow fingers, they cannot get fast enough to Heaven.

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com; they will have no room waiting for them. The Wiki Generation, the young’uns in earth-years, are ahead of the time. Control-Alt-Deleted are the days when generations compounded their wisdom online to form a comprehensive body of knowledge; the Wiki Generation is compounded of online sources, their digi-bodies birthed of online wisdom, their digi-minds. The Wiki Generation sees the looming catastrophe only through the screen, ignorant of the sky, and by virtue of their ignorance, and the electromagnetic field generated by their digi-selves, the near-infinite chubby finger simply desists and vanishes, saving them all. NOTES “They’re dumber than we were at their age.” You hear different variations of this popular theme. They don’t know anything [Bauerlein, (The Dumbest Generation: How The Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future, New York: Penguin/Tarcher, 2001, 26)]. Net Geners are a “portrait of vigorous, indiscriminate ignorance.” All these gadgets can even give some people, including Net Geners, symptoms that look like attention deficit disorder, psychiatrist Edward Hallowell suggests in his book CrazyBusy. The result: a shallow, distracted generation that can’t focus on anything. Then there’s the full frontal attack that comes from novelist Robert Bly: “Today we are lying to ourselves about the renaissance the computer will bring. It will bring nothing. What it means is that the neo-cortex is finally eating itself.” They don’t read and are poor communicators. All this time online is reflected in the schools and universities where they perform badly on tests [...] They’re screenagers, Net addicted, losing their social skills, and they have no time for sports or healthy activities. Time spent online could have been devoted to sports and face-to-face conversation; the result is a generation of awkward, fat people. And when they get addicted to videogames, some say, the results can be worse. Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence (MAVAV), for example, describes video games as “the world’s fastest growing addiction and the most reckless endangerment of children today – comparable to drug and alcohol abuse” (Don Tappscott, Grown Up Digital. How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009: 3-5). 2 Jacques Derrida, “Une idée de Flaubert: La lettre de Platon.” Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France 4-5 (July-Oct. 1981): 666. 3 Jean Paul, [“Von der Dummheit” (Werke, pt. 2; Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1974, 1:268), qtd. in Avital Ronell, Stupidity. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002: 16. 1

Călin-Andrei Mihăilescu is a tetra-lingual writer and a Professor of Comparative Literature, Critical Theory, and Spanish at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. His major works include 11 books (most recently Happy New Fear!, 2011), and a plethora of articles and shorter texts, journal issues edited, and conference papers.

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Aurel Codoban

Subjective Identity in the New Media ABSTRACT From the modernity which made communication secondary and dependent from knowledge and limited at the verbal type we inherited the idea that communication is in the first place a way of sending information. In this case the identity and otherness of the subjects that communicate are a clear and solid one. The postmodern and globalizing concept of communication put in the first place not the process of sending the information, but the building of relations. This ontological model of relationship describes the meaning of communicational reality as virtual, or, more precisely, describe communications action like a virtual reality. In this case the identity and otherness of the subjects that are in relation appear only as a weak occurrence of the modern idea of subject. Keywords: communication as relations, subjective identity, other identity, reality, virtual, analog, digital

T

he idea that communication is, in the first place, a way to send information, has come to us from modernity, which made communication secondary to and dependent on knowledge and limited to the verbal type. This type of definition was leading in the cybernetics’ models of communication, for example, in the Claude Shannon model, which used the image of the telegraph system for communication. In this case, the identity of the subjects who communicate is a clear and solid one, because, primarily, they are subjects of knowledge, and not of communication. However, otherness became somewhat problematic because of this solid identity of knowledge-subject. But the postmodern concept of communication does not put to the fore the process of sending or exchanging information; instead, this position is awarded to the building of relations. Gregory Bateson and Milton Erickson contributed to a great extent to shifting the emphasis in the definitions of communication. This shift of accent in the definition of communication

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very well rendered in Paul Watzlawick’s axioms and especially in “Every communication has a content aspect and relationship aspect such that the latter clarifies the former and is therefore a metacommunication” (Watzlawick, Helmick Beavin, Jackson, 1972). This means that all communication includes, apart from the plain meaning of words, more information - information on how the speaker wants to be understood and how he/she him/herself sees his/her relation to the receiver of information. Thus, whereas in certain cases the relationship occupies a lower level, as when we ask for information to a stranger in a foreign city, there are situations where the content is very low, while the relationship is everything, like that of the baby’s and mother’s communication via body, or like in altered states of consciousness (trance, hypnosis), therapeutic communication between psychiatrist and mental patient or great love. From another point of view, McLuhan thought likewise: in the widely known 1964 work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, McLuhan proposed that media themselves should be the focus of study, not the content they carry: “the medium is the message”. McLuhan’s insight was that: the medium affects the society in which it plays a role not by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself. More controversially, he postulated that content had little effect on society — in other words, it did not matter whether television broadcasts children’s shows or violent programming, to illustrate one example — the effect of television on society would be identical. He noted that all media have characteristics that engage the viewer in different ways. The distinction between the concept of communication as transmission of information and the concept of communication as building of relationships is also close to the one between utterance and enunciation. Enunciation - the relationship, the media - is the context in which we have to place the utterance - the contents of the message - to understand it properly: as a suggestion, an order, a joke, a threat etc. The first axiom - and probably one of the most famous - of Paul Watzlawick, which logically precedes others, is “We cannot not communicate”. Its axiomatic evidence is, as usual, direct, but it can be indirectly transcribed also into a more general formula as follows: “we cannot ‘not’ enter the relationship” or “we cannot ‘not’ relate.” The implicit but obvious basis of it is that we live in a world of relationships, that relationship is the foundation of reality. Thus, it becomes clear that, similar to other previous theoretical models, the model of communication as building of relationships brings a change of ontological emphasis in the representation of the world. For a long period in the evolution of Western thought, the world was simply made of things that had the quality of entities. Later, during the subsequent period of time, the world was represented as entities in relations. Nowadays, the Western thought

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considers that the relations constitute entities. The climax of the world representations as a network of relations was the historical moment of French structuralism, which defined, first, the sign as an entity sui generis, different from things or ideas, which results only from a kind of relationship between these two, and, second, the language, in which signs are mere differences, as a pure relations system. However, these days, not only has this moment already past, but a technological landmark achievement for our world, World Wide Web, which is the image of network, is appropriate for what actually communication as relationship means. And in the way in which this works, as well as in the effects of this operation, we see the completion of the reality that communication conceived and practiced as relating can produce: virtual reality. Different from the old image of a world with its principle beyond itself, in the transcendence, or from that of the immanent world metaphor, the core-essence and shell-phenomenon, the corollary of the current representation of the world as a net of relations is the ontology of significant surface embodied in technological formula of virtual reality. Indeed, alongside the World Wide Web, the emergence of virtual reality is one of the defining characteristics of our world. It began with the extension and virtualization of the perception, by technological, usually electronic, means. Of course, man populated the reality with artefacts from the very beginning of his existence. But only when, on a very vague energy support, these artefacts have been addressed directly to perception, the images, sounds or tactile sensations began to receive a virtual reality. At first, slightly, owing to paintings and photos, and later, to a greater extent, by telephone and radio, film and television, fragments of reality becoming virtualized, and the surrounding reality became increasingly what it was potentially and initially, a hybrid between the here and now of material reality, and “reality” which is only in the human mind that perceives the effects of certain artefacts. Nevertheless, virtual reality in this direction comes along with language as a sign system in communication. Virtual reality is the best model of communication as signifying process: the linguistic sign introduced the virtual, building virtual reality of a link between a thing and an idea. Umberto Eco has noted that semiotics has its own autonomous area, since, apart from truth and falsehood, at the logic level, there are also “lies” – a reality neither false nor true, owing to linguistic constructed signs. Or the manner in which Baudrillard defines the virtual effect of communication, “You launch a news item. So long as it had not been denied, it is plausible. Barring accident, it will never be denied in real time. And even if it is denied later, it will never again be absolutely false, since it has once enjoyed credibility. Unlike truth, credibility cannot be refuted, since it is virtual.” (Baudrillard, 2008, p. 59-60)

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Owing to electronic technology, this original capability of signs was developed very much up to the possibility of producing a parallel, illusory reality. Under this aspect, the relationist concept of communication and practices that accompany it approach the idea of virtual reality also due to the interest in the analogical quality of signs, respectively in body language and image. Watzlawick’s third axiom defines aptly this dimension of the new paradigm of communication: “Human beings use two communication modes: digital and analogical. Digital language has a very complex and very comfortable logical syntax, but lacks adequate semantics; however, analogical language has semantics, but not a proper syntax for the unambiguous definition of relations.” [Watzlawick uses the term digital to define the meaning of verbal language from point of view of Ferdinand de Saussure’s ideas on the relationship between signifier and signified, i.e. the linguistic sign is arbitraire et immotivé, French term untranslatable in English. Analogical is, by contrast, given by the signs for reasons motivated by similarity, cause and effect or whole to part relationship (indexical signs and iconic signs in Peirce’s classification).] As reflected in the axiom, digital signs are attributed to content, information, and analogical signs, to relationships. The Jakobsonian model of communication distributed in the same, but less explicit, way, the function of the message. Thus, among six functions of the message in the communicational situation, three - emotive (self-expression), conative (vocative or imperative addressing of receiver) and phatic (checking channel working) – may be attributed to the analogical dimension of language, that of the relationship, and the other three - referential (contextual information), aesthetic (autoreflection, auto-presentation) and metalingual (checking code working) - may be attributed to the digital dimension of language, that of content domain. Following neurosciences assumptions, it is believed that digital signs are in connection with the left hemisphere of brain, which is in charge of analytical reasoning, logical representations, the division of problems into parts etc. Analogical signs are attributed to the right hemisphere, which is hypothetically responsible with the perception of relationships, intuition, perception of the whole and distinction of its parts etc. But analogical signs are also more similar to the perceived reality than digital signs. And the common sense envisages virtual reality as illusory perception. In this way, the concept of communication as building of relationships and the technological effort to produce a virtual reality seem to converge. However, this understanding of virtual reality, although acceptable, is too simple. The main features of virtual reality are: simulation, interaction, artificiality, immersion, telepresence and networking. (Heim, 1993) Or if we grouped under the name of illusion the simulation, the artificiality and

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the immersion, and if we let the generic name of electronic technology for telepresence and communication network, that which remains as a key new feature is the interaction. And in it we find the essential common denominator of virtual reality and communication as building of relationships. The ontological aspect that defines virtual reality is interaction rather than simulation or illusion, because it presents a deliberately and explicitly constructed reality. Virtual reality appears first as a sensorial simulating environment, just as communication, which cultivates relations, is interested in analogical signs. Of course, this cannot overcome the aforementioned illusion or falsehood attributed in order to simulate action. However, if something that is simulated, something that is only illusion and forgery demonstrates that it has its own life and it can answer, can react, can interact, it receives thereby a consistency that gives reality to it. This is the deeper meaning of the virtual, the outcome of the relationships, of interactions, which, as a consequence of the structure, can produce results substantially non-existent before. Virtual reality is, beyond the crucial support of electronic technology, the combination of sensory simulation with interactivity. Something which, as a simulation, was only apparent, acquires a consistency which, while it cannot be essentially represented as substance, is that of life conceived as relation. This expanded space of interactive and multi-sensorial image finds the best exemplifications in the theory of performance art and computer games. As a concept of knowledge, the possible assumes a single principle as the basis of reality and is based on the category of identity , while the virtual, as concept of communication, starts from duality at least, and relies on difference and plurality, on multiplicity. The virtual reality of communication does not mean the production of something similar to a principle, but the establishment of relations that set their terms. Virtual reality is similar to the solution to a problem or to creating a form from a dynamic configuration, from a system of forces and finalities. The virtual is an interactive mise-enscène, as a comedia dell’arte scene, as a play of jazz instrumental music piece, something that depends on structuring interactions, relationships, so it is different from the imaginary of knowledge, attached to the possible. The emphasis is not so much on the space-time coordinates of traditional metaphysics, but on the relationships of the communication process that always redistributes the space-time coordinates between the transmitter and receiver and involves the change of their positions: the receiver takes place of the transmitter and vice versa. [Interactivity as a new sense of the virtual raises the question of the distinction and reversibility between author and spectator.] The virtual is not localizable: its elements migrate, and are out of here as space. Therefore, we can also ask: where does the phone call take place actually? Where is a virtual community, whose members are nomadic, erratic?

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Pierre Lévy answers, by indicating that virtualization put into question the unity of place and proposed instead the unity of time (real-time communication through remote participation) - and even accepted a disruption of duration instead the continuity of action (as in e-mail). Synchronization replaced the space unit, and interaction replaced the time unit. The virtual is not based on anything related to space and time, but sooner on the continuity of action as communicative interaction, as the relationship (Lévy, 1995). This ontological model of relationship describes the meaning of communicational reality as virtual, or, more precisely, describes actions of communication like a virtual reality. Not only because the text of the world became analogical in communication, not only because that the communication simulate reality, but in the first place because of interactivity. Entities have the consistencies of signs, while reality loses its substantial density and becomes a virtual one. The direct and immediate form of human communication is that of face-to-face communication, the relationship between “I” and “you”, idealized by Martin Buber. Of course, even in this case, since it is not a strictly bodymediated communication, like that of a mother and her baby, it is mediated at least through the language required by any human communication. This mediation increases continuously throughout human history. As a result of the technical means and technologies, the direct relationship between the transmitter and receiver can be decomposed in two separate sequences: the relationship between the sender and the message and the relationship between message and receiver. Therefore, with the possibility of registering the message - written first, then audio and finally visual – the relationship between transmitter and receiver may become and becomes actually indirect communication. Additionally, the first form, i.e. direct and immediate communication I-you is complicated in the context of group communication, due to the presence of several interlocutors engaged in hierarchies and power structures. We may assume that messages constructed in this manner have attempted to recover, by way of the aesthetic-spectacular dimension, the loss of the original situation of communication, the face-to-face I-you connection. In turn, technology has tried to recover the connectivity by way of providing broader ties, bringing into communication increasingly larger groups of people and moving away from written signs throughout audible signs towards the visual signs (images) for a more realistic simulation of conditions of the first direct communication. However, as mass communication and while making use of images, the electronic technology of communication cannot overcome the receptors’ passivity, which reproduces the group communication situation, structured through power hierarchies. The media have tried to connect with the largest possible number of people. Belonging to a same place and time, face-to-

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face communication involves an identity without difference or multiplicity of identity. However, the wide expansion of communication has drawn attention to the fact that a rest of identity remains outside communication, as soon as it isn’t going directly, face to face. Characteristic to new media technology is to ensure a type of connectivity closer to the original communication that enabled a type of quasi instant face-to-face relationship. In this case, the identity of self and identity of other (otherness) that are in a communicational relationship appear only as a weak occurrence of the modern idea of subject of knowledge. Otherness is another aspect that distinguishes the perspective of modern knowledge from the postmodern communicational one. At the level of human communication, the difference between two partners who communicate is essential. Human communication doesn’t accept perfect identity, nor does it accept the idea of absolute difference between two people who communicate. If they are identical, we have a redundant meaningless communication or a mere transmission of signal; if they are absolutely different, without a common code, communication isn’t possible. In this way, otherness is the possible condition of communication. A relationship is made by its related elements. Then, otherness is constituted in communication: otherness isn’t only a condition for the possibility of human communication, it is also a by-product, and a virtual reality generated trough communication. The idea of otherness appears between the age of knowledge and the age of communication. In the modern age situation, it is not only relation, but also the related that have some importance. On the other hand, in our age, an accent on communication as relation makes otherness less real and more virtual. The new media, such as the internet and social networks, intensify the relational aspect of communication. During modernity, the Hegelian fight for recognition was the place of assertion of the otherness. However, to the internet users it has less meaning: they can take on the identities they desire. Having less responsibilities and obligations, they search contacts for the sake of contacts, i.e. only to be connected. It’s a triumph of communication as relationship; it’s a triumph of the contact (phatic) function. But it is a “past time” (Eric Berne) that consumes the time of our life and intimacy. The I-other communication relationship, and alterity, represent a relationship better understood if we consider the paradigm proposed by Walter Benjamin when he discusses Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936). (Benjamin, 2002) The concept of other’s destiny is similar to the destiny of copy in modern and postmodern culture; the destiny of otherness is similar to the destiny of the relationship between original and copy. The media are in a similar relation to identity that is the means of technical reproduction

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of a work of art in relation to the original. Modern identity of the subject and otherness - the presence of other communication – are constituted on the basis of modern mass communication at the very moment they begin to lose! With all claims and qualities, the new communication media are not perfect, as modern technical means cannot perfectly reproduce the original. As we are surrounded by copies, we are likewise surrounded by others and will soon be surrounded by cloned bodies or robots. Ego identity has a history and belongs to a certain place. What matters most to ego is history, which it locates. Otherness, the quality of being other, is without real history, a virtual potentiality. As for the original, the now-and-here of the ego attained in its own history is a guarantee of identity. We can imagine a clone, an organic copy of an individual: the original will be recognized by its history... The difference original-copy, as I–other, depends only on the context of communication. Here and now, discussed by Walter Benjamin, represent a location in history. Origin and history are intertwined: what matters is the starting point, it, as a transcendental, replaced the old transcendent. Of course, there are many theoretical positions that attack the self metaphysical consistency and identity. But, in order to interpret accurately the value of original, we must acknowledge that it is linked by history and that history is a perceptual-conceptual category of modernity. During our age what appears unexpectedly is our interest in otherness, in the other (alter ego) as different from ego. Nobody wants the original, in its entire ego; they would rather have a limited relationship with an avatar. While in art the network is where the copy is restored to the original, the network seems to be where the avatar takes the identity of original (Groys, 2007, p. 2). If this is the way to build a common consciousness for the future humanity (a singularity?), Adolfo Byoi Casares’s novel La invención de Morel (1940) — translated as The Invention of Morel - is very illustrative. [This novel is a very powerful one: it is one of the sources of inspiration for Last Year at Marienbad (L’Année dernière à Marienbad, 1961, French film directed by Alain Resnais,), for the video game Myst and for the television series Lost.] It is the story of an unnamed narrator, a fugitive writer from Venezuela sentenced to life in prison after some unnamed crime. He hides on a deserted island, which is infected with a mysterious fatal disease, somewhere in Polynesia. On the island, the narrator finds he is not alone. A group of men and women – who seem to be holidaymakers - arrive. Hiding from view, he falls in love with one of the women, and tries to make his feeling known to her. The fugitive decides to approach her, but she does not react to him. He assumes she – Faustine - is ignoring him, but his encounters with the other tourists have the same result. Nobody on the island notices him. He points out that the conversations between Faustine and Morel, a

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bearded tennis player who visits her frequently, repeat every week and fears he is going crazy. Struggling to understand why everything seems to repeat, he finds out the truth when Morel tells the tourists he has been recording their actions of the past week with a machine that can record not only threedimensional images, but also voices and scents, making it all indistinguishable from reality. He claims the recording will capture their souls, and through looping they will relive that week forever and he will spend eternity with the woman he loves. Although Morel does not mention her by name, the fugitive is sure he is talking about Faustine. After hearing that the people recorded on previous experiments are dead, one of the tourists’ guesses correctly they will die, too. The fugitive learns the machine keeps running because the wind and tide feed it with an endless supply of energy. He learns how to operate the machine and inserts himself into the recording so it looks like he and Faustine are in love. In the final diary entry, the fugitive describes how he wants his soul to pass into the recording while dying.

References Baudrillard, Jean (2008) Paroxistul indiferent (English title: Paroxysm: Interviews with Philippe Petit), translation: Sebastian Big, Cluj, Idea Design&Print, Benjamin, Walter (2002) Iluminări, translation: Catrinel Pleşu, Cluj, Idea Design & Print, , Groys, Boris (2007) Topologia aurei şi alte eseuri (Topology of the Aura and Other Essays), Cluj, Idea Design and Print Heim, Michael (1993) The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, Oxford University Press. Lévy, Pierre (1995) Qu’est-ce que le virtuel? Paris. La Découverte Watzlawick, Paul & Helmick Beavin, Janet & Jackson, Don D. (1972) Une logique de la communication, Paris, Seuil (Paul Watzlawick, Janet Beavin Bavelas, and Donald D. Jackson, 1967, Pragmatics of Human Communication A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes, W. W. Norton and Co, New York)

Aurel Codoban, PhD is a professor at the Dimitrie Cantemir University’s Law department and at the Babeș-Bolyai University’s department of Systematic Philosophy, which he has chaired for the past few years. His main areas of interest include semiotics, hermeneutics, the philosophy of religion, and communication theory. Author of (selective): Repere și prefigurări (1982), Structura semiologică a structuralismului (1984), Filosofia ca gen literar (1992), Sacru și ontofanie (1998), Semn și interpretare (2001).

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Codruţa Alina Pohrib

Teenagers’ Identity at Play: Digital Fandom and Technoromanticism ABSTRACT A considerable amount of scholarship has gone into research on fan fiction, both from the viewpoint of literary studies and from that of cultural studies; those addressing fan fiction from the vantage point of cultural studies/ sociology/media studies have, as one would expect, delved into identity construction, second-language exercise and the like, disregarding almost completely the cultural paradigm this particular form of narrative enterprise might belong to, let alone the contentious aspects it might reveal in the way of postmodern re-topicalizations. Keywords: fandom, fan fiction, fanfic, digital fandom, Romanticism, Technoromanticism

I

Overview

n this paper I will be looking at the structures governing fan fiction and digital storytelling from the point of view of identity formation and interaction among teenagers through diegesis and narrative strategies within fandoms and in digital storytelling projects. The discussion will rely on the theoretical framework of Romantic authorship versus postmodern collaborative writing integrated into a broader cultural debate on the technoromantic spirit that seems to inform virtual reality. Furthermore, technoromanticism will be analyzed against the background of emerging tensions in discourses about young people’s involvement in political and civic activity in postmodernism as well as in its relationship with the politics of (post)modernity. Most importantly, the new postmodern sensibility that circumscribes the fractured, multiplied, or dislocated selves

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of online community members will be explored in relation to romantic escapism and the rationalistic quest for equality, freedom and involvement in the public sphere promoted by the Enlightenment project. The reasons for choosing to summon the framework of Romanticism in its ambivalent relationship with the Enlightenment project in a context in which the postmodern has definitively taken over might escape immediate realization. The truth is that, in doing so, my aim is not to dispel any postmodern theory applied to new media and cyberspace, but rather to support the postmodern critical engagement with its intellectual and cultural heritage by bringing to the fore not the historical or literary Romanticism (although authorship will be discussed comparatively), but above all a typological, philosophical Romanticism; the problem of the real and the imaginary/virtual, doubts about rationality, fear towards new technologies, the individual and the community and issues related to homogeneity and difference are all matters that confound us, inhabitants of globalized cyberspace today and enter the arena of public debate in much the same way as they did within Romanticism. Perhaps the most obvious link between the two paradigms is their troubled relationship with the Enlightenment project. Simon Penny argues that “Virtual reality is the completion of the Enlightenment project” (238). Cline takes up a similar argument to which he adds the Romantic and postmodern paradigms: “not only may virtual worlds be seen as a fulfillment of the Enlightenment project, it may be seen as a fulfillment of a revision of the Enlightenment project, tempered by romantic and feminist criticism. Romantics emphasized the importance of experience and imagination, whereas feminists emphasized the importance of relationship. The primary domains, or activities, in virtual space are sightseeing, interacting, and world-building. Interacting emphasizes the importance of relationship. Sightseeing emphasizes the importance of experience; and world-building emphasizes the importance of imagination.”(18) Fan fiction will be addressed from the vantage point of authorship negotiation and practices and will be used to illuminate the competing discourses of modernity and postmodernity. It will also be evaluated as a distinct literary genre/tool for identity negotiation through symbolic interaction. Both these digital narrative strategies will help us discover important continuities between Romantic, Enlightenment and Postmodern discourses which will be proved to inform the identity formation of the digital generation in a new postmodern- revisionist type of sensibility.

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Digital Narratives and Their Difficult Relationship with Romanticism A considerable amount of scholarship has gone into research on fan fiction, both from the viewpoint of literary studies (Pugh 2005 being the most notable example) and cultural studies (Black 2008, Jenkins 1992, Knobel and Lankshear 2007, Thomas, A. 2007, to name but a few); those addressing fan fiction from the vantage point of cultural studies/sociology/ media studies have, as one would expect, delved into identity construction, second-language exercise and the like, paying almost no attention to the cultural paradigm this particular form of narrative enterprise might belong to, let alone the contentious aspects it might reveal in the way of postmodern re-topicalizations. Sheenagh Pugh, in his groundbreaking The Democratic Genre-Fan fiction in a literary context, explores the cultural tradition that goes back to Romanticism and even before that inasmuch as authorship and our understanding of canon is concerned, but rapidly switches to analyzing fan fiction as a literary genre and its conventions in a very practical, and indeed enlightening manner. Richard Coyne in Technoromanticism: Digital Narrative, Holism, and the Romance of the Real makes a singular attempt1 to connect digital narratives (in a very broad sense) to various paradigms that colour our contemporary weltanschauung (structuralism, Heidegger and the phenomenologists, Foucault’s bodily discipline, Freud or Lacan) against the grain of the Romanticism that informs the quest for transcendence and unity counterweighed by rationalism and science. His is an ambitious project that nonetheless fails to account for the influence Romanticism has had on the various paradigms he sets it against. By correlating these perspectives in an analysis of identity shaping among teenagers who engage in writing fan fiction and further expanding the fan fic canon into fan fic RP2, several questions will arise: how does the Romantic quest for alternative realities and recuperated identity through the play on avatar multiplicity (reminiscent of Romantic imaginary universes) match the counter-Romantic narrative strategies that do away with the solitary genius and intangible authorship? Where does the postmodern condition come into discussion? How valid, indeed, is it to exclusively apply concepts of dislocation, fragmented selves, and transnational communities when it is unclear what exactly is at stake in the case of fan fiction? Finally, how can these communities of teenagers (and not only) be associated with a political attitude in a day and age when everything seems to boil down to ideology? Might their immersion into VR (virtual reality) express a certain political attitude? It is well beyond the scope of this paper to set about

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answering all these questions, some of which are rather tentative and serve a merely hovering purpose, but we will attempt to shed some light on the inner workings of Romantic-postmodern sensibility as we correlate it with fan fic activity. First, we must probe the difficult relationship romanticism has with the postmodern via cyberspace. Along the line of thinking according to which virtual reality is not a rupture, but rather a continuation of textual culture through other means (after all, medieval illuminated manuscripts or William Blake’s original editions function to all intents and purposes as hypertexts), it follows that language is still the one governing virtual reality to a great extent, forming the basis of on-line interaction, of course aided by image and sound in a multi-modal form of expression. This is what Mark Poster would call “the wrappings of language” where the subject is completely immersed in a world of signifiers (15). Holstein and Gubrium (71) have suggested that in the hyperreal contemporary culture, the self is “as much narratively constituted as actually lived”; “self and its associated vocabulary are a living language game.”(84) Much like in role-playing games, in everyday life, “[w]ho we are ultimately taken to be as individuals derives as much from the way we story ourselves, the textual material available for storytelling, and the ways in which stories are ‘read’ and ‘heard,’ as from who and what we might ostensibly be in our own rights. These, of course, are the intertextual contours of the self we live by” (Holstein and Gubrium 205). With fan fiction, language is even more so of utmost importance, as it represents the criterion by which realities are organized, starting from a first-order reality of the original text, moving to a second-order of the fan fiction text and sometimes even further departing from the latter, which has been readily canonized. Here is where we begin to perceive a link with Romanticism since “(…) language is nature in the romantic universe: “language…must be seen as another aspect of a nature which can only ever be understood by the recombination of its elements” (Bowie 1997:73). John David Black draws on Bowie to coin the “technoromantic” as a new type of identity in our contemporary virtual culture that continues the Romantic tradition through the relationship it establishes between subject, object and language: “Cyberspace is in this sense a twenty-first century extension of the world of the imagination that the romantics believed was our

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everyday reality. In recognizing the need to have the on-line self warranted by a warm body, and in accepting that a linguistically constituted cyberspace is natural, we technoromantics find ourselves strangely at home in these new environments.” (Black 129) Whether one situates oneself on the side of technophiles or technophobes, the source of these attitudes, the stem of the debate remains undeniably one of romantic origins, be it a “cyberexceptionalism,” as David Trend dubs it (53) in which virtual reality constitutes a radically new mode of expression, a revolutionary change in communication that ushers in completely new forms of expression and subjectivity, or a continuation of romantic ideals about a common language that engenders equality and the long-awaited dream of unified, transcendent subjectivity. At the other end of the spectrum are of course those who pit against virtual reality contemporary social theories of fragmentation and diversity that form the anti-hierarchal basis of the postmodern condition. The digital space thus becomes a space of contention between two different ways of thinking about the present as either continuation (in Patricia Waugh’s phrasing, postmodernism may be perceived as “a late-flowering Romanticism” (3)) or rupture. The complexity of this may benefit from a narrowing down in scope, which is precisely where a discussion of narrative strategies in virtual reality (in both the narrow sense of story-telling and the broader sense of text-production) proves to be illuminating. Peter Otto synthetically expresses this line of continuity between Romanticism and Postmodernism by resorting to the relationship between subjectivity and reality. “as is often remarked, immersion in a computer-mediated virtual world closely resembles the ‘willing suspension of disbelief ’ described by Coleridge as necessary if the virtual worlds of fiction are to emerge. In both Romanticism and postmodernism, immersion/suspension of disbelief eclipses the ‘real’ and in its place opens a heterocosm, a world (purportedly) of imaginative and expressive freedom centred on the individual.”(Otto 13) Fan fiction Tropes – Negotiating Inventio Fan fiction is a salient example in this direction, its special relationship to canon and traditionally accepted Romantic representations of authorship being a fruitful starting point for discussing the identity

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formation of teenagers as producers of text in the contemporary world. Fan fiction subcategorizes various types according to the relationship they bear to a canon: alternate universe (AU) stories, where there can be either stories changing one or more major plot elements while operating in the same “world” as the canon, or stories that only borrow canon characters and place them in a different world altogether. A variation is the “crossover” story, where characters from different canons meet in a neutral setting or simply a character from one canon enters a different canon to interact with the characters there. It is in this area of fan fiction writing where most creativity is invested and where we can argue for a dialectics of imitation-inventio that may arguably be considered outside the postmodern and perhaps overused “death-of-the-author” paradigm. For could it not be argued that what fan fiction writers actually do is build on a cultural tradition that is necessarily there as part of their background, but in which they invest original thought so as to negotiate their identities and new modes of expression through imagination? Fanfic writers stand a good chance of being perceived as original creators, despite the blurry definitions of originality within postmodernist theory: “If we accept these two ideas we can re-conceptualize an image of young fanfic writers without the stigma associated with Jenkins’s use of de Certeau’s term “poacher” (Jenkins 1992) and, instead, with the notion that they are active manipulators and designers of original texts, using given cultural artifacts as a scaffold and launching point from which to develop considerable and worthwhile originality.” (Knobel, Lankshear 138) The wide variety of tropes and genres that have been rapidly emerging in fanfic writing (be it book, anime, film or TV-series-related) does suggest that not only is this becoming a literary genre in its own right, but that it also is more and more so an original production reflecting on a range of issues with which young people are confronted, thus providing a space for them to enact multiple social identities. Busse and Hellekson have contributed a comprehensive listing of tropes associated with fan fiction, emphasizing the “three main genres(..) gen, het, and slash,” from a completely different perspective than the literary one discussed above. However, these genres, organized around the sexual orientation of characters go a long way towards showing how sexual orientation has become a criterion for categorizing this second-order reality of fanfic, hinting at an enhanced awareness of such categories in real life. Busse and Hellekson also list hurt/comfort stories, which involve providing comfort or solace

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to an injured character, Mpreg(pregnant male), deathfic, “curtainfic, or fic so domestic that the main characters, often male slash pairings, shop for curtains together” (11), episode fix, episode tag or missing scene, fluff (or WAFF) stories that enhance sentimentalism and “cuteness, PWPs (acronym of plot-what plot?) where sexually explicit content takes over the actual plot. According to their research “Some authors deliberately write badfic, or bad fiction, which is often parodic” (11) and which typically includes a Mary Sue kind of character, endowed with exceptional qualities, a herotype that is implausible and therefore mocked. Other genres are featured on the extremely interesting site tvtropes.org, which puts forward an immense vocabulary of fanfic literary terms deserving an in-depth analysis themselves; these include crack fanfic (where the situations or settings are extremely unlikely and completely original, which is why they stand a good chance of turning into bad writing and a small chance of being of very good quality) or Angst (with multiple variations ranging from the excessive Wangst -whiny and angsty- to a self-parodic angst‑Angst? What Angst?). Categorization of tropes for fan fiction seems never-ending as it oscillates between self-parody and dead seriousness. The ones we have listed above open up possible discussions about fandoms constituting places for emotional rehearsal and sexual identity enactment, particularly in the case of teenagers: fluff/WAFF stories, for example, are obviously primarily directed towards eliciting emotional response from readers, therefore ensuring emotional gratification. Others, such as slash fanfic or curtainfic may serve as rehearsals of queer identity, might be coming-out processes within the safe haven of the fandom community, or might simply be responses to contemporary social and cultural issues that permeate teenagers’ area of interest. Quite different from this strand of fan fic is the one that feigns respect for the canon, focusing on either episode fix or episode tag strategies, by which stories are simply filled in where they fail to meet the expectations of their audience, or where it is felt that a gap exists in the fabric of the story. Sequels and prequels to TV-series episodes/ films/books usually help fill the emotional void left in the reader/viewer following the termination of the respective instalment of ‘text.’ Sometimes, canon fan fiction may take place in AU, or might simply attempt to imitate the style and build on the cultural context in which a certain writer had produced his/her work. One striking example is Jane Austen fan fic on the Republic of Pemberley fandom: “The Republic of Pemberley is designed and intended to allow members of the Pemberley community to honour Jane Austen,

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appreciate her genius, and share this with others who feel the same. The Bits of Ivory board is a part of Pemberley whose purpose is exactly the same as the rest of the site. The stories at Bits of Ivory are intended to present Jane Austen’s characters behaving as she wrote them in scenes we might wish she had an opportunity to write herself. We may describe what happens before or after the events in the novels, re-tell parts from the point of view of another character, or elaborate scenes which she, in her wisdom, did not describe in great detail. In this, the guide is Jane Austen’s own sense of taste and humanity. Bits of Ivory (and by extension, Pemberley itself ) is not, nor do we ever intend to allow it to become, a writers’ forum. We do not have the space for writers of any kind to discuss their own writing process. We have never envisaged BOI to be a teaching tool, or a resource and repository for academic writing available to the public at large. BOI is simply yet another, very Pemberlean, expression of the delights to be found in Jane Austen’s genius.” (http://www.pemberley.com/) Such strict prescriptions seem to push those contributing to The Republic of Pemberley into the “more of ” rather than “more from” category, according to Sheenagh Pugh’s categorization (2005), with little scope for originality. The latter example of canon fan fiction can hardly be assimilated to the kind of literary endeavour we have so far associated with fan fiction as a genre (of which two distinctive features have emerged-reflexivity upon the source text and an original engagement with the reflexive process which allows for self-expression and negotiation of identity); nonetheless, this too is an exercise in reflexivity, however devoid of much original input. To conclude, the relationship fan fiction has with Romanticism through issues related to authorship, self-expression and individuality is indeed a multifaceted one. If we hold with Black’s view that “romanticism’s anti-foundationalist epistemology provides a basis for a very different definition of technology.(…) technology be seen not as the medium for some anti-dialectical power, but rather as the extension of subjects creatively reworking the mental and material contexts of their lives.” (Black 135) then we return to our initial premises to confirm that a new hypostasisation of Romanticism is present in digital narratives, a Romanticism that is typological, transhistorical, an Arch-Romanticism (see Bogdan Stefanescu

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2001) that rests on subjective idealism, anarchic ideology, discursive symbolism and the coherence of microcosms. With fan fiction, the attempt to harmonize microcosms of individual subjectivity is perhaps the most notable Romantic feature, as well as the relationship it establishes between past-present-future within the narrative world, where it seeks to create the past anew or mould its continuity in the present and thus negotiate the unfolding of the future. Questions related to authorship, which most obviously demolish any Romantic perspective on digital narratives in fact boil down to originality, to the imitation-inventio relationship that is traditionally accepted as consecrated by the Romantics, as Netanel notes: “The romantic ideal of the author envisions a solitary creator blessed with unique, transcendent insight, a ‘genius’, who brings forth into the world an entirely new and original work of art. In introducing ‘a new element into the intellectual universe’, the romantic author-genius draws solely upon his own independent vision, eschewing any imitation or reliance upon the work of others.” (Netanel 24) But isn’t this the perfect example of mystification that overlooks the heteromorphism of perceptions on originality even amidst the romantics themselves? Moore Howard draws attention to the famous case of Wordsworth’s 1789 preface to the Lyrical Ballads, considered the mark of originality until a 1954 article by Robert Mayo disclosed the existence of the ideas that it puts forward in previous literature. Then the question is: “Can it mean that these canonized writers’ work is a sham-that they are not, after all, ‘true’ authors? Or might it mean that authorship ‘means’ something other than-or at least something more complicated than-‘autonomous’ and ‘originary’?” (134) Tilar Mazzeo contributes an interesting perspective to the discussion, as he brings forth Edward Young’s pre-Romantic Conjectures on Original composition (1759) in which originality is defined as the imitation of universals or common cultural elements in another author’s work, while appropriation of particulars (style, tone etc.) was deemed unoriginal. Mazzeo further brings up Coleridge’s defence of the originality of Virgil, who while copying created afresh. Teenagers, who make up the majority3 of fanfic writers, would therefore seem to negotiate their cultural identities in a postmodern age marked by Lyotard’s definition of the postmodern condition: “Postmodernism thus

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understood is not Modernism at its end but in the nascent state, and this state is constant” (79) in which they re-experience romanticism with its propensity for the sublime and individual expression through the means of virtual reality within a historically postmodern framework. In Peter Otto’s words: “Virtual reality, it appears, draws on the conflicting rhetorics of Enlightenment and romanticism. It concludes a tradition or representation inspired by the Enlightenment, breaks with this tradition, but in so doing returns to Romanticism. The mechanical age concludes with an apparent oxymoronic return to its beginning.”(Otto 14) Fan Fiction Role-play-Performing Identity through Narrativity Itself a dialogic genre that allows for disclaimers, headers giving insight into the story that follows and intentions of the author, reviews from Beta readers, use of various privacy settings for publishing stories, fan fiction becomes even more democratic through RPG (role-play games) that involve collaborative, spontaneous writing between several individuals, usually departing from the canon and sometimes even from the fanfic canon to produce completely original dialogue/narrative. Fan fiction RP can be written in both the first and third person and also includes descriptions, character sheets, out-of-character dialogue (that serves the purpose of personal interaction between writers or establishes the direction in which the plot is heading) that account for an impressive amount of metatextual dialogue and identity negotiation. Occasionally, I will be drawing upon interviews carried out as an incipient research into the question of RP identity formation with teenagers (Cynthia-17, RP-ing with Blake’s 7 community on Facebook and Meagan-18, RP-ing with We Are The Monsters) to illustrate several of the points I wish to make about the peculiar genre/social practice of RP. While teenagers negotiate their avatar’s identity, their online persona emerges as an auctorial interstice between the real-life person and the avatar. Goffman’s differentiation between “playing” and “playing at” (99) proves useful in the context of RPs who not only negotiate the identity of their avatar, but at the same time establish intrapersonal boundaries. Individuals may also “distance” themselves from a role by creating “a wedge between the individual and his role, between doing and being” (108). The distance is sometimes necessary while closeness is required to be able to perform the

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avatar and engage in meaningful storytelling. As Cynthia confesses: “My character interacts in several ways with her crazy fallen angel family, her lover and ex lovers’, their children, and other angels. She often can be a bit of a smartass, and she tends to playfully flirt with her brother’s girlfriends and ex wife just for the heck of it. I can think the way the character would but if she was ever to influence me in real life I am pretty sure things would be bad. She’s a bit violent and has 15 kids or so.” Establishing intrapersonal boundaries in her case reflects in morallyladen value judgments and considerations upon what is socially accepted and, therefore, good for the individual. Interestingly enough same-sex flirtation is seen as perfectly acceptable if gratuitous. Being able to think as the character would, but not allowing herself to be influenced by it in RL, points to conscious identity role rehearsals and choices. Meagan seems more open to letting the avatar or her online gaming persona take over: “With a character they generally begin to live their own lives; you become the tool that gives them life, but they take over. Whether you want them controlled or not is up to you, but be careful. I once played a Jack Napier (The Joker from ‘Batman’) character and found that my mind was a little more devious than usual.” In Meagan’s case, the identity negotiation seems less conscious, and redolent of the Romantic daimon taking over in the creative process. However, she displays awareness of the changes that occur and how her persona seeps into the person. Manipulating various “texts” in the process of creating an OC (original character) points to the multimodal character of RP games, inasmuch as they require knowledge from variegated cultural areas: “Thor, Zeus, and Ares have been challenging because they are the opposite gender and you don’t see much of their personal lives in mythology. When I start usually I have to figure out information on at least one parent and then work from there, and chose a name from the same stories the parents came from or if I know their other parent was a god from the start I would pick something from that mythology then take little things from the parents personality wise and find a picture to use based on the parents looks and once I have the picture I analyse the pictures being

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used for something that sticks out about the personality or just about the looks. Pictures from bands usually not well known are usually used and if the picture is from a metal band the characters are typically darker, or if it is of a musician that is shown in an ‘asylum’ the characters usually end up pretty crazy.” (Cynthia) A seemingly Dadaist process of creating characters appears to emerge from Cynthia’s description, but it may well be the result of her becoming used to treating different cultural texts as precisely that: texts to be wrought into personal, original creations that nonetheless take into consideration certain imperatives that are almost ontological, such as the parents’ characteristics or the physical features in the photos she chooses as visual avatars for her characters. It is extremely interesting that there is a fine balance between conscious choice and a sort of “given” of the texts she uses. This indicates a romantic attitude focused on the “nature” of the object that is “truth” and that the creator may imitate in all originality. Despite originally appearing more relaxed about intrapersonal boundaries, Meagan draws attention to the dangers involved in acting out your character: “Know that there are risks to role playing online; there are certain people who are actually fake behind the character as well as the character itself, there are also chances that you may fall for the person behind the character as well; which can add to the hurt if your character gets cheated on. You must be able to separate the two lives (RP and RL) and keep them separate; if you find it hard to do that then I don’t recommend role play for the first timer. But even the most experienced role player has a chance of mixing the two worlds; it just takes time to realize that what happens online, stays online and it shouldn’t affect your real life.” In terms of social interactions online, both interviewees expressed the same attitude towards multiculturalism: nationality or religion is not important as long as the players have an acceptable level of English so as to allow the flow of the story: “We have had some issues with extremely narcissistic trolls that could barely speak English but nothing as far as multicultural issues. We have a few Aussies, British, Scottish, Americans, and religious issues aren’t bad either.” (Cynthia)/ “Most of the people that I talk to are from other countries or North America, but

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even if they’re from Chile, France, Germany, or another area they usually know how to speak English enough that I don’t have any issues. If so there is always Google Translate.” (Meagan) Meagan also confesses to developing very close relationships to the other players: “We talk a lot OOC but we are always multitasking and we RP and talk at the same time. Most of us have been RPing together for at least 3 years with some coming and going due to real life commitments and other conflicts. We do grow close and I even have parent figures considering my lack of parent figures in real life. I even met one of my friends and we have gone to a Renaissance Festival and other fun places. Most of us do not meet but it is likely it could happen in the next few years.” The negotiation of identity thus exemplified touches on many aspects that now form the core of research into the construction of online identities by teenagers: enhancing literacy, coping with multiculturalism through the universal, if hegemonic, power of English, seeking emotional gratification and practising identity roles, and playing with the liminality of the online persona. As Jenkins (208) points out, teenagers become “consumers who also produce, readers who also write, and spectators who also participate.” This claim runs counter to the one put forward by Agger: “Postmodernity is based on a self-conscience alienation, which becomes a consideration and a manipulation” (115); the latter comes alongside others’ perspective on the Internet being the creation of postmodernism (Hutcheon, 2002; Kellner, 1995; Poster, 2001) where selves are fragmented, objectified and commercially produced. This is what Kenneth Gergen (1991) describes by “multiphrenia”, but while all these claims might be applicable to a wide range of digital narratives of the self, in the case of RPs they seem slightly out of place although to some extent they might appear to be in conformity. What RPs do is far from drifting on the Internet looking for an identity or making do with a fragmented, episodic one. Instead, theirs is arguably a Romantic adventure in which their imagination takes over online and enables the performance of their avatars. From the two interviews quoted above alone (but research literature abounds in such examples: Thomas, R. Black, Knobel and Lankshear) one gets the image of a way of representing the self that invests individual subjectivity with a power closer to that of modernity than the postmodern condition described in the literature presented above. Or might it be that self-representation is in fact tarrying

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with a long cultural tradition that carries over into the postmodern cyberspace? Conclusions The entanglements of identity construction in the digital space among an adolescent community that seems to have monopolized the production of online narratives invites analysis from a multidisciplinary perspective; and still, it appears that ultimately focusing on individuals or restricted communities is a more reliable way to expand knowledge and contribute to a fast-growing, almost instantaneous phenomenon. This conclusion may well appear to render our enterprise redundant if it had not been thought out as a mere exploration of possible themes that, given due consideration, would succeed in casting a different (and perhaps useful) light over the riddles of postmodern digitalism. Our attempts at gauging identity formation through fan fiction RPing has served its intended purpose from this point of view: to suggest that beyond discussions about the politics of cyberspace (and implicitly the postmodern politics governing much of the research carried out in this field), individual cases, qualitative research and a matter-of-fact approach to cyberspace, may reveal extremely compelling relationships between the Enlightenment project, Romanticism and postmodernism. Romanticism is an umbrella term that has been abused perhaps and had better be used in its plural form; however, as we have shown, from a typological point of view, it can be safely applied transhistorically and especially within the antinomian relationship between postmodernism and the Enlightenment project create alternative interrogative spaces. Cyberspace and digital fandoms seem to owe a lot to Romanticism to the same extent to which they contradict it and the same goes for the other two paradigms discussed above; this is why we would like to suggest that the complexity of the whole digital world not be reduced to a single operating critical discourse. Moreover, if we are to give postmodernism its due, we should not neglect its revisiting and revisionist faculties, nor should we disregard the ways in which, at least as regards cyberspace, it would benefit from such an exercise. Also, given that cyberspace is such a densely populated environment, of which fan fiction and fan fiction RP are but a fraction, perhaps it would be advisable to colour postmodernism in different ideological hues according to the different narrative strategies and identity practices that come under scrutiny. Teenagers, as the leading fan fiction contributors and products of the digital age, therefore become the promoters of a new postmodern-romantic

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sensibility, claiming renewed theoretical gear from sociology, cultural studies, literary theory and educational theory and requiring, through their online practices a gaze backwards into the future (like Klee’s famous Angelus Novus) that might transform the way we think of our postmodern condition, or at least rendering it more nuanced.

NOTES See also Fred Botting (2008), who integrates digital narratives with Romanticism and the Gothic. 2 Role-play, a spin-off of fan fiction in which characters are usually completely original and participants assume these self-created avatars to engage in dialogue and collaborative story-writing 3 According to research carried out by FanFiction net, 80% of those members who revealed their age are between 13 and 17 years old. http://ffnresearch.blogspot. com/2011/03/fan-fiction-demographics-in-2010-age.html 1

REFERENCES Agger, Ben. The virtual self: a contemporary sociology. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. Black, John David. The politics of enchantment: romanticism, media, and cultural studies. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2002. Black, Rebecca. Adolescents and online fan fiction. Volume 23 of New literacies and digital epistemologies. London: Peter Lang, 2008. Botting, Fred. Virtual Romanticism. Romanticism and Postmodernism. Larissy, E. ed. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1999. Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers Television Fans & Participatory Culture. London, New York: Routledge, 1992. Cline, Mychilo. Virtual Reality: a Catalyst for Social and Economic Change. Seattle: University Village Press, 2009. Coyne, Richard. Technoromanticism: Digital Narrative, Holism, and the romance of the Real. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press. 1999. Gergen, Kenneth . The saturated self: dilemmas of identity in contemporary. New York: Basic Books, 1992. Hellekson, Karen, Busse, Kristina. Work in Progress in Hellekson, K., Busse, K., eds. Fan fiction and fan communities in the age of the Internet: new essays. Carolina: McFarland, 2006. Goffman, Erving. Encounters: two studies in the sociology of interaction. Volume 1 of The advanced studies in sociology series. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1961. Holstein,James, Gubrium, Jaber. The self we live by: narrative identity in a postmodern world. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000 Hutcheon, Linda. The politics of postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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Kellner, Douglas. Media culture: cultural studies, identity, and politics between the modern and the postmodern. Oxford:Routledge, 1995. Knobel, M, Lankshear, C. A new literacies sampler Volume 29 of New literacies and digital epistemologies. Oxford:Peter Lang, 2007. Print. Mazzeo, Tilar. Plagiarism and literary property in the Romantic period Material texts. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Moore Howard, Rebecca. Standing in the shadow of giants: plagiarists, authors, collaborators Issue 2 of Perspectives on writing. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999. Netanel, Neil. Why has Copyright Expanded? Analysis and Critique in Macmillan Fiona, ed. New directions in copyright law, Volume 6. Cheltenham: Elgar Publishing, 2007 Otto, Peter. Multiplying Worlds: Romanticism, Modernity, and the Emergence of Virtual Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Penny, Simon. Virtual reality - the completion of the Enlightenment project in Culture on the Brink: Ideologies of Technology, ed Gretchen Bender and Timothy Druckrey. Seattle: Seattle Bay Press, 1994. Poster, Mark. The mode of information: poststructuralism and social context. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990 Poster, Mark. What’s the matter with the Internet? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. Pugh, Sheenagh. The democratic genre: fan fiction in a literary context. Glasgow: Seren, 2005. Stefanescu, Bogdan. Romanticism. Between Forma Mentis and Historical Profile. Revising the Epistemology of Romantic Studies. Constanta: Ex Ponto, 2001 Thomas, Angela. Youth online: identity and literacy in the digital age. Volume 19 of New literacies and digital epistemologies. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007 Trend, David. Reading digital culture. Volume 4 of Keyworks in cultural studies. New Jersey: Wiley Blackwell, 2001. Waugh, Patricia. Practising postmodernism, reading modernism. London: Edward Arnold, 1992

Codruta Pohrib is Master of Arts in British Cultural Studies and a Ph. D. candidate. Her dissertation paper is in the field of Childhood Studies with a bent towards (post)modern negotiations and cultural politics. She has worked as a teacher of English at George Cosbuc National Bilingual High School for six years, where she teaches Language, Literature and Culture and Civilization classes. She has also worked with British Council Bucharest, where she has organized workshops and seminars on various cultural topics ranging from globalization to digital culture. She is also a Debate and Critical Thinking trainer and has coordinated multimedia webzines and projects. Her interests are in childhood studies, modernity and postmodernity studies, postcommunism, memory studies, and virtual worlds.

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Ruxandra Bularca

Collaboration: Architectures of a Storytelling Bazaar1 “We are the last. The last generation to be unaugmented. The last generation to be intellectually alone. The last generation to be limited by our bodies. We are the first. The first generation to be augmented. The first generation to be intellectually together. The first generation to be limited only by our imaginations. We’re so exquisitely privileged to be living in this time, to be born right on the precipice of the greatest paradigm shift in human history, the only thing that approaches the importance of that reality is finding like minds that realize the same, and being able to make some connection with them.” Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near.

ABSTRACT While much of the interactive media world has embraced advanced graphics technology for visualizing stunning virtual worlds, there are many reasons why purely textual works and worlds are still a valuable form of entertainment and a testbed for research. This paper will discuss new ways of storytelling, ways that are enhanced and endorsed by Web 2.0 technologies and practices. The study will also try to emphasize the differences between the various forms of telling stories online as well as discuss their drawbacks, looking to create, theoretically speaking, an ideal architecture for collaborative fiction environments. The case studies comprised in the study will hopefully shed some light regarding what we casually call “collaboration”. Keywords: the Cathedral and the Bazaar, digital native, digital immigrant, ludology, narratology, collaborative writing What Is Collaboration and (why) Do We Need It

W

riting literature collaboratively is not news. In the Middle Ages or Renaissance, writing was a derivative and collective endeavour and a book was the product of one (seldom unknown) author but many contributors, a fact that changed when British publishers and royal prerogative coined the

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proto‑copyright law in 1710, the Statue of Anne2. People have been writing in this fashion for ages and literary historians and scholars, ever since the Enlightenment, when some of the light was shed upon the idea, argue that every book or text ever written is an exegesis, hence a dialogue and inherently a collaboration with authors from the past of the work in question. In fact it’s been happening for so long that textualists par excellence and even deconstructionists such as Derrida3 are inclined to think that there is no primary text all other texts derive from, and all that is written after this supposedly first text is just a cloud of texts that hold solely the intuition of the meaning of that first text, as common ground, collaboratively of course. If we were to sum up roughly Derrida’s ideas, we could say that all a text ever does is to tiptoe around its own meaning, collaborate with other texts and their interpretations, never actually succeeding to “speak” itself. On a more contemporary note, eResearcher Brian Holmes4 and curator Maria Lind5 reinforce the idea that there is no non-collaboration, as such, in art or culture. I would argue that, in fact, the collaboration these scholars speak about revolves mostly around a form of collective work or sharing (which is the first step of collaboration but not the collaboration itself – sharing is reinstating the author and the work, a singularity). Not collaborative work. Digital collaboration involves willingness, a common goal in a positivist definition, non-hierarchical systems and some other traits and features that I will explain below. As we can see, Enlightenment is an unfinished project. Writers have since employed four-hand written stories to celebrate the joy of writing and intertwined minds. Still why is collaboration such a debated topic now-a-days? The answer is half obvious. The employment of user empowering capabilities for the so-called Web 2.0 technologies brought with it the main clues. Web 2.0 is responsible for popularizing tools that have earlier been accessible to limited elites of users, as well as for rendering a more accurate image of the environment inhabited by netnatives. Although almost all of the current Web 2.0 platforms have been built on a centralized model, binding their users to a certain tool or device, it is safe to assume that creativity inhabits every single byte this environment has to offer. Within the context of the digital environment, already commuted into a conversation and no longer standing as a simple information repository, a paradigm shift occurs. This shift leads to the emergence of personal literary “Micro-Canons” in the form of literary communities and their writing products and some restatements of the traditional literary roles: text, author, reader. This means that readers can

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or must become writers that usually end up rebelling against what literary tradition authoritatively taught them and, in order to make themselves noticed or present (!) inside virtual communities or web environments. This is actually one of the arguments on which this study sets its grounds. This argument states that, in a virtual environment, presence is textual, par excellence, given the fact that in any artificial environment except for our everyday reality, existence is quantified by manifestation. My reasons for focusing on collaborative writing environments are two-fold. First, and most important in this setting, the development of the underlying theories and normalizations needed to build collaborative systems, as well as the construction of such systems, raises interesting questions and intellectual challenges across the field of philology. Second, the results of these inquiries promise to have significant theoretical impact on the way we perceive traditional literary categories, the way we perceive a body of text and the way we think of the concept of authorship and decentralized networking architectures and interoperability. There is much to be gained by looking in particular at one kind of group behaviour, collaboration. Collaboration6 is defined, in most of the dictionaries or encyclopaedias consulted, as working together to achieve a goal. It usually is inherently recursive and goes beyond the concept of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, standing as a deep collective determination, initially stated, creative by default and consensus-building in nature, in order to reach an identical objective. Its art stresses the principles of negotiation. Linguistically speaking, collaboration implies more or less hierarchically equal partners who work together. That is also the case with what I identified to be Literary Collaborative Writing as a new form of social organisation through online networks. I would argue that we do not really need literary collaborative writing. Centuries of mono-authorship culture have proved us without a doubt that a dialogue can be carried with other finite works without meddling in their birth process. Still, collaboration enhances the propagation of the ever present pop culture and stresses restrictive intellectual property laws. Fan-fiction was only a milestone on the way towards textual universe building inside communities. The rise of conversational platforms inside the Internet determined the import of artistic practices like fiction writing. And who is to enjoy and celebrate the pinnacle of creativity than fiction writers and story consumers? Storytelling tradition is based upon what Brook called “The Sense of an Ending” in his book bearing the same title. Collaborative fiction

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platforms support the literary potential of their netnatives in building a new sense, the sense of a story – that drives writers in working together and create common universes. The collective intelligence is working to create a collective story about itself, offering feedback to academically acknowledged literary canons for fiction production. Marshall McLuhan, the guru of media exegesis, stated “As new technologies come into play, people become less and less convinced of the importance of self-expression. Teamwork succeeds private effort.”7 This indeed seems to be the tendency of the digitally born creative forms of expression, although in this day and age collaborative writing is seen just as a shallow umbrella-concept for most of the things that go on any digital platform. And to conclude, it is widely regarded (McLuhan, Prensky etc.) that creating collaboratively is the very milestone of digital natives. A digital native is a person that was the epistemological offspring of the Internet (or before that, the Intranet), a person born in the so-called Web 1.08, raised in the ways of Web 2.09 and which will probably grow old watching the (almost) shimmering lights of the dawn of Web 3.010 – a web enhanced by Semantic Web technologies. The digital native interacts with new technologies from an early stage of his life, he/she transform himself/herself in a cultural actor in the web scenery and comes to know its dynamics and its specifics like he/she knows the small corners of the room he/she was born in. Mark Prensky, the teacher that coined one of the meanings of the term11 understands it in a dichotomy with something he calls a digital immigrant which would be the individual born, or culturally formed before the implementing of any digital circumvention. He adopts technology at a certain point in his late life and all these mechanisms that favour new technologies id est before the ‘70s, when it’s safe to assume that the Web Era became a hype. The terms draw from an analogy that refers to the people inhabiting a country for which religion, language and customs are natural and indigenous, compared to the digital immigrants of which is expected to get accustomed to the ways of the “land”. Prensky goes forward to employ the use of other land-related concepts such as a certain “accent” and “dialect” belonging to the digital immigrants (like printed documents and scribbling being preferred to screen comment or, in other case, printing e-mails in order to save and archive them as “hard copies”). Digital immigrants are known to have a thick and analogue accent when seen operating in a digital set; they adopt pre-digital fashions of structuring discourse or rendering such as inviting people into a room to show them a link rather than to

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send them the link by a messenger client. Hence, digital natives grow up to build virtual communities where they can interact12, communities with different goals that function according to the principles of networking technologies and collaborative enterprises13. Such a collaborative endeavour might be likened with the idea of a “bazaar”. Thus, we will call a collaborative writing environment, a storytelling bazaar. The Storytelling Bazaar and Its Architectures One too Many Cathedrals Many too Many Bazaars “Moglen’s metaphorical Corollary to Faraday’s law says that if you wrap the Internet around every person on the planet and spin the planet, software flows in the network. It’s an emergent property of connected human minds that they create things for one another’s pleasure and to conquer their uneasy sense of being too alone”. Egben Moglen, Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright14 These past centuries produced numerous accounts of collaborative instances. However, none is as effective and worthy to be taken into consideration as the Free Software Movement15, which provides us with the backbone of collaboration principles. With its roots in Eric Raymond’s manifesto for free circulation of information in the digital medium, the next part of this study will try to compare two reading/writing models: the cathedral - which serves the traditional reading; and the bazaar - which is in fact the specific object of this digital environment where reading produces writing, where different meanings and interpretations are negotiated in an ad hoc manner and narration is in a perpetual and infinite (re-)writing. In 1997, Eric S. Raymond presents his essay entitled The Cathedral and the Bazaar16, in Wurzburg, at the Linux Congress. This essay – the first freely distributed book according to then-fresh open source ideology that it promotes – is a fascinating tale about the prevalence and efficiency of free software compared to the top-down hierarchical model of corporate software programming. This particular work will eventually lead to official acknowledgement regarding collaborative systems in World Wide Web that

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function nowadays inside the open source software movement guarded by GPL, as well as in what the internet prophet Tim Berners Lee calls a Read/ Write Web17. Appointing himself an accidental revolutionary man, Raymond sets in contrast two production models for software – the Cathedral – a closed hierarchical model, and the Bazaar – a non-hierarchical model, open, apparently chaotic but highly efficient and permanently perfectible. And augmented, of course, as we already know from Kurzweil’s quote that opens this study. I will apply these models to storytelling and literary production in the following pages. I will not dwell long, though, on the cathedral model since we are all used to it by non-digital literary tradition and reading customs. I also chose not to detail Raymond’s terminology, as I will refer only to the consequences of these two systems applied to literature. The Cathedral Model Literary tradition has accustomed us with the notion of the book as an aesthetic object – I do mean its content – singular, unique, conceived by a sole authorial instance. The Cathedral work is an environment the reader enters piously and respectfully and makes a pact with the text, turns pages one by one according to secular instructions and tiptoes through the authored world as to not disturb the lines of the written story; whispering in marginalia, scribbling beside the Text, lonely scribbling that will never carry a true dialogue with the main text lying beside. The virgin text is never to be infiltrated by profane thoughts and will remain untarnished for future generations. We can imagine the linear text of a book as a dogma that educates the yet inexperienced reader’s look and intellect in all the twists and turns of the authored world in these written pages. We can also imagine the author as a sort of a preacher sitting and talking to the crowd of one (the quiet and anonymous reader, that is) about the world he/she is creating, its characters and the narrative networks woven between them. Each text can thus be likened to a religion that has its own instruction manual (suspension of disbelief, the naratar18, etc), its founding rites (ars poetica, its place in the literary network19, etc.) and of course its prayer ritual (the rhythm of reading, most often established by the author through cadence, intertextuality, etc). The idea of the cathedral is actually the amount of labour put into building carefully a textual chronotope and the semantic alloys for the manners of expression.

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Bazaar Model Or Writing Stories Online New Media20 Writing, such as most of us know, specifically intertwined with the Web 2.0 but not the equivalent of it, incorporates visual effects, sounds and different platforms for rendering software. The alternate reality games and MUDs that bind together narratology and ludology21 as academic fields, interactive fiction, transmedia storytelling and cross media storytelling, wiki novels and different types of open source creativity expand the possibilities for the written word creating the perfect setting for the emergent active/creative reader. The Internet offers a chance to real, true and actual conversation, one in which the reader becomes an author and confronts the Author, collaborating in the construction of a looping, infinite discourse. The web creates narrative after narrative without the blessing of an Ultimate Narrative that encloses all of the smaller narratives. In this bazaar style we deal with a reader/writer complex, or in some cases reader/author as we will see below, that supposedly empowers the reader with unprecedented autonomy. Aside from the fact that this kind of writing stands in opposite to mono-authorship, it does have a controlling unit that often times is the editor, as it would be the case with Penguin’s wiki-novel presented below. I might add that each contributor holds an equal status to others, with the possibility of adding, editing or deleting text. The traditional author retreats to leave space to an army of prime authors which can modify paragraphs in equal measure in something less of vectorial and more of a risomatic fashion. Writing, thus, becomes a recursive process, where every addition attracts a branch of other modifications and transformations of the initial text path, deterred by other writers. Of course, the efficiency of the common task increases if the final goal is clearly explained. The core of the theory (if any) of collaboration is self-selective quality of online participation and the protocols for participation, as it is more of a negotiation than a tyranny. However, there are two ways of writing in a collaborative manner. One is free, lacking in (too many) rules, the other comes in the form of an imposed structure (by the authors or readers) as it develops from one piece of writing to another, from a writer to another. The majority of collaborative fictions adopt a certain kind of convention or constraint, a guide for secondary writers, or prime writers in order to create a decent or acceptable or even welcomed contribution in the created universe.

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One of the utmost imperatives is the comprehension and perpetuation of the initially selected genre, keeping a certain global constraint or vision, a certain rhythm and a certain tense, unless the narrative flows textually otherwise. It is important to keep a recognizable rhythm to your collaborative story, the theme (chosen or imposed) and style emulation of a particular kind. Restrictions might involve language or even a word limit per contribution. The Prime Author is the one that launches the fiction. The interesting thing is that, in some cases, the author doesn’t even contribute to the actual writing, as he/she can be an editor. In this particular form of narrative, the prime author is actually the one (or group) that creates the context. After all, collaborative writing is all about context. A collaborative instance to that prime author can also be the platform launcher as we will see in the case of cell phone novels, or the character, as we will see with Jenny Everywhere. This prime author’s piece of writing will eventually serve as a textual host for readers that will become secondary authors. The Secondary author is first of all the collaborative reader. The bazaar style imposes meaning negotiation and negotiating the common path. This bazaar reader/writer takes the puzzle pieces (the character, the story, the wiki) and reassembles them by intervening in the initial writing and offering an alternative to it through his/her creative act. I will conclude by saying that a collaborative author, the sum of all primary and secondary authors, can never conventionally author a narrative. The bazaar thus created describes the turning point from traditional writing towards a redefining of reading and writing. Digital collaborative writers see literary text composition as filling in the blanks of indeterminacy and loose narrative paths. The bazaar architecture stands as an alternative to the traditional model of reading and writing - literary dominant structures of criticism- by voicing the voiceless – offering a true (and heard) voice to the reader. Once you find yourself into this bazaar, you can start negotiating not only your own interpretation, but you can calibrate it and discuss (this being the keyword) your terms and conditions for producing text. Thus, Eric Raymond involuntarily proposed an instrument for a better understanding of collaborative ways, one that can serve a literary cause, as well. The bazaar model is a model adopted by a creative reader who jumps from community to community, contributing to the international cultural fund and celebrating creativity in its purest forms.

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Architectures for a Collaborative Writing Environment Although all collaboration involves inherently the human component, some specific literary collaborative writing projects focus on other components as well. The core of this paper focuses on three types of such collaboration. The first is machine to machine collaboration. The second is machine to human collaboration. And the third is a human to human collaboration. I will start by illustrating human to machine collaboration, which involves the machine both as an instrument for live feeds and a partner in creating stories. The first case that I want to bring to your attentions is the one of Jenny Everywhere. All rights reversed: Jenny Everywhere Open source applications and platforms have gained considerable ground on the Web. A massive part of the computer code which lays the foundation for modern applications is created under the “creative commons”22 principle – a common fund where everyone can borrow and return code as they please. However, this idea was completely unknown to creativity in collaborative environments until Jenny. In 2001, Tom Coates, web exegete and proud founder of Barbelith Online Community23, and comic book artist Steven Wintle coordinated a discussion in that certain community about open source narrative figures. So Jenny was born. The group decided to create their own open source character (and the only, at that time) so they created a character which today is known and loved as Jenny Everywhere also known as “The Shifter”. The community decided over some specifics24 for Jenny and went on to create their own comic book strips or narrative texts that had the same Jenny as the main character. The only condition of use was that in every work involving Jenny a paragraph would appear included in the header. “The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed.” However, this „license” does not impede writers to exercise their right as authors and copyright their own characters that interact with

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Jenny, the unique situation described, the story, title or pictograms. What irrevocably belongs to the public domain is the name of the character, the character Jenny itself and the idea of this character. All rights reversed that is. Reversed in such a manner that Nelson Evergreen launched Jenny’s evil twin – the antagonist Jenny called Jenny Nowhere25 in his “A Damn Hostile Takeover” (part 1 and 2) under the same public license like the one that the initial Jenny holds. Jenny differs from a traditional character or a fan fiction character that bruises the borders of legal rights given the fact she was intentionally created as an open character belonging to no one and everybody – the public domain. She is described as belonging to any/every reality and being able to translate herself and switch between (her own) realities. This gives Jenny the opportunity to be inserted into every work ever created regardless of the genre: comic book strip, film, music, narrative, games or even multimedia conglomerates. It is safe to speculate that Jenny is contrary to a franchise due to her collaborative conception, its open source character and the fact that Jenny was more or less introduced to all these media, Jenny is a transmedia storytelling26 trigger. Contrary to cross media storytelling27 – a sort of “augmented reality” or AR, Jenny uses all sorts of platforms and the stories on each of these platforms complete each other without being able to function one without another. Jenny cannot inhabit only one of these stories, comic books, games of movies. Without the whole global project Jenny loses its meaning and its significance as a collaborated at character. As David “Fesworks” Leyk, graphic novel artist and current guardian of the Jenny archives’, says: “There is no official site for Jenny. Since she is public domain and open source, practically every comic book or Jenny narrative in the world is a kind of fanfiction without the fiction. Every narrative connects with other peoples narratives only if the authors decide to do so.” New stories on Jenny keep getting written even 10 years later. Undoubtedly, Jenny stands for a distinctive web culture that mixes individual creativity with openness – one that transformed the very notion of writer and its purpose. Jenny does not have her own narrative that precedes all the others, she is what can be called a universeless character in need of inhabiting one, a character without a universe, a character in a perpetual seeking of its author.

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A challenge on mono-authorship the curious case of the wikinovel “Collaboration on a book is the ultimate unnatural act” Tom Clancy29 Anyone in their right mind would think so, right? But that is not the case of Penguin Publishing House editors that saw the massive creative potential lying latently in the concept of online community. The second instance of collaborative writing I choose to talk about is the case of human to human collaboration in creating a story where the machine is both an instrument for live feeds as well as a repository for gathering collaborative material. As I already mentioned, I choose to call it peer-to-peer review, a term I will explain below. First I have to add that wiki technologies (that have been around ever since Web 1.0 – which sprung the passive web user) enable a number of writers to collaborate in a single networked space and open radically different possibilities for online storytelling and narrative collective universes. Ever since Ward Cunningham developed the first wiki in 1995, massive collaboration exploded to a degree that, now, we can’t imagine any kind of repository of human knowledge without it. Of course, the most (in)famous such repository is Wikipedia which performs in the end an utilitarian function. There are indeed other wikis dedicated entirely to fiction production. A wiki system sets in motion a huge potential for new forms of literary production as it can aggregate technologies created for the sole purpose of collaboration. Such a fiction, a novel in this case, that I wish to employ as a case study, is the one of “A Million Penguins’ “wiki”, the experiment of the Penguin Book Publishing House in England, featuring De Montfort University. The project set sail with a central purpose - that of finding out if a group of people that did not know each other could actually write a coherent piece of fiction per se. For five weeks, more than 1500 authors (famous or less famous) offered their contributions and literary talent in order to embody an extraordinary and captivating text, “not the most read but definitely the most written book ever”30. The results suggested that the emergence of a valuable and high

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quality work of art is possible when puzzling together thousand individual discourses31 – even in what regards writing - given the fact that the subject of the book naturally evolved towards embodying textually its own intertextual metacriticism. As the “A Million Penguins Research Report”32 generously shared their results publicly, we are enabled to state that collaborative writing tends to function with a superior quality rendering of text, when there is wide array of modes allowed in which a subject can be dealt with textually. Different or quite opposite directions regarding ways of personal expression (from verses inserted into prose as well as sudden dialogue or arguments between the writers) were allowed by the editors. There was also a well-established hierarchy involved and a highly demanding set of editorial tasks. Ketai Bunko: a tale of convergence The third instance I wish to bring forth is the case of the cell-phone novel that allows us to show how different media can work together towards convergence. This is a type of collaboration mostly between machines and machines, and of course compiling devices. Cell-phone33 novels are the first (non-canonical, so to speak) literary genre that ushers mobile literary production. They are written and read on mobile phones. At least that is how things happened in the beginning. No smart phones were involved. Until now. These days, cell phone novels are written on any kind of mobile device or even on computers, but they have the benefit of interchangeable media. A novel written on mobile phone can well be read on a computer screen and a novel written on a cell phone form can be rendered on a mobile platform through live feeds if that is the case or (generally) through SMS feeds. Access can be achieved through both platforms, which makes for a brilliant case of convergence and a case for collaboration between machines. The novels I will simply refer to as “mobile” started their career as being written by young Japanese women. These so called novels involved daily subjects such as relationships, love triangles and pregnancy, pretty much the same motifs as soap operas today. In time, these mobile novels received a number of intellectual narrative nuances such as crime fiction, dramas and even critic and philosophical essays. This Japanese Internet ethos is highly dominated by false identities, nominal artifices or avatars that allow “web transvestites” to veil their true identities, a common practice on the Web. Mobile Novels can be structured according to authorial intentions and, of course, according to formal rules established by the medium.

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For instance, if we deal with a narrative fight, the author may choose to write it in short almost onomatopoeic lines or to gather the lines in constellations of predicative sounds or simple phrases. On the other hand, if the author evokes calmly a situation, he/she can choose to set the lines at a certain distance from one another, but in such a manner that everything can be read on a mobile phone. Each chapter sent is about 70-100 words long34, almost like an Oulipian constraint in the good spirit of mobile messaging. Most of the sentences are shorter than usual and dialogue is the preferred expressive form. Cell-phone novels are downloadable and easily installed on Java driven mobile devices . The largest aggregator of such novels is the Japanese Maho-I-Land35, which harbours more than a million works downloadable for free. In 2007, almost a hundred mobile novels within Maho-I-Land were published on paperback and the first ten best-sellers were adapted into movies. These also happen to be the first ten best-sellers in Japan for that year. The first novel, entitled “Deep Love”36 was published in 2003 by a man in his thirties from Tokyo that calls himself, as a nome de plume, Yoshi. The story revolves around a promiscuous teenager from Tokyo that falls ill with AIDS and follows a story line that heads from descriptive to reflexive. The story deals with a common problem in Japan, hence it enjoyed a good deal of international public appraisal (almost three million copies sold) and was eventually turned into a movie, a manga and after that, a series. The mobile novel was an exquisite Japanese export product for European academic environments37, which started employing this form of narrative in 2007. Although Japan is the official birthplace of these novels, this particular phenomenon draw the attention of the Academia, especially regarding creative writing, short prose and criticism owing to the limited length and accessibility. Most of the European writers understood that the purpose of these narratives was to manage to catch the vibe of younger generations. Mobile novels create a virtual world through mobile devices and their SMS capabilities that resemble online interaction, interactive text based fiction and computer games, on pretty much any platform that uses mobile device constraints38. In some of the novels, readers can literally act as the leading character, and of course portability changes the way they read. Ketai was widely criticised for the tendency to use simple narratives and modes of expression, even for employing clichés or banalities. This issue raises questions about setting quality standards in bazaar-like communities

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and about whether or not these should be acknowledged as an alternate path to the establishment of literary canonical codex. However, by knowing his/her public’s instant reaction, the writer(s) can immediately tell if his/her readers are losing interest in the story or he/she can change the storyline if he/she feels threatened by copycats. “It’s like mixing music in a club”, says Yoshi. “You can immediately tell when the public does not react and you can act accordingly and change what doesn’t work for the crowd.”39 Let’s not forget that Dickens used to write in the same manner. We might actually witness a massive reiteration of serialized novels. The Ideal Architecture for a Collaborative Writing Environment An ideal architecture regarding collaborative writing would involve a theory. But does collaboration require a theory? As much as any other concept. However, in my opinion, the true essence of collaboration might be caught by singularizing collaborative projects and universes, to underline the specifics, the potential and the context of any such endeavours. Collaboration might be the notion that escapes traditional theory building, by defining itself negatively, through what it is not. Without walking in Jeremy Bentham’s shoes (Bentham believed utility could be globally defined and could work as a guide for social organization), maybe we can safely assume that collaboration requires an anti-theory which leads to a paradox; the employment of a deep and radical specificity puts collaboration on a recurring path, condemning it to the local, minority and its side effects, in an artificial mimetic world where there is no aesthetics per se, just sociology and not in terms of a democracy, but as a meritocracy. With reference to theory again, I would argue that there could be theories of different instances of collaboration online such as collaborative novel theory, or collaborative wiki theory, and so on. Collaborative nature is mainly a perspective, an angle from where to view a text and a way of producing text. There are textualist approaches such as ergodicity, digital medium oriented approaches such as cybertext, digitext or hypertext and so on. I believe that the literary collaborative approach might very well be a sociological one, in lack of a better term so far. I believe theory is too much of a rigid word to embrace all of the fluidities and deviations of collaborative endeavours. Hence, there is no ideal architecture for a collaborative environment. You create coordination and contexts and then watch what happens.

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ENDNOTES 1 This work was possible with the financial support of the Sectoral Operational Programme for Human Resources Development 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Social Fund, under the project number POSDRU/107/1.5/S/76841 with the title “Modern Doctoral Studies: Internationalization and Interdisciplinarity”. 2 A transcript and the original document itself can be found at http://www.copyrighthistory. com/anne.html. 3 In his book “Of Grammatology”. http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/ works/fr/derrida.htm 4 http://holmesbrian.blogspot.com/ and http://www.baholmes.com/ 5 http://eipcp.net/policies/cci/lind/en, The Future Is Here. 6 http://www.collaborativity.net/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_writing, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/collaborative, http://dictionary.reference.com/ browse/collaboration, etc. 7 http://masc1100.blogspot.com/2005/09/medium-is-massage-notes.html, Marshall McLuhan in the medium is the MASSAGE - an inventory of effects (1967) 8 Web 1.0 is an interesting notion that emerged only with creation of Web 2.0. I would argue that Web 2.0 wasn’t created so to speak. When a 2.0 version of software is released, it is usually enhanced and debugged by one or more clusters of added or removed code; more metaphorically speaking, you can see a quantifiable evolution present in the insides of the platform/application. I think that the web witnessed solely a shift of paradigm, a shift o perspective enabled by users and not a new version of it. You can read more about Web 1.0 at http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-10.htm, or more simply and clearly put: http://www.darrenbarefoot.com/archives/2006/05/web-10-vsweb-20.html “Web 1.0 was about reading, Web 2.0 is about writing. Web 1.0 was about companies, Web 2.0 is about communities. Web 1.0 was about client-server, Web 2.0 is about peer to peer. Web 1.0 was about HTML, Web 2.0 is about XML.Web 1.0 was about home pages, Web 2.0 is about blogs. Web 1.0 was about lectures, Web 2.0 is about conversation. Web 1.0 was about advertising, Web 2.0 is about word of mouth. Web 1.0 was about services sold over the web, Web 2.0 is about web services. 9 See the note above. 10 http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-30.htm and http://www.labnol.org/internet/ web-3-concepts-explained/8908/,” This will be about semantic web (or the meaning of data), personalization (e.g. iGoogle), intelligent search and behavioural advertising among other things.” 11 Mark Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, 2001. http://www.marcprensky.com/ writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20.pdf 12 Aducci, Romina et al. (2008), “The Hyperconnected: Here They Come!”, An IDC Whitepaper sponsored by Nortel, May 2008. 13 Palfrey, John; Gasser, Urs (2008), Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, Basic Books 14 The text can be found at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/search?q=moglen&submit=Search &sort=rel. 15 In 1998, some of the people in the free software community began using the term “open source software” instead of “free software” to describe what they do. The term “open source” quickly became associated with a different approach, a different philosophy, different values, and even a different criterion for which licenses are acceptable. The Free Software movement and the Open Source movement are today separate

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movements with different views and goals, although we can and do work together on some practical projects. The fundamental difference between the two movements is in their values, their ways of looking at the world. For the Open Source movement, the issue of whether software should be open source is a practical question, not an ethical one. As one person put it, “Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement.” For the Open Source movement, non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the Free Software movement, non-free software is a social problem and free software is the solution. More about the Free Software Movement can be found at http://www.fsf.org/. 16 http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/ 17 “[..] a collaborative medium, a place where we [could] all meet and read and write”. The Read/Write Web. Apud. Tim Berners-Lee, interview for BBCRadio in 2005-08-09. 18 Term coined by narratologist Gerald Prince. The naratar is the person to which the author intended to write the text to. 19 Pierre Bayard, How to talk about Books You Haven’t Read, 2007. Bayard makes the very subtle point that, academically speaking, we do not so much read books to read them as to put them in a network of other books and a wider net of what tout le monde (i.e., not just “everyone”, but “everyone who matters”) says about them. Some books, he notes--- like “Ulysses” ---exist often times solely to be discussed and employed in cultural and academic discussions and analysis, and often times they are not read per se. He argues, and quotes Eco, that the book (or reading) itself is not necessarily the main goal. The point is seeing the way books fit into relationships with other books, with the memories and expectations a potential reader might bring in interpreting the text, with what role the book plays in the whole of culture. 20 A generic term for the many different forms of electronic communication that are made possible through the use of computer technology. The term is in relation to “old” media forms, such as print newspapers and magazines, which are static representations of text and graphics. 2 http://www.ludology.org/articles/ludology.htm. As Gonzalo Frasca mentions, “We will propose the term ludology (from ludus, the Latin word for “game”), to refer to the yet non-existent “discipline that studies game and play activities”. Just like narratology, ludology should also be independent from the medium that supports the activity.” 22 Creative Commons licenses provide simple, standardized alternatives to the “all rights reserved” paradigm of traditional copyright. According to http://creativecommons.org/ CC’s goal is “[r]ealizing the full potential of the internet — universal access to research, education, full participation in culture, and driving a new era of development, growth, and productivity.” 23 http://www.barbelith.com/ and http://www.barbelith.com/forum/10. “Barbelith is not a community that celebrates any specific approach to the world but one that is interested in cross-overs, hybridisation and the kind of creativity that comes from having a space open for conspiracy theorists, hard scientists, engineers, cosmologists, mystics, political activists, philosophers, geeks, screen-writers, artists and other creative individuals from all across the world. The members of Barbelith strongly believe that having open borders for new users is a fundamental part of remaining creative and outward-looking and are trying to find the best balance between free and total access for all and our ability to defend the board from abuse with the hope that we can create vibrant and resilient new ways to connect creative people together.” 24 She has short, dark hair. She usually wears aviation goggles on top of her head and a scarf around her neck. Otherwise, she dresses in comfortable clothes. She is average size and has a good body image. She has loads of confidence and charisma. She

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appears to be Asian or Native American. She has a ready smile. According to www. TheShifterArchive.com 25 http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Jenny_Nowhere, http://www.experts123.com/q/who-isjenny-nowhere.html. Jenny Nowhere first appears in Damn Fine Hostile Takeover (End of Part 2), drawn by Nelson Evergreen and written by Joe Macaré. She appears on the last page with the highly plausible assumption that she is an antagonist of Jenny Everywhere. To paraphrase The Webcomic Beacon Podcast Episode #20, Nelson Evergreen has suggested much of the following: “The name “Jenny Nowhere” should be available for anyone to use in any way they see fit… but the character herself is a blank slate. How she looks, how she dresses, her character quirks, what her agenda might be – it’s all up to the individual who wants to do something with the name. Anyone can create their own Jenny Nowhere from the ground up.” We would imagine that – whatever she is – she functions in some way as a “prime antagonist” to Jenny Everywhere. Which can work in all sorts of ways. Basically, it states the idea that in each universe there’s a Jenny Everywhere who’s recognizably Jenny Everywhere in name, character and appearance and somewhere in each universe there is a Jenny Nowhere who is recognizably Jenny Nowhere in name only. 26 It started as an academic term, coined by Henry Jenkins in his book Convergence Culture who said, “transmedia represents the integration of entertainment experiences across a range of different media platforms,” Jenkins defines transmedia as storytelling that “immerses an audience in a story’s universe through a number of dispersed entry points, providing a comprehensive and coordinated experience of a complex story.” Transmedia storytelling engages readers and writers through different means, shifting from the traditional linear story, to a more complex, multi-dimensional “story world.” These characters and “story worlds” can exist and develop outside of their initial story timeline, and this integration will allow readers to enjoy a number of levels. Rather than simply watch a movie, viewers can interact with characters on websites, experience the world in games, follow leads on Twitter, as well as participate in a vast array of other opportunities on various platforms. Additionally, transmedia will aggregate formerly fragmented audiences by uniting them in one “story world.” 27 Stories told over multiple media and different types of art. But it is often times the same story after being adapted to the required medium. 28Idem. www.theshifterarchieve.com 29 Reading quote by Tom Clancy from iwise.com. 30 Two other projects were developed simultaneously in 2007 after the success of AMP and Wikipedia. The projects were called Wikinovel and Wikiworld. They both work after the same principles as AMP and each one has editorial management, the lack of which led other similar projects to their lamentable end. 31 The reactions involving AMP were many and often contradictory.. Some scholars expressed their interest regarding the development of the project since the beginning when they described it as “predictably horrible” (Pressley, James (2007) in Wikinovel, Big Tony Craves Pizza, Carlo Shoots Up” at www.Bloomberg.com. 32 The whole text can be found at www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk/documents/amillionpenguinsreport. pdf. 33 Also known as Ketai Bunko or Shetsu Bunko. 34 A glimpse of a Western cell-phone text, An Essay on Philosophical Assumptions by Wayne Thornton excerpt found here http://www.textnovel.com/story/An-Essay-onPhilosophical-Assumptions/1817/

Chapter 1:- Essay

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Philosophy: Philo = love; soph = knowledge. Greek; “philosophos” means lover of wisdom. A philosopher, to gain wisdom, must ask the big questions about: 1. Reality in general: for reference, relevance, and exercise (your mind), 2. Reality specific: to identify, understand, and solve a problem, 3. Reality perspective: to still be alive after the problem is solved. A philosophy should be based, rationalized, or hinged on a “philosophical assumption”; a truism to serve as your foundation and reference point when you get lost in tangents, circular reasoning, and your own egocentricity (which was invented before electricity). A few philosophical assumptions about spirituality: 1. “We are born and then we die.” At first glance this statement seems like a valid, un-challengeable truism. I challenge this assertion, not to confuse, but to illustrate that useful philosophy can evolve from questionable or not-sopure philosophical assumptions. For Adam, “we are born and then we die” was only a theory (for 900 years). Ironically, it was not the “church” who first challenged this philosophical assumption; It was Satan in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:4) Jesus expanded this philosophical assumption, formed a philosophy, and then clarified it; “We are born and then born again, and then we do not perish, but simply change (as all living things do) so as to enter into a process of moving to another place.” -- Scientists are unable to measure this spiritual philosophical assumption, so they (glorified measurers of things) deny it or simply dismiss it. - It is the nature of their training. 2. “The whole is greater than any part of the whole.” For early man, this philosophical assumptions lead to “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and became a philosophy of how to survive. For a football coach, this philosophy is called teamwork. For a corporate raider, the reverse of this philosophy is true; “The sum of the parts is greater (monetarily more valuable) than the whole (as one single entity)” The Buddhists, while playing with clay balls, discovered that when part of a whole is removed from the whole, it (the part) becomes a whole unto itself. From this

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philosophical assumption, they developed the philosophy that “although we are in this world and were at one time a part of this world, we can separate ourselves from its distractions and become a world unto ourselves.” Some Christian cults have a very similar philosophy; they seek to become a world unto themselves. Carolyn said, “Stop and tell me your philosophy of how much you love and appreciate me”. Wayne replied, “I do, I do, deja vu”. Ok, ok, I’ll hurry up with this essay. Simplicity is a philosophy itself, and a pathway to all meaningful philosophies. Are you ready to become a philosopher in regards to improving your personality? To be a philosopher, per se, you must first find a valid philosophical assumption; a reference point. Maybe an example would help you get started. Uncle Wayne’s “Sandbox” philosophical assumption: Just ask yourself a few simple questions: 1. Would I like to be loved by my neighbors? (What is the alternative?) 2. Would my neighbor like to be loved by his neighbors? 3. Would everyone in the world like to be loved by their neighbors? 4. Would I like to be appreciated by my neighbor? 5. Would my neighbor like to be appreciated by his neighbors? 6. Would everyone in the world like to be appreciated by their neighbors? If you answered “yes” to the above 6 questions, you have agreed to and established a truism or a rather valid “philosophical assumption”. To wit: “Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated by their neighbors.” Now for our love relationships: 7. Do you want to be loved by your mate? 8. Does your mate want to be loved by you? 9. Does your neighbor want to be loved by his mate? 10. Does everyone in the world want to be loved by their mate? 11. Do you want to be appreciated by your mate? 12. Does your mate want to be appreciated by you? 13. Does your neighbor want to be appreciated by his mate? 14. Does everyone want to be appreciated by their mates? If you answered “yes” to each of the above 14 questions, you are

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ready to sign your name to the following Philosophical Assumption: “People want to be loved and appreciated by their neighbors and their mates.” The big philosophical question is: “What are you going to do about it?”

35 http://ip.tosp.co.jp/index.asp. Unfortunately, there isn’t any translation available in English. 36 Volume 1 of this novel can be found at http://www.magitek.nu/anime/2006/09/13/deeplovevolume-1-by-yuu-yoshii-and-yoshi/ 37 Creative writing text novels available at http://www.textnovel.com/home.php, philosophical essays at http://www.textnovel.com/story/An-Essay-on-PhilosophicalAssumptions/1817/) or micro graphic novels making use of the cell phone keyboard’s typographical constraints (http://www.textnovel.com/story/candy/2107/) 38 http://twitter.com/IAMNOVEL, http://twitter.com/140novel or http://tweetheartnovel. com – a Twitter interactive fiction novel with 140 characters/paragraph. 39 The New Yorker’s “Yoshi Interview” in 2008.

Bibliography/Webography Statue of Anne, http://www.copyrighthistory.com/anne.html. Derrida, Jacques, “Of Grammatology” http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ philosophy/works/fr/derrida.htm Brian Holmes, http://holmesbrian.blogspot.com/ and http://www.baholmes.com/ Maria Lind, http://eipcp.net/policies/cci/lind/en, The Future is Here. Dictionaries on collaborative writing and collaboration: http://www.collaborativity. net/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_writing, http://dictionary. reference.com/browse/collaborative, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ collaboration, etc. Marshall McLuhan in the medium is the MASSAGE - an inventory of effects (1967), http://masc1100.blogspot.com/2005/09/medium-is-massage-notes.html, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-10.htm, http:// www.darrenbarefoot.com/archives/2006/05/web-10-vs-web-20.html Web 3.0, http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-30.htm and http://www.labnol. org/internet/web-3-concepts-explained/8908/ Mark Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, 2001. http://www.marcprensky. com/writing/Prensky%20-20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrant s%20.pdf Aducci, Romina et al. (2008), “The Hyperconnected: Here They Come!”, An IDC Whitepaper sponsored by Nortel, May 2008. Palfrey, John; Gasser, Urs (2008), Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, Basic Books Moglen, Anarchism Triumphant, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/search?q=moglen&sub mit=Search&sort=rel. Free Software Movement, http://www.fsf.org/. Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/

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cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/ Tim Berners-Lee, The Read/Write Web. Apud. interview for BBCRadio in 2005-0809. Pierre Bayard, How to talk about Books You haven’t read, 200, ed. De Minuit, Paris. Gonzalo Frasca, http://www.ludology.org/articles/ludology.htm. Creative Commons, http://creativecommons.org/ Barbelith, http://www.barbelith.com/ and http://www.barbelith.com/forum/10. Jenny Everywhere archieve, www.TheShifterArchive.com On Jenny Nowhere, http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Jenny_Nowhere,http://www. experts123.com/q/who-is-jenny-nowhere.html. Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture, NYU Press, 2006. Tom Clancy on iwise.com. Wikinovel, http://wikinovel.box-fire.com/ Wikiworld. http://wikiworld.com/wiki/index.php/HomePage Pressley, James (2007) in Wikinovel, Big Tony Craves Pizza, Carlo Shoots Up” on www.Bloomberg.com. A Million Penguins Report, www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk/documents/amillionpenguinsreport. pdf. An Essay on PhilosophicalAssumptions by Wayne Thornton, http://www.textnovel. com/story/An-Essay-on-Philosophical-Assumptions/1817/ Maho-I-Land, http://ip.tosp.co.jp/index.asp. Deep Love Vol.1, http://www.magitek.nu/anime/2006/09/13/deep-lovevolume-1by-yuu-yoshii-and-yoshi/ Creative writing text novels available at http://www.textnovel.com/home.php Philosophical essays at http://www.textnovel.com/story/An-Essay-on-PhilosophicalAssumptions/1817/) Micro graphic novels (http://www.textnovel.com/story/candy/2107/) Twitter novels, http://twitter.com/IAMNOVEL , http://twitter.com/140novel, http://tweetheartnovel.com The New Yorker’s “Yoshi Interview” in 2008.

Ruxandra Bularca is currently a PhD candidate at Babes-Bolyai University, Comparative Literature Department where she performs teaching assistant tasks as a Web theoretician. Her seminars revolve around fields such as digital culture and pop culture, literary theory and history of art. She is also President at [email protected] Association that deals in developing a constructive and friendly cultural framework for various digitally related projects in Romania. Mrs Bularca is known for her freelance work as a webdesigner and for collaborating with various regional and international cultural journals, magazines and newspapers, as well as TV segments such as Steaua, Tribuna, Cuvantul Liber, Et Stykke Norge, Les Cahiers Echinox, “Foreigners” (for EuroNews)etc.

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Mihai Pedestru

Sharing and Privacy in the Digital Age ABSTRACT The expansion, in recent years, of mass surveillance, as evidenced by the constant emergence of more and more government funded and private initiatives has had, in our opinion, a subtle, yet profound influence on the young generation of global digital natives as well as, to a lesser extent, on the older generations. The main tangible effect, which we intend to expand upon here, consists of a forced dissociation between the self and the multiple projected avatars, leading to a confusing contagion of existential paradigms and, in the end, to a reevaluation of the concepts themselves of self, avatar, privacy and sharing. Keywords: privacy, sharing, avatar, digital generation.

I

n his 2009 seminal work Grown up Digital. How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, Don Tapscott identifies eight so called norms, actually key points in defining the psychosocial mutations caused generationally by early exposure to networked computers: freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed and innovation (Tapscott 74). To these fundamental traits, governments and the corporate world that actually support and provide the digital communication infrastructure vigorously oppose a totally different set of values, openly or disguised. To the freedom brought by the instantaneous access to information, governments in the generally considered free world oppose censorship. According to a 2008 study undertaken by the Open Net Initiative, a joint academic project uniting top level universities, the only countries not employing some form of consistent Internet

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censorship are those in the third world where public access to an efficient IT infrastructure is negligible. In addition, the private sector that is, after all, responsible for the “digital emancipation” of today’s youth was found in open support of some governments’ repressive policies: The ONI’s China report was delivered before two U.S. congressional committees and was featured in newspapers and on television around the world. The reports highlighted the embarrassing evidence that major U.S. corporations were implicated in Internet censorship practices. Once, the best and brightest of Silicon Valley were wiring the world; now, they were profiting from their collaboration with governments who were censoring and blocking websites. (Deibert, Palfrey and Rohozinsky viii) To the need for customization, noted by Tapscott and supported by the modular and skinnable architectures of user-centric open source projects, software and hardware giants such as Apple or Microsoft constantly oppose uniform and patent-protected designs, affording, if any, only a shallow level of aesthetic modification within rigid and aloof interface models. The need for scrutiny, in the context of the Global War on Terror, is under constant assault. While forums, bulletin board systems and UseNet groups have fostered a politically conscious and potentially active generation, the states’ reactions to sites such as Wikileaks show an unprecedented will to repress. Reactions range from the Australian government’s proposal to include it on its banned websites list and fine even references to it, to arrests in Germany and to widespread blocking in the United States, Thailand or China. Integrity is countered, again in the context of the War on Terror, by the escalation, especially in the United States and its partners, of extrajudicial proceedings, and the seemingly joyous embracing of the public spectacle of murder, all in the name of national security. While such propaganda techniques have certainly been effective in an age of nations, for a socially-conscious generation mostly immune to ideology, as portrayed by Tapscott’s study, this can only induce discomfort. The stereotype that this generation doesn’t give a damn is not supported by the facts. Net Geners care about integrity— being honest, considerate, transparent, and abiding by their commitments. This is also a generation with profound

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tolerance. (Tapscott 82) Concerning collaboration, the situation is direr. While the network has proven itself to be the perfect medium for the free exchange of content and ideas and has, since its inception, diluted in the collective imaginary the concepts of authorship and intellectual property to an unprecedented extent, industry and governments alike seem nowadays more bent than ever to enforce those same diluted concepts, suing teenagers whose weltanschauung imposes no moral qualms in the communal act of sharing. Censorship, in the form of laws and regulations protecting teenagers from a perceived moral threat, continues to permeate the realm of mainstream entertainment, from music to video games, trying to dictate external rules in fictional worlds. Content rating systems, while proven useless by a number of recent scholarly papers such as Professor Christopher Ferguson’s 2011 study which plainly states that “In conclusion, the current study finds no evidence to support a longterm relationship between video game violence use and subsequent aggression” (Ferguson 389), are still enforced, creating, what MIT scholar Henry Jenkins considers a harmful moral panic (Jenkins). More so, given the vast amount of content available on peer to peer networks, such measures are completely ineffective in denying access to materials deemed offensive by lawmakers. It is not within this paper’s scope to fall into the trap of conspiracy theories and try to assess whether these oppositions are intentional, reactionary or merely the product of misdirected policies. However we consider that they induce in the young members of the Digital Generation if not a full cognitive dissonance, then at least a sort of cognitive disequilibrium. Therefore, the paradox that must somehow be resolved lies in the nature of the network itself, simultaneously a mechanism of liberation and oppression. The resolution, in our opinion, consists in a fission of the self, and, we can surmise, starting with Piaget’s formal operational stage, the construction of two distinct avatarial identities for use in the digital world, predicated on the privacysharing axis. Projection of avatars has been around for as long as cool, low definition media have been around. However, what we notice here is not merely the creation of digital doubles, but, as we have previously said, the transposition of the model of the digital double into the world of “real”, non-mediated interactions. This may well account for the digital natives’ wrongly perceived detachment from reality and lack of civic implication.

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We can conjecture, therefore, a transition from the mirror model of avatar creation, established during the early years of the Internet, to a branching and dynamic one, where the border between concrete reality and constructed reality become increasingly blurred. From a Goffmanian social dramaturgy point of view, the front and back stages, both online and offline, tend to converge into one unified stage of self-representation, while the outside appears to be somehow irrelevant or invisible. This is most obvious when looking at the stereotypical framing of selves encouraged by the widespread adoption of electronic social networks suck as Myspace, Hi5 or Facebook, which have shifted communication and interaction from a true conversational model to one based mainly on mediated reactions, comments, to passive external referents. In order to be able to satisfy their generation-specific needs in the face of reactionary repression, the millennials have adopted the aforementioned memetic model of interaction as an argotic defense mechanism which, in turn, has led to an intriguing structural change: the avatar is no longer a projection of the self; the self is an extension of the avatar. Social networking technologies work on, and therefore extend the sense responsible for one’s public presentation and, by contagion, self-representation. By moving both the front and the back stages into the digital world and subjecting them to its inherent aporias, the individual’s psychic apparatus is forced to split, placing the cybersuperego, described by Tapscott’s norms and cyber-ego into a sort of “sphere of the public self ” and leaving the id to dwell in the obscure, yet liberated outside. It is beyond our scopes and means, at present, to properly explore the outside; however we will try to see how the public self manifests itself and how it has influenced the common negative perception of the Digital Generation. The Internet, both at its beginnings and today, structurally speaking, was and is nothing more than a network of interconnected networks, using common communication protocols. The main mutation that it has suffered due to the shift towards the 2.0 and subsequent paradigms lies not in an alteration of its structure, but in the syndication of identities brought forth by the emergence of global commercial content-collecting platforms. Not only social networks, but most importantly mandatory communities such as the Android Marketplace or the Apple App Store and most applications developed for the newest generations of mobile devices have followed in Microsoft Passport’s footsteps establishing, in fact enforcing, the use of a single identity linked with a unique physical identifier, such as a credit card

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number, or a phone number. In order to benefit from the services these platforms provide, the users are forced to forfeit their earned right to digital anonymity and converge all their different aliases into one linked to their biological person. The most recent such example is Google’s social networking site, Google+, which has a clause in its End User License Agreement forcing subscribers to provide their real personal information or face termination. While Google+ is, indeed, only one network, activating one’s account and providing valid Gmail credentials automatically links that account with all of the corporation’s products, from YouTube to the Android Marketplace, giving a private entity ownership over a person’s full record of cultural preferences, email communications, family, friends, interests and even physical location. Considering this, together with Google’s confirmed record of assisting totalitarian regimes in repressing dissent, paints quite a disturbing picture. We stated before that we can identify two distinct avatarial constructs stretched between the rejection of oppressive surveillance and the need to collaborate and share openly. While the identity syndication we’ve just described has led to an ego-controlled “visible avatar”, at the same time, it has fermented a realm of superegocontrolled “invisible avatars” the so called Deepnet not susceptible to any form of control or search engine indexing. According to a 2001 whitepaper by Michael Bergman, this invisible network contained, in 2000, about 7500 terabytes of information, compared to the only 167 terabytes of the surface web (Bergman). These “digital resistance“ websites, accessible only through prior arrangements or anonymity networks effectively bypass all attempts at regulation, creating an anarchic and decentralized double of the virtual world. Using their own currencies, of which the most visible is the BitCoin, sites like Silk Road Marketplace have created an entire underground economy, dealing freely in anything from contraband to information. In order to protect this seemingly cyberpunk, but all too real, world from regulatory meddling, the “invisible avatar” needs to be kept secret and completely dissociated from both the “visible one” and the real person. For this, the open source communities have developed specific tools, like the TOR anonymity network or GPG encryption which allow the open use of the infrastructure while keeping content inscrutable. Although it most certainly is a form of resistance, the Deepnet is not necessarily a militant one, the paranoid and innocuous avatars

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coexisting peacefully and, both of them, honest and true to their purposes. The migration of the “visible avatar” into the concrete life is, in our opinion a form of defensive shield raised in front of any form of authority, oppressive or not. This accounts, as we mentioned, for the appearance of autism, detachment and lack of interest the millenials have been so often criticized for. Until society, educators and policymakers will be prepared for a totally different kind of human being, this shield, we are certain about it, will remain up. REFERENCES Bergman, Michael. “The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value.” Journal of Electronic Publishing (2001). Deibert, Ronald, et al. Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering. Cambridge: MIT Univesity Press, 2008. Ferguson, Christopher. “Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2011): 377-391. Jenkins, Henry. “Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked .” n.d. PBS. 27 8 2011 . Tapscott, Don. Grown up Digital. How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw Hill, 2009.

Mihai Pedestru is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Theatre and Television, Babes-Bolyai University, and a teaching assistant at the same faculty. He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism (Faculty of Political Sciences) and a master of arts in Theatre, Film and Multimedia. His PhD research is concerned with the influences of the digital age on theatre and film audiences.

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Emergent Behaviours

 KEYWORDS Technoevangelism, digital natives, digital immigrants, digital wisdom, spectatorship, audience, computer games, player, self-representation, connectedness, imagined communities, online community, online anonymity, sharing, television narratives, television series, TvBlog, learning experience, multimedia learning, Digital Natives, digital era, manele, oriental music, manelists, musical subculture, espace urbain, femmes, femmes dans l’espace urbain, clubs, acteur social, game, video games, ludology, narratology.

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Michael Thomas

Deconstructing Digital Natives: From Technoevangelism to Reclaiming an Awkward Term ABSTRACT There have been numerous attempts over the last few decades to define the digital generation of young people who it has been said came of age with the World Wide Web and the more widespread dissemination of digital technologies and devices since the early 1980s. In contrast to the “digital immigrants” or adults, the term “digital native” typically refers to the generation born after 1980, which has grown up in a world where the Internet is “always on” and as a result their expectations about the nature of teaching and learning, communication and collaboration, have changed. Young kids purported to belong to this generation are therefore supposed to be “native” to a digital world and lifestyle and possess the skills to intuitively communicate and interact via digital technologies. In recent years this generational idea has started to receive a good deal of criticism and this paper provides a brief overview of these issues in relation to the recent book publication, Deconstructing Digital Natives: Young People, Technology and the New Literacies (2011). It argues for the importance of a more balanced, research-based perspective on this so-called digital generation as well as the inclusion of work from a range of disciplines and international contexts in order to advance our understanding of young people and digital media. Keywords: Technoevangelism, digital natives, digital immigrants, digital wisdom.

T

Introduction

he divide between digital natives and digital immigrants has become one of the touchstone assumptions of the digital age, gaining the status of a central and structuring principle in some quarters (Prensky, 2001a, 2001b). It is girded by a range of other equally accepted mantras, from “twenty-first century skills” to “digital literacy” and the so-called “digital education revolution” itself

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(Lankshear & Knobel, 2008; Warschauer, 1999, 2006), as well as the idea that, left to their own initiative, kids know how to learn best without the aid of an instructor (Mitra, 2006). What exactly do these concepts mean and is there any empirical evidence to support such claims are questions that have been increasingly asked in education circles over the last couple of years. It is clear that a number of important economic and political trends underpin the emergence of these discourses, allied as they are to changes associated with the knowledge economy (Green & Hannon, 2007; Selwyn, 2011). Moreover, a significant undercurrent in their advancement relies on a form of technological determinism that views digital technologies as a conduit for an almost evangelical form for individual, educational and social transformation. The main section of this paper will discuss a number of key aspects of this debate through the lens of some recent research-based studies (Beetham & Sharpe, 2007; Gartner, 2008; Thomas, 2011a, 2011b) before summarising the main points in the conclusion. Recent Research Perspectives The terms digital native and digital immigrant have gained traction across the international educational community and beyond and, though they are beset by problems and challenges to their status, as we will identify below, they appeal at an intuitive level to a sense of change in the nature of young people and their use of digital media. While Prensky (2001a, 2001b) famously popularised the term in his essay of the same name, following earlier uses by Barlow (1996), it has taken researchers until the last few years to engage in large-scale empirical research on the subject (Brabazon, 2007; Selwyn, 2011). In the meantime technology has become an even more important touchstone of the knowledge economy and vendors and politicians have used the aura of excitement and change that it brings for their own purposes (Solomon & Shrum, 2007). At the same time, the prevalence of an anti-school discourse, arguing that education needs to be thoroughly transformed, has also latched onto technology as the means with which to accomplish its goals (Gee, 2007). Central to this idea is the notion that education needs to be fundamentally transformed or risk become even more marginalised in the lives of young people (Tapscott, 2009). The question to what extent technology has become a deterministic discourse shaping education is indeed a pertinent question (Selwyn, 2011), and how this can be unravelled from the wider question of exactly how much educational reform in general is needed (Gee, 2007).

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The use of the term generation has been around for a long time, growing particularly important in the 1960s (Buckingham, 2011) through the idea of a protest generation or the television generation, as that form of technology created a communal effect. The use of the word digital to suggest a transformative break or radical discontinuity that is found in Prensky (2001a, 2001b), Buckingham suggests, does not reflect the more realistic notion that social change takes place incrementally if at all. It is important to understand the underside of these digital gains in terms of accessibility and empowerment, and to see the implications for cybercrime, violence, loss of copyright protection and the infringement of personal freedom. While Buckingham argues that the generational concept is deeply flawed, more research is required to understand the complex shifts that are taking place in how not only young people but society in general is adapting to new technologies (Holloway & Valentine, 2004). Using unnuanced generational terms that group everyone together erases these differences and risks reinforcing rather than overcoming these digital divides. Digital literacy is often discussed purely in positive terms when some digital age kids are equally prone to exploiting technologies with the aid of sophisticated and, more often than not, unsophisticated plagiarism strategies. Digital natives and digital immigrants are therefore far from accepted terms, in fact they are highly contested and there remains a growing credibility gap between those educators who willingly and uncritically embrace them and those who reject them as non-evidenced based. These concepts rest on the idea that the younger generation of natives are significantly different in terms of their outlook to their parents, the immigrants, who speak the language of technology with a different accent. This generational difference is carried forward to the expectation that this generation requires a fundamentally different type of educational experience. The debate needs to also take on board that Prensky has clarified his position somewhat recently. In a 2011 paper, he describes the term digital natives as a metaphor which signalled a change but was not intended to be taken literally. On the other hand, such a clarification has arrived ten years after the original article and in the context of something of a backlash, when it might have been more appropriate to make an earlier intervention. In his thinking, digital generation has been replaced by the idea of digital wisdom, namely, a highly futuristic vision of the way human bodies will be augmented by digital implants in the future. While digital wisdom attempts to overcome the generational claims evident in the native/immigrant divide, it potentially creates new ones by

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distinguishing between individuals who possess (and do not possess) the wisdom to accompany the new age of digital augmentation. This highly speculative discourse risks the same critique, based, as digital wisdom is, on crystal ball gazing rather than on an evidenced-based approach. Jones (2011) interrogates the assumption that the birth of the digital generation can be precisely located, a tendency seen in a number of authors such as Tapscott (1998, 1999, 2009), as well as Palfrey and Gasser (2008), who identify the significance of kids born in the post1980 period. The underlying technological determinism is still a crucial part of this process, the idea that a whole group of people have been affected by changes in technology. Jones takes issue with this arguing that it should not be accepted as empirical research suggests a much more complex series of changes that are not uniform in orientation. Banaji (2011) explores the lives of digital youth in the context of the EU Civic Web project, focusing on the idea that online participation in politics can overcome many of the barriers to entry found in offline engagement. Again, however, the myth of digital engagement meets with a more sceptical response, in that civic engagement in online spaces tends to be located further down the priorities of young people. She refers in fact to many of the online digital spaces as “under-utilized”, or worse, “spam-filled” or even “expensive digital dustbins” (p. 62). There is little evidence to suggest that digital technologies make youth more creative or more individualistic and willing to collaborate on matters of political importance. Takahashi (2011) examines these claims further in the context of how Japanese youth use digital media, particularly mobile phones, social networking sites and electronic mail. The availability of these apparently ubiquitous technologies has actually led to more information overload and what she calls information “fatigue” (Mortkowitz, 2010). Rather than encouraging independence, she sees the need to find ways to support digital-enabled youth who need guidance and support from socalled digital immigrants rather than to be left to their own independent decisions. Levy and Michael (2011) in the Australian context examine findings from a school-based research project focusing on learners’ multimodal digital skills. Again rather than viewed as a homogenous group, the school-aged learners in these studies emerge as a highly differentiated group, with different interests in technology and a wide range of aptitudes and skill sets. Erstad (2011) continues this theme, considering the Nordic context of digital media use, a highly relevant context in that access to and prevalence of digital media is one of the highest globally,

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particularly in the 16-22 age group. Once again, rather than seeing stable and highly uniform patterns among members of this age cohort, Erstad’s research suggests that the digital youth are highly differentiated with strong variance in digital literacy skills and understanding, as well as their use of a variety of both digital and analogue media. More research needs to be done on the existing digital literacy skills of young people rather than assume that there is overall coverage. This variation in digital literacy skills is pursued further in an Australian context by Kennedy and Judd (2011) who also deconstruct the stereotypical assumptions behind the digital generation myth. Their research suggests that digital generation learners can demonstrate an overreliance on digital tools but that their knowledge of digital literacy skills and responsibilities is superficial at best, a conclusion demonstrated by the kids’ use of Wikipedia and Google above all other web sites and their simultaneous questioning of these tools’ accuracy and veracity (Chiles, 2008). Levy’s (2011) research focuses on pre-school children interrogating the assumption that early age children are subject to a uniformly high degree of immersion in digital technologies. The children aged four in the study clearly had different responses to the technology and this assumed fluency with the technology has to be understood in relation to different practices affecting both home and school learning contexts where socioeconomic differences exist. Bennett and Maton (2011) develop the implications of these previous research studies in quite radical ways, forcibly arguing that the digital native mythology has done a great deal of harm in that it is based on a moral panic rather than sound evidence-based research (Bennett, Maton & Kervin, 2008). This conclusion goes right to the heart of the research culture in educational technology, which, according to these researchers, needs to be fundamentally reoriented in order for it to advance. Rejecting such claims as the digital native/immigrant divide is a necessary step in that direction. Palfrey and Gassser’s (2011) recent article revisits some of their earlier claims from their book Born Digital (2008). They stand by their earlier claim that digital technologies are affecting profoundly young people, but in ways that are not consistent with Prensky’s earlier vision, particularly the idea of a radical discontinuity. Significantly, in response to the criticism around the term “generation”, they use the term “population”, and although that clearly downgrades the size of the cohort, it is still not clear how such a group is to be defined. Nevertheless, there are some useful caveats to Prensky’s previous use, including the emphasis

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on evolution rather than transformative revolution. Their response is evidently more balanced and as well as identifying certain characteristics of the digital media population, such as online identities, multi-tasking, the assumption that a digital version will be available, and their potential role in user-generated content, Palfrey and Gasser also articulate parallel dangers and concerns, including online privacy, information overload and saturation, as well as safety issues. In line with Bennett and Maton, then, they also emphasise the importance of a research-based approach to this population, but suggest it should not be dismissed out of hand given its rich intuitive acceptance. Conclusion It is important that taken for granted terms such as digital natives are deconstructed and more evidence-based research is conducted in the area (Ito, 2009, 2010) that takes into consideration the opportunities as well as the challenges and distractions posed by digital media (Young, 2006, 2010). To that extent, we should be more sceptical about the interests promoting their widespread acceptance and the view that suggests technology is a guaranteed way to enhance education, teaching and learning. This brief overview of some recent papers, available in more detail in Thomas (2011a), provides one of the most up to date overviews of research in this area and points towards a future research agenda for work on the relationship between digital media and young people around the world (Thomas, 2011b). References Banaji, S. (2011). Disempowering by assumption: Digital natives and the EU civic web project. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 49-66). London & New York: Routledge. Barlow, J. P. (1996). A declaration of the independence of cyberspace. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://homes.eff.org/~barlow/DeclarationFinal.html Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (2007) (Eds.). Rethinking pedagogy for the digital age: Designing and delivering e-learning. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Bennett, S., & Maton, K. (2011). Intellectual field or faith-based religion: Moving on from the idea of “digital natives”. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 169-185). London & New York: Routledge.

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Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The “digital natives” debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786. Brabazon, T. (2007). The university of Google: Education in the (post) information age. Aldershot: Ashgate. Buckingham, D. (2011). Foreword. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. ix-xi). London & New York: Routledge. Chiles, A. (2008). Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia. The Argus, January 13, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/1961862.lecturer_bans_students_ from_using_google_and_wikipedia/ Erstad, O. (2011). Citizens navigating in literate worlds: The case of digital literacy. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 99-118). London & New York: Routledge. Gartner (2008). Panel: The attack of the digital natives. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://agendabuilder.gartner.com/ea8/webpages/ SessionDetail.aspx?EventSessionId=821 Gee, J. P. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Green, H., & Hannon, C. (2007). Demos. Their space: Education for a digital generation. Retrieved June 20, 2009, from http://www.demos.co.uk/ files/Their%20space%20-%20web.pd Holloway, S. L., & Valentine, G. (2004). Cyberkids: Children in the information age. London: Routledge. Ito, M. ( 2009). Engineering play: A cultural history of children’s software. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Ito, M. et al. (2010). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out. Cambridge, Mass. & London: MIT Press. Jones, C. (2011). Students, the net generation, and the digital natives: Accounting for educational change. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 30-48). London & New York: Routledge. Kennedy, G. E., & Judd, T. (2011). Beyond Google and the “satisficing” searching of digital natives. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 119136). London & New York: Routledge. Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (Eds.) (2008). Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices. New York: Peter Lang. Levy, M., & Michael, R. (2011). Analysing students’ multimodal texts: The product and the process. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 8398). London & New York: Routledge. Levy, R. (2011). Young children, digital technology, and interaction with text.

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In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 151-168). London & New York: Routledge. Mitra, S. (2006). The hole in the wall: Self-organising systems in education. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill. Mortkowitz, L. (2010). More colleges, professors shutting down laptops and other digital distractions. The Washington Post, April 25, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/24/AR2010042402830.html Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2008). Born digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives. New York: Basic Books. Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2011). Reclaiming an awkward term: What we might learn from “digital natives”. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 186-205). London & New York: Routledge. Prensky, M. (2001a). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Prensky, M. (2001b). Digital natives, digital immigrants, part 2: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9(6), 1-6. Prensky, M. (2011). Digital wisdom and homo sapiens digital. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 15-29). London & New York: Routledge. Selwyn, N. (2011). Education and technology: Key issues and debates. London & New York: Routledge. Solomon, G., & Shrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, new schools. Eugene, Oregon & Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education. Takahashi, T. (2011). Japanese youth and mobile media. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies(pp. 66-82). London & New York: Routledge. Tapscott, D. (1998). Growing up digital: The rise of the Net generation. New York: McGraw-Hill. Tapscott, D. (1999). Educating the net generation. Educational Leadership, 56(5), 6-11. Tapscott, D. (2009) Grown up digital: How the Net generation is changing your world. New York: McGraw-Hill. Thomas, M. (2011a) (Ed.). Digital education: Opportunities for social collaboration. London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Thomas, M. (2011b) (Ed.). Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies. London & New York: Routledge. Young, J. R. (2006). The fight for classroom attention: Professor vs Laptop. Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(39), pp. A27–A29. Young, J. R. (2010). College 2.0: Teachers without technology strike back. The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 15, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://chronicle.com/article/College-20-

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Teachers-Without/123891/ Warschauer, M. (1999). Electronic literacies: Language culture and power in online education. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Warschauer, M. (2006). Laptops and literacy: Learning in the wireless classroom New York: Teacher College Press. Zimic, S., & Dalin, R. (2011). Actual and perceived online participation among young people in Sweden. In M. Thomas (Ed.) (2011), Deconstructing digital natives: Young people, technology and the new literacies (pp. 137-150). London & New York: Routledge.

Michael Thomas Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and International Studies at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. His research interests are in digital education and learning, online and distance education and educational policy. He is series editor (with James Paul Gee and Marc Prensky) of a new book series entitled Digital Education and Learning with Palgrave Macmillan and has previously held positions at universities in the UK, Germany and Japan. Among his book publications are Digital Education: Opportunities for Social Collaboration (Palgrave, 2011), Deconstructing Digital Natives: Young People, Technology and the New Literacies (Routledge, 2011), Online Learning (Sage, 2011), Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning (2009), Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research and Practice (with Euline Cutrim Schmid) (2010), Task-Based Language Learning & Teaching with Technology (with Hayo Reinders) (Continuum, 2010). He is editor of the International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, associate editor of the International Journal of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, and has guest edited special editions of the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, the International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, and the Journal of Digital Education and Culture. He has organized six international conferences on Web 2.0 digital technologies and education since 2007. and is a member of a number of editorial boards including the Journal of Research in Learning Technology (ALT-J) and the International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society.

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Miruna Runcan

Spectator vs. Video-gamer: Pleasures, Practices, Values ABSTRACT By focusing on the differences between the “spectator condition” and that of the video and PC gamer, the paper seeks to raise a series of questions about the changed paradigm in self identity discourses and representations of young people who are commonly known today as The Digital Generation. Its central interest is in the circular road of self-presence representations and bodyoriented participation, from linear narrative to level-stratified practice of the computer game, and the reverse. Following a short summary of the current tendencies in interpreting the mutations from spectatorship to game-controlling representations, the paper will try to draw several hypotheses/theories concerning the displacement of the moral and aesthetical values, as classical foundation of audience motivations in cultural consumption, towards the “experience” value, seen as a chance to identify, build and consume different and alternative constructs of the Subject/Self. This essay is only a small part of The Everyday Drama Research and Creation Program, a complex interdisciplinary research-creation project, carried on during the last seven years at the Theatre and Television Faculty of the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj, Romania. The current theme/field of this program – “The X-Men & Women Generation” – focuses on the young people’s representations of the self, based on their cultural consumption. The Everyday Drama Research and Creation Program was awarded a two year grant by the Romanian Ministry of Culture (2007-2008) and produces empirical and theoretical studies, video-productions, written journalism, plays and theatre productions. Keywords: spectatorship, audience, computer games, player, selfrepresentation.

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U

sually, everybody will agree that the spectator condition (and the semiotic-psychological model of spectatorship in itself) opposes the condition and the psychological (maybe even semiotic) model of the computer/video game user. Still, the simple fact that the new technologies and new media expended the last decades in a huge industry of interactive entertainment, and installed completely different cultural practices than the traditional “cultural consumption” does not exclude our comparative reflections regarding the two conditions and models. We can agree that, as Aaspeth (1997) said, the computing entertaining interactions, even if they pretend to be art, are not substantially similar with the traditional ones, because they are “ergodic” activities. But that doesn’t make the good old comparative perspective a redundant one, fist of all when one thinks about the enormous and profound personal, educational and social consequences occurred from the moment when video-game practices entered into the family space, even before the alphabetic ages of children. The young functionally alphabetized person (in terms of computing and gaming), who becomes lettered by “naturally” taping and clicking, is not denying his/her spectator condition, even if his/her mental processes are completely changed when compared with older generations. The children and teens did not - and do not - stop watching TV programs, or movies, or even theatre. In the same time, from children to young people (around their thirty’s) we can talk about a global (and in a way homogenous) market of video games, probably one of the largest and most dynamic of all markets. A huge market means a huge audience, isn’t it? Though, in a polemic article dedicated to video game practices, Eskilinen and Tronstad (2003) reject any application of semiotic, aesthetic or rhetoric methodologies on video/games, with the interesting but untenable argument that This masks effectively the fact that games (unlike art) don’t need audiences as an integral part of their “communication” structure. Consequently, the very idea of audiencelessness seems to be incomprehensible to most media scholars, as it tends to undermine the ready-made use value of approaches and theories borrowed from their favorite disciplines and scholarly fields of choice. (p. 197) Can we take such an insolent statement as a serious one, or is it only a polemic twaddle? How can someone imagine that we have an entire media industry, and an overwhelming cultural/entertaining number of daily practices excluding the audience condition from their structure? On one hand, we can agree that the distance between performing arts’ traditional spectator’s condition and the user-gamer’ one is so huge that rejecting

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comparative approaches seems, somehow, a safe and comfortable attitude. On the other hand, in the same article (and in other studies published by Eskilinen himself), one can find lots and lots of pertinent comparisons with theatre and film’s usual spectatorship processes; this article also tries to sketch several parallels and conjunctions between performance theory and game theory. It seems we can treat the statement below as a provocative contradiction. The foundation of Eskilinen’s approach is, following, in a way, Aaspeth’s thesis on the ergodic specificity of the cyberspace, that: ...there is no doubt that games and computer games are ergodic - if not art - because in games we have to produce, encounter and respond to variable sequences of action. Of course, there is a crucial difference separating these practices from each other: in art we have to configure in order to be able to interpret, whereas in games we have to interpret in order to be able to configure, and proceed from the beginning to the winning ore some other situation. (Eskilinen and Tronstad, 2003, p.197) The entire history of the video games is driven by a dominant dream, even if the games seem to be as different and complex as one could imagine, in terms of rules, structure or goals: the attempt to extend, by technological support, user perceptions and corporal reactions and skills; the devilish - and narcissistic - desire for a corporeal “realistic” immersion into the virtual space of the game, however futuristic or fabulous this space would have been. Of course, the video/game industry developed entire series of games derived from abstract board games (from chess to solitaire or Tetris), but the most successful and engaging videogames are anthropocentric and, as we all know, they raise lots and lots of questions in terms of identity construction and mental development. There is, of course, a good reason for all that, proving once more that McLuhan’s prophetic point of view concerning the brain and values’ mutations generated by technology are true: “... the body and technology are conjoined in a literal sense, where machines assume organic functions and the body is materially redesigned through the application of newly developed technologies” (Balsamo, 1996, pp. 2-3) In several earlier articles (Runcan 2009, 2011), I tried to sum up and comment, in a short empiric sketch, the mutations derived from early age computing and video gaming practices, in terms of individual and social values of thinking, live interactions and insertions. My first (and probably most provocative) observation was that traditional values, founded on work and study, are, apparently, collapsing, as much as the capacity of young people to focus, assume and interpret traditional spectatorial

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experiences. But are these observations (usually shared by everybody, from parents and educators to scholars) really true or at least fair? ... video games and some type of virtual reality are the supreme media for the full simulation of our basic first-person “story” experience because they allow “the full experiential flow” by linking perceptions, cognitions and emotions with first-person actions. Motor cortex and muscles focus the audiovisual attention, and provide “muscular” reality and immersion to the perceptions. (Grodal, 2003, p. 132) The interactive dominance of the functional computer alphabetization at early ages raises a series of new problems that were absent in the earlier/traditional media: but, on the other hand, the problems resemble much those raised by interacting with real-life situations and events of everyday life. The reader and the spectator of “traditional” written or film/theatre narratives need only to concentrate, identify and interpret linear text constructions, and to use some general cognitive skills, based on an expectations’ horizon always “in progress”. But the story could and will proceed even without such a preexistent horizon. Opposite to this condition, the computer game experience is founded on and emerges from the player’s active participation: the player has to develop several series of specific skills in order to build the “story”, which is almost never a linear one, and depends on his/her actions. The gamer has to actualize concrete motor skills, a sharp and quick reaction to observations and the inside inputs of the game and, of course, some planning skills. Therefore, in this respect, the new mental/cognitive activations increase exponentially the ability to react to the inside world of the game, solve its problems, and develop a specific demand on working memory space: the mental “work” of the gamer also increases immersion and... pleasure. Video games provide personalized experiences that are based on playing (that is: pleasurable repetitive learning processes), backed up by emotions that change over time not only because of the events but also due to the development of the learning processes. The subjective experience of nonlinear choice is strongly enhanced by the repetitive nature of games that allow different lines of action in different playings of the same game, contrary to film, which chooses one line of action and one narrative out of the virtual options. (Grodal, 2003, p.153) As we see, the first supposition I had needs its corrections. If the social value of the working/learning binominal seems to collapse, that doesn’t mean that the working/learning mental processes of the computer-game person

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disappeared: on the contrary, they are as active and effective than ever, but their subjective and virtually driven actualization obstruct us, digital immigrants or completely ignorant of computing activities, from observing, interpreting and influencing these phenomena. Furthermore, what about the second empiric observation concerning the digital natives’ spectatorial lack of interest and focus? Video-games - particularly first person computer-based ones - share with the film and theatre practice the obligation to offer a coherent and consistent (self-sufficient) universe of representations. Both spectatorship and PC gaming practices apparently share the need of conventional rules and, of course, both seem to produce a similar effect of absorption into the fictional world. More than that, a large part of first person games borrow from film and theatre performances the dramatic and narrative vehicles, static and dynamic frames, and – evidently – casting and characters. What we have to consider here, just in the middle of this borrowingchallenging competition, is the distance between the (conscious and subconscious) positioning of the spectator and that of the gamer/user. The process of secondary identification taking place in cinema theatres depends paradoxically on distance while in the case of games we encounter something more than just intimacy. Identification is replaced by introjections – the subject is projected inward into an “other”. We do not need to complete imitation to confuse the “other” with the “self”. The subject (player) and the “other” (the onscreen avatar) do not stand at the opposite sides of the mirror anymore they become one. (...) During the game, the player’s identity ends in disintegration, and the merger of user’s and character’s consciousness ensues. (Filiciak, 2003, p.88). On the spectator’s side, we have to deal with the assumed “denegation” (Elam, 1980, p.38; Ubersfeld, 1978, p. 47-49; Runcan, 2005, p. 24): the spectator consciously and willingly leaves – for a definite time and in secure conditions – his/her own identity, in order to confound, identify with and interpret the fictional world of the performance. In other words, he/she empties the pot of his/ her inner self with the goal of filling it up – by interpreting and re-constructing – with a different identity, capable of being invested with a global significance. However, at the same time, the film or theatre spectator strongly associates the artificial structure of the fictional narrative canvas with the continuum mental “flow” of his/her observations, associations and memories: Movies are the closest external representation of the prevailing

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storytelling that goes on in our minds. What goes on within each shot, the different framing of a subject that the movement of the camera can accomplish, what goes on in the transition of shots achieved by editing, and what goes on in the narrative constructed by a particular juxtaposition of shot is comparable in some respects to what goes on in the mind, thanks to the machinery in charge of making visual and auditory images, and to devices such as the many levels of attention and working memory. (Damasio, 1999, p. 188) On the other hand, in computer games – and particularly in first person shooters or in video RPGs (Role Playing Games) – we have a re-mediated activity, which compels the practitioner to interpret information step by step, in order to configure his/her own identity and actions. Here, denegation is just a starting point for a set of more complex processes, similar in a way to stage or film acting. The classical actor’s paradox of Diderot, - “the conscious and systematic lie” – becomes here, simultaneously, the attribute of the one who plays and the one who observes the game, insofar as we are speaking about the same person. In other words, the paradox covers both conditions and melts them, as much as the gamer/player builds his/her own conventional presence as avatar, observes and controls it, in order to gain new abilities and skills and, eventually, win the game. ... video games and some type of virtual reality are the supreme media for the full simulation of our basic first-person “story” experience because they allow “the full experiential flow” by linking perceptions, cognitions and emotions with first-person actions. Motor cortex and muscles focus the audiovisual attention, and provide “muscular” reality and immersion to the perceptions. (Grodal, 2003, p. 132) In fact, computer-gaming activities offer a pregnant, unique kind of experience, double oriented: the user is at the same time the actor of the virtual plot and the observer/viewer/spectator of his/her own performances. It is a firstperson double mental and emotional position, and this is most activating end reward, if proper sensory modalities are at work. Vividness, interaction and the illusion of total control (the gamer usually ignores - or is blocking the consciousness of - the artificial, programmed-computational reality) of the sensory and motor interface provides the “jouissance” of direct agency, irrespective of any kind of objective approach. The avatar’s presence and actions are practically indifferent to any ethical or aesthetical burden; instead, the space emptied of meaning construction is refilled with the ecstatic energy of watching the action at the very moment of performing it.

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Since our actions are visible on a television or computer screen, it is there where we actually act, especially because our actions on the screen are highly visible to others. It may be the effect of incessant associating with mass media; we are not only voyeurs, but we want to appear on the screen as well. Since our “window on the world” was replaced by Windows, we ourselves want to appear on the screen. The Internet allows fulfilling this need. To be visible means to be real. (Filiciak, 2003, p.100) Consequently, the “subjective” dominance of his/her active involvement in the fictional world of the game determines him/her to operate a distinctive difference between, let’s say, traditional film viewing and “film” sequences in video games: the latter are perceived and interpreted by the user as sequences that temporarily block interaction, sometimes for temporal-spatial reasons (the gamer has to go from one level to another and has to renegotiate the actual strategies). Unlike traditional spectatorship conditioning of the film continuum, such sequences inserted in video games become “dead”, “artificial”, “lifeless”. Linked with the corporeal effects of self involvement provided by new computing technologies (now expanding in the film industry, too, by surround sound and 3 or even 4D image, as direct response to the challenges of gaming experiences), we could explain at least a part of the profound mutations from the traditional interpretative - spectator driven - focus and practices to the ergodicconfigurative ones. The deep corporeal implications of video/games, with their cognitive - even mechanical, even stereotyped - corollary, provide a new and irresistible kind of “physical” pleasure that tends to dominate and overwhelm old fashioned reading, film or theatre practices: ... [The] eye and ear will not only be linked to an activation of the premotor cortex (as in previous media) but also to a full motor cortex and muscle activation. Like cinema, the video game screen predominantly simulates perceptions of spaces and objects that are present to the senses, but they can be influenced by actions. I several respects, then, the video games are, as mentioned, the closest to the basic embodied story experiences. (Grodal, 2003, p.139) While (the perfect illusion of) control seems to be the magic key to any interpretation of the differences between spectatorship and video-gaming practices, it seems more than probable that the profound mutation we have been witnessing during the last decades affects directly the digital native’s contemplative and reflexive capabilities. And if, using Eskilinen dichotomy,

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rational interpretation is profoundly challenged by the need/pleasure of ergodic configuration, then an entire set of values (including the traditional, educational, ethic and aesthetic ones) need to be revisited, by fresh and effective strategies of discourse and tactics of argumentation, all based on the new, almost fully expanded value: the experience value. REFERENCES Aarseth, Espen (1979) Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature, N.Y: Johns Hopkins University Press Balsamo, Anne (1996) Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press Damasio, Antonio R (1999) The Feeling of What Happens. Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, New York: Harcourt Brace Elam, Keir (19980, 2003) The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama, London: Methuen Eskilinen, Markku, Tronstad, Ragnhild (2003) “Video Games and Configurative Performances”, in Wolf, Mark J.P., Perron, Bernard (eds), The Video Game Theory Reader, London/New York: Rutledge Filiciak, Miroslaw, (2003) ‘Hyperidentities”, in Wolf J.P, Perron, Bernard, eds., The Video Game Theory Reader, Rutledge, N.Y./London: 2003 Grodal, Torben (2003) “Stories for Eyes, Ear and Muscles”, in Wolf, Mark J.P., Perron, Bernard (eds), The Video Game Theory Reader, London/New York: Rutledge, 2003 Runcan, Miruna (2005) Pentru o semiotică a spectacolului teatral, Cluj: Editura Eikon Runcan, Miruna (2009) “Fate is never final?” Why movies reenact RPG experiences, Studia Dramatica nr. 2/2009 Runcan, Miruna (2011) “WHO AM I TODAY?” – ASKS THE HERO. Actor and Spectator of a Daily Hypertext”, Caietele Echinox, vol. 20, Cluj: The Center for Imagination Studies Ubersfeld, Anne (1978) Lire le Théâtre, Paris: Editions Sociales

Miruna Runcan is a writer and theatre critic. She has a PhD in Theatre’s Aesthetics at the Bucharest University of Theatre and Film in 1999. From 2000 she is a professor at the Journalism Department of Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj, Romania (2000-2004), then at Theatre and Television Department of the same university (2004…) From 2009, she is the director of the Doctoral School in Theatre Studies at the same faculty, and also the research director of the Everyday Life Drama Laboratory of The Theatre Research and Creation Center Vlad Mugur. Member of the Romanian Writers’ Union, UNITER (The Romanian Theatre Association) and of AICT/IATC (The International Association of Theatre Critics). Founder and editor in chief of Man.In.Fest. Quaterly of performing and video arts (2003…).

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Adriana Mihai

Television Narratives Constructing Online Communities A Case Study on TvBlog ABSTRACT Online communities, as independent public spaces of teamwork, exchange of information and opinions, as well as of emotional refuge make possible free expression and representation of selves, sharing, connectedness, and emotional empathy. Furthermore, they provide several benefits that tell cyberspace apart from real-life public spaces. Such benefits include, first, anonymity, by the creation of safety nets not easy to identify in social conglomerates; a second benefit is communication effectiveness. Third, an impressive number of people have access to online communities. Next, class markers seem to be erased. Fifth, immediate reactions have a space in which they can be made known. One such self-governing, “imagined community” is TvBlog, whose users are brought together by their intent to share preferences for and emotional responses to television series. Keywords: connectedness, imagined communities, online community, online anonymity, sharing, television narratives, television series, TvBlog Social Practices Online: Preliminary Concepts

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he study of people’s interaction with a machine follows the long epistemological tradition of modernity in approaching science and capital as primary mechanisms that organize modern social practices, regularized through the dominant discourse of knowledge and power (Foucault, 1973; Habermas, 1987; Giddens, 1989). Technological development owed to a constant focus on scientific progress brought both new systems for production, consumption and labour, and a “coupling of the body and machines” (Escobar 213) in public institutions

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and social endeavours. Although the computer was initially associated with another scientific tool for institutional purposes and the Internet (with) yet another medium which encourages passive consumers by providing new means for corporate capitalism, the technology proved to be much more complex in terms of human activity: the interaction of man with other people on computers came to be treated with sociological, anthropological, social science and cultural studies research interests and methods. The new grounds for human activity fostered by the Internet came to define it as a product of postmodernism (Hutcheon, 1989; Kellner, 1995; Agger, 2004), which gives birth to a whole new geography for human behaviour, social networks and the expression of identity. In this regard, there are two contrasting perspectives on the effects the Internet has on social interaction and on the types of social places constructed online (Kollock and Smith, 1999; Giddens, 2006): the dystopian vision holds the virtual practices of interaction responsible for threatening the traditional means of physical, face-to-face interaction, which makes room to isolated beings and atomization. Furthermore, it envisages the Internet as another medium (after the printed press and television) used for advertising, political rhetoric and propaganda purposes, and even worse, as an institution of surveillance and social control, due to the increasingly encouraged transparency online. Critics admit that the technology assigns more power to the individuals than other media; however, they maintain that the current structures of power will not be challenged but, instead, enhanced by the manipulative use of information online. On the other hand, the utopian vision considers that virtual relationships between people supplement or intensify the existing physical connections, creating stronger ties between people and, therefore, giving power to the social networks in a democratic manner. In addition, the positive effects of online interaction include employment, social contact, entertainment and political involvement. While we do not want to put ourselves for or against online practices, we are interested in investigating the actual cultural phenomena that occur within and through this means of communication. Mostly textual in nature, the Internet circulates the users’ input and creates informational networks and groups which would not have been possible otherwise; their ability to generate subjective experiences and to create “cultural texts” (Lysloff 233) gives birth to social media. People who come together online by identification with a common experience, interest and purpose, and define themselves as a group governed by norms and policies (Preece 5) form online communities. This paper discusses the emergence of previously “unimaginable” (Lysloff 236) communities constructed on the grounds of

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similar responses to real or fictional narratives. Our choice of television narratives is prompted not only by the narrative nature and continuity of the television series, but also by the assumption that more controversial issues, such as social, ethnic, political injustice or collective traumas, have real-life institutional status and are part of the public discourse; therefore, they create physical networks and communities which are then transferred online more easily. The methods of analysis of online communities are unconventional in comparison to traditional research: online participant observation and interviews, watching the television series in order to fully grasp the audiences’ experience, considering the users’ comments and reading the reviews made by the members of the TvBlog community. In order to be able to watch the series, you need to access online websites that provide illegally the episodes, which is largely practiced by the Romanians due to the lack or failure of the legislation on online copyright infringement. This practice is common to the members of the community, although not officially acknowledged; without this option, since most of the series are aired only on American television channels, the community would have difficulties in maintaining a continuous flow of information and viewing input. Self-positioning and Flexible Selves Human subjectivity has been challenged by technological and scientific developments, deemed either threats with potentially dehumanizing effects (Lyotard, 1984), or positive influences able to challenge identity stereotypes; thus, the emerging fields of cultural studies research, such as gender studies, postcolonial theories of identity and otherness, ethnic and racial studies, have emphasized the possibility generated by this medium to determine reconsiderations of identity (Malpas, 2005). The idea of the ever-changing postmodern self, with its graphic representation in cyberspace, is discussed in social scientist Sherry Turkle’s early works (1995; 1999), where identity dynamics on screen is explored. Sherry Turkle reflects the postmodern “selfpositioning self ” (Agger 115) by speaking about the “decentered identity” (Turkle 646) in relation to the principles advanced by the poststructuralist theorists and Lacanian psychoanalysis: “there is no such thing as the ego, (…) each of us is a multiplicity of parts, fragments, and desiring connections.” (645) Her argument builds on the premise that, while the social pressure of taking responsibility for one’s actions makes it difficult for this theory to be accepted in general routine practices, the notion of multiple and decentred self is potentiated by the cyberspace, the technological options matching such a play. Therefore, the traditional notions of identity are

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reconsidered, since the Internet helps us develop “ideas about identity as multiplicity through new social practices.”(646-7) What Turkle sees as a determinant feature of the postmodern individual is the adaptive, “flexible” self, denoting its unstable character, the permanent cycling through entities and drafts. Her work continues the postmodern tradition of seeing the self as an object for constant reconsideration and reflection, as an imperfect creation that makes way for self-exploration in different alternative spaces. Self-discovery, as well as the retrieval of lost memories of identity through the possibility of experimenting different personas, represents chances people have on the Internet when faced with the options of constructing their virtual identity per se; the choice of an avatar, a representative image through which other people would picture one on the Internet, or of a nickname, metaphorically re-baptizing themselves, raises many questions as to the effects virtual selections have on their real identity. Anonymity on the Internet favours personal choices of a textual description of one’s identity, the discursive methods becoming the only means through which identities can be constructed online. Nevertheless, Sherry Turkle argues that virtual identities do not become fictional creations; in the negotiation between real identities and their virtual representations, the decisive factor is not the computer, but the cultural trends in which the individual is registered; the latter’s life is but a mirror of his/her actual self: “it is rather that today’s life on the screen dramatizes and concretizes a range of cultural trends that encourage us to think of identity in terms of multiplicity and flexibility.” (643) This alternation through environments, concretely exemplified by the movement among ‘windows’, ‘tabs’, ‘chat rooms’ or ‘folders’, implies a simultaneous presence of the self in various virtual places of experimentation. Another important aspect in the online manifestation of identity is the status of the physical markers, such as race, gender, ethnicity; idealist theories claim that these markers disappear with the online recreation of identity. However, as already discussed, it has been argued and shown how personal narratives of the self are deeply rooted in its cultural origins, so that the virtual self, while still able to alternate various personas, betrays his or her cultural formation and gives hints of his or her real identity. The emergence of new geographies and social spaces, which are not replicas of real territories but extensions of these, and can be supplied and used by people for their real, ‘authentic’ lives, is made possible within the digital setting. People are invited to join different spaces, to inhabit them simultaneously and to contribute with new meanings, their own input to these grounds. It is this precise feature of cyberspace that interests us in the present pursuit; since it is a “discontinuous narrative space” i.e. “it is an

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imagined and imaginary space, and thus a narrative, both because it is an area of discourse interaction, and because it contends, often very successfully, for our imagination” (Jones 15), the online becomes a repository for collective cultural expression, interaction and memory (Fernback 37; Giddens 596). The encouragement of publicly expressing opinions, recounting personal experiences, ‘commenting’ on different events, news, exchanging views on social, political, economic, cultural, scientific matters, turns the Internet into a public sphere (Habermas, 1962) of interaction. Fernback argues that, in contrast to the difficulties of association in diverse multicultural conglomerations – speaking about the American society – where the notion of public has “less salience and meaning” (37) and participation has been reduced to media consumption, cyberspace provides a safety net that makes people break the public silence and enter a public arena: For many users, it is a space of vitality and belonging where there is less to fear as public figures and where recriminations seem gentler when the lack of physical presence creates a safety net. In cyberspace, we tend to be bolder, riskier, sometimes more rude, sometimes more kind, but the silence is broken nevertheless. We might be alone at our computers as we type, but we are participating in some form of public life; the form of public life that comes about after the mistrust of our neighbours and our intense desires for privacy force us to re-examine our atomized lives. The exciting sense of possibility permeates cyberspace. (38) Another perspective which accounts for the necessity of freely expressing opinions in the public sphere under a safety net is brought by one of the theorists of the emerging field of emotion studies, William Reddy, in his study entitled The Navigation of Feeling. A Framework for the History of Emotions (2001). His argument is that, by making the universalist thesis on emotions and the constructionist antithesis converge, the (cultural) historian or the critical-thinker can use emotions in order to understand the mechanism of historical change. Reddy’s own suggestion of a theoretical framework, linked to J. L. Austin’s speech act theory, introduces a new type of utterances called ‘emotives’ (96), self-managing and exploratory emotional expressions that render in words the messages delivered through various nonverbal codes and types of language. They are characterized by spontaneity, lack of self-censorship, revealing unexpected reproductions and explorations of one’s feelings; they are not shaped by a dominant political, philosophical or social discourse, and can provide authentic input of emotions. Reddy makes his claim in relation to oppressive social regimes

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with rigid emotional conditions that deny the citizens’ right to freedom of expression and make them seek emotional refuge and liberty. On a smaller scale, any social structure inevitably places restrictions on emotional expression, limiting emotional liberty to a certain extent. A heterogeneous society prevents its members from sharing emotional responses and from seeking associations based on them in the public sphere. Looking for similar responses to their favourite programs, television fans encounter limits in the physical space: the already existing ties of their social networks may not include this particular affinity; the creation of new ties can be done only locally and the chances of finding people willing to associate based on a singular mutual interest are small. The global character of the online environment enhances the possibilities of connectedness and identification, and creates alternative spaces of occupancy; the safety net offered by a community founded on a specific interest encourages its members to express freely their emotions stirred by the television series, in this case, through emoticons, exaggerated use of punctuation marks, interjections, first-hand reactions to the episodes. The use of emotives does not trigger judgment, indifference or misunderstanding; on the contrary, it incites empathy, identification and positive responses. Our study will focus on the collective project TvBlog that includes people with different backgrounds, but tied by mutual affinities and emotional reactions to television series. It is common for social networks to emerge and expand from interpersonal relationships between first-degree acquaintances, and for online communities to be created by people who have never met each other. The ties bring them together and they become spontaneous communities, on an indefinite time period; the deep attachment generated by these close associations and the mutual feeling of belonging to a group, based on shared symbolic traits and not on geographical proximity or other physical markers, determine us to see them as “imagined communities” (Anderson, 1983), cultural artefacts which “command (…) profound emotional legitimacy” (4). As Anderson uses the concept in relation to nationalism and explains why he considers them imagined - “the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” (6) –, we consider that the dynamics of the interaction between the members of an online community, their sense of attachment to a mutual narrative of creation, and their availability in serving a common goal make these communities self-conscious.

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Television Narratives Generating Cognitive Interest and Emotional Reactions Television series provide a key ingredient that differentiates them from other forms of fictionalized narratives such as novels or films: continuity. The development of a storyline over weeks, months or years makes it easy to follow; the viewer has time to assimilate the characters’ evolution and the specificities of each situation presented; furthermore, he/she contributes to the illusion of the story authenticity; although they are built on conventions like any other works of fiction, the possible worlds they imagine gain a sense of reality by becoming a part of the viewer’s usual activity. The line between fiction and reality is blurred; television series consumers may come to assimilate parts of the scripts, ideas, lines and emotional experiences as similar to or even supplementing their own. The feeling of an intimate connection between the viewer and the characters of a television series raises constant interest and contribution; it is given by the power of these constructs to generate empathy and emotional reactions. One of the pioneers of the narratology of television series was Seymour Chatman (Allrath et al. 2), who adapted and applied the established narratological categories from novel to film. The variety of the communication devices determines one of the specificities of the medium, which inevitably alters the traditional perception of narratives; their appearance in an institutionalized context contributes to the general inclusion of their own narrative in a greater landscape: they are preceded and followed by other television programs, their flow is interrupted by commercials, and their schedule generally allows viewers to access them once a week, sometimes with two or three-month season break hiatuses. However, this pattern is modified once the TV program is viewed directly on DVD or on the Internet, on websites such as YouTube, vplay.ro, or from torrents – applications more likely to be used by the Romanian audience with Internet access. Television networks such as AXN, HBO and TVR air some of the American and British popular television series; thus, larger audiences (from both urban and rural areas and any category of age) have access to Grey’s Anatomy, House MD, CSI, Criminal Minds, Nip/Tuck, Cougar Town, The Simpsons, Hannah Montana. On the other hand, such broadcast has a delay of at least one season from the original U.S. or UK airdates. The Internet users’ delay frustration is determined mostly by spoilers or difficulties in exchanging opinions on the shows while they research online; therefore, they are drawn to the option of seeing the series illegally, for the sake of synchronicity. In this case, the practices vary, each viewer having the power to decide when and how to see the show:

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either several episodes at a time, or one episode per week, during the morning, or during a break at work. Another advantage in viewing the TV shows online is the lack of restrictions from institutional censorship. The Romanian National Television has chosen to schedule House MD after 11 p.m. because the main character of the series is an exceptional doctor who is addicted to pain killers; the television chose to avoid a penalty from the CNA (National Audiovisual Council of Romania) for encouragement of drug abuse. Online, the viewing activity becomes flexible, more accessible and uncensored. Since the 1990s, experimental and complex narrative techniques have been used in TV series, such as: multiperspectivity, unreliable narration, intramediality, intermediality and metafictionality. The new manifestations of consciousness are supported by technological advancement and innovation, leading to a cultural shift: the new affective order involves a consciousness informed by: short, but intense, sound-vision bytes; non-linearity (in contrast with linear narrative); an information overload, constellatory access to diverse materials; bricolage as its principle of composition; reception (as much as production) driven aesthetic; polysemy,; in respect of meanings; diversity, in respect of pleasures. (Allrath et al. 4) One of the most recent examples of intermediality using the new technologies in order to catch the audience’s attention in an attempt to suppress the real-fiction border was Grey’s Anatomy’s season seven, episode thirteen (S07E13), which presented one of the characters, surgeon Miranda Bailey, tweeting live during surgery1. A real Twitter account was made on the social networking platform under the following name and description: “Dr. Miranda Bailey - I am an attending surgeon at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital. Grey’s Anatomy THURSDAYS 9|8c on ABC”2; during the airing of the episode, the character decided to have an assistant write messages on her behalf on Twitter in order for her to reach and teach medicine students who could not attend her in the operating room by keeping them updated with the progress of the surgery. The messages could be seen instantly online, on the character’s Twitter account. This was an ingenious marketing method for testing the viewers’ participation and their profile, as the account got 28,491 followers, whose personal accounts could be easily accessed. House MD also made use of other media, putting up a board on their website with the names of the candidates to the three jobs House is offering at the beginning of season four; the board

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contained the characters’ names and skills descriptions and they could be voted by the viewers. Not only were the fans drawn into participating in the development of the episodes, but also the boundary between real and fictional got extremely blurred. Television narratives consider cultural categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, social classes in the creation of fictional worlds, therefore the reinterpretation and rewriting of these contents add up to their symbolic capital and meaning for the addressees, for the viewers. These modes produce meaning constantly sent through the ongoing narratives. One of the most interesting aspects in television series is their authorship; while reading a novel or seeing a film implies either background knowledge or an initial contact with the author or the director, television series are generally perceived as anonymous. They are usually written by several scriptwriters, who share the work with producers, directors of photography and directors (who can often be more than one for a series). The absence of a conscious acknowledgment of the auctorial fingerprint contributes even more to the illusion of reality given by the television series. TvBlog: Mission Statement and Internal Regulations TvBlog is a website launched on September 24th, 2006, by two web programmers from Cluj-Napoca who owned a network of themed blogs. The purpose of creating theme-oriented blogs was to provide an online advertising system based on specific target audiences from Romania which would gather around specialized blogs. TvBlog was created for a target audience of TV series and several editors were appointed in order to define the main topics of interest and attract a fan base. The advertising space brought financial benefits to the web programmers, while TvBlog provided an alternative public space which turned into a large community of television series lovers. It was conceived as a collective project and it started with four contributors.3 The editors and the people who comment on the blog do not have financial benefits; therefore their work is strictly motivated by the blog’s founding principle – as stated in the blog description: the interest in TV series and serials. The content of the website is generated by the users who write daily reviews of every episode of a total of 275 TV series, including mainly English-speaking productions (American, British and Canadian), but also some Romanian contest reality shows (Romanii au talent, Dansez pentru tine and Rataciti in Panama). The number of TV series is immense, and still

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growing, as the productions belong either entirely to television networks, which also air them (NBC, FOX, TBC, TNT, TV Land, BBC2, USA, ABCF, ComedyCentral, VH1, MTV, HBO, Lifetime, AXN, A&E and others), or to online stations sustained by established television networks. Some of the series have been aired by Romanian televisions as well, but users argue that it would be impossible to create such a large data base with limited resources. Legal alternative ways to watch the series are satellite antennas, online access provided by some of the televisions (although most of them restrict their content to Romanian citizens) and iTunes. Illegal practices are usually preferred as they are significantly cheaper. Up to date information, immediate viewer reaction and debates would not be possible in real-life gatherings; thus, cyberspace becomes a privileged arena of sharing, discussion and analysis. The content of the website and the level of participation speak for themselves: there are 45 active editors who contribute with reviews (and the community is expanding) and participate with further comments, interact with readers and moderate some of the interventions; the website has been hosting a total amount of 15,834 posts and 106,867 comments since its launching. The language of the blog is Romanian, which limits the possibility of foreign-language speakers to interact with the community, making the space more local than other online communities and forums. However, the geography of human interaction is affected by the online medium, as there are members from several cities of Romania and also Romanians from the Diaspora. In consequence, three conditions need to be fulfilled in order to take part in the TvBlog community: to have Internet access, to speak Romanian and to be interested in TV series. The community is self-governing; it has its own set of laws, clearly stated and justified in the ‘Rules’ section of the website4. The regulation was created progressively, along with the observation of certain behaviours which affected the coherence and understanding of the comments; since the ideal of a community is to generate substantial participation and to create a heterogeneous space where different identities (of various ages, educational levels, personalities) can interact, a common set of norms had to be reached. These norms implicitly state the principles to guide the members’ communication, forming what Wilson Peterson calls a “speech community”: “interacting members of online groups constitute a speech community as they presumably share to some extent communicative practices, beliefs, and norms, since communication would be hindered otherwise.” (Wilson and Peterson 459) The norms of TvBlog take into account language, style, piracy, subtitles, voting system, spoilers and chatting.

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Language is probably the most important aspect to be considered in a largely textual space, since TvBlog and most of the online communities define themselves as platforms of free expression. Because of several types of censorship or strict rules concerning abusive language, aggressive vocabulary and style or off-topic discussions intruding in conversations, many have denounced the regime of these platforms as totalitarian. Indeed, the administrator’s power over the comments can be abusive; it allows one to select only favourable opinions on their product (editorial, collected news, cultural events etc.) and applies censorship on ethically wrong criteria. The right to comment is perhaps one of the most sustained and representative unwritten laws of the Internet, leading to what has recently started to be analyzed because of the Facebook revolutions in the Arab world: the empowering of ordinary people by giving them the chance to express themselves online. However, TvBlog and many other communities require basic principles of respect, relevance and decency in the use of language; TvBlog administrators exclude the use of obscenities, profanities and curse words, as well as personal attacks; each person is entitled to their opinion and debates should focus on reason-oriented arguments, instead of irrational, pathos driven commentaries which would incite virulent response. Furthermore, they state their preference for a correct use of the Romanian language and for the avoidance of “mIRCisms” – i.e. chat language using numerous shortcuts, capitalized letters, and extremely abbreviated manners of expression. Using this type of language instead of the traditional and coherent speech could lead, in their opinion, to their stigmatization; since identity is constructed textually online, the way you write says who you are. One of the administrators states in the interview we conducted that, judging by the style they use and by the grammatical errors they make (in spite of the rules of the community), many of their users are youngsters, aged between 16 and 185; of course, no one can state their ages with certainty, as they might as well be uneducated adults who lack basic notions of grammar, or people who have grown accustomed to the language in chat rooms or virtual games. The quality of one’s use of language determines the quality of the individual and the tone they use is much more preeminent, as elements which support it in the real-life (facial expressions, voice, and body language) lack in online conversations. One of the administrators’ notes draws attention upon the meaning of capitalized letters in online conversation: “to those unaware, writing in all caps is shouting”; in order for a community to maintain a climate for communication, its members need to be acquainted with the semiotics of online communication and to express accurately their intentions. Their politics are against explicit comments of piracy practices, although they imply that they are well aware

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of the use of illegal alternatives; it is ironic that being a public blog, they have to obey the law, but there would probably not be a blog without the weak enforcement of the copyright infringement laws in Romania. They do not promote these practices and they ask the members to simply discuss the episodes and not the way of acquiring them. The categories of the blog include an up-to-date weekly schedule of the series airing time, as well as Romanian subtitles for each episode, available one or two days after the original airing. Gabip, one of the blog administrators, explained the source of the subtitles6: some of the TvBlog community members belong to the communities that produce film and TV series subtitles (Titrari.ro, Subtitrari-noi.ro, Niftyteam.ro); their work in translating the scripts is another example of collaborative work and gift economy (Rheingold, 2000), traits which characterize many of the online communities. They sign up for the subtitles they are interested in on their forum, exchange opinions on the best translation solutions, and put the resulted work on their websites for free public use. Basically, anyone who is interested in films and TV series, has a good command of English language and wants to contribute with voluntary work to the community, is welcomed to do so. Repeated off-topic discussions meant to irritate other members, as well as comments containing spoilers (especially in the case of series with an adapted screenplay, when the original piece of writing or comic book can be familiar to a limited group) are forbidden. In the comments section of the regulations, there are six messages commenting on the rule referring to the use of spoilers, asking for further explanation and debating on how much information should be included in a comment and to what extent should up-to-date users protect delayed members from data on the development of the plot. It is interesting that each category gives the chance to debate and communication, maintaining the dynamics of opinions and continuously improving its constitution. Most of the content on the website is made up of episode reviews for the 275 TV series; generally, their reviews amount to 800-1200 words and they contain plot development and analysis, comparisons with other episodes, testing the credibility and coherence of each episode. In his book on participatory culture and television fans, Henry Jenkins discusses the importance of emotional realism for the viewers of a TV series: The fan, while recognizing the story’s constructedness, treats it as if its narrative world were a real place that can be inhabited and explored and as if the characters maintained a life beyond what was represented on the screen; fans draw close to that world in order to enjoy more fully the pleasures it offers them. This degree of closeness, however, can only be sustained as long as the imagined world maintains both credibility and

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coherence, and hence the importance the fans place on even the most seemingly trivial detail. (Jenkins 118) Daily reviews and comments reveal the members’ critical thinking and awareness of the production processes (financial interests, cast conflicts, fan community expectation and response, often influencing the scriptwriting decisions), textual meanings and fandom critical consensus, as well as their emotional responses to the series which determine them to contribute to the comments section with explorations of their feelings while or after watching certain episodes. Given the concepts of gift economy and voluntary action, the amount of work on the website is impressive. The editors bring on the platform news on production decisions (seasons confirmed, license issues, award nominations) and press releases from the Romanian televisions on acquiring new series or seasons; they update the schedule of original air dates; they make polls and statistics, asking the readers and the members of the community about their preferences of character, storyline, older series, 2011 series, genres and so on, and they compare the ratings of the shows in their original country and their ratings in Romania, based on the popularity of specific posts. One of the poll questions addressed to the members’ preference of genres helps conclude that medical dramas, science fiction and vampire series are the most popular among the community. They provide short biographical information on some of the most popular actors, without giving irrelevant trivia and gossip. Their work goes further into the TV series phenomenon, analyzing the soundtracks and theme songs and creating their own series, ‘The history of TV series’; each week, a new episode speaks about the use of particular elements and cross-genre in shows, such as: musical episodes, references to Romania in American TV series, the history of spin-offs, the history of cartoon TV series, of the sitcom, Easter and Christmas in TV series, unseen characters, the history of detective TV, medical drama, science fiction series, as well as lists of catchphrases and character-specific manners of expression. The blog can be used as an actual information seeking instrument; it becomes a living virtual community forming what Howard Rheingold calls “a living encyclopaedia” (46). As the amount of information is visibly significant, the voluntary consistent contribution to a collective project calls for several questions, which have been asked to some of the members of the community. The first question related to their work was: how much time do you spend daily for updating the blog with information7? Gabip8 who is both editor and administrator, stated the following: “This depends on how involved we are in the work. If one has to write only a review, then

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it takes about 30 minutes, one hour at most, if they are thorough. It takes more time to those who work for several series and for those in charge with the promotional materials.” Kanin9, who is an editor making reviews for six TV series, states that the amount of time spent depends on whether or not she needs to publish the reviews or just to moderate and answer the questions; she spends between one hour and two hours and a half a day working for the website. Indru10, who makes reviews for ten TV series, states that he spends an average of one hour and a half, including his work of commenting, editing and moderating. The following questions would concern the reasons that determine so many people to spend at least one hour a day contributing to this online community and the purpose it serves. There is further relevant information provided by the three editors, in understanding the level of commitment and the significance of the website topic, the television series. Asked how long they spend watching television series in one day, their answers confirmed what the website suggested; Gabip – “About two hours, but sometimes I cross the line and I reach three or four hours :D”, Kanin – “It depends. Sometimes it’s one hour, other times two, especially during the weekends. There are plenty of days when I don’t watch TV series at all“, and Indru emphasizes – „So much, that there is not enough space here to count. : D How long do I spend breathing? ;)”. The use of graphic emoticons in their answers suggests that watching television series is a highly pleasant activity with an important emotional dimension, leading to a prolongation of the time dedicated to this hobby. If we read the community members as consumers of popular culture, Henry Jenkins’s premise in analyzing the concept of gift economy rightfully describes the phenomenon: “consumers only help facilitate the circulation of media content when it is personally and socially meaningful to them, when it enables them to express some aspect of their own self-perception or enables valued transactions that strengthen their social ties with others.”11 The Television Series Fan: an Alternative Identity The active members of the community are the editors, who contribute with more input containing reviews, statistics, comments and additional information on television series, and the people who comment and bring their contribution through discussion; although passive readers may also identify with the narratives they read on the website, their inactivity and lack of contribution do not support the community system. They consume without giving back. Of course, the content is created for them as well, but they do not

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take part in the community life. The editors have a specially designed space where they can introduce themselves to the public space; their choices of defining their identity are modulated on the specificity of the cyberspace they inhabit, which leads to both voluntary and subconscious processes of selection and identity construction. The flexibility of the self is quite visible, whereas the involvement in a place of multiple expressions is done playfully and with readiness. Asked about their use of nicknames and avatars12, the respondents have described their choice of alternative names for online identification; Gabip uses a nickname for privacy protection and suggests that his activity in this community should remain rather low profile, as it has no professional relevance for him: “I choose to remain low profile, as it is a more personal project, even if it’s only a hobby. When there’s something official, that’s different, but this is basically entertainment and hobby, I don’t put it in my résumé and I think that the mad people wondering on the Internet shouldn’t know too much :-D”. Kanin mentions the same argument referring to privacy of personal data, but she uses a nickname by which she is known in real-life, as well, and Indru uses his real name, as it is the one which can best capture his identity. Regarding the pictures they use to associate their user names with, personal stories have a more significant role: Gabip identifies with one Lord of the Rings characters, Gollum, who developed a dissociative identity disorder because of the ring’s influence, being caught between friendship and love on one side, and violence on the other, due to its enslavement. Indru has made a cross-over between a TV series character, namely Gregory House (House MD), and a video game fictional character called Gordon Freeman (Half-Life), who is a theoretical physicist fighting to survive alien and human forces. Kanin is the one who chooses to reflect her real life online by using as an avatar the picture of her holding a very dear dog. In their official, public expressions of identity, the members essentially state their tastes in TV series and offer supplementary information about their interest. The page funnily resembles an AA meeting, as most of them use or imply the idea of addiction to certain series.13 Their statements are manners of asserting their interest in the main topic of the website, the targeted description being a way of stating their merit of having been accepted into the community. It is important to emphasize, in the users’ narratives, their level of involvement and the long-time personal experience of watching television series. The consumption of television narratives is part of their identities, and TvBlog becomes a space for self-expression and mutual understanding. The emotional attachment and reactions to TV series narratives’ elements determines the viewers to use this given space as a territory of empathy,

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connectedness and refuge and some of the answers we received enforce the idea that the online medium is a privileged arena for sharing both emotions and objective information on the series. Asked about the advantages given by this particular medium in building and maintaining this community14, the three editors gave the following arguments: the possibility of sharing immediate reactions (Gabip), anonymity which creates a safety net, especially useful to younger or shyer users who may have difficulties in expressing their opinions in real-life conversations (Gabip), communication efficiency, accessibility for a large number of people (Indru) and the advantage of clearly stated opinions leading to solid discussions; an interesting reason was given by Kanin, which is shared by another member of the team of editors (Laurentiu/Creep), namely dealing with the sense of alienation given by the dislocation from Romania to another country. She states that her participation in the community helps her keep her mother language still alive, offering her the chance to express her Romanian identity: “In my case, the answer is simple: it brings me closer to home. I like to write not only for the pleasant activity itself, but also because it helps me maintain my native language. Romanian migrants are often criticized for forgetting their mother tongue. What those who criticize don’t know is that even your own language can be forgotten if you lose contact and if you start using it inappropriately.” Furthermore, given the specificities of an online space of interaction, the users were asked whether they considered the possibility of such exchanges happening in the physical spaces15; while they did not exclude the chance of occasional meetings (a small number per year), they mentioned that it would depend on the members’ availability and interest and on their physical proximity. Indru also added financial and organization problems related to by real-life meetings. In addition, Gabip stressed the idea that a solid community constructed around TV series would mean that people would gather every evening in order to discuss the episodes, which, he implies, would be impossible. Regarding the dynamics of real versus virtual interaction between the members of the community16, the editors state that, after several years of online activity, they decided to meet face-to-face, emphasizing the more consistent level of knowing each other and the more diverse activities in which they can engage. One of the respondents says that he considers reallife interaction with the members of the online community essential for the support of the virtual interaction, while Gabip and Kanin maintain that it can be an advantage, but not a necessity. Kanin also observes that written content has more chances to be observed and retained than oral discussions. Therefore, our argument in favour of the online communities constructed

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on the principles of gift economy and constant interaction is supported by the following downsides of real-life exchange: the large number of users from different areas impose physical boundaries, the discussions are harder to moderate and direct, daily contact and response are impossible, and keeping an evidence of arguments, information and personal opinions is also extremely difficult. Conclusions In the present paper we have outlined the essential process of online communities, as self-governing public spaces of collaborative work, exchange of information and opinions, and emotional refuge. The emergence of such spaces allows free self-expression and representation, sharing, connectedness (specific traits of any social network), and emotional empathy, offering in addition several advantages which distinguish the cyberspace from reallife public spaces: a. anonymity, creating safety nets which would be difficult to find in social conglomerates; b. communication efficiency; c. enormity, being accessible to a large number of people; d. inhabitation, self-identification and resistance to dislocation and alienation, induced by emigration; e. greater availability for constant interaction; f. the possibility of sharing immediate reactions; g. the possibility of keeping evidence of published information, arguments, ideas, and h. the disappearance of class markers. The disadvantages of using the online medium for social interaction would be the restrictions of access based on affordability, since rural areas and poorer classes cannot participate in the online public activity, and the limitations imposed by the lack of physical interaction, which is still preferred for friendships and closer acquaintances. As opposed to social media, online communities do not become spaces of dialogue between one’s past, their present and new relationships, as they do not reactivate past social connections; the communities emerge from mutual narratives, and not from already established social ties. Regarding the common interests which bring people together on forums, blogs or other networking platforms, we have seen that television series trigger emotional reactions and cognitive interest due to the narratives they expose. Continuity, which determines a greater assimilation of the story and a higher degree of intimacy than feature films, as well as faithfulness toward the product, triggers continuous audience response and participation; series which use information overload and a greater diversity of meanings determine the viewers to look for discussions and exchange of ideas, and to share with each other the emotions stirred by each episode.

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NOTES 1 Mariella, Mosthof, “Follow Dr. Bailey on Twitter!” - http://www.wetpaint.com/greysanatomy/articles/follow-dr-bailey-on-twitter 2 http://twitter.com/#!/MirandaBaileyMD 3 See Annex 1, questions 1, 2, 4, user Gabip; 4 http://www.tvblog.ro/reguli/ 5 See Annex 1, questions 10 and 12, user Gabip; 6 See Annex 1, question 3, user Gabip; 7 See Annex 1, question 13; 8 Male, 31, Bucharest; 9 Female, 35, Norway; 10 Male, 29, Bucharest; 11 Henry, Jenkins, “If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead (Part Three): The Gift Economy and Commodity Culture”, 16 Feb 2009, http://www.henryjenkins.org/2009/02/if_ it_doesnt_spread_its_dead_p_2.html 12 See Annex 1, question 11; 13 http://www.tvblog.ro/despre/ 14 See Annex 1, question 10; 15 Annex 1, questions 8, 9; 16 Annex 1, questions 6,7;

Works Cited Agger, Ben. The Virtual Self. A Contemporary Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. Web Allrath, Gaby, Gymnich, Marion and Surkamp, Carola. “Introduction: Towards a Narratology of TV Series” in Allrath, Gaby and Gymnich, Marion (eds.). Narrative Strategies in Television Series. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, pp. 1-47. Web Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. 1983. London: Verso, 2006. Print Christakis, Nicholas and Fowler, James. Connected. The Amazing Power of Social Networks and How They Shape our Lives, London: Harper Press, 2009. Print Escobar, Arturo, Hess, David, Licha, Isabel, Sibley, Will, Strathern, Marilyn, Sutz, Judith. “Welcome to Cyberia: Notes on the Anthropology of Cyberculture [and Comments and Reply]”. Current Anthropology, Vol. 35, No. 3, Jun. 1994, pp. 211-231. Web Fernback, Jan. “The Individual Within the Collective: Virtual Ideology and the Realization of Collective Principles.” in Jones, Steven. (ed.). Virtual Culture. Identity and Communication in Cybersociety. London: Sage Publications, 1997. Web Giddens, Anthony. The consequences of Modernity. Bucharest, Univers: 2000. Web

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---. Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006. Print Hutcheon, Linda. The Politics of Postmodernism. 1989. New York: Routledge 2002. Print Jenkins, Henry. “If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead (Part Three): The Gift Economy and Commodity Culture”. Confessions of An Aca-Fan, 16 Feb. 2009. Web. 2 Jun. 2011. Web ---. Textual Poaches. Television Fans and Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992. Web Jones, Steven (ed.). Virtual Culture. Identity and Communication in Cybersociety., London: Sage Publications, 1997. Web Kellner, Douglas. Media Culture: Cultural studies, identity and politics between the modern and the postmodern. New York : Routledge, 1995. Print Kollock, Peter and Smith, Mark. “Communities in Cyberspace”, in Communities in Cyberspace, eds. Kollock, Peter and Smith, Mark, Routledge, 1999. Web Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition. 1979. Minessota : University of Minnesota Press, 1984. Print Lysloff, René. “Musical Community on the Internet: An On-Line Ethnography”, Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 18, No. 2, May, 2003, pp. 233-263. Web Malpas, Simon. The Postmodern. New York: Routledge, 2005. Web Preece, J. “Sociability and usability: Twenty years of chatting online”. Behavior and Information Technology Journal, 20, 5, 2001, pp. 347-356. Web Reddy, William, The Navigation of Feeling. A Framework for the History of Emotions. Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print Rheingold, H. The Virtual Communities. Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier.1993. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2000. Web Turkle, Sherry. “Cyberspace and Identity” in Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 28, No. 6 (Nov.,1999), pp. 643-648. Web Wilson, Samuel and Peterson, Leighton. “The Anthropology of Online Communities” The Annual Review of Anthropology 2002. 31:449–67. Web

Annex 1 1. Whose was the initiative to create this blog? Why? What is the story of its birth? 2. What is the link between TV Blog and Cinema RX? Are we talking about the same community? 3. Is there any collaboration between you and websites providers of subtitles (subs.ro, titrari.ro)? 4. Has this been a collective project since the beginning; if not, how was the team made? 5. In your opinion, which are the aspects that connect you and your readers?

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6. Did you met offline/ have you come to know one another offline? 7. Do you believe that, in order to create and maintain an online community, contact in real life is also necessary? 8. Are you aware of the existence of a TV series community only in real life, in Romania? 9. You have 45 active editors introduced in the section The Team, 2536 readers, according to Feedburner and 105846 comments on the 15715 entries, according to your opinions. In your opinion, would such exchange of information and opinions on TV series be possible in real life? 10. What are the advantages provided to you by the online environment? 11. How do you choose your avatars and nicknames? Why do you prefer them instead of your actual names? 12. Who are your readers? Do you know their ages, their origins, their ethnicity or social status? Are you interested in such information about them? 13. How much time per day do you spend to update the blog with information and reviews? 14. How much time per day do you spend watching TV series? 15. Do you watch one episode from a TV series per week or several successive episodes from a TV series? 16. It’s been seen that the TV drama has been reinvented during recent years, relying considerably on reception and on the audience’s effective/affective contribution. Which, in your opinion, are the TV series elements that attract the audience to a greater extent, so that they should feel stimulated to contribute with fan-fics, feedback, suggestions, free ads and sites such as TV Blog? 17. What is the type of TV series most liked by your visitors? 18. Which of the series you on which you comment on the site are the most popular among the community members and readers? 19. Do you feel as if the site discussions and interaction have changed in any way your perceptions, preferences, opinions on TV series or your own preconceptions and beliefs?

Adriana Mihai is a graduate of the University of Bucharest and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philology, presenting her thesis on “Shakespeare and Rewriting: Contemporary Translations and Stage Adaptations of King Lear and The Tempest”, and a Master’s degree in British Cultural Studies, her dissertation topic being “Narratives Constructing Online Communities”. She works as an assistant at the British Cultural Studies Centre. Her research areas are cultural globalization, theatrical and filmic adaptations, popular culture, consumerism, social media and online communities.

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Ozana Budău

Creating Learning Experiences in the Digital Era How Digital Natives Seek and Process Information ABSTRACT Due to the impact of information technology, the way Digital Natives seek and process information has changed substantially. They scan, focus on keywords, and prefer hypertext based visual information to linear traditional texts. The generation of Digital Natives is just reaching the age of maturity, meaning that in the future, the use of digital, multimedia devices for learning and solving all sorts of problems will increase powerfully. Multimedia learning is far different than the traditional learning experiences as it offers different opportunities, requires new skills and affords different behaviours from both the producer and the receiver. This paper attempts to identify a set of guidelines on the creation of learning experiences in the digital era and to give an answer to the following question: What kind of content, in what format and what environment is needed in order to provide the optimal support for the digital natives’ learning goals? Keywords: learning experience, multimedia learning, Digital Natives, digital era, digital era

T

INTRODUCTION

he digital generation’s assimilation of new technologies and their usage of such technologies are almost final. They have integrated the digital devices and behaviours, the gadgets and the Internet applications and resources within every aspect of their personal and social lives. Their usage is not passive, as the digital generation is the new generation of active information seekers. The Digital Natives use technology to achieve a goal or to gratify a certain need, they use it to search information,

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to create and maintain social and personal relationships, to communicate, or to entertain themselves. However, the most important aspect is that digital technologies, so highly embedded in their lives, have significantly influenced the way they search, process, acquire information. Defined as a set of personal and interpersonal activities, deeply rooted in specific social and cultural contexts, learning per se has undergone a transformation. New technologies have restated the process of learning as the acquisition of information skills (such as adaptability, problem solving, communication, critical thinking, and investigative learning style) rather than the acquisition of a stable body of knowledge. Learning in the digital era is far more different than the traditional learning experiences, as it offers different opportunities, requires new skills and allows different behaviours from both the producer and the receiver. On the other hand, recent studies have shown a discrepancy between the Digital Natives’ social and personal life and their formal educational background. Schools and teachers have not fully understood, assimilated nor embedded the new technologies within traditional classes and educational environment. The digital generation (people who grew up interacting daily with digital technology) is just reaching the age of maturity, meaning that, in the future, the use of digital, multimedia devices for learning and solving all sorts of problems will increase powerfully. Therefore it is important to try to understand and get a clear profile of the mind of a digital born, of his/hers cognitive processes and behaviours and then update and adjust the educational processes (content, strategy, format, environment) to their knowledge and information needs, in order to create optimal learning experiences that support the learning goals of the Digital Natives. However, in order to achieve that, we need a clear picture of the reality the digital generation has been born into and we must comprehend the ways this reality has moulded and shaped the Digital Natives’ identities and personalities. CONTEXT New technologies have always influenced and changed profoundly the societies that have promoted and supported them. Change has always been connected to technologies. Moreover, change has always been perceived both as an obstacle and an opportunity for emancipation. The tension it creates has always been beneficial in stimulating interesting questions, critical thinking and the reconfiguration of dominant theories, ideas, and concepts.

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At present, new technologies penetrate and continuously shape our reality and the reality of our children. The digital era is a time of simultaneity and globalism. People have access to information to an extent that has not been experienced before. Communication and information archiving have been taken to another level; issues such as online and offline identity, cognitive processing of digital information, privacy and authorship have been reconsidered. Digital technologies are fast, atemporal and aspatial; they are tools of coexistence and instantaneity, designing a world in which movement, sound, image, written text happen and are received simultaneously. This is a reality where information has lost its material form, where being free means to be in touch with the whole wide world, where people are surrounded and overloaded by a continuous flux of information. The people living this reality, whether they are Digital Settlers, Digital Immigrants or Digital Natives, have to resign their social role as passive consumers and become prosumers, persons who are actively engaged in the process of creating their own reality. IDENTITY All the aspects of contemporary life have been changed by the way we use information technology. Everything (business, shopping, dating, marketing, and schooling) can be done much faster and at greater distances using the applications and the facilities that the World Wide Web provides. Furthermore, the new technologies have changed the way people live their lives (their daily routines, habits) and how they relate to each other and the reality around them. The digital age in which the digital generation is growing up has brought upon a large shift in the process of developing one’s identity. Who is a Digital Native and what other types of digital groups can be established? Digital Settlers are the first group, the old people who were there at the start of the digital era. These are the persons that helped create the digital world and they are quite sophisticated in the use of digital technologies. But they were born into an analogue world and they still use analogue forms of communication. Then came Digital Immigrants, the people that were born in an analogue world and learned how to use the new technologies late in life. These are the people that generally still prefer to send a postcard by mail to typing an email. Unlike Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives live much of their lives

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online, without distinguishing between the online and the offline. Digital Natives are the people that don’t remember a world in which letters were written by hand or music was listened on cassette recorders. Instead of thinking about their digital identity and their real-space identity as separate things, they just have an identity (with representations in two, or three, or more different spaces). They are joined by a set of common practices, including the amount of time they spend using digital technologies, their tendency to multitasking, their tendency to express themselves and relate to one another in ways mediated by digital technologies, and their pattern of using the technologies to access and use information and create new knowledge and art forms. Digital Natives experience friendship and relate to information differently from the Digital Immigrants. First of all, they perceive information to be malleable, something that is free to access, controllable and reshapable. Research does not mean a trip to the library, but a Google and Wikipedia search. From the perspective of a Digital Native, identity is not broken up into online and offline identities, or personal and social identities. These forms of identity exist simultaneously and are closely linked to each other; Digital Natives almost never distinguish between the online and off - line versions of themselves. They establish and communicate their identities simultaneously in the physical and digital worlds. Studies of online identity formation consistently suggest that young people tend to express their personal and social identities online much as people always have in real space, and in ways that are consistent with their identities in real space. People tend to have multiple self-representations— different levels of both personal and social identities—that together form a whole. In focus groups and interviews, most Digital Natives revealed that they had multiple self-representations. COGNITIVE PROFILING Digital Natives are capable of multitasking: they can read the online news, send instant messages, listen to online music, and access information on several sites to learn, all at the same time. A recent study shows that Digital Natives often access much more information about a topic they are interested in than previous generations ever could have. In addition, they engage more in the material than those who are used to more traditional news formats, by writing and posting a comment about the idea on a blog or sharing it with a friend on Facebook. They also tend to create information or digital objects of

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their own, as they blog, create and edit photos and videos based on what they have learned, and then share them with their friends. Digital Natives gather information through a multistep process. First of all, they have to cope with a large amount of information that comes to their attention in various formats. These bites of information come from different sources and media (audio, video, text) and at different moments in time and space. The natural response of the cognitive system is to scan rapidly the information and to focus on keywords and highlighted bits of information. Studies show that they recall headlines, some keywords or a highlighted phrase at the most. Once a certain type of information seems interesting, the digital natives engage in it by taking the second step of information processing, which is deep-diving for more details. This means accessing further details about that information from various audio, video and text sources which they access by clicking hyperlinks and navigating from one page to another. Their deep-diving action and hyperlinking is motivated and guided by their need to gratify their need for knowledge. The third step implies a feedback loop. Digital Natives are more active information seekers than Digital Immigrants. They also engage more actively in the information they gather, as they comment on it, they change it, recreate it and share it with others. Studies show that Digital Natives have shorter attention spans and their attention is drawn and maintained by short formats and multimedia formats rather than by long text formats. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that they are learning less than the Digital Immigrants, or that they are more superficial in their learning. Digital Natives are motivated in their learning process by basically the same reasons Digital Immigrants were at their time. They have a knowledge deficit or they need information to solve a problem. The difference is how they want to obtain this type of information. They want it fast, precise and engaging, similar to the type of information they are used to come in contact with in the virtual worlds. THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE The digital media have become the new tools for presenting and distributing information. Digital Natives are the people whose lives are most penetrated by the digital media. The way these Digital Natives seek, select and process information has been influenced by the traits of the digital media, therefore the educational process, where the digital generation is officially educated,

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should adjust its education strategies and contents to the needs of the digital generation. A way to do it is to use the digital tools and the new technology in order to create learning experiences suitable for the digital natives’ needs. The Digital Natives have multiple self-representations of one’s identity; they own a fragmented and fluid sense of self, simultaneously present in several locations, acting on different roles. They explore and navigate the web just as naturally as they would be zapping TV channels. Their natural environment is the hypertext, an MTV like entity of instantly clickable realities, a plural e-text consisted of e-contents that allow the user to have rapid and precise access to the information he/she lacks. Learning happens more and more in virtual realms. This is more reason for learning strategies and educational programs to be present in virtual reality. Studies show that hypertext is an information technology that could be used to enhance learning experiences in the digital era. This knowledge structure best fits the learning needs and learning habits of a Digital Native as it allows him/her to actively seek information and actively participate in the construction of meaningful learning experiences. The digital text, the e-content, the hypertext is a fluid text that allows its reader to explore the learning experience, to build his own path and to create his own experience based on his need for knowledge. Briefly put, the hypertext becomes a digital structured unit populated with learning experiences, granting to the user access to offline and online e-contents. The educational value of hypertexts resides in the possibility of building multiple connections attached to a topic that broadens perspectives and favours interdisciplinarity. Hypertext allows texts and multimedia objects to exist simultaneously on the same page and supports building fast connections between offline information and online information. They store a large quantity of information, allow for easy visualization of the material and fast navigation throughout the content. Hypertext grants a certain freedom to the user and brings forward the opportunity to get engaged in a self-centred active form of learning where the user is responsible for his/her process of learning and the educator/teacher is a facilitator of learning opportunities. Hypertext also favours multiple perspectives, cognitive adaptability and flexibility, interdisciplinarity, investigative and critical thinking. Hypertext fosters several layers of information structured on a horizontal level (that allows the process of information scanning) and on a vertical level (that allows the process of information deep-diving); it favours interactive engagement in the e-content. Briefly put, hypertexts help create personalized learning experiences.

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In order to create an efficient and personalized learning experience, the hypertext structure must be adjusted according to a design that takes into consideration the traits of the user, the relationship between the content and the format, and the learning objective that must be achieved. Therefore, the efficiency of hypertextual learning scenarios mostly depends on its instructional design. The instructional design must comprise the hypertext advantages to their best and also allow the Digital Native to achieve his/her learning objective. THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN THE DIGITAL ERA GUIDELINES (Miclea, Ciuca, Miclea 2008, 2009) When creating learning experiences for the Digital Natives, we have consider the user, the relationship developed between the user and the creator/deliverer of the learning experience, the content and the format of the learning experience and the environment where the learning experienced is delivered. Several issues should be addressed before creating the learning experience. 2What kind of users do you expect to benefit from the learning experience? What characteristics and goals do they have? What is their expected online behaviour? 2 What kind of relationships should you develop with your users? How do you build these relationships? What is your role as a teacher/educator and e-content producer at the same time? 2 What content is the most effective? 2 What is the most adequate format to communicate the content? 2 How to create the optimum digital environment in order to support the user’s goals? To sum up, we should keep in mind, during the design, the implementation and the evaluation phases of the learning experience, the kind of content, its format and its environment needed in order to provide the optimal support for the digital natives’ learning goals. The Digital Natives are much more active than traditional readers. Recent data emphasize that 79% of them rather scan the page than read it word by word (Campbell, 2004). We also know that reading on a

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computer screen is 35% slower than reading printed material and that screen resolution is usually only 10-20% of printed paper resolution (McMullin, Varnhagen, Pheng Heng, & Apedoe, 2002). Moreover, screens constantly refresh, causing eyestrains for e-readers who use to take frequent break and are constantly looking for clues about where most important ideas are located and how are they related to each other. Thus, to enhance scanning and to facilitate user’s detection of the structure and importance of information when writing e-texts, we need: 2 to use short phrases, with simple sentence structure, organized in short paragraphs; 2 to use short, informative headings, with names that conceptually relate to the relevant information; 2 to use a variety of forms and levels of headings (font size, position, style, etc.) as a mean to emphasize information hierarchy (Kilian, 2001); 2 to increase the font size and to use familiar fonts, usually sans serifs (Korolenko, 1997). The fonts should also be used consistently to convey the same function in various contexts; the typically recommended font size is 12 points (Tullis, Boynton, & Hersh, 1995); 2 to use bright colours in order to attract the eye. In order to be learning-effective, information must be organized. In traditional texts, these organizers are lessons, chapters or paragraphs in a book. In a digital world, e-texts require another type of organization, called learning object. A learning object is a chunk of information confined to a single learning objective; it allows specific assessment, its content is organized to match the specified objective, it is non-sequential (i.e., makes no reference to prior or future learning objects) and adaptable to fit a variety of learning situations and types of users. A well designed learning object also has the advantage to be reusable; it can be combined with other learning objects to create a learning environment or it is adaptable to a broad cross-section of users. The learning object is the main organizer which guides the production and the use of e-contents. However, from a broader perspective, the learning object is just a particular case of chunking the information to make learning more effective and efficient. Several additional recommendations for effective chunking should be considered when elaborating e-text: 2 Reduce text to a maximum 50% of the wording used for printed

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version. 2 Archive long, academic-like documents in “Resources” or “Portfolios”, but offer some hints or summaries about them in the main text. 2 Avoid excessive details. 2 Replace complex sentences with shorter sentences, using a simple structure. 2 Try to use sentences no longer than 20 words, and paragraphs no longer than five sentences (Campbell, 2004). 2 Use graphical signs to underline chunking. A vertical white space, for example, let the reader breathe, whereas horizontal white spaces provide a feeling of relief, by reducing text density. Thus, the vertical and horizontal white spaces increase readability of an e-text. Use three layers of information. The research conducted in e-learning show that the essential information should be contained in maximum three screens (Horton, 2000; Clark, 2001). The first click must provide the framework and the essential information; the second click makes extensive information available, gives access to various tools and exercises, and more sophisticated information; the third click offers an extension to further details. If the Digital Native’s needs are not satisfied by the information offered after these three clicks, he/she will, very likely, give up. Inside one screen, the reader uses pre-eminently the information located in top-central position. Usually, the reader looks first at top-centre, than left and right, and then scrolls down, a behaviour called in e-learning “the inverted pyramid reading style” (Kilian, 2001). Layered information increases the reader’s control. It is his/her decision when and for what topics extensive information is useful and worth accessing. Digital Natives are actively involved and responsible for the construction of their mental representations about a given topic. Use side heads, sidebars and keywords in the margin, to provide hints and context. The e-readers’ “hit and run” behaviour will take benefits from any clue. The interfaces must enable the users’ interaction. The design of the interfaces is relying on a prior identification of the users’ goals; therefore, a well designed interface provides the means to achieve them. The interactions with multimedia content (audio, video, animation) must be designed for the user’s control. The user, not the designer, is to decide whether to start, stop, replay, use or re-use multimedia materials. Use multi-media formats efficiently. An efficient use of multimedia should consider the following guidelines, supported by recent research in e-

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learning (Mayer & Moreno, 2003; Kozma, 2001): 2 Break complex video/animation into smaller units (chunking). 2 Provide a balance between verbal and visual elements. 2 Present an image, video, animation or graphs in close proximity to related text. 2 Audio should support other texts. 2 Redundancy is critical. Visual media should not present a different concept than the adjacent text (Hannafin & Hooper, 1989). 2 Provide information about the media in use (e.g., previews, descriptions, summaries, thumbnails) so that each user can make informed decisions. Two information technologies that can be used in order to create and enhance learning experiences for the Digital Natives are Digital Games and Multimedia. Several studies have dealt with the opportunities presented by digital games designed specifically for educational purposes. Psychology and cognitive sciences have investigated the effect of digital games on cognitive abilities, personality development and also the potential effect of content-based digital games as educational multimedia content. Studies and experiments have shown that digital games change and improve cognitive abilities and skills (such as attention over space and attention over time, mental rotation time and spatial visualization) they influence affective and motivational aspects and allow content learning and acquisition of knowledge. Briefly put, McFarlane et al. (2002) distinguish three potential uses of digital games in a educational environment: 2 Developing skills and abilities: from specific skills like deductive reasoning or memorization, to more contextual ones like cooperation and communication skills 2 A stimulus for learning: game sessions can be used as a starting point for other activities such as creative writing or charts analysis. 2 Content related learning: simulations remain the games with the greatest potential to teach content directly. Psychological research on learning from interactive multimedia contents is still an active research domain (Mayer, 2005; Tversky, BauerMorrison, & Bétrancourt, 2000). Recently multimedia research underlined the importance of guidance for retention and transfer of learned knowledge. Graphical feedback and explanations improve comprehension and retention of the material, in other words without multimedia explanations, the game

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content is not remembered. Multimedia learning refers to the use of media aiming to generate or enhance learning. Any multimedia application integrates at least three of the following types of presentation: text, data, graphics, audio, photographic images, animation or moving pictures (Shavinia & Loarer, 1999). Relying on an elaborated analysis of media capabilities and on a constructivist approach to learning, R. Kozma has argued that “medium and method have a more integral relationship; both are parts of the design. Within a particular design, the medium enables and constrains the method; the method draws on and instantiates the capabilities of the medium” (Kozma, 2001, p. 171). Studies present a set of recommendations about what kind of media in which context may enhance learning. 2 Different media can be equivalent functionally. In other words, one can obtain the same cognitive effect with one medium or another. For example, the available data show that, in order to understand a process, a simple animation is as effective as a complex video picture but, of course, it is much cheaper (Clark & Salomon, 2001). Thus, it is not the shallow aspects of the media, but their cognitive impact that is of critical relevance for learning outcomes. 2 The use of picture with text increases recollection only if the picture illustrates information related to the text (Dembo & Junge, 2003). The effect of combining picture + text is higher for poor readers and/or complex texts, but is very low or even disappears for simple text or expert readers. 2 The combined presentation (visual and auditory) results in better recollection than visual-only or audio-only presentation (Kozma, 2001). The auditory presentation (i.e., narration) is more successful when associated with animation than with graphics or on-screen text (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). 2 Learning is improved when separate multimedia units are used proximally. For example, people learn better when graphics and corresponding words are placed near rather than far from each other on the screen. Similarly, learning is improved when animation and narration are presented simultaneously rather than delayed (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). 2 Learning is improved when “the narrator” has a human voice with standard accent, rather than a machine voice. Even when software uses animated pedagogical agents (i.e., onscreen characters designed to offer feedback, assistance, and promote learning), their effectiveness is increased when they present guidance via a natural

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voice rather than via text. 2 Learning is improved when extraneous, non-necessary words, sounds or pictures are excluded from the message. Any irrelevant details, even those of positive emotional valence, overload the working memory and, therefore, reduce the learning performance. Thus, seductive details can make the context more interesting but dramatically decrease learning. As Harp and Mayer (1997) have stated: “the best way to help learners enjoy a passage is to help them understand it” (p. 100). 2 Characteristics of the media interact with the characteristics of the learner and the learning task. Prior knowledge, for example, may represent a critical individual difference influencing the efficiency of the learning process. Novices (i.e., learners with low prior knowledge) benefit more from multimedia presentations than experts (i.e., learners with high prior knowledge) do. Thus, integrating text and diagrams help novices but not experts; in other words, instructional guidance is more effective for novices but may interfere with the performance of the experts. In general, high knowledge learners are able to compensate for poor media, whereas low-knowledge learners are not (Reiser & Dempsey, 2007). Briefly, research to date suggests that it is not the surface features of the media (e.g., whether it is a moving picture or a graph) that determine its effectiveness. Rather it is the functional features: how media (or multimedia combination) will convey the intended message to a specific learner involved in a specific learning task. Conclusion The learning process and the acquisition of knowledge happen within an environment where the teaching strategies can’t cope with the Digital Natives’ learning particularities. Acknowledgments to Mircea Miclea, Amalia Ciuca, Adela Perțe, Stefania Miclea (www.cognitrom.ro) This paper is based on psychological articles and cognitive research studies on the mind of the Digital Natives, conducted by Mircea Miclea, Amalia Ciuca, Adela Perțe, Ștefania Miclea, Ozana Budău. The scientific outcomes include the first Romanian online platforms for prevention and intervention in anxiety disorders with original multimedia content, e-learning platforms and instructional designer courses that address the topic of e-content and learning experiences production for the Digital Natives.

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References Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: a social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice hall. Beetham, Helen , Sharpe, Rhona (2007). Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: designing and delivering e-learning, London: Roultledge. Harwood, G., Paul, Asal, Victor, (2007). Educating the first digital generation, Westport: Praeger Publishers. Kiili, K. (2005). Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model. Internet and Higher Education, 8, 13-24. Korolenko, M. D. (1997). Writing for multimedia: A guide and sourcebook for the digital writer. Belmont, CA: Wasdsworth. Mayer, R.E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38, 43-52. Miclea, M., Ciuca, A.,Miclea, Ș. (2009). How to produce e-content for e-mental health solutions. Basic guidelines, Cognition, Brain, Behavior. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 13, 1 – 9. Miclea, M., Miclea, Ş., Ciuca, A. (2008). Computer-supported psychotherapy should pay attention to e-learning. Cognitie, Creier, Comportament/Cognition, Brain, Behavior, 12, 131-139. NICE (2006). Guidance on the use of computerized cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety and depression, National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, London. Palfrey, John Gasser Urs, (2008). Born digital : understanding the first generation of digital natives, New York: Basic Books . Postman, Neil, (1992). Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Knopf. Prensky, M. (2005). Computer games and learning: digital game-based learning. In J. Raessens & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies. Cambridge: MIT Press. Reiser, R.A., & Dempsey, J.V. (2007). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology, Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

Ozana Budău is a Clinical Psychologist, Art-therapist and Dramaturge, with a BA in Psychology and Theatre and a MA in Theatre Studies at Sorbonne University in Paris with a thesis on Redefining Acting in Virtual Theatre. Currently she is conducting her PhD studies in Theatre Arts at Cluj Babes-Bolyai University with a thesis on Sarah Kane’ writings. Her professional activities also include several collaborations with Cluj National Theatre and The Impossible Theatre (Cluj) as a dramaturge, teaching Designer Instructional Courses on Hypertext and writing for theatre and cultural journals. She is right now working as author and multimedia artist on an ebook on therapeutical metaphors within the Digital Collections of ASCR Publishing House.

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Loredana Ghimfus

Musical Subcultures in Romania1 Online Polemics and Controversies ABSTRACT The preliminary hypothesis is that the socio-musical-cultural phenomenon named manea leads after the 90s to a musical subculture, popular among young people. The study will focus on how it formed, evolved and structured the manelists subculture in post-communist Romania, the manele historical origins and theoretical difficulties; the production, dissemination and reception of manele as a popular culture phenomenon, their circulation and promotion in the massmedia. At the reception level, I sought to identify specific emotions, experiences, feelings of belonging to a group based on lifestyle, class, education, clothing etc. Keywords: : manele, oriental music, manelists, musical subculture

T

his paper focuses on the post-communist musical genre named manele [oriental music], rooted in the Ottoman past of Romania; the study also discusses the tendency of this musical genre to grow into an urban popular phenomenon, appealing mainly to the young non-elite Romanians, and becoming a controversial musical subculture. The few papers that I read agree that the musical genre named manele [oriental music] has become a cultural phenomenon that influenced the development of the contemporary Romanian society’s identity. I have to specify that this paper contains a few preliminary remarks that will be found in my doctoral thesis. The preliminary hypothesis is that the socio-musical-cultural phenomenon named manea leads after the 90s to a musical subculture, popular among young people. The study will focus on how it formed, evolved and structured the manelists subculture in post-communist Romania, the manele historical origins and theoretical difficulties; the production, dissemination and

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reception of manele as a popular culture phenomenon, their circulation and promotion in the mass-media. At the reception level, I sought to identify specific emotions, experiences, feelings of belonging to a group based on lifestyle, class, education, clothing etc. A part of the Romanian contemporary society, chiefly researchers, considered the manele a form of subculture. It is appreciated that most people, between 80% and 90%, listen at least occasionally manele. A poll conducted by CURS in collaboration with the Centre for Media Studies and New Communication Technologies for the National Audiovisual Council found that teenagers, 32.8% of them between 11-14 years and 21.9% between 15-18 years, consider that the music genre manele is their favourite music. These results signify great levels of popularity of this musical genre and they indicate public acceptance. As Margaret H. Beissinger contends, “in the divergent responses that it evokes, the oriental music [manele] generates complex convictions about power, identity, aesthetics, and culture. It draws attention to such issues as class, ethnicity, nation or gender and eventually develops into a counter-culture.”2 Based on her assumptions, my case study emphasizes the counter-cultural power of this subculture, as illustrated by two examples provided in the Romanian contemporary online communication. Thus far, the most complete historical reference to the manele musical genre is provided in Margaret H. Beissinger’s study: Throughout the second half of the sixteenth century, many Romanian boyars from rural areas moved into the cities, where they embraced Turkish culture, notably music. Ottoman Turkish art music culture was wholeheartedly adopted - first by the nobility in the courts and later by the bourgeoisie. Among the early performers of this music were Turkish entertainers from Istanbul. These included Ottoman Turkish Janissaries (elite military units) who played in the mehterhanea, a that was sent as an emblem of the sultan and his nobility to the Romanian aristocracy. The music of the mehterhanea and in the Romanian principalities . Gheorghe Ciobanu describes the repertoire of the mehterhanea as comprising , an Ottoman Turkish form.3

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Marian Lupașcu also wrote about the origins of the manea. He noted that the Romanian boyars had promoted the oriental model (clothes, food, and music) at the protocol events when they preferred listening to a music genre named mehterhanea played by hanende and hazende, professional singers from Istanbul. They played instrumental music, as well as a melancholic and shuffled song.4 Marian Lupașcu noted in his article that there was a difference between the classical manea song, which is the oriental retort of the occidental serenade and the modern manea song. The former had been mentioned in the historical records of the musician’s repertoire until the middle of 19th century. As for the promotion of this kind of music, I have to specify from the beginning that the Romanian mass-media were reserved in broadcasting the manele music. “Even if in the communist years Romani music (such as the manea) was not included in the repertoire of state-sponsored ensembles since it was viewed as representing cultural influences that undermined Romania’s purported social homogeneity.”5 The public opinion recognizes the PRO TV channel as the first television that broadcasted and promoted the manele songs and their singers. The results were that in a very short time, the PRO TV had reached the first place among audience preferences. Even if the Romanian mass media debate the PRO TV strategy to accumulate audiences, other private Romanian television channels started to promote this kind of music, too, for example Antena 1 TV or Prima TV. Nowadays, these television channels have a limited programs and shows where manele musicians are invited. There were also Romanian business men who developed niche television channels that are broadcasting only manele music, such as Taraf TV or Manele TV. Margaret Beissinger’s research revealed that, by the 1980s, the musical style that in the 1990s would come to be called oriental music had become an underground phenomenon and was genuinely popular, especially among youth in Banat and southern Romania. Meanwhile, the term manea was also creeping into usage to denote muzica orientală [oriental music]. By the early 2000s, the appellation manea had been adopted indiscriminately for muzică orientală. All the researchers and the mass media, too, agree that the success of oriental music is based on the fact that the lyrics are grounded in the reality of everyday life, with its problems. Basically, the lyrics are speaking the language of the people; they are putting on notes their basic needs, such as money, family, love, enemies etc. The lyrics of the manele songs are a rich source of stereotypes and

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one can identify persistent ideas, themes and patterns. “The subjects expressed in the songs are essentially about love, power, and status and are conveyed in verse that has been called hackneyed, inane, and at times vulgar by its critics. The lyrics speak above all about love and sex, typically from a male heterosexual point of view. The most common themes are sexual attraction and desire. We also can find lyrics that: overtly celebrate masculinity and virility; some songs are out rightly pornographic; infidelity, usually marital, and betrayal are also familiar topics in the songs of oriental music; sex and money also come together; possessions as symbols of status and prosperity are expressed in songs. Money, cars, big houses, and cell phones are all emblems of power and status that resonate in today’s Romania, where poverty is widespread and memories of the communist period - when most people in Romania lived far more modestly and few owned or drove cars - still linger.”6 I have to mention that the lyrics offer only partial perspectives on the Romanian contemporary society. Furthermore, the majority of the tunes are exceptionally ephemeral. A particular tune may be played and discussed frequently for a few weeks, and then disappear from the music charts forever. However, I have to note that the singer’s voice is also very important in the popularity of a certain song. For instance, there are only a few singers that have preserved their popularity since the 1990s until nowadays, of whom the most prominent are represented by Adrian Copilul Minune, Costi Ioniță, Vali Vijelie, Florin Salam and Nicolae Guță. The most acclaimed vocalist, who virtually controls the music in terms of setting trends, is Adrian Simionescu, a Rom from a lăutar family. He is known as Adrian Copilul Minune [Adrian the Child Wonder] because his talent was discovered when he was still a child. Muzica orientală became so popular during the 1990s that it also began to attract ethnic Romanian musicians. Such musicians also perform at weddings and restaurants, either in all-Romanian ensembles (of which there are relatively few) or in ensembles of lăutari, with whom they mostly play synthesizer. […] The most celebrated ethnic Romanian vocalist of muzica orientală is Costi Ioniţă, a young male singer from Constanţa. Costi was born in 1978 and entered the muzica orientală scene with his first recording during the fall of 1999. By spring 2000, he had produced a joint recording with Adrian Copilul Minune. Costi is an artist who has managed to break

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into a more or less closed world. He represents the appropriation by an ethnic Romanian of a style that is perceived as Romani.7 In order to continue the analysis I will try to define what oriental music [manele] is, based on different sources. For example, Margaret Beissinger notes that “Muzica orientală [oriental music] is a Romanian, urban-based song and dance style that combines traditional and popular music with various Romani, Turkish, Serbian, and Bulgarian elements, particularly in rhythm, melody, and instrumentation. It is performed in public - especially at weddings, baptisms, and other family celebrations almost exclusively by professional male Romani musicians. Its audience is primarily Romanian, though also Romani.” The Romanian Explanatory Dictionary defines the feminine noun, manea, as “a love song of oriental origins, with endearing and dallied melody”. I have already specified the difference between the and the . Studies reveal that the are a Turkish-derived genre performed by Romani lăutari in a lăutărească manner, while the are a mixture of Romani music with Turkish, Greek, Middle Eastern and, to a lesser extent, Indian elements, generally using modern (electronic) instruments and beats. Similar music styles are also present in other Balkan areas, like Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Greece and Turkey and with expatriates and emigrants originally from these regions. Related genres are Bulgarian chalga (manele brought by Romanian visitors to Bulgaria are referred to as “Romanian chalga”), Greek modern laïko and, to a lesser extent, Serbian turbo-folk, all being a mixture of local folk, Turkish and Romani influences over a pop tune. An interesting note I found in Marian Lupașcu’s article states that “maneaua has triple functionality: music for dancing, music for listening and music to listen when you are drunk. The manea song induces exotic, tonic and relaxing atmosphere. The rough text is a condensed diary of oral daily reality, exposed in slang, jargon pigmented with interjections with rhythmic counterpoint and exciting.” I also have to mention the Mela Melin’s note, with emphasis added to the fact that there is not a direct link between the classical manea type, with oriental origins, highly promoted in the Romanian principalities under Ottoman domination, and the modern manea, very popular nowadays in Romanian society and structured as a musical form of manifestation of a subculture. The ideas that the manele lyrics transmit, more than the rhythm, have been a source of dispute between their devotees and their critics.

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The movie critic, Alex Leo Șerban, noted in an article from the Romanian magazine, Dilema Veche, that the aggression comes from the manele subculture side and not from the side of the people who are against this musical genre. The fact that its fans listen to it anywhere and everywhere, in public places, so loud that it disturbs other people around, generates tensions between the manele fans and the people who do not listen to this music. From the devotees’ point of view, many of whom are youthful and concerned with love, power, and status, these songs provide accessible ideas they can easily relate to; the words are relevant and instantly understandable. From the point of view of the Romanian intellectual and professional elite, however, these same lyrics are alienating. This attitude might subscribe to Adorno’s perspective on popular music: he insists from the start that “the alienation of modern music from modern society has its origins not in the caprice or will of individual composers but in the alienated condition of modern capitalist social relations at the level of both production and consumption. It is important for him to establish that alienation cannot be overcome on the side of music alone.”8 This perspective can be completed by Margaret Beissinger’s perspective: the manele “are aesthetically vapid and represent crude and banal perspectives”. Another accusation that critics brought to this musical genre is the one of imitation and plagiarism. As a consequence, this musical genre is often considered a form of kitsch. As we have already mentioned, the main opponents of the manele musical genre are Romanian intellectuals. As Mela Melin argued in her study, “intellectuals are relentless when it comes to the phenomenon of manea. Despite a venerable history and honourable origins, the contemporary manele are exacerbated by their vulgarity, kitsch, starting from the stupidity and puerility of the lyrics and ending with the obscenity of the dancers’ erotic movements.”9 The Musical Subculture This alienating perspective that rests also with the members of this music subculture is always pointed out by academic researchers, as well as by public opinion. However, there are the fans of the manele who are struggling to defend their favourite music by saying that the manele music speaks their language; it speaks about their wishes of a better life, about their aspirations and their desire to succeed in life. This form of conflict is meant to determine us to think about the fans of manele as members of a music subculture. This perspective is also promoted by Bianca Poptean, a student who published in the Romanian magazine

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Jurnalism si Comunicare (Journalism and Communication) the article “Manelele – un produs atipic al culturii populare” (The Manele – an Atypical Popular Culture Product). She describes the manele music as a popular culture product and its listeners as members of a popular subculture, brought together by criteria like ethnicity, age, sex, economic status, clothing, education, principles and ideals. During the post-communist period, fans and opponents have made possible the development of a set of narratives about the manele subculture. As Ken Gelder underlines: “Narratives by or about a subculture come into being and produce a set of effects (or, affects) and reactions: fascination, envy, anxiety, disdain, revulsion, legislation, social reform, etc.”10 Nevertheless, who are the critics and who are the devotees? “Those who despise the music are, by and large, the urban elite - the ethnic Romanians who are relatively or very welleducated: office- and service-employees, professionals, and intellectuals. […] Many view “Gypsy” musicians as altering the direction of Romanian popular culture, a trend they loathe. Second, muzica orientală threatens the sacrosanct and inviolate notions of the Romanian nation as expressed in native cultural terms, that is, in the realm of folklore. […] In defending “pure” folklore against “intruders” such as muzica orientală, intellectuals assume a “cultural authority” over aesthetics and cultural virtues in society. They see the music and its mass appeal as eliminating the very core of what “Romanian” means. […] In defending “pure” folklore against “intruders” such as muzica orientală, intellectuals assume a “cultural authority” over aesthetics and cultural virtues in society. They see the music and its mass appeal as eliminating the very core of what “Romanian” means.”11 Young people are among its biggest devotees (after all, the main attendants to wedding and baptism celebrations are either young couples or young parents). Adorno theorizes that the mental attitude needed in order to listen to popular music is one of inattention and distraction. He saw “distraction as a withdrawal from life and responsibility, from the demands of reality. […] People want to have ‘fun’. Commercial entertainment (unlike serious art) induces relaxation precisely because it is patterned and pre-digested. For the same reason, the listener or viewer needs to make no effort in order to participate.”12

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The consumers of this kind of cultural product are especially youth with a low education level. “From the ‘90 the high school students fall into two broad categories, rockers and manelists, the latter attending mediocre high schools, in the periphery of cities. Many of them are leaving the school, in order to seek a way to get rich quick. Regardless of ethnicity, profession, economic standard, they keep a cultural suburban mental model, located between rural and urban areas in which the maneaua fits perfectly. They promote and develop it because they are founding in it, with their problems and aspirations, because they can listen, sing and dance anywhere, anytime, and stars are models.”13 Marian Lupaşcu and the Romanian mass media agree that the stereotype for a successful manelist could be: he/she is aged 20 to 50, has minimum education, poor language, is illiterate, neologisms become verbal tics, has intelligence above average, is overweight, wears brand clothes, is loaded with flashy jewellery, is married, has children, very young lovers, top cars, villas and apartments; the main goal in his life is given by fortune and fame. Here is a portrait of the person listening manele: “Wearing fitting clothes, shoes with pointed and neck wrapped in gold chains, listening to their phone playlist on the bus, they pose in slippers beside a waterfall in the mountains or on a boat in Venice.”14 As a lifestyle, the manele listeners are eating sunflower seeds during their pastime and are listening to their favourite music, very loud, both at home and on street or in the means of public transportation. Finally, I need to see how this music creates and perpetuates tensions and divisions within the Romanian young generation, especially in the on-line medium. The point of my study is to examine the forms of resistance against and dispute of this musical subculture, based on two examples, taken from the Internet, proper to the young Romanian generation’s cultural consumption: a Facebook cause has been named we are the one percent who do not listen to oriental music [suntem acel 1% care nu ascultă manele...15] and the computer virus named Win32. Antiman.N. This computer virus has been created to search and destroy specific multimedia files that contain oriental music while blocking the user’s access to the infected computer that might contain this kind of music. I start my first case study with the answer to the question What is a “cause” on Facebook?. The answer is provided precisely on Facebook: “A cause is a campaign created by a Facebook user as a way of rallying support and awareness via the user’s friends (and friends of friends). The goal of causes is to help individuals to communicate and raise awareness about the important issues for them. When someone creates a cause via

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our Facebook app, they have the opportunity to define the cause name, its mission, primary positions.16 Our cause is not meant to fundraise as is specified “Your cause is an awareness cause, meaning it is geared towards raising awareness around a topic and not donations.” Thereby, we can assume that the members whom are joined on our Facebook cause are worrisome that soon all the Romanians will enjoy listening manele. To sustain this affirmation, the subtitle of the cause “Let’s find among ourselves, the few who still do not listen to Manele” is relevant. Moreover, in the About section, we can see three sentences: “There are but a few of us left. [Am rămas puţini]; We do not listen to manele [Nu ascultăm manele]; We are nearing extinction [Suntem pe cale de dispariţie]”. In August 2011, the cause had 87,941 members. In the Impact section, one can see that, when the cause was launched, in April 2011, it managed to gain roughly two hundred members per day. By the end of June 2011, the cause had recruited around one hundred members per day. In August 2011, only about fifty people joined the cause per day. The Facebook cause is titled We are the one percent who do not listen oriental music [manele] in order to point out that they are different. In a brief linguistic analysis, we could note the irony of the title and the minimalist vision taking into consideration that only one percent of Romanian population does not listen to manele. On the one hand, the title intends to emphasize the disappointment of the members of the cause, who consider that, in the Romanian contemporary society, there are only a few people that are still listening to good music. On the other hand, the cause intends to increase the young Romanian people’s awareness of the danger the manele represent to Romanian culture and identity, since popular culture studies call attention to the fact that popular music can become a symbol for a nation. The whole vision of the comments on this Facebook cause, from a discourse analysis perspective, mirrors the already mentioned attitude that we can see approached by critics: bad grammar, alienating process of the young generation. The comments are few and through them we can notice that some of the comments belong to fans of oriental music, too. These are seen as intruders and the critics reply quite harshly. The oriental music fans’ tendency to intrude is a sign that they see themselves as a part of a group and they need to defend and protect their subculture. Marin-Marian Bălașa wrote an article that describes the way in which the Win32.Antiman.N on-line virus operates, as well as its range of contamination. The Romanian people division in pro and anti manelists reflects, with an unprecedented virulence, on discursive and

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communication plan, a spectacular social phenomenon. [...] In April 2005, a virus that attacked Romanian computers, suggestively called Win 32. Antiman, was created to make justice abreast of antimanelists.17 The on-line virus Antimanele.ro deletes all files that inclue the manele performers’ names and the titles of the manelists’ songs; next, the virus contaminate all the addresses from the Outlook victim program and scans files from Yahoo and Messenger in order to find new email addresses.18 The Romanian media mentioned also the appearance of this on-line virus: “A virus manufactured in Romania deletes manele files from the computers infected. It spreads by e-mail that promises photos with a girl named Roxana, group sex in a hostel or militates directly against manele. In the first 5 hours after onset, the virus managed to infect over 300 computers in Romania. The virus is installed on a computer when the user tries to open an infected message attached file. Then, it deletes all multimedia files containing the names of the most famous manele singers, or titles of popular manele songs.19 Marin-Marian Bălașa specifies in his paper how he managed to receive on his computer the next message: “Vote for good music, Vote for good music in top100.ro, Your vote counts” and so forth. Not shortly after the user continues to vote, he can remark in the next steps the association between good music and manele. The online users that dislike the manele think then that it is a joke and understands the irony of the message. In brief, this on-line virus was created to show the repulsion of the critics for the content, style and values promoted by the manele music and their performers. The virus creators wanted to demonstrate their superiority to the ignorant fans of manele, which were affected by the Win 32. Antiman. These online counter-culture forms of manifestations make me conclude that the fans of this musical genre analyzed here are perceived as a group, as a form of musical subculture. They act in a certain way, they have their own habits. On the other hand, the members of this subculture defend their values, their lifestyle and their favourite music. However, I hope that my future research confirms my hypothesis that we talk about a musical subculture that has but very few rules, especially consumer praxis, and that its exposure is disturbing. Therefore, we conclude that the manelist musical subculture has generated disagreement and segmentation between young people. Moreover, the Internet and new technologies have made possible not only quick and easy access to their favourite music, but rehabilitated new forms of protest, which spread quickly. We end this paper with Theodor Adorno’s perspective: Music, as a social praxis, is part of social praxis, generally, and reflects its conditions.20

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NOTES 1 This paper is financed within the framework of the project POSDRU 107/1.5/S/80765, Title of the project: “Excelenţă şi interdisciplinaritate în studiile doctorale pentru o societate informaţională”. 2 Margaret H. Beissinger, Oriental Music: Identity and Popular Culture in Postcommunist Romania, article in volume Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene, edited by Donna A. Buchanan, Maryland, The Scarecrow Press, Lanham, 2007, p. 95-96 3 Idem, p. 100-101 4 Marian Lupaşcu, Muzici populare româneşti: maneaua, in Anuarul Institutului de Etnografie şi Folclor Constantin Brăiloiu”, Editura Academiei Române, Tomul 17 (2006), p. 63 5 Margaret H. Beissinger, op. cit., p. 105 6 Margaret H. Beissinger, op. cit., p. 117- 120 7 Idem, p. 124 8 Robert W. Witkin, Adorno on popular culture, Routledge, London, 2004, pp. 86-87 9 Mela Melin, Despre Manea, Editura Universul Românesc, Bucureşti, 2007, p. 103 10 Ken Gelder, Subcultures, Cultural histories and social practice, first published 2007, by Routledge, p. 2 11 Margaret H. Beissinger, op. cit., pp. 131 - 133 12 Robert W. Witkin, op. cit., p. 106 13 Marian Lupaşcu, op. cit., p. 63-75 14 Ovidiu Eftimie, “Portretul-robot al ascultătorului de manele” in Evenimetul zilei, 08 August 2009 15 http://www.causes.com/causes/451134 16 http://forums.causes.com/discussion/10 17 Marin-Marian Bălaşa, Virusul “Antimanele” sau despre muzică şi segregare în cultura şi societatea românească, published in Anuarul Institutului de Etnografie şi Folclor “Constantin Brăiloiu”, Editura Academiei Române, Tomul 17 (2006), pp. 77-87 18 Marian Lupaşcu, op.cit., p. 73 19 Cristiana Ioniţă, “Virus anti-manele” in Jurnalul Naţional, 27 aprilie 2005 20 Robert W. Witkin, op.cit., p. 84

REFERENCES On-line sources www.facebook.com - forums.causes.com/discussion www.radiomanelenoi.ro Secondary sources Bălașa, Marin-Marian, “Virusul “Antimanele” sau despre muzică și segregare în cultura și societatea românească”, in Anuarul Institutului de Etnografie și Folclor “Constantin Brăiloiu”, Bucharest, Editura Academiei Române, Tome 17 (2006), pp. 77-87 Beissinger, H. Margaret, “Muzică Orientală: Identity and Popular Culture in

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Postcommunist Romania” in Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene, edited by Donna A. Buchanan, Lanham, Maryland, The Scarecrow Press, 2007 Cooper, B. Lee, Popular music perspectives: ideas, themes, and patterns in contemporary lyrics, Bowling Green, State University Popular Press, 1991 Eftimie, Ovidiu, “Portretul-robot al ascultătorului de manele” in Evenimetul zilei, 8 August 2009 Gelder, Ken, Subcultures, Cultural histories and social practice, London, Routledge, 2006 Ioniță, Cristiana, “Virus anti-manele” in Jurnalul Național, 27 April 2005 Lupașcu, Marian, “Muzici populare românești: maneaua”, in Anuarul Institutului de Etnografie și Folclor “Constantin Brăiloiu”, Bucharest, Editura Academiei Române, Tome 17 (2006), pp. 63-75 Melin, Mela, Despre Manea, Bucharest, Editura Universul Românesc, 2007 Menghel, Maurice, “Muzică și identitatea națională: Teorii, Metode și rezultate din ultimii ani, published”, in Anuarul Institutului de Etnografie și Folclor “Constantin Brăiloiu”, Bucharest, Editura Academiei Române, Tome 17 (2006), pp. 55-62 Paul-Bădescu, Cezar, “Maneaua să fie manea”, in Dilema Veche, year VI, no. 256, January 12th, 2009 Poptean, Bianca, “Manelele: un produs atipic al culturii populare” in Revista Română de Jurnalism și Comunicare, Year 3, no. 4 (2004), p. 85-95 Șerban, Alex Leo, “Maneaua Reloaded & MNAC-ul listat”, in Dilema Veche, Year III, no. 129, 14 July 2006 Witkin, W. Robert, Adorno on popular culture, London, Routledge, 2004

Loredana Ghimfus is a scholarship doctoral student at Faculty of Journalism and Communication Studies, University of Bucharest. Since 2009 she is being supervised by Monica Spiridon, PhD. Since 2008, she is working at the Public Relations Department at University of Bucharest. She owns a Master degree and BA degree at Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest in Public Relations and communication studies. She has a CIPR Certificate and she won in 2010 The Golden Award for Excellence, Social Media for PR, at PR Award Romania. Her research interests are Popular culture, subcultures, public relations, new media and online communication. This paper is financed within the framework of the project POSDRU 107/1.5/S/80765, Title of the project: „Excelență și interdisciplinaritate în studiile doctorale pentru o societate informațională”

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Aura Andreea Petre

La lutte pour le pouvoir entre les sexes. Territoire de guerre: le club Résumé: Notre étude se propose une ethnologie de l’urbain comme instrument de travail pour l’identification d’un modèle féminin actuel dans l’espace urbain de la culture roumaine. En partant du contexte général, la femme dans l’espace urbain, et en suivant les principes d’une recherche efficiente, nous avons réduit ce contexte à deux points essentiels, interdépendants : la vie sociale de la femme dans la ville et les espaces de socialisation de l’urbain. Le projet de recherche s’élargit encore et définit les deux points susmentionnés, en établissant un échantillon d’acteurs sociaux et d’une certaine pratique de la vie sociale de ceux-ci et à un certain type d’espace urbain de socialisation, le club. Most-clés: espace urbain, femmes, femmes dans l’espace urbain, clubs, acteur social ’espace urbain représente une provocation continue pour les anthropologues. Ses caractéristiques principales – le manque d’homogénéité, la rapidité des échanges qu’il expérimente dans sa qualité d’espace-lieu de l’évolution et de la modernisation, les trajectoires multiples qu’il présuppose pour chaque habitant – rendent la recherche de l’urbain une action qui nécessite l’établissement des coordonnées précises et la réduction de l’objet de la recherche jusqu’à son essence. Notre étude se propose une ethnologie de l’urbain comme instrument de travail pour l’identification d’un modèle féminin actuel dans l’espace urbain de la culture roumaine. En partant du contexte général, la femme dans l’espace urbain, et en suivant les principes d’une recherche efficiente, nous avons réduit ce contexte à deux points essentiels, interdépendants : la vie sociale de la femme dans la ville et les espaces de socialisation1 de l’urbain. Le projet de recherche s’élargit encore et définit les deux points susmentionnés, en établissant un échantillon d’acteurs sociaux et d’une certaine pratique de la vie sociale de ceux-ci et à un certain type d’espace

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urbain de socialisation, le club. L’échantillon est formé des femmes entre 20 et 30 ans, ayant un niveau élevé d’éducation (études supérieures finies ou en cours), une vie sociale active, définie principalement par la sortie en club. Il est important de souligner que la géographie de la vie de nuit urbaine est complexe et que dans la carte des clubs d’une ville nous retrouvons une réelle typologie qui ne permet pas la généralisation du phénomène de la vie de nuit. Les effets que ce style de vie a sur la société et sur la culture diffèrent d’un espace à l’autre : Perhaps the best way to make sense of urban nightlife, then, is to situate its bars, parties, restaurants, and nightclubs on a continuum based on the cultural components (e.g., ethos, organization, identity markers, norms, and behaviors/activities; see Anderson, 2009a, b; Anderson and Kavanaugh, 2007) each possess. (Anderson 2009:919) En nous arrêtant à l’intérêt de notre recherche, la femme comme acteur social sur la scène de la vie de nuit, il nous semble nécessaire d’éviter la généralisation ; il est important d’établir la relation entre les caractéristiques de ce modèle féminin généré par cet espace où nos observations se définissent – autrement dit, identifier la spécificité établie par les coordonnées de notre recherche : Plenty of events and clubs do not have cultural components that convey sexual vibes and organizational styles. Even though today’s popular culture is replete with messages and images that clubbing or ‘‘going out at night’’ is about sexual courtship, there are places that deviate from this theme. In such spaces, music appreciation, dancing, socializing with friends, or experiencing something different are the main reasons for going out in the city. Sexual courtship happens, but it is not a priority for men or women. (Anderson 2009:923) Ce travail représente une introduction dans le terrain de notre recherche, une première démarche d’une description ethnographique, ayant le but de nous rendre connu ce type d’espace, le club, pas encore trop recherché dans l’anthropologie roumaine. Les méthodes utilisées sont l’observation participative – la fréquentation de plusieurs clubs de Bucarest à partir de 2009 et jusqu’à présent, comme initiées de la communauté étudiée (les femmes du milieu urbain qui ont une vie sociale active exprimée notamment par la fréquentation des clubs) et la libre conversation avec les acteurs sociaux : Si la spécificité de la démarche anthropologique par rapport aux autres disciplines qui forment les sciences sociales ne saurait être confondue

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avec la nature des premières sociétés étudiées par les ethnologues (les sociétés extra européennes), elle ne peut pas être dissociée d’un mode de connaissance particulier qui a été élaboré à partir de ces sociétés : l’observation rigoureuse, par imprégnation lente et continue, de groupes humains minuscules avec lesquels nous entretenons un rapport personnel. (Laplantine 2005:13) Le club est un espace public ayant une fonction de socialisation et de loisir où deux pratiques de consommations sont pratiquées : celle alimentaire (des boissons alcoolisées et non-alcoolisées) et celle culturelle (danse et musique) : The nightclub at its most basic is a building that provides loud music, often with a repetitive beat, a dance area that usually has low background light and intermittent bright lighting effects, and a licensed bar. (Purcell&Graham 2005:140 apud Bellis 2002:10272) L’activité de cet espace se déroule exclusivement pendant la nuit. Le club est par excellence un espace de la vie urbaine de nuit. Le club a son origine dans les discothèques postcommunistes qui, à présent, soit sont disparus, soit sont devenus des clubs. Dans le Bucarest de nos jours le terme « discothèque » n’est plus accepté et ne définit aucun espace urbain de socialisation. Pour notre recherche nous avons choisis deux clubs bucarestois selon les critères suivants : le contrôle de l’accès dans cet espace (accès suite à un contrôle stricte) et le type d’acteurs sociaux qui fréquentent le club (des femmes ayant des études supérieures, célibataires, autonomes et ayant une indépendance affirmée). Dans les typologies de ce type d’espace que nous retrouvons dans la littérature de spécialité, les clubs où notre recherche se déroule présentent des caractéristiques des catégories suivantes : “Mainstream” spaces, which denote the proliferation of corporately owned bars and clubs in the city centers that promote “up market” identities and specifically target rich groups such as professionals and high-level service sector workers. These mainstream bars and clubs, characterized by smart attire, commercial chart music, and pleasureseeking and hedonistic behavior, have become the dominant mode of young-adult participation in urban nightlife culture. (Graham&Purcell 2005:136 apud Chatterton&Hollands 20023) Pop/Rock For the present purposes, pop was defined as commercial chart music that appeals to a large audience - the so-called “mainstream”,

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often by virtue of its softer, blander, easy-to listen-to sound. (Ammer, 19924) Pop in nightclubs is typified by distinctive syncopation, danceable rhythms, and melodic emphasis. (Romanowski and George-Warren, 19955) Contemporary examples include Madonna and various “boy bands”. (Graham&Purcell 2005:141-142) À cause des raisons d’éthique de la recherche, nous n’allons pas utiliser les noms réels des clubs dans lesquels se déroule notre observation. Pour ce travail, nous allons utiliser les informations obtenues dans un des clubs recherchés à Bucarest, club I. Afin de mettre en évidence certaines caractéristiques des clubs, nous allons également utiliser dans ce travail les informations obtenues lors de la réalisation d’une étude de cas, au mois de juillet, dans les clubs de Londres – espace urbain reconnu pour sa vie de nuit intense. Il nous semble nécessaire de jeter un regard sur une autre culture de ce type d’espace et sur les phénomènes qu’il crée du point de vue de l’importance que le club a dans le paysage urbain contemporain et de son incorporation dans des espaces qui sont des effets de la globalisation : As noted by Hollands and Chatterton6 (2003), the increasing corporate influence and control of the nightclub industry in the U.K. may be viewed as a reflection of the broader changes in the global economy and the impact of globalization on the urban entertainment environment. They conclude that the traditional drinking environments are being displaced by “gentrified nightlife environments that consciously sanitize and exclude the poor and disenfranchised, reinforced through subtle demarcations based around dress and style codes, interior design, drink prices, and entry requirements. (Hollands and Chatterton 2003: 369370)” (Graham&Purcell 2005:133) Le club I représente une agglomération d’espaces de socialisation formée par : un lieu du club pendant l’hiver, un lieu du club pour les fêtes pendant la semaine et pour les nuits où on estime un nombre réduit de clients pour occuper l’espace large du club (selon les informations reçues de la part d’un employé du club, les propriétaires n’aiment pas l’espace vide, l’agglomération est extrêmement importante pour l’atmosphère de club ; l’espace vide représente un phénomène qui contrôle de l’intérieur l’organisation des évènements et les stratégies de marketing des propriétaires et de l’extérieur, il contrôle l’heure d’arrivée des clients – on préfère arriver plus tard lorsque le club est plein et pas vide), un lieu du club pour la période de l’été (le club est aménagé sous une tente de grandes dimensions) et un café. Les lieux du club ont la même adresse, il s’agit d’un conglomérat d’espaces. Nous avons donc un seul type de club avec

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trois espaces différents qui changent en fonction de la saison et du nombre des clients estimé. Le club I est ouvert le jeudi, le vendredi et le samedi à partir de 21:30 jusqu’à 4 heures du matin. Celui-ci est le programme officiel affiché sur le site de présentation du club. La réalité du terrain diffère en fonction de l’arrivée et du départ des clients. À 21:30 le club peut être vide, jusqu’à 22 heures – 23 heures et il peut fermer à 5-6 heures du matin – cela dépend de l’atmosphère de la soirée. Le cadre théorique de la présentation des données obtenues lors du terrain est représenté par la théorie des rites profanes de Claude Rivière: Sans projet autre que celui de son propre accomplissement et sans rattachement à un mythe, mais seulement à des valeurs importantes, le rite profane trouve sa logique dans son effectuation et se satisfait de son intensité émotionnelle (match de football, concert). (1995:45) Rivière décrit le rite profane sous la forme d’un mécanisme qui contient cinq structures ; sans leur présence en même temps et sans qu’elles se manifestent dans un déroulement simultané, le rite n’existe pas. Ces structures sont : la structure temporelle de l’action, la structure des rôles, la structure des valeurs et des buts, la structure des moyens et la structure des communications. Nous n’allons pas insister sur celles-ci dans ce travail, mais nous allons présenter une description générale du rite profane – la sortie en club d’une femme célibataire, en mettant l’accent sur l’itinéraire/ la trajectoire du domicile vers le club, dans le club et de retour au domicile. La première action est celle de l’organisation de la sortie, qui est faite soit avec les copines, soit avec un groupe d’amis mixte (hommes et femmes). Le lieu et l’heure sont établis et on organise le moyen de transport jusqu’au club. Le lieu peut être le même pour une certaine période de temps, parce que l’activité de sortie en club engage de la fidélité envers un certain club de la part des acteurs sociaux. Si on y va en voitures personnelles des certain(e)s ami(e)s, on organisera un itinéraire, en fonction des distances entre les amis afin d’emmener chacun de chez soi (l’itinéraire étape par étape), et si on prend le taxi, on utilisera le même principe. Après l’établissement de l’itinéraire et de l’heure, la préparation proprement-dite de la sortie commence : les pratiques d’hygiène corporelle (bain/ douche, manucure/ pédicure/ épilation, etc. et en fonction de la préparation d’avant et du temps eu à la disposition, certaines de ces pratiques peuvent être omises pendant certaines soirées), le choix des habits, du maquillage, de la coiffure, des bijoux. Une fois les rituels finis, on ouvre la série de brèves communications entre les membres du groupe organisé pour la sortie. Des coups de fil, des messages (des textos), des conversations sur les chaînes de communication valables sur Internet - afin de se tenir au courant sur l’avancement des préparatifs. Les délais et les changements de plan sont possibles

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à cause de diverses raisons : Je ne suis pas encore prêt !, Je ne peux plus venir ! Je n’ai plus de moyen de transport pour venir ! etc. Dans la théorie des rites profanes ces raisons sont considérées des anti-structures. Toutes les cinq structures d’un rite présentent des anti-structures complémentaires qui se divisent en : des antistructures évolutives (un élément inadmissible dans ces temps-là, mais qui sous l’action du temps s’est incorporé dans le rite) ; des anti-structures variables (des phénomènes incontrôlables et imprévisibles apparus dans le déroulement du rite) ; et des anti-structures glissantes (des rituels et des phénomènes à caractère contraire qui rivalisent avec le rite proprement-dit). Dans certains cas, une fois le groupe réunit, on pratique : la consommation des boissons avant. Allons boire quelque chose avant peut se passer soit chez une des femmes, soit dans la voiture, soit sans un autre espace de socialisation (un club moins cher que celui dans lequel on sort). Une fois arrivé à la destination, le groupe se confronte avec la première épreuve afin d’obtenir un certain statut social (Rivera 2010:229-230) : la sélection à l’entrée du club. Dans les espaces de socialisation à contrôle élevé de l’accès, la simple appartenance au sexe féminin assure l’entrée. Il faut également préciser : si les femmes sont des clientes fidèles du club, il y a déjà une liaison avec les gardiens/ les gardes de corps de l’entrée et l’accès ne pose aucune difficulté. Le personnel présent à l’entrée, les gardes de corps, sont des acteurs sociaux ayant une grande importance dans le déroulement du rite la sortie en club. Ils sont les créateurs de l’anti-structure : ils interdissent l’accès. Ainsi, ils peuvent arrêter ce rituel en changeant la trajectoire de certains participants, par l’interdiction de leur accès et en les forçant de changer leurs plans : choisir un autre endroit. Le personnel de l’entrée représente l’instance de décision : « doormen-individuals who simultaneously represent status experts and status judges» (Rivera 2010: 229). Au cas où un contrôle plus faible de l’accès existe, en fonction du genre, les femmes ayant de la priorité et affrontant moins d’obstacles à l’entrée, pouvonsnous considérer le genre/ le sexe, un élément qui construit un statut social dans ces espaces ? Pas nécessairement, mais il aide à sa construction par le fait qu’il offre de permissivité dans ce genre d’espaces. Mais pourquoi les femmes entrent-elles plus facilement dans ce genre d’endroit ? Ce fait représente une stratégie de marketing : les femmes consomment indirectement, les hommes y présents achètent pour elles aussi : « Women are profitable customers because their presence increases alcohol purchases by men (as gifts, courtship and/or status displays) » (Rivera 2010:239). La présence des femmes dans ce genre de lieux assure la consommation et également une atmosphère agréable : « Having a larger number of women will enhance the club’s image as a desirable nightclub» (Rivera 2010:239). Il existe également le critère des stéréotypies de genre. Les femmes, le sexe faible, sont des clients qui ne présentent pas un péril élevé de perturbation de l’atmosphère du club : « Women are safer customers who are less

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prone to engaging in physical violence in the club» (Rivera 2010:239). Cette facilitation de l’accès représente une stratégie de marketing qui met les femmes dans une position de pions dans le cadre des jeux du commerce. En ce qui concerne l’accès dans ce genre d’espace, être femme représente un avantage. Au mois de juillet de cette année, nous avons conduit une étude de cas sur ce type d’espaces, dans un autre contexte culturel : Londres, ville européenne, connue parmi d’autres pour ses offres de tous les genres pour la vie de nuit, en ce qui concerne les clubs. Le but de cette étude de cas a été l’observation de la modalité de sélection de la clientèle à l’entrée du club dans une autre culture, afin d’établir les éléments de différence et les éléments communs par rapport aux espaces recherchés en Roumanie, en ce qui concerne cette pratique. Nous avons utilisé la méthode de l’observation participative dans trois clubs de Londres : C, M et A. Nous allons présenter brièvement les caractéristiques de ces espaces, en utilisant la typologie réalisée pour cette recherche et également les informations sur ces clubs qui se trouvent sur le site www.viewlondon.co.uk (site –guide des espaces urbains de socialisation de Londres et des évènements culturels et dédiés au loisir). Le club C fait partie de la catégorie des espaces urbains ayant un contrôle élevé de l’accès, étant connu comme un des clubs exclusivistes de Londres : « C is renowned for its decadent styling and luxurious ambience. They offer an extensive cocktail list and entertainment including guest DJs and celebrity guests.7» Nous sommes allées en C pendant la nuit de samedi vers dimanche (16-17 juillet 2012), cet intervalle de temps étant le principal moment de la semaine dédié à la sortie en club. À Londres, sortir en club enferme une autre modalité d’organisation par comparaison avec Bucarest, pour le type de club mis en discussion. Premièrement, il faut s’inscrire sur la liste des invités du club (guest list) ; l’inscription se fait en ligne. La liste des invités représente une forme de sélection de la clientèle et d’organisation de la soirée, en estimant le nombre de clients. L’inscription sur cette liste ne garantit pas l’entrée, mais sans elle les chances d’entrée sont diminuées, si non inexistantes. Nous avons été les témoins d’une situation où un groupe de personnes qui faisaient la queue à l’entrée n’étaient pas inscrites sur la liste des invitées. L’employé de l’entrée qui s’occupait avec la sélection des clients (une femme) leur a offert une table, en leur disant que celle-ci est la seule manière d’entrer dans le club, sans être inscrit sur la liste des invités. Le deuxième club fréquenté a été A, situé à Clapham, quartier de la banlieue du sud de Londres. Le troisième club a été M, dans le quartier Fitzrovia. Par comparaison avec les clubs de Bucarest, les clubs de Londres ont un système de contrôle différent, qui représente une partie signifiante de la manière dont ce type d’espace fonctionne. Pour les clubs C et M nous avons passé un temps

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extrêmement long en faisant la queue à l’entrée et nous avons assisté pendant cela au refus de l’accès à cause des suivantes deux raisons principales : l’âge inadéquat ou la non-inscription sur la liste des invités. L’expérimentation faite nous a démontré que les critères qui facilitent l’entrée dans ce type d’espace restent valables à Londres aussi : le sexe (avec la condition d’avoir l’âge nécessaire), les habits et l’aspect physique. Nous n’avons pas rencontré des difficultés à l’entrée dans aucun des trois clubs ; en C, nous sommes même entrées sans que la liste des invités soit consultée (bien qu’on fut demandées sur quel nom nous sommes inscrites sur la liste et quel est le mot de passe ; on reçoit un mot de passe sur l’email lorsque l’inscription en ligne est faite) ; en M, on ne nous a même pas demandé les cartes d’identité. Par comparaison avec la queue du club C de samedi soir du premier weekend, vendredi, en club M, le deuxième weekend, la queue du club M a été extrêmement longue, et du point de vue numérique, les femmes étaient beaucoup plus nombreuses. La raison principale était que le vendredi, dans ce club, jusqu’à 11 heures du soir, les femmes entraient gratuitement (l’entrée en C a été 20 livres). Ce genre de faveurs faites aux femmes (entrée gratuite, offre spéciale de boissons, etc.) font partie des avantages déjà mentionnés, générés par la manière dont les femmes sont perçues dans ces espaces. De nos observations, dans le délai passé en faisant la queue, l’accès a été refusé à ceux qui n’avaient pas l’âge légal pour entrer dans ce type d’espace. Dans les clubs bucarestois, l’accès présente un autre type de contrôle, surtout concentré sur les critères vestimentaires et l’aspect physique, dans le cas des femmes, mais aussi des hommes. L’idée principale est qu’à Londres, ainsi qu’à Bucarest, l’accès dans ces espaces est beaucoup plus permissif pour les femmes que pour les hommes. Dans la littérature de spécialité, Lauren A. Rivera, établit dans une étude sur la sélection de la clientèle dans un club8 de nuit des États-Unis (étude déjà mentionnée), les critères qui doivent être accomplis afin de passer avec succès la sélection de l’entrée d’un club : « recognition as regular », « ties to preeminent members » (des connaissances et des amis du staff), « women » (Rivera 2010: 239). Ces critères sont valables aussi dans les endroits observés par nous, dans les deux cultures. En revenant à notre description, une fois la scène de l’entrée produite, intervient une suite d’actions qui caractérisent les groupes de femmes une fois entrées dans cet espace. Premièrement, on choisit l’espace : Nous nous assoyons où ?, au cas où il n’y a pas une table réservée. D’habitude, le groupe cherche un lieu au bar, qui soit reste l’espace de référence pendant l’entière nuit, soit il est changé par des raisons diverses (l’existence dans la proximité de cet espace des personnes qui perturbent le groupe : des hommes qui agressent verbalement ou par les gestes – de divers degrés d’agression ; le regard continu peut déranger ou d’autres femmes qui par le biais des gestes dérangent le groupe : danse, attitudes). L’espace, une fois conquis, cet endroit à eux, n’engage pas le stationnement tout au long de la soirée. Les femmes voyagent dans le club, elles ont une trajectoire,

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elles bougent : le rite la tournée de club (afin de voir les autres acteurs du club – connus, inconnus, des hommes auxquels on pourra s’intéresser), aller aux toilettes, aller au DJ, parler au téléphone dehors ou dans les toilettes, danser. Les principaux points qui forment la trajectoire de la femme dans le club sont : les toilettes, le ring de danse et le bar (ou la table réservée). Les toilettes représentent un espace exclusivement masculin ou féminin (bien que cette séparation ne soit pas universellement valable) : Toilets, as sites that are separated by the presumed biological distinction between men and women and their different excretionary functions, can be sites where individuals’ bodies are continually policed and (re)placed within sexed categories. (Browne 2004:332) Comme seul espace qui leur appartient uniquement, espace qu’elles ne doivent pas partager avec les hommes du club, les toilettes représentent le refuge du terrain de lutte. Ici les femmes se reposent, parlent au téléphone, partagent des impressions et selon nos observations, l’esprit de compétition se diminue : Toilet spaces in heterosexual nightclubs are often perceived as “sacred spaces” where women can be alone to discuss men, reapply make-up and generally stylize their bodies for their “frontstage” performance on the dance floor. (Browne 2004: 337 apud Goffman 19599) L’échange de regards entre les femmes dans les toilettes peut être différent de celui du ring de danse ou de celui du bar. Pour la seconde lutte du club, celle entre femmes pour la meilleure image, les toilettes représentent un espace neutre car l’enjeu – les hommes – n’existe plus. Le ring de danse et le bar sont, en échange, des terrains de lutte : les femmes sont dans une continue compétition, visible ou non, pour la meilleure image. L’affichage, dans sa qualité de comportement social, est spécifique au club. Environ 4 – 5 heures du matin, l’atmosphère du club commence à s’éteindre. La plupart des clients rentrent chez eux en taxi ou en voiture personnelle. Les groupes de femmes partagent, comme pour l’arrivée, le taxi. Celle-ci est la trajectoire de la femme dans le club, généralement ; au fur et à mesure que la recherche évoluera, nous allons approfondir également les aspects de la trajectoire. Un élément important à être mentionné finalement est le degré d’approche de l’acteur social dans cet espace et les fonctions de cet espace : uniquement par sa présence, la femme acquiert un degré d’approche qu’elle n’a pas dans d’autres espaces. À partir de cette quantité donnée par la fréquentation de cet espace, la propre personne entre en jeu pour diminuer ou accroître l’approche. Ainsi,

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l’espace est celui qui donne une première image, le rôle de la propre personne étant celui d’accroître ou de diminuer la caractéristique de femme disponible que l’espace lui donne. Ici commence la négociation du statut. Il y a des femmes qui mènent une lutte féroce pour contredire les stéréotypies, des stéréotypies qui leurs sont attribuées par leur simple présence dans l’endroit ; il y a aussi des femmes qui rendent vraies les stéréotypies. Le club est-il un espace de la lutte entre les genres ? Un espace de la négociation ? Pour une désambigüisation du type d’espace représenté par le club, il est nécessaire de préciser qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un espace ayant des fonctions pré-maritales, malgré ses caractéristiques d’espace public où les jeunes établissent un certain niveau de contact (visuel, physique, verbal) et socialisent. Conformément à une définition des institutions ayant des fonctions pré-maritale, des cadres où les jeunes acquièrent une identité très bien définie en vue de l’accomplissement de leurs rôles maritaux et par le biais desquels ils pourraient faire la connaissance, sous le contrôle de la communauté qui surveille le respect des traditions (Minoiu 2000-2002:283), ce type d’espace prévoit la présence des formateurs de la communauté et l’apprentissage des pratiques nécessaires afin de devenir un bon mari/ une bonne épouse, bon étant un attribut établi par le biais des normes culturelles et sociales. Les relations d’interactions entre les hommes et les femmes dans un club ne visent pas l’institution du mariage. Nous pouvons affirmer que, surtout le club, par le biais de son offre culturelle et sociale, promeut le déplacement de l’âge adéquat au mariage. Dans la mentalité collective, le club est un lieu du divertissement, de la liberté, des relations qui ne présupposent pas s’assumer une responsabilité. Le paradoxe est que, bien qu’il soit un espace qui attribue aux acteurs sociaux le statut de célibataires, il n’est pas un espace qui offre la possibilité d’échapper à ce statut, mais qui offre la possibilité de le maintenir. Cette caractéristique à lui ne réduit pas à zéro la possibilité de lier des relations à long terme et qui se dirigent ensuite vers l’institution du mariage. Mais cela est due uniquement à sa caractéristique d’espace public où les gens se rencontrent, de la même manière dont ils peuvent se rencontrer dans d’autres espaces publics (dans la rue, dans le parc, etc.). La fonction que le club promeut n’est pas celle d’institution ayant des fonctions pré-maritales. Le club peut être investi avec des fonctions pré-maritales, dans le sens où il appuie la rencontre entre les hommes et les femmes. Il y a des femmes célibataires qui y vont ayant le but de trouver un partenaire. Mais ce n’est pas la raison principale et cet espace ne garantit pas les bases d’une relation et non plus les préparatifs pour l’institution du mariage, à travers son offre d’activités. Dans une première phase de la recherche, nous pouvons affirmer que ce type d’espace a comme principale fonction le loisir,

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étant accessible aux femmes et aux hommes également, le niveau d’accessibilité étant différent pour les deux genres en fonction des critères susmentionnés dans cette étude. Il s’agit d’un espace de l’affichage, un espace qui offre un certain statut social et qui, par sa fréquentation, offre aux femmes certains éléments pour la construction d’un nouveau type d’identité féminine, d’un modèle féminin valable dans l’espace urbain roumain. Notes: 1 La socialisation, dans la terminologie des sciences sociales désigne le processus d’apprentissage traversé par l’être humain afin d’appartenir à une certaine société et une certaine culture. Dans notre étude, ce terme est utilisé dans le sens de processus de communication et interconnexion entre les individus. (« Socialiser » peut signifier, tout simplement, s’associer et interagir avec d’autres gens de la société ».- source : en.wikipedia.org. trad. n.). 2 BELLIS, M., Hughes, K. & LOWEY, H., “Healthy nightclubs and recreational substance use - from a harm minimization to a healthy settings approach” in Addictive Behaviors. 27, 2002, p. 1025-1035. 3 CHATTERTON, P. & HOLLANDS, R., “Theorising urban playscapes: Producing, regulating and consuming youthful nightlife city spaces” in Urban Studies. 39, 2002, p. 95-117. 4 AMMER, C. (I992), Harper Collins Dictionary of Music. 3rd Edition. New York, HarperCollins. 5 ROMANOWSKI. P. & GEORGE-WARREN, H. (1995). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Toronto, Fireside Press. 6 CHATTERTON, P. & HOLLANDS, R. (2003). Urban Nightscapes: Youth Cultures. Pleasure Spaces and Corporate Power. London, Routledge. 7 (www.viewlondon.co.uk). 8 2010: 229-255. 9 GOFFMAN, Erving (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London, Penguin.

Aura-Andreea Petre is a PhD candidate at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Letters, Department of Ethnology and PhD and joint doctorat at the University Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Anthropology. Owner of a master degree in Advanced Studies Cultural anthropology, ethnology and folklore. She works as a research assistant at The National Center for Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture. She is a member of ASER (Romanian Association of Ethnological Sciences). Her interests are in urban anthropology, gender studies, anthropology of childhood, european ethnology

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Andreea Chindriş

Immersion in Game Worlds ABSTRACT In order to understand how the immersion in the virtual world of games is possible, we start from the definition of the term and emphasize what video games boast in a competition against traditional printed stories. A model of how this is possible will be shown; it includes the participant’s involvement and attention, since people tend to feel more immersed in an experience if more senses are involved. Keywords: game, video games, ludology, narratology

T

Definitions

heorists have been interested in whether video games can or must say stories, if they have this possibility. Two schools have been defined: ludology and naratology. The former states that the central point of a game must be the action, while the latter favours games as a setting where stories can be told and which can and must be compared to the other media (film, theatre, literature). Beyond the opinions expressed on this matter in the academic environment, many games try to construct a story that could make the players take part in it, hoping that adrenaline levels will not drop because of the story. Ludology is the discipline that deals with games and that includes video games, too. Before the video games, the term was used in relationship with board games. The term ludologist became popular through the teachers

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interested in games, in order to describe a person that is against the general opinion that video games must be seen as an extension of the narrative.1 Immersion means 1. To cover completely in a liquid; submerge. 2. To baptize by submerging in water. 3. To engage wholly or deeply; absorb: scholars who immerse themselves in their subjects. [From Middle English immersed, embedded deeply, from Latin immersus, past participle of immergere, to immerse : in-, in; see in-2 + mergere, to dip.]2 Therefore, we can see that immersion means passing into another setting and being totally under its influence. Because of the degree of implication, the transposition of the self in the action can increase the adrenaline level and keep the players active for a longer time. Video games are built based on a model where the narrative involves a user who will dictate the way in which the action continues, according to his reactions. The users will be rewarded by getting to the next level. This and the power of making decisions push the player into believing that he/she somehow gets closer to the real world, where actions draw consequences. Games are both stimulation and simulation, and those that understood this trained the users by the simulation of reality. One famous example is that of flying a plane, with the inclusion of the smallest details: from speed to the angle of wings, altimeter. The American government launched a game named America’s Army where an entire war is simulated, hoping that they could attract new generations of recruiters, impressed by what winning a fight means. Therefore, we can say that the Government saw this game as a reality simulation that would get people closer to it. The motivations that make the user go further are those linked to the perception of the self: a video game that emphasizes your qualities takes control over you. The player’s narcissism makes him/her come back, since apart from the illusion of difficulty there is also the illusion of being crowned as a winner. The video game creates a new reality, one that is the copy of a copy, since the way of representation is pure simulation, where the simulacrum has no link with reality even if, many times, it tries to do that in order to

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produce an effect of verisimilitude. The games make the player sensitive since he/she gets rewards. They evolved and try to include exepriences that will challenge and produce a feeling of utility. A very interesting thing is the fact that many of the actions in games are not possible in reality, and the other way around. The moment we receive what we want, our physical state changes, since dopamine is released in our body. An important problem could be the comparison with reality where, many times, the players consider that they are not rewarded like in a video game. In this case, the perception of reality will change, since it will be seen as a place where one cannot find satisfaction. Integration in the Virtual World In order to make the virtual world look real to a user, it must be well structured and outlined in order to abolish as much as possible the impression that it is a virtual world. In a film, the lights, the angle of the camera, the editing and the music can create the feeling of closeness and reality, although the changes of the camera may be reminders of the position that the spectator has related to it. Subjectivity is increased in the case of a film, more than in theatre where the actor’s corporality can derange and block the identification. What the producer wants is to create, all in all, pleasure for the user. However, he/she must not win immediately; so that he/she will have the feeling of utility and that he/she deserves the victory when closing a mission. The user must confront with other users, but with his/her capacity or limits in the attempt to get as far as possible on the scale of some very talented players. A conflict that is communicated to the players by story makes player’s actions more meaningful and ties those belongings to the same faction more together. Working for a common goal is important, since it provides settings for their own stories.3 The story is relevant even when violence is an important coordinate. In essence, this model of creating a game talks about the interest that the users have in the narrative coordinate: although the reason why they enter a game is to push the trigger, without a motivation that would include them in the game they will not be attracted for too long. Just like Koivisto says in the above quote, online members must have a link

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connecting them, because of the distance. A common mission gets them closer and creates the possibility of developing some friendship relations or at least some stability links for the missions to come. The way in which the subjects react physically is conclusive if we are trying to establish the degree of involvement. To those who do not identify, the game can be seen from a distance. The others, apart from the adrenaline level, can talk about immersion in the game. The conclusion is that the tension is very strong and that the body feels this in different ways. The reception is made directly and, therefore, the degree of involvement and nervousness is higher, especially because the game keeps the user under prolonged tension, with rare moments of break. The events in a game are split in different actions, depending on the activity that the user wants to approach. Just like Markku Eskelinen shows, games have a set of rules: the game takes place between Beginning and End, an interval in which we have action, events, a general frame, a particular one, rules and characters, while time is measured between two missions. Between game and user there is a set of rules that must be complied with, despite the possibility that the gamer modifies the story. The game model Eskelinen tries to show the difference between a game and a simple story. Therefore, in a story, there is only the narration of some events, even if they talk about actions, while the game can function without

Fig. 1 - Elements, activitties and situations (Eskelinen)

characters; an abstract game has no story, only commands and rules that have to be followed. The way in which a game is based on a story or on characters can be important to the possible players, who will opt for a type of game or another; however, the game must not comply with the “rules” and conventions required by literature or theatre.

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In this scenario stories are just uninteresting ornaments or gift‑wrappings to games, and laying any emphasis on studying these kinds of marketing tools is just a waste of time and energy. It’s no wonder gaming mechanisms are suffering from slow or even lethargic states of development, as they are constantly and intentionally confused with narrative or dramatic or cinematic mechanisms4 Eskelinen pleaded for a criticism and for studies that would not concentrate on the differences and similarities between film and video games. This perspective of comparing them with theatre and stories seems wrong, because the rules, as shown in the image above, are different. We have to look at the way in which the story of a game takes control over the player: the feeling of utility of an effort that has finality, apart from the ending, meaning the possibility that from that point one can go on or go back, which might create the feeling of being part of a group and an important mission. Because they are able to change the action and, therefore, the story, players come back to the same place several times. The interactivity invites the user to choose the directions, the group and the purpose. At first glace it would seem that interactivity and the inclusion of a predetermined story would work against each other. [...] How can a story proceed in orderly fashion from one point to the next and finally reach a conclusion if the reader/ player is allowed to step in and make decisions, acting as the main character?5 When talking about immersion in the game, a legitimate question concerns the comparison of the user with an actor in the way in which he/she receives the impulse by the way he/she acts in the game. How real is the identification with the avatar? Video games ask for larger involvement and divided attention, identification with violent characters, while violence scenes are very numerous. We can make speculations on the distance of the product and the reactions that it has on the receiver 1)¨The closer the experience, the more it will be felt, because it is difficult to take a distance; 2) The impact on the receiver depends mainly on the type of personality;

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3) In video games, involvement is bigger because of the avatar, which is a projection of the player. Apparently, there is a moment when the immersion is very powerful. At this point, the mistakes that the game might have are not seen by the user. The interaction between the world of the game and that of the player is strong, and the player might even disconnect from reality. This process creates another space in which fitting is called spatial presence.

Fig. 2 - Wirth’s spatial presence model

Wirth et al.’s theory talks about the spatial presence stating that it happens in three steps: 1. The users create the space the game is showing them, making it more “comfortable”, populating it with their own mind; 2. The players put themselves in the game and adopt the rules of the world 3. Spatial presence is created. Characteristics of games that facilitate immersion can be grouped in two general categories: those that create a rich mental model of the

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game environment and those that create consistency between the things in that environment. In a video game, there are multiple channels through which information is perceived (by information, we refer to anything sent to the player). To begin with, there is sensory information, that comes on multiple channels. Here, if more senses are used and they work at the same time, then the space it creates becomes “real” in the player’s mind. Secondly, this information must be complete (the actions should have their set of rules, they are not absurd and they follow a certain direction). Furthermore, it should be a demanding envirnonment also for the brain. The debate would be large and it would start with games and then go on with 3D and techniques where smell is also used, where chairs are moving etc. And last, but not least, a good story keeps the player immersed. Actually, these stories create links in their minds, making them feel that they are part of a world that has well-established rules. This multitude of senses makes the player feel immersed, in the case where there is a world that has an engaging scenario. Apart from having a clean narrative story (by clean we mean without disruptions that are difficult to be perceived by the player), the use of senses makes them feel part of it. Those components are equally important, if not more, to the sensory experience, because they set the context wherein the additional sensations have any meaning. The sensory content needs to relate to the context where it is being used, otherwise it really is wasted geometry/ sound. The young generation is one that wants to experience things. The medium through which this generation listens to stories has changed from a passive one to an active one. This interactive way of telling stories was seen also at important writers, for example Dickens who was open to changing the story he published. The question that is raised is whether they are more active or not. We can say that, because the entire set is already constructed by the game, they are not making efforts to create the environment. But they are active when it comes to the direct energy they put into the game and changing it. Involvement is at a different level, more sensorial. The text changes into an image. After hundreds of years of printed stories, another medium appeared, but the stories will always exist. Frank Rose notes “But if stories themselves are universal, the way we tell them changes with the technology at hand. Every new medium has given rise to a new form of narrative ”.6

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Notes 1 Wolf, Mark J.P., Perron, Bernard, The Video Game Theory Reader, Routledge, New York, 2003, p. 222 2 http://www.thefreedictionary.com/immersing 3 Koivisto, Elina, Supporting Communities in Massively Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games by Games Design, Digital Games Research Conference, Utrecht, 2003, p. 35 4 Eskelinen, Markku, The Gaming Situation, http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/ eskelinen/ 5 Wolf, Mark J.P., The Medium of the Video Game, University of Texas Press, Austin, 2003, p. 107 6 Frank Rose, The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, W. W. Norton & Company, 2011, p. 127

Bibliography: Anderson, Craig A., Berkowitz, Leonard, The Influence of Media Violence on Youth, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Vol 4, no. 3, Dec. 2003 Barker, Martin, Petley, Julian, Ill Effects- The Media Violence Debate, Second Edition, Routledge, London, 2001 Bazin, Andre, Ce este cinematograful?, Meridiane, Bacău, 1968 Gee, James Paul, What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2003 Koivisto, Elina, Supporting Communities in Massively Multiplayer Online Role‑Playing Games by Games Design, Digital Games Research Conference, Utrecht, 2003 Pajares Tosca, Susana, Smith, Heide Jonas, Engenfeld, Simon, Understanding Video Games: the Esssential Introduction, Talyor & Francis, New York, 2009 Frank Rose, The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 2011 Wolf, Mark J.P., Perron, Bernard, The Video Game Theory Reader, Routledge, New York, 2003 Waggoner, Zach, My avatar, my self: identity in video role-playing games, McFarland & Company Inc. Publisher, Jefferson, 2009 Wirth, W., Hartmann, T., Bocking, S., Vorderer, P., Klimmt, C., Schramm, H., et al. (2007). A process model of the formation of spatial presence experiences. Journal of Media Psychology, 9, 493–525. Eskelinen, Markku, The Gaming Situation, http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/ eskelinen/

Andreea Chindriş is a PhD student at the Faculty of Theatre and Television (Babes-Bolyai University Cluj) researching the body and space in the performance in Romania. She graduated the Faculty of Letters and she has a BA in Theatre Studies.

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Emergent Behaviours

 KEYWORDS peer-to-peer, P2P, P2P networks, European cinema, Hollywood cinema, P2P file sharing, advertising to children, deregulated media market, social responsibility, globalization, gender stereotypes, cinema of attractions, YouTube, net.art, prosumption, Romanian cinema, Romanian New Wave, youth, post-communism, Romanian filmmakers, internet provider, IP TV, web-based TV station, video content.

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Doru Pop

Peer to Peer Financing New Models for 21st Century Movie Making and Storytelling ABSTRACT The mechanism is simple: revenues should be bigger than the production costs, and the economics of the film business are the same as any capitalist manufacturing. Movies are money-makers for the owners of the capital; the higher the revenue the better. More and more films have become profitable, after an initial box-office failure, due to strong international grosses, and further profits from the sales of movies to TV syndication and to home video/DVD releases (or re-releases). Keywords: peer-to-peer, P2P, P2P networks, European cinema, Hollywood cinema, P2P file sharing

F

Cinema and the Global Expansion of Late Capitalism

rom the very beginning cinema-making was linked with capitalist production and capitalism. As David Kunzle suggested, cinemamaking was influenced by the experience of the railways, where accelerated vision and the rebuilding of the world seen through frames, perceived as if in a window, became traits of an art dominated by technology (Kunzle 378). Some of the most important production practices in Hollywood were rooted in the early capitalist mode of production, that is they were not only based on the philosophy of a profitmaking economy, but also on a labour style dominated by Fordism and Taylorism. Movies are products created by means of labour in an assembly line model, where individual workers are part of a system where directors,

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actors, writers, photography directors, technicians and composers are the work force that toil together in order to produce a commodity that is more expensive than anything else in the world. The studio system, factory style of organization, was illustrated by G. W. Griffith, who managed to make huge profits out of a relatively small investment, by using what the French called “la chaîne de montage” (Beller 2006). Each part of the production of a movie is separated from the whole, so the workers are alienated from their final product. Yet films are the most expensive commodity produced by capitalism today, no other singular product involves more money and generates more revenues that the movies. On this level, it must be stated that the power of the movie industry in the United States began with the World War I, and it was actually about the same time when the US industry took the lead in global economy and politics. After WWI, the United States emerged as economic and cultural winners. While in 1914 the U.S. investments abroad were about $5.0 billion, by 1919 U.S. investments abroad had risen to $9.7 billion, with a positive balance between exports and imports to about $6.4 billion (Rokoff 2010). The financial capital of the world was no longer London, and the Bank of England, but New York, and the Federal Reserve. As Guy Debord indicated in his revolutionary Society of the Spectacle, soon modern culture became dominated by the visual media, by the visual storytelling created by a profit oriented society. The spectacle has become “Capital” and it is reproduced by the continuous accumulation of images, to the point that “it becomes an image” itself (Debord 1967). The American film industry was at the centre of the economic system of early capitalism and the film manufacturers of the earliest movies were producing films in order to make a profit out of this new type of technology by generating selling images. Cinema-making obeyed from the very start the fundamental rationale of capitalism, and it is in the logic of the Capital to constantly expand, to reach wider markets, to target consumers as widely as possible. The proof of this is that films today are bringing in their profits from various sources of the conglomerate business that cinema has turned into. The international markets bring more revenues than the national ones, various auxiliaries generate more profits than the films and alternative industries generate huge earnings. The logic of maximizing the profits, by different venues, is the main rule. Once the initial source is depleted (cinema-going and theatre tickets), the profit-making moves to other sources (cable TV, home video, then television networks). Today, most revenues come from this multiplication of sources; video-games, clothing, fast-food advertising, merchandising and other offshoots generate more

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money than the original movie productions. As discussed by Epstein, the relationship between Hollywood, money and power grew stronger every year. In 2004 alone, according to the MPA data, theatrical revenues of the “Big 6” were $7.4 billion, while video revenues amounted to $20.9 billion and Television revenues were about $17.7 billion (Epstein 2004). Warner Brothers got in 2009, just from the television distribution part of their operations, more than $2 billion. In this profit driven environment any form of purchasing would do: ticketing, renting, selling, sub-selling, they all grew steadily after the boom of the home video industry. The US consumers spent (in 2004) 9.6 billion on cinema tickets, 9.3 billion on pay-per-view and 20.3 billion on video sales and rentals. In 2010 the highest rate was achieved by Avatar, who earned in DVD sales only, with more than 10 m units sold, about $183 m, while grossing a staggering 408m in the US only, to total box office revenues of 2,.8 billion (Cieply 2010). This means that the production budget of 237 m and marketing budget of about $230 m was multiplied by 10! The mechanism is simple: revenues should be bigger than the production costs, and the economics of the film business are the same as any capitalist manufacturing. Movies are money-makers for the owners of the capital; the higher the revenue the better. For example, according to the online portal the-numbers.com, Paranormal Activity, made with a budget of $15.000, generated a percentage return of 655,505.52%, at international total revenues of $196 million. Other movies, like El Mariachi, did even better; it grossed a total of $2 m from an initial budget of $7,000! Even so called “flops” become, in a long term perspective, quite profitable. As it is the case with the famous Cleopatra (1963), which, at budget of $44 m (today about $ 300 m) paid for the first time an actress with $1 m, despite the fact the movie had a poor box-office, it managed to come back after three years. More and more films have become profitable, after an initial box-office failure, due to strong international grosses, and further profits from the sales of movies to TV syndication and to home video/DVD releases (or re-releases). Fight Club is an example of a movie that did poorly on its first release. With a budget of $63 million, it got only $37 million at the US box office, yet it went on to a small profit at the global box office, only to gain popularity on the DVD market, becoming one of the best sold films on DVD. Another example of a film which did poorly in the US is The Golden Compass (2007) with $70 million domestic revenue, at a production budget of $180 million, only to get total of $372 million worldwide. The rich of the cinema industry are never getting poor.

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It is in this context that my essay starts from the hypothesis that Frederic Jameson has put forward in his classical book Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. As Jameson has suggested, the mode of production influences the dominant narratives in our culture, so the changes in the production of cinema and television forms will lead to fundamental changes in the content (Jameson 1991: 23). I must add that I believe Jameson’s argument was not taken to its fullest, since in the period of time he was writing, at least in cinema, the differences between classic (modern) capitalism and postmodern ways of producing signification were not clear enough. The “image society” we live in today is different from the image society of high modernism in terms of modes of production. What Is the “Cinematic Mode of Production”? Even if capitalism has not changed fundamentally over the past century, since the emergence of the cinema industry, the spectacle of images as commodities has become the quintessential “Capital”. This

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capitalization of images, made by the continuous accumulation of visual commodities has found ways to reproduce itself. It was Jonathan Beller who took the argument of Debord even further, in his book about the cinematic mode of production. He demonstrated how the cinema took the industrial revolution and “projected it into bodies through the eye”, making it a part of the dominant mode of production of what it is today “post-industrial” capitalism. The cinematic mode of production is based on several traits, similar to those of capitalism: cinema enacts the circulation of economic value; cinema is a visual medium which under the structures of private property; it uses the body inside this visual economy based on the value of human attention (Beller 10). By means of massive production (hundreds of movies each year) and global circulation, the visual representations of Capitalism have become the CAPITAL itself (the very essence of capitalist ideology). Again, Beller follows the line of thought Guy Debord proposed, since the contemporary culture is a society oriented towards visual media, this in turn allows a commodification of significations (in cinema, advertising, and television alike) linked to the “thinking” of capitalism, manifested in its signs. Thus, a surplus value is created by looking, made possible by the institutions of the spectacle society. So, if the world’s most important source of visual storytelling was generated, since the 1910s, by Hollywood studios (Bordwell 2006: 4), then this mode of production must be linked with a type of narrative specific to Hollywood productions. As David Bordwell showed in his seminal book on Hollywood’s storytelling, there are a couple of specific elements, like fast-paced action and an increase of special-effects, the creation a fantastic worlds, yet keeping narrative coherence intact that would characterize this classical form of storytelling and of subjectivity. These traits come from the relationship between the mode of production and the content generated by this mode of production. Another important element that must be noted here is that cinema, both as a mode of production and as a form of reception, is fetishist in and by itself. It was Georg Lukács who has taken even further the Marxist concept of alienation, by linking the commodity fetishism with the very process of alienation. In the cinematic/spectacle society, not only do we exchange real values with “false” images, but we are convinced that these values are deeply rooted in our everyday life. Since the term “fetishism” was coined in 1760 in the work of Charles de Brosses, Du culte des dieux fétiches (On the Worship of Fetish Gods), where the author analyzes the religions of “primitive peoples”, the term was used by Marx (and by Freud) to describe the symbolic system in place in various communities and times. In this symbolic exchange the activity of the worker/consumer

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loses its “character of activity” and takes him into a “contemplative stance” in relation to the closed system of machines which is building all before his eyes, without being able to get involved. The viewer in this system becomes a “helpless spectator” (Lukács 180), one that only witnesses the production of significations, without having anything to say in the process. Cinema is keeping its viewers in this state of fetishistic relationship with the commodities they use – they enjoy it without being involved.

A Step Back to “Father Marx”

If we accept the fact that the dominant mode of production of capitalism is oriented towards the production of commodities that can be circulated incessantly, and that cinema is the utmost expression of this mode of production, then we need to return to one of the most important concepts in Marxist criticism, that of the essence of “the capital”, the money. Since money appears to possess “the occult ability to add value to itself ” (Marx 1990: 255), and cinematic representations have become the most important form in which contemporary production of commodities are bringing added value to capitalism, we must understand how money is a part of the content creation. The capitalist, free marketbased philosophy, which is the dominant economic system today, works in an apparently simple and natural way. The so called “C-M-C” system (Commodity-Money-Commodity), based on the circuit of commodities production is operating in a closed circle, where the circulation of money becomes an end in itself. In this context we must understand with Marx that produktionsweise, the mode of production (dominated by private ownership of production, by the markets who are supposed to determine the prices, by the distribution designed to produce profits by the use-value of the commodities), is a way of life; it defines the way individuals express their identity. According to Marx, capitalists use money to make commodities, which are sold on the market for a profit. The profit is again turned into capital which the capitalist invests again to make more commodities and, ultimately, to generate even more capital. “The unceasing movement of profit-making” (Marx 254) is based on the ability to produce commodities, that is “object which satisfies human needs” (Marx: 125). In this society the workers (as consumers) are buying these visual commodities and pay their equivalent (in money), yet these commodities are nothing but objects of desire – fetishes presented to their needs as valuable by the owners of the technologies. The consumers are totally detached from the objects they are consuming, and in this sense cinema is the most important instrument

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of social control, on behalf of the cultural hegemony imposed by the capitalists themselves.

As Rudolf Hilferding has expressed this relationship in his primitive Marxist interpretation (Das Finanzkapital 1910), the “Morgans and Rockefellers” of contemporary society are responsible for the transformation of the movie industry into a global financial success, which ultimately depends on whether it keeps providing the masses with those images that will make them “flock to their cinemas” and keep consuming their narratives. Today cinema remains the most important (and even the dominant mode of cultural production) since it has the highest attendance rate worldwide, compared to other forms of cultural entertainment. Cinema has preserved its dominant position it got from the very beginning and is now the most powerful instrument of generating cultural signification around the world (see attendance figures in table above). Who Are the Fetishists? If cinema is the dominant mode of production in capitalism, then, by identifying those who control cinematic production, one can pinpoint the producers of fetishes. In the contemporary industry there are only a few multinational companies (called the Big 6 in cinema and the Big 3 in television networking) who are doing almost 90% of the profits. In cinema, most of the productions are controlled by these fetishists: Warner Bros, controlling 18.0%, Paramount with 16.6%; 20th Century Fox: 13.3%; with Fox Searchlight 1.5%; Disney: 14.0%; with Miramax: 0.3%; Sony (Columbia/Screen Gems): 12.2%; with Sony Classics: 0.6% and Universal: 8.5%; with Focus Features: 0.7% (data from 2010). It was Edward Jay Epstein who demonstrated that the relationship between Hollywood elite

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and the industrial interests in America is extremely close. And this “sexopoly” not only controls the production of movies (Epstein 2010), it also controls the cultural productions of the planet today. The Hegemony of Fetishists It is a fact that some nations of the world, like Estonia, Bolivia, Jordan or Cameroon, have a smaller GDP than the total revenues of film industry, of which 65% are generated in California. It is not by chance that California, the “home world” of Hollywood, is also the 8th largest economy in the world, with $ 1.8 trillion, similar to the combined GDP of countries like Australia, Burma, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Peru and Ukraine. Given that film industry produces revenues unsurpassed by entire nations, the power of this industry cannot be underestimated. In 2008, the film industry in California alone generated $25 billion (only from 180 movies, 320 TV programs), which is more than some countries of the world can generate out of their entire economy. The “classical” types of financial sources: gifts, grants, subsidies and tax incentives; investor fi­nancing; lender finan­ cing; studio and in­dus­ try financing and inter­ national financing (Cones 2008), are easily restricted to one big, dominant, way of financing, the private capital. As Staiger has noted, very soon (already by 1917), film companies were using three major external

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financing techniques. The studio had a distribution firm to finance part of the negative costs; distributors would deposit money as collateral for loans to the producers. The second method was to receive direct financing from loans by private individuals, banks and investment firms. The third was to issue public stock, underwritten by investment firms—a method which spread ownership, but this was seldom used. So the cinema “mode of production” was forced to obey the rule of thumb of capitalism, profit maximization. And since the production of meaning cannot be separated from its economic mode of production, it led moviemaking firms straight into advanced capitalism (Staiger 552). This leads to typical situations, like the “catch-22” of the filmmaking (Cones 41), which is that producers cannot raise money without recognizable, famous actors, and in order to get these actors, they have to have money. So modern cinema was coerced to function simultaneously as a product and as an advertisement for related products—the video, the soundtrack CD, the computer game, the collectible figures, the theme park ride – in order to generate profits. Hollywood studios (and many media companies worldwide) were subsumed into larger international corporate identities toward the end of the twentieth century. Many films were meant to keep the profits flowing from all the various arms of a conglomerate.

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The Alternative of Independent Production One of the possible alternatives proposed early on in the moviemaking industry were the “independent films”, presented as alternatives to the studio system. Following the footsteps of the French cinema-makers, directors like Dennis Hopper, Francis Ford Coppola or George Lucas made their way into the movie industry with small budgeted pictures. According to the IFTA definition (Independent Film and Television Alliance), an independent film is the movie in which “more than fifty percent of its financing comes from sources other than the . . . major U.S. Studios.” This in turn is followed by a content-based definition of independent movies, where the subject of the movie is provocative and unconventional. An “indie” film was supposedly different from the “mass marketed” films of the studios, yet movies like Chicago or Gangs of New York, with production costs over 100 million USD, were considered “independent”. Independent movies entered the mainstream of moviemaking very soon, but it is now used as a catchphrase for pitching films to young audiences, since “the big six” are spending billions on films produced by their so-called independent subsidiaries like Miramax, New Line, Fox Searchlight, and Sony Classic. Even so, if 50% of the investment comes from the studio/distributors in Hollywood, then the movie cannot be considered independent anymore. All this led to staggering increases of costs. While, in 1979, the average production cost of a film was $5 million, in 1980 it rose to $9 million and to $23 million by the 90’s (MPAA “1996”), so a film like “The Godfather”, which cost $7 million in 1972, today might cost $170 million. The comedy titled “Fun with Dick and Jane” was estimated to a cost of $5 million in 1977, yet the remake that came in a couple of years later was produced at $115 million-plus (Bart 2011). So most of the movies considered independent had to affiliate with the studios/distributors. Under these circumstances, they cannot be considered alternatives to “studio financing” and to generating new content. Looking for another Mode of Production -the Case of the European CinemaIn the context of global productions of meanings by using cinematic technologies, the European Union and the European cinemamakers positioned themselves as “special cases” (Elsaesser 2005). Trying to

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provide an alternative in moviemaking industry, the EU institutions were searching for solutions. One possible answer was that, whereas the US cinema-making can be described as an industry organized around profits, respectively mass-produced, with big returns, and with global reach, the EU movie-making was based on national funding schemes, having as a philosophy the support for independent, small scale productions, offering tax deals, and distribution networks, like Eurimages. The EU authorities created special programs to support the “European film heritage” and invested billions of Euros in public funds to sustain the narratives of Europe. These narratives were supposed to be divergent from the “American” ones, based on conventional oppositions: art vs. commerce, elitism vs. populism, auteurism vs. genre. Yet, even if 80% of financing in EU movie industry comes from State institutions, the majority of movies in EU come from the US (63.2%). And a recent example shows that European institutions are not so innocent in terms of their non-profit philosophy – just as The Beatles songs were close to entering the public domain, the EU officials announced a 25-year expansion of copyrights! A Criticism of the Cultural (and Marketing) Domination of Hollywood Cinema (and Narratives) Most critics agree that it was Star Wars and George Lucas who deeply changed the mode of production in cinema when, in 1977, brands, advertising and product placement took over cinematic storytelling and production. Still today, Star Wars leads the top film rentals in history, with $271 m in 1997, while Lucas has earned more from the spinoffs than from the movies, since 20th Century Fox let Lucas keep the ancillary rights. This way an entire stream of animated series, toys, books, comic books, (video)games, foods, collectibles, and other franchises bring Lucas huge revenues annually. For example, toy makers like Hasbro, the second largest in the world, paid Lucas in 2005 16% of Hasbro’s total revenues, while beverage companies like PepsiCo spent $2 billion dollars in 1982 to promote Episode I of Star Wars. We should note that profits are not only direct, but also indirect, as it happened with Fox’s stocks, growing from $6 to $25 per share and generated revenues of $1.2 million a day for the studio only on the stock exchange market! But the revolution brought by Lucas was not only in the way Star Wars changed the mode of production; it was even more relevant in the way the movie series changed the narratives of the time. The story was no longer important, but the special effects took over, operating within a large

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mythology, built around simple and even sketchy characters (a Manichean conflict between black and white, good and evil). Another characteristic of this new way of storytelling was the opened narrative, predisposed to sequels, which allowed the focusing on possible future profits and spinoffs (as they were more profitable). To sell a movie was not enough, and even not important anymore, since, as Epstein points out, the movies were no longer the main source of profit for the “big 6”. In this context, the narratives were increasingly oriented towards action, they were filled with special-effects and were opened to tie-ins, designed to generate revenues from outside the narrative line. As Morgan Spurlock proved with his recent mockumentary (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold 2011), branding and product placement have substituted any form of narrative within the cinema business. Even more, Spurlock showed that a movie that had nothing but the promise of advertising sales got a financing of $1.5 m only from product placement and advertising. The narratives and plot lines are dominated by bottom lines and profit margins.

Who Are the Real Pirates?

In this context, one must address the fundamental hypocrisy of the fetishistic mode of production in cinema. In the first decade of the 20th century, the French owned Pathé company was one of the largest U.S. film producers, yet its U.S. assets were sold to Merrill Lynch and eventually became part of RKO. It is a fact that in the 1900s European companies supplied at least half of the films shown in the U.S. and in the early 1910s this dropped to about twenty percent (Bakker 2010). This was due to the fact that piracy is rooted deep in cinema’s past. The French movies, like Méliès’ Trip to the Moon, which gave 0 USD to the author, went out of the business because of the heavy piracy in the US. Actually all the copies of the Trip to the Moon we have today are pirated versions. As Kerry Segrave notes, famous US pioneers of the cinema, like Fred Balshofer, started their career in the movie-making industry by “dubbing” the movies of Georges Méliès and selling them as their own (Segrave 27). The American movie distribution business was very much interested in taking over the “foreign” influence and one of the instruments of harassment was the continuous lawsuits for patents and licenses, designed to put out the economic power of the competition. Since most of French movies were fraudulently copied, rampant piracy had the French film industry go bankrupt in 1914 (Bowser 1994). However, in a very puritan and ethical culture, designed to “protect intellectual rights” nobody stopped Walt Disney from taking the fairy tales

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of the Brothers Grimm and turn them into profitable animated children’s films, which we have accepted as part of our cultural heritage. Today, Walt Disney Company is one of the members of the MPAA who are hunting down any form of infringing copyright laws. Copyrighting is definitely a concept that has benefits for the authors, yet initially copyright expired fourteen years after a book was published – after that the text passed in the so-called public domain and was free for everybody to reprint. The first law in 1710, designed for books, was later extended to all kind of productions: sound recordings, films, photographs. Unfortunately, the “protection” extended more and more, beyond any reasonable limits of protecting the authors, for the benefit of the capitalist owners of these rights. And the capitalists are not hasty to give “rights” to authors, as is the case with the famous actor playing the role of Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga, David Prowse, who was announced by LucasFilm that there are no residual payments for him, since the film did not make any profits (Sciretta 2009). For a movie earning half a billion dollars, this must be a very difficult bookkeeping mistake. The “Danger” of P2P File-sharing: Illusion, Hoax or Fact? The file-sharing community is the new enemy of the cinema business, being accused of “piracy” by organizations like RIAA, MPAA and IFPI, who are trying to characterize file-sharing as theft. These organizations claim huge financial losses for the movie-making industry, due to file sharing. One of their key arguments is that the movie industry in the

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United States, being one of the most important private sector employers, supporting 2.2 million jobs, and nearly $137 billion in total wages in 2009, is endangered by the P2P networks (“The Economic Contribution”). Yet their own data show that the revenues generated by this industry are not declining since the apparition of the P2P networks. As the MPAA data show, for a three-year period (2007 to 2009), the industry generated a $36.4 billion trade surplus, $13.8 billion in film and television exports in 2009, up 3% over 2008, and up 37% over 2005. There is an increase of worldwide revenues for all films, reaching $31.8 billion in 2010, up 8% over 2009’s total, while the international box office ($21.2 billion) made up 67% of the worldwide total. If the “danger” of file-sharers is so great, how come that, without considering the multi-billion dollars revenues from distributing across multiple formats, and the general expansion of markets for complementary goods and services (such as merchandise and music), the industry keeps growing and is more profitable? Another MPAA formulated accusation (“Envisional”) is that 23.8% of the global Internet traffic is infringing copyright laws, and that approximately 60% of all peers connected to the top 10,000 swarms are sharing copyrighted film content. While this might be true, it is also true that the vast majority of downloads in peer-to-peer across all video categories are pornographic. Following this logic, it is bad to download movies from your peers, but OK to download pornography, since is “notinfringing”?! The conclusions of these data are most of the times catastrophic (Siwek 2011). Here is just a couple of the apocalyptic impact of P2P on the US economy. It loses $58.0 billion, 373,375 jobs are lost annually, while and the “American workers” lose $16.3 billion in earnings annually. Yet there are no causal relationships between these “losses” and the P2P platforms, some of the losses being caused by the ability of capital to search new and cheap labour, while the demonization of the P2P platforms helps limitation by the private property and copyright expansion beyond any reasonable limit. These institutions are practicing a global policing strategy and the war against P2P networks is now lead by MPAA, Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America, created in 1922 by the presidents of the major motion picture studios, including Samuel Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, Jesse Lasky and Joseph Schenck. In 1975, when the first VCRs were available on the US market, MPAA hired four former FBI agents to create the Film Security Office in the United States. The declared mission of the FSO was to seek out movie pirates and to lobby Congress for penalties against “pirates”. In 1982, President Reagan signed a revision to the 1976

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Copyright Act mandating long jail sentences for commercial video pirates. MPAA’s private investigation force is over 100 people in the United States and operates following model federal drug enforcement agencies. The police-like strategies became more and more aggressive, when, in 2006, the Swedish police raided the headquarters of ThePirateBay and closed the service provider. The activity re-started soon after. In October 2007, Comcast, one of the largest broadband Internet providers in the USA, started blocking P2P applications such as BitTorrent. In 2008, at the instigation of firms including Sony BMG Music, EMI Music, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Music and Warner Bros., Stockholm District Court Prosecutor Håkan Roswall began formal legal proceedings against TPB organizers and a backer -- Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi and Carl Ulf Sture Lundström -- charging them with conspiracy to break copyright law in Sweden. Although there is no factual evidence that file sharing generates a decline of profit for the Intellectual Property Business, this harassment policy continues.

Actually, as Felix Oberholzer (Gee/Harvard University, 2009) demonstrated, between 2002 and 2007 there was a 66% increase in the number of books published, while the production of new music albums doubled and film production grew by 30%. The expansion in world film revenues since 1970 has grown from $1.2 billion to over $15 billion annually according to the same Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) While there is no decline due to file sharing, due to multiplication of outputs (DVD, cable TV, direct broadcast satellite TV, free broadcast TV and other ancillaries) there is a growth in the total revenues of the movie industry. This has been recently showed by the iTunes Movie Rentals services, who provides movies from Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, New Line, Fox, Warner Bros. Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony, and in February 2010 the company reached 10 billion sales!

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Today the Internet has become one of the most important resources in attracting audience for the movies, companies like DreamWorks Animation and other use trailers, downloads, posters, storytelling in order to attract more revenues for their products.

Napster Is Dead, Long Live P2P! Napster first emerged in 1999 and introduced to the world the concept of peer-to-peer file sharing; until its close down in 2001, it rapidly attracted the attention of music firms, who perceived their prevailing economic claims as being undermined by the free circulation of copyrighted music. Music firms were quick to file charges of mass copyright violations against Napster in a US court using the organizational vehicle of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Napster was shut down in 2001 under judicial order. This causes, in return, the migration of millions of file-sharers or “peers” to other decentralized file-sharing communities that emerged. The shutdown of Napster was followed by the apparition of even more decentralized networks. Every user downloading is at the same time making available that very same information he/she just downloaded to other participants. Today some

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of the most popular networks are eDonkey2000 (with client-programs as eMule or MLDonkey), FastTrack (with clients as Kazaa or Grokster) and Gnutella (with clients as LimeWire or Gnucleus). While these networks are searchable through a client program, other, like BitTorrent, provide data through websites like The Pirate Bay, where a small torrent-file is downloaded and then opened in a BitTorrent client, such as Azureus or BitTornado, where the actual download takes place. The file exchange systems make only a part of the P2P architecture; other forms of P2P collaboration include communication platforms (such as Chat, Instant Messaging) or content distribution (like Gnutella, Kazaa), yet file-sharing may be considered today a form of economic philosophy, where P2P filesharing goes beyond sharing music. The new peer-to-peer systems (like BitTorrent) have created a distribution technology that was unavailable in classical theory on distributing cultural commodities; the evolution of the P2P platforms, opposed to the highly centralized and authoritative systems of distribution specific to high capitalism, became an alternative not only to sharing, but to producing content. Sharing parts of your computer, to unknown peers, challenges to the very notion of capitalist ownership. The BitTorrent mechanism, built on a data bartering economy, allowed the development of a new economical philosophy. In a peer-to-peer network, the data is shared among many peers. Peer consumption by downloading material for free allowed initially the development of content distribution, yet they soon discovered that the main force of this self-organized and large social system is the ability of peer supported production. From Private, to Public to P2P: towards a Third Mode of Production Michael Bauwens, a Belgian theorist who founded the P2P Foundation (http://p2pfoundation.net/) considers that the new internetenabled models will transform society and the modes of production, leading to what he calls the “P2P political economy” (Bauwens 2011). This new political economy will be based on P2P platforms and will enable “the rise of a third mode of production, a third mode of governance, and a third mode of property”. The other two modes of production we already discussed - the profit based and the government (state-owned) approach - will be replaced by a new mode, based on free cooperation, characterized by repulsion toward any forms of coercion and founded on the idea of free access to the resulting values. The new cyber-communities, which are coagulating in the P2P networks, are groups not organized in the way the

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previous modes of production operated. The most widely known results of such a philosophy are open-source software and Wikipedia, clear examples of how P2P production works, but Bauwens also points to hardware examples, such as the open electronics platform Arduino, or open car designs. If productions are possible without direct profits, and can be driven only by the social goals set by the projects’ communities, this means that such modes of production are viable. Peer production would separate from the capitalist structures and would produce its own mode of production. Bauwens compares the relationship between P2P mode of production and the growth of the capitalist mode of production within the feudal mode. Today, the capitalist mode of production dominates our world, yet in the 16th century there were just a few Englishmen who were producing commodities in the “capitalist” way. On long term, he says, P2P production and capitalism cannot coexist. The negation of capitalism in the case of P2P productions is based on cooperation against competition, on a different definition of property and a different view of culture and cultural values. The consequences of this contradiction into politics would be too complex to address here, yet the existing forms of government (state, NGOs, private) are under the same scrutiny. While capitalist free markets operate on the principle of purchase and the value the purchase generates on the commodity sold, where the payments made by the users are a guarantee for the quality of the content, the P2P principles stem from the trust in collective intelligence. If capitalism is dependent on market development and the control of the distribution, where the market has its own „reason”, being fundamentally „wise” and able to control the abhorrence of the humans, Bauwens suggests that a new type of society is possible, based on a different type of worker: the knowledge worker. This idea was supported by authors such as Wark McKenzie, who’s Hacker Manifesto (Wark, 2004) goes one step further in this criticism and argues that not only the key factor of the new era is ‘information as property’, but that it comes with the creation of a new ruling class and a new class configuration altogether. While the capitalist class owned factories and machinery, once capital was abstracted in the form of stocks and information, a new class appeared which is no longer interested in the control of technology, but in the control of “information”, of the means of producing, storing and distributing information. This is the new social force Wark calls the “vectoralist” class, one that would produces value differently from the previous classes, a class he calls “the hacker class”. This new social category is distinguished from the former ones since it creates

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value using new means of production: hardware, software, and wetware (new knowledge). In the creation of this new political economy, P2P networks are fundamental.

Welcome to Common-ism This new society needs a new market, and this market, with a tremendous cultural and economic potential, already exists and has a different operating principle. This new rule of the game has had different names, but one the most important movements enabling its functioning belongs to Free Software and Open Source movements. This was first made possible by Richard Stallman, who started in 1984 the GNU Project, promoting the idea of what he called Free Software. Stallman created then a concept called copyleft, one that would cover any kind of content production (books, drawings, cinema). Instead of leaving all the rights to the originator of the work, copyleft grants everybody a license to study, use, modify, and also redistribute the work, but under the condition that, if they modify the work, their derived versions of the work must be redistributed under the same license. In the market of the commons, the exchange of ideas and of values no longer depends on the limitations produced by the private property, but on the value generated by the collaborative resources put together. We Love It Free. A Real Alternative to Content Production Recently, some radical changes were made possible by P2P networks, both at the financing and at the distribution level. These changes are illustrated by VODO (http://vo.do/), an online film distributor

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designed to fund, produce and distribute independent films and television format shows. Launched in 2000, VODO offers a platform through which independent filmmakers can share their work and can be in contact with their users. Supported by Bittorrent, VODO launched several productions like “The Lionshare” and “Pioneer One” who reached an audience estimated to about 5 million people. Jamie King, producer/ director of the movie Steal This Film, the founder of VODO, considers that crowd funding and P2P distribution represent viable models for the future, where people engage in the creative process of other people while supporting it financially. The audiences use P2P platforms to connect with filmmakers and become involved in the making of the productions (be it for television or cinema). This was made possible by the creation of DISCO, a coalition of P2P sites, like uTorrent, Limewire and The Pirate Bay, which constitute the “Distribution Coalition”, allowing the distribution of these works via file-sharing platforms. DISCO members, many of whom have estimated audiences of over 10 million users a day, can promote a VODO movie, which can add to a total daily audience of 65 million, more than what most of the classical movies could generate.

The platforms do not release only movies; via the so called Artist Spotlight program they release musical works, like the band Sick of Sarah and literary authors such as Megan Lisa Jones. Sick of Sarah recently released an entire album (entitled 2205) for free in the BitTorrent App Studio, and reached 1 million downloads, while Megan Lisa Jones released a novel (“Captive) in the same network, and was downloaded more than 450,000 times that day.

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Another movement, called “participatory cinema” follows the collaborative path in film production. Developed around sites like Wreck-a-Movie, Write Our Movie, Open Source Cinema, they generate communities involved in the cinema production processes for free. Some examples are movies like Iron Sky, The Cosmonauts, or RIP!, projects built on the simple, but revolutionary principle of using the Internet resources for film production. Collaborative production means several things: participation in drafting scenarios, involvement in the development of CG, volunteering for various parts of video production and finally film financing. The financing concept used is called “investment crowd”, where money is raised from enthusiasts and not by the “profit-oriented” bankers. Among the pioneers of this financing technique is the British funding system that made possible the documentary Age of Stupid, in 2004, managing to collect nearly a million pounds by appealing to individual donors. Another “revolutionary” of the field was the Englishman Alex Tew, who created The Million Dollar Page (http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/) only by selling small portions of a virtual space, to large numbers of people. Today crowd-funding makes use of online platforms to gather small amounts of money from multiple donors, who are not “professionals”, by providing benefits and access to cultural, aesthetic or image profit, free of charge. A New Mode of Cinematic Production Financing: The 135K Project One of the most remarkable ideas in the recent development of P2P community was the concept behind the “135k Project”. The creators of the concept proposed the same philosophy of P2P economy; instead of wasting millions of dollars fighting battles against internet piracy, they looked for a way to use the possibilities of the networks, to make the peer to peer system a tool to generate a revolution in the way we share entertainment and information. The basic idea was to raise the money needed to make a movie by selling every individual frame. This comes out of simple math: If 1 frame costs $1, then one movie, made of 90 minutes, which has 135,000 frames could be financed with $135,000. Distracted Media, established in 2010 by Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey, was the first to create content using online resources in this way. “The Tunnel” was the first feature film produced under “The 135K Project” that is using peer to peer networks for financing. The story of The Tunnel is inspired by a “classic” independent movie, “Blair Witch Project”, and tells the story of five journalists investigating the tunnels in Sydney, Australia.

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A woman investigative journalist, Natasha Warner, leads a crew of four into the labyrinth of underground train tunnels. Chasing rumours of a government cover-up and urban legends surrounding the tunnels, they end up part of a story. The movie is built around “declassified tapes shot in the subway tunnels”, series of interviews with the survivors, and other “authentic footage”. The Tunnel has won several film festival and internet awards and combines peer-to-peer distribution, cable television, cinema and DVD sales. The movie (available at http://www.thetunnelmovie.net/) was a novelty, since it premiered on Showtime and was, simultaneously, available for download on BitTorrent. Another project, designed to make the public the owner of the content, and which was completely funded by the public is A Lonely Place for Dying. The film was officially selected in 38 festivals and received 45 award nominations while winning 19, including 14 awards as Best Picture. Using the same type of narrative based on smart dialogues, building around emotional (deeply humane) interaction and politically clad conflict, these narratives are profoundly influenced by the political economy of the P2P distribution and production modes. TV2.0, from VOD to VODO Another domain of cultural transformation where the P2P mode of production makes its mark is television. When in 2002 the “Big Three” televisions network’s viewership (ABC, NBC and CBS) was surpassed for the first time by the cable television viewership (HBO, Showtime and others) the pay-per-view media seemed to provide the necessary changes. Although the phenomenon appeared in the 70s, it was with the satellite launch of Home Box Office (HBO) in 1975 that video-on-demand (VDO) became one of the most important sources of financial transformation of television usage. Soon HBO became a global cable channel, positioned as a direct to viewer concept. Not having to buy tickets for games or movies, and enabling the subscribers to have access to content by a small monthly fee proved to be a winning business idea. The first original production of HBO which was The Larry Sander Show, in 1997, was quickly followed, in 1998, by the premiere of Sex and the City, then Sopranos in 1999, Six Feet Under in 2001, Rome in 2005, and In Treatment in 2008. Not having to comply with the content regulations of US and international rules about television productions, rules and regulations (be it of the FCC or the European Union regulations) which forbade the broadcast of “indecent” content, as obscene language, sexual behaviour and violent crimes, VOD (Video on Demand) was not only one of the most important

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contributions of HBO to the development of cable television, but it led to fundamental changes in narratives. This process led to what Newcomb called the “post-network television” programming, that is television was moving towards an era where the stories can be told from the point of view of the criminals, where the combination of violence and nudity lead to important storytelling transformations and where the traditional narrative divide “good vs. evil” was broken. It is relevant that, when the HBO produced shows which were syndicated to network televisions, they were heavily edited for profanity and blood, explicit and graphic sexual acts, and dialogue obscenity. All of these elements were integral part of the narratives put forward by HBO. Since subscribers are the most important source of revenues for HBO, the idea was that the subscribers must benefit from what they really need – although revenues flow to HBO even if the viewer is not watching the given program or even the entire schedule. This triumphant takeover of narratives by the pay-per-view televisions was soon to be challenged by P2P networks. Recently, the enemies of P2P sharing offered the “negative” example of the HBO produced series, Game of Thrones, a show watched by 3.9 million people in the U.S. during its finale in June – according to Nielsen Media Research data. Yet, anti-piracy complainers claimed the program was illegally downloaded using BitTorrent and other P2P protocols 1.4 million times in the U.S. and 11 million times worldwide in 2011 – according to Peer Media. Even so, the claims show no negative impact on HBO, since the international subscriptions of the network grew from 28 million in 2007 to 42 million in 2011, when HBO reached the $1 billion in international revenue. These huge profits, complemented by the revenues from reselling these programs, enable the functioning of the HBO narratives (as expressed in The Sopranos, The Tudors, or Rome), made of a mixture of blood, sex, and violence. The impact of these types of narratives is obvious in other productions made by subscriber-financed networks, like Showtime or Starz. For example the recently produced Spartacus provides the viewer with same combination of overt sexuality and celebration of violence and death, which was central to programs such as Sex and the City or Six Feet Under. The mode of production of these subscriber-financed operations promoted a type of narrative where sex and death were the main themes supporting the development of a simplistic, albeit primitive story. As is the case with the multi-million dollars production of The Tudors, the entire plot-line is copy-pasted from the Wikipedia entry on the famous ruling family of England.

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Alternative TV Modes of Production

One of the best examples of how TV 2.0 can provide alternatives to such productions is The Pioneer One project. The 35-minute sci-fi pilot of this TV series was downloaded almost 2,000,000 times and was distributed by VODO, which is powered by BitTorrent, while being financed by P2P resources. The production, which won the Best Drama Pilot at the 2010 New York Television Festival, was available for download simply by getting the torrent file, as high-quality .mkv file, playable on any video player on a personal computer. The production raised an initial $7,000, only to get an additional $20,000 in the two weeks following the pilot. Pioneer One includes other “business” principles of P2P networking, like skyping with the cast (for a donation of 500 USD), mentioning of the donor in an episode (25 USD) or downloading mp3 files with the music of the show (3 USD). As is the case with other P2P financed productions, the plot of Pioneer One – http://www.pioneerone.tv/ - is based on a simple story, a classical sci-fi genre mystery: a spaceship enters Earth’s atmosphere, and the American government wants to contain it. The investigation of the crash discovers that a human being is alive in the capsule, and he is dressed in a Soviet space suit and a note, handwritten in Russian, indicates that the man is the child of cosmonauts living at a base on Mars! Political plots and strong dialogues provide the most important assets of this story. Instead of Conclusions: What Happens to Our Narratives? It is obvious that we are witnessing a shift from the classical Hollywood narratives, based on an active, goal-oriented protagonist who confronts various obstacles in a quest to attain certain objectives, to genre based (and limited) storytelling structure; one that is different from the European (even the European Union financed) narratives that tend toward an over-aesthetic dimension, heavy on promoting human values and emotions, yet with narrow cultural relevance, toward P2P funded narratives which are dialogue based, made possible by the content (not only production wise) contribution of the viewers, developed in process of their making. Searching for authenticity in their storytelling, these new narratives have women heroes or male heroes who do not fit in the “power structures” of the capitalist society and include strong scripting and human interest, one which is more important than powerful CG effects. And this revolution is drawing more and more attention and more economic strength with each production made available to the millions of peers around the world.

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References Bakker, Gerben, “The Economic History of the International Film Industry”, September 2010, available at http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/bakker. film. Bart, Peter, ‘Alien’ territory: an economics lesson, September 2011, available at http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118040937 Bauwens, Michael, The Political Economy of Peer Production, September 2011, available http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=499 Beller, Jonathan, The cinematic mode of production: attention economy and the society of the spectacle, University Press of New England, 2006, available at http://pmc.iath.virginia.edu/text-only/issue.594/beller.594 Bergman, Andrew. We’re in the Money: Depression America and Its Films. New York: New York University Press, 1971. Bordwell, David, The way Hollywood tells it: story and style in modern movies, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. Bowser, Eileen, The Transformation of Cinema, 1907–1915, vol. 2 of History of the American Cinema, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Compaine, Benjamin M., and Douglas Gomery. Who Owns the Media? Competition and Concentration in Mass Media Industry . 3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2000. Originally published in 1982. Cieply, Michael, For All Its Success, Will ‘Avatar’ Change the Industry?, September 2011, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/movies/13avatar. html?hpw Cones, John W., 43 Ways to finance your feature film: A Comprehensive Analysis of Film Finance, Southern Illionois UP, Carbondale, 2008 (first ed. 1995) Debord, Guy, Society of the Spectacle, 1967, available online at http://www. marxists.org/reference/archive/debord/society.htm Elsaesser,Thomas, European cinema: face to face with Hollywood, Amsterdam Univ. Press, 2005. Epstein, Edward Jay, The Big Picture: The New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood, Random House, 2005. Jameson, Fredric, Postmodernism, or, The cultural logic of late capitalism, Duke University Press, 1991. Kunzle, David, The History of the Comic Strip: The Nineteenth Century, Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990 Lukács, Georg, History & Class Consciousness, Merlin Press, 1967, available online http://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/history/hcc05.htm Mancini, Vince, “LucasFilm Still Not Paying Vader Actor”, 2009, available at http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2009/04/lucasfilm-still-not-paying-vaderactor Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Vol. 1. Trans. Ben Fowkes. New York: Penguin, 1990 Parish, James Robert, Fiasco: A History of Hollywood’s Iconic Flops, Wiley,

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2006. Rockoff, Hugh. “US Economy in World War I”. EH.Net Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Whaples. February 10, 2008. URL http://eh.net/encyclopedia/ article/Rockoff.WWI Segrave, Kerry, Piracy in the motion picture industry, McFarland, 2003. Siwek, Stephen E., “The True Cost of Copyright Industry to the U.S. Economy”, available September 2011 at http://ipi.org/IPI%5CIPIPublications.nsf/ PublicationLookupFullText/23F5FF3E9D8AA79786257369005B0C79 Staiger, Janet, The Hollywood mode of production to 1930, in The Classical Hollywood Cinema. Film Style & Mode of Production to 1960, eds. David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson, Routledge, 1985. “The Economic Contribution of the Motion Picture & Television Industry to the United States”, available September 2011 at http://www.mpaa.org/ Resources/3a76ac00-6940-4012-a6e2-da9a7b036da2.pdf “The Envisional Internet Usage Report”, available September 2011 at http:// documents.envisional.com/docs/Envisional-Internet_Usage_ReportSummary.pdf Online references http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/records/budgets.php http://www.variety.com/latest-news/film-financial/ http://boxofficemojo.com/ http://www.peermediatech.com/ http://www.edwardjayepstein.com http://www.masternewmedia.org/how-peer-production-and-economic-p2pmodel-can-subvert-physical-production/#ixzz1ZPpeO5BW

Doru Pop, PhD is an associate professor at the Theatre and Television Faculty, Cluj-Napoca. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Letters, and a PhD at the Faculty of History, UBB Cluj-Napoca. He was an editor at the Romanian National Television, the Cluj regional Studio, a lecturer at the Faculty of Political Sciences, The Journalism Department. Senior Editor at Financial Journal, Transylvania regional edition. Author of (selectivelly): Social Obsessions, Institutul European Publishing House, Iasi, 1998, Media and Politics, Institutul European Publishing House, Iasi, 1999, 911. The Day Democracy Died, Dacia Publishing House, Cluj, 2003, The Eye and the Body. Modern and postmodern in the philosophy of the visual culture, Dacia Publishing House, Cluj, 2005.

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

Maria Cernat

Parents, Children and Advertising: a History of Love and Hate ABSTRACT For the first time in the modern history of the United States children have a lower life expectancy than their parents. Many researchers tried to find answers to this puzzling situation. Physicians, economists, political theorists, psychologists and sociologists tried to offer their perspective on the matter. Recently, this huge health problem is being connected to another type of problem: the deregulation of the advertising market. What does the neoliberal perspective on the free market as the ultimate solution to society’s problems have to do with diabetes, obesity, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, depression and other sort of health problems never encountered so frequently in children? I try to answer this question by bringing forward the sociological hypothesis regarding the commercialization of childhood. I try to focus my attention on this new generation of superconsumers “born to buy”. I think it is vital to discuss critically some of the theories that attempt to establish a causal connection between deregulating advertising to children and the possible negative impact on their lives. The commercial speech found a very cosy nest under the First Amendment umbrella, but this type of perspective, appealing as it may seem, could lead to devastating effects as far as children are concerned. I am not trying to prove or disprove the probable causal connection between advertising to children and negative effects on their lives. I am trying to analyze the arguments put forward by those in favour and those against deregulating advertising. This is why I shall focus my attention on the most heated debate regarding this issue. It took place in front of the United State Congress when the Federal Trade Commission tried to ban all advertising to children. Several decades passed and the current health issues pressure us to go back and reconsider the arguments brought by those who are in favour of or against advertising to children. Keywords: advertising to children, deregulated media market, social responsibility, globalization, gender stereotypes

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T

Introduction

he main purpose of this article is to show that, although we have regulations on advertising to children in Romania, there are cases where children are reached by foreign ads as a result of global media networks broadcasting all over the world. This is the result of the fact that we lack some sort of institutions regulating global media. It is the typical case where technology is moving faster than our ability to reflect upon its effects and to issue laws regarding the best way to use it into our advantage. The media are a technological tool. We reached the moment where television networks can broadcast all over the world giving a sense of belonging to the “global village” inhabitants. Nonetheless, something is missing: although we have a global village, we do not have proper institutions dealing with all sorts of problems. For instance, in the European Union advertising to children is strictly regulated, but Disney Channel is broadcasting in European countries. Advertising is aired but the sound is turned off, so European children are exposed to visual commercial messages. Is it ok to expose our children to visual commercial messages even though we do have a law that bans advertising to children? Advertising messages are directed to boys and girls. Even if there were a lot of studies trying to prove the negative effect of gender stereotypes in advertising, the messages are still highly sexualized and gender-biased. Global media means also the globalization of such messages. In this context, how effective is then local legislation in protecting our children in such situations? In the first section of this paper, I shall analyze what I think is the cause of this phenomenon: the deregulation of the media market. The emergence of huge media corporations was the direct result of two closely related elements: the deregulation of the market and the commodification of information. When information was no longer a public, but a private good, the stage was set for big business to take over and transform the media from a public service into a profitable enterprise. And this phenomenon is a global one. Since we all agree that media corporations function in a society, it is only natural to ask ourselves what their social responsibilities are and, given that they function globally, whether it is possible to find ways to regulate them at this level. In the second section of my paper I shall analyze the way in which advertising to children is contributing to the globalization of gender stereotypes. The entire process of growing up is transformed into the process of learning to consume, as Juliet Schor is pointing out. This is why I think we should pay much attention to the visual or audio-visual messages to which our children are subjected; while the technology may be new, stereotypes

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and sexist messages are reinforcing a very old and conservative perspective on women and their role in the society. 1.Deregulating media the political agenda of the neoliberals1 The last decades of the 20th century are related to a major shift in the perception of information. The main media channels were functioning until 1970s as a public service. That is, the principle governing the functioning of the media was that citizens have the right to be informed and it was the government’s duty to maintain the public informed. As neoliberalism became the dominant ideology in western countries, this perspective was eventually abandoned. Ronald Reagan gave one of the most famous political speeches quotes of all times. What he says synthesizes the principles that were adopted almost religiously: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem”. This is the quintessential liberal perspective: the government has no obligation to regulate the media in such way that citizens could be informed. Since the liberals were not the fans of “big government” it was no longer the task of Washington bureaucrats to tell the media industry what it should do. As strange as it may seem, the media hegemony experienced nowadays in Italy for example is the direct result of this perspective. Whereas previously information had a complex structure as a public good but also a private good, that is a commodity, the neoliberals transformed information once and for all into a private good. The commodification of information and the process of deregulating the emergent media market paved the way for the formation of huge media corporations. The protection of the sacred principle of property made it impossible to prevent the emergence of unique media corporations controlling the entire amount of information in a country – the case of Italy. This is the typical example of how too much liberty leads to tyranny, but it is not my intention to analyze further this case. The victims of this type of strategy were national televisions. In most European countries, there are still national televisions. Few of them, as the notable case of BBC, were able to survive the commercial pressure and still gain important audiences. But the most important media channels are private and their main source of income is advertising. The deregulation process is equivalent to no laws at all. There are still important rules regarding property and economic competition. However, during the 1980s, the liberalization of the media market reached its peak. There were numerous concerns on advertising to children, since it encourages

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children to eat unhealthy foods, to seek instant gratification of needs, to be oriented towards material values etc. Those legitimate concerns made FTC members aware of the dangers of advertising to children and, in the late 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission advocated a ban on advertising to children aged eight and under. This is a very important episode in the recent history of media, since it epitomizes the liberal perspective on the media market and advertising to children. It is very important to talk about what happened in the United States for numerous reasons. First of all, this is an extreme example of how an irresponsible political decision – deregulating advertising to children – can lead to major social damages. Secondly, the major media companies contributing to the cultural globalization are placed in the United States, so what goes on in their media is important at global scale. When the FTC tried to ban advertising to children under eight, their major concern was given by sugar cereals and cavities and the fact that these children lack the ability to evaluate commercial messages rationally. It was the conviction of the Federal Trade Commission members that children are deceived by television and do not understand the persuasive intent of advertising. The industry reacted promptly by trying to undermine all FTC’s efforts and the conflict was brought in front of the US Congress. In the public hearing that took place in March 19792, the FTC members tried to show that children lack the critical thinking skills of adults and can be easily deceived and made to believe the most unrealistic things about toys or food. On the other hand, Kellogg’s lawyer Fred Furth appealed to the neoliberal political principles that were “threatened” by the regulatory demands of FTC: In an American democratic capitalistic society, we almost learn, top to bottom, to care for ourselves, and what the last thing we need the next twenty years is a national nanny. That is, children do not need State authorities to protect them from the persuasive intent of advertising. They live in a democratic capitalistic society and they have to learn to care for themselves. It is their responsibility to protect themselves against the rude intentions of major companies selling calories and caffeine along with the idea that a pair of snickers is the only way of being cool and thus socially acceptable. Strange as it may seem, the Congress members agreed with the major sugar cereal companies’ lawyers and the result was that the FTC was stripped from a significant part of its authority to regulate advertising to children. In 1980, the Congress passed the FTC Improvement Act that stated clearly this institution no longer had

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any authority to promulgate any rules regarding advertising to children. Since the 1980 Improvement Act, FTC exercised its authority only by requiring commercial messages to refrain from making false affirmations concerning the qualities of the products promoted. Therefore, there were numerous cases where commercials were banned if they made unrealistic claims about the qualities of their products. Toy manufacturers could no longer sell their products by claiming that they can perform extraordinary actions. The industry’s response to this tendency was to focus more on symbolic advertising. In sum, the message is quite simple: you don’t need to buy products because they are exceptional in themselves, but because without them you’re a loser. The products are part of children’s identity; they tell the world who the child is, so what he/she has is what he/she is. The need of social acceptance is an extremely powerful tool that can be used by advertisers to their own advantage. Is this type of action also to the child’s best? We could not offer a proper answer to this question without previous research, but, as Juliet Schor is pointing out: Twenty years ago advertising was seen as unfair. Nowadays industry argues that children have become supersophisticated and they are incapable of being manipulated. Much of the literature on what children understand about ads and how they respond to them dates from the 1970s and 1980s. Neither the government nor private foundations have been funding much research to revisit these questions so industry’s claims remain unaddressed.3 There is an awkward lack of interest in researching negative or unintended effects of advertising4. This is very peculiar since advertising to children does not “sell” only gender stereotypes, but also several unhealthy things. Unhealthy foods represent the most obvious example of harmful goods sold to the children. For example, there are a lot of studies concerning the causes of obesity; however, with a few minor exceptions, heavy advertising of fast food products to young children is not very often taken into account.5 2. Globalizing gender stereotypes through advertising to children There are several theoretical approaches to stereotypes. The human perception of the world is defined by stereotypes. While most theorists try to focus on the negative aspects of stereotypes, it must be stated that we could not function without stereotypes. Stereotypes block critical thinking, but it is highly unlikely that we could function without the use of them, as reason

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will finally kill action. But what is a stereotype? One relevant and yet simple approach is that of Anne Cranny-Francis who is purely taking the term’s etymology: A stereotype is a poured metal plate, and once the metal is poured the plate can’t be changed. This terminology tells us more about the stereotypes applied to people: it is fixed, it cannot be changed. It is used to produce multiple copies of the same thing over and over again. It is a visual metaphor which reminds us the when a stereotype is applied to a person it is frequently done so on the basis of their appearance. Stereotypes function by simplifying by reducing classes of people to a few characteristics by which they are generally said to be identifiable.6 Feminists are recognized for their effort to fight stereotypes, since those used in patriarchal cultures do not favour women at all. Although useful, stereotypes are a cultural product and are thus socially determined. Their use value should not lead us to believe that they are a natural. Gender stereotypes are ways of labelling people on the basis of their appearance. The relativistic perspective on gender owes a lot to the philosophical approaches of Michel Foucault who conceptualizes the subject as being the result of the constant negotiations that constitute our social life. Social change cannot be achieved without constantly questioning the social matrix that produces and requires certain roles and models as being “natural”. We have to ask ourselves constantly who profits from this “natural” perspective on society. There are a lot of heated debates surrounding this subject, but any kind of attempt to challenge gender stereotypes has to take as starting point this ontologically relativistic conception and my paper makes no exception to this rule. Therefore, if gender is a social product, we must ask ourselves how gender is constructed by means of advertising to children. Most advertising companies do not pay any kind of attention to the subtle philosophical debates on gender and personal identity. All advertisers rely on psychology to offer them the right perspective on children. They do not engage in nonprofitable questions on the nature of childhood. They seek efficiency and this is why they appeal to psychologists to find out more about child weaknesses and vulnerabilities, because those are very useful insights into the best ways to reach children. However, psychology is not in itself a science of natural genders in the reality. The term “toddler” is not in fact related to some stage in the biological development of children, but a culturally determined concept born in relation to size and style range for clothing.7 This is only one example

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of how a culturally determined concept becomes naturalized. Therefore, psychology does not describe the way kids naturally evolve, regardless of their cultural background. Advertisers are not likely to follow such subtle reasoning. Children marketers take for granted some psychological theories, usually developmental psychology, and they think that this theory provides the right and sole perspective on the way children all over the world evolve. Then they create commercial messages that contribute themselves to the way children evolve, but this is definitely not their concern. Juliet Schor’s book Born to Buy is based on detailed interviews with managers of the most important advertising companies. Most of them recognized that selfregulation – the long praised solution of liberals – is not at all functioning in the case of advertising to children: there are no ethical concerns on this type of advertising. Since nobody is raising any questions related to the wellbeing of children exposed to advertising, it is highly unlikely that advertisers would bother to investigate the way their messages contribute to children’s evolution. Their main concern is profit and the best way to reach this goal is to “take the psychology and re-conceptualize the process of growing up as a process of learning to consume”8, as Juliet Schor puts it. Marketers use a universal model to describe all children’s needs that have to be taken into account for the right brand strategy. If psychology is telling them that children need to feel like they belong to a social group, it is only “natural” that they should use this need and tell kids that they could gain social acceptance by buying their products. The first need taken for granted from marketers is gender differentiation. The basis of children marketing consists in thinking that girls and boys want different things and this way segregated marketing is born. The huge amount of literature dedicated to the analysis of the way unhealthy gender stereotypes is transmitted through clothing and toys has no effect on the segregation of market. Toy producers made the Afro American Barbie; they made the fat Barbie, but selling a Barbie doll to a boy is simply outrageous. One of the many sexist assumptions undermining the commercial messages is that girls can be sold boy toys, but a boy playing with a doll is a certain way to social stigmatization. Girls can aspire to a “higher” status by playing with cars, but the reverse is not acceptable. Children marketers are contributing to the communication of unhealthy gender stereotypes by appealing to common sense wisdom stating that boys want success, action and power, while girls want glamour, beauty and stability. Pink and domestic spaces dominate commercials that target girls, while car crashes and outdoor spaces dominate ads that target boys. Another aspect contributing to gender stereotypes in advertising

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to children is age compression. As Juliet Schor explains, age compression means “the practice of taking products and marketing messages originally designed for older kids and targeting them to younger kids”. Growing up is one of the most common needs. Being an adult seems very tempting to all children. Marketers are well aware of this tendency to imitate older kids and this is why they target their messages to younger audiences: “Twenty years ago, Seventeen magazine targeted sixteen years old; now it aims at eleven and twelve. In a telling gesture the toy industry has officially lowered its upper age target from fourteen to ten”9. Besides acronyms like KAGOY (children are getting older younger), marketers have also proposed a term that is now perceived as a natural category: the tween. In the desperate quest for younger audiences, marketers have come up with this term justifying targeting commercial messages loaded with sexist content to children aged four. Glamour, fashion and style are now sold to the tweens (children from four to twelve years old). The result is that even kindergartners are wearing very sexy clothes. It is very important to focus on those trends in the USA, since channels like the Disney Channel are present worldwide. Even if the local legislation bans advertising to children, as in Romania for example, the Disney Channel is present and the commercials are aired, but they are not translated. However, young girls worldwide are exposed to messages that teach them to buy sexy clothes, jewellery and makeup.

Conclusions:

There is an interesting connection between the neoliberal agenda of the 1980s and the fact that the media market is deregulated, allowing big corporations to sell kids unhealthy products along with questionable messages, while completely disregarding any concern about the wellbeing of young audiences. There is a huge interest in questions like “how to sell” and almost no interest in investigating “the consequences of our commercial messages”. There is no social responsibility in advertising to children. This is one of the most important reasons why, despite the fact economic globalization can be, accidentally or not, a powerful emancipation factor working to the advantage of women around the world, the cultural globalization does not always contribute to women’s emancipation. The main reason relates to the fact that cultural globalization relies heavily on the media. It is almost impossible to talk of globalization outside the media arena where people around the globe can gather together and form this virtual “global village”. Nevertheless, the media are replete with sexist messages and one of the most important cannels of globalizing gender stereotypes is advertising to children.

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NOTES: 1 This section of my paper was also presented in the 2011 “Gender Studies in the Age of Globalization” organized by the Spiru Haret University. 2 Online source: http://www.mediated.org/assets/products/134/transcript_134.pdf, p. 5. 3 Juliet B. Schor, Born to Buy the Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, Scribner: New York, 2004, p. 65. 4 Moniek Buijzen and Patti M. Valkenburg, “The Unintended Effects of Television Advertising: A Parent-Child Survey”, Communication Research, 2003,30:483. The online version of this article can be found at: http://crx.sagepub.com/ content/30/5/483 5 Susan Linn, Courtney Novosat, “Calories for Sale: Food Marketing to Children in the Twenty First Century”, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2008; vol. 615, 1: pp. 133-155. 6 Anne Cranny-Francis, Wendy Waring, Pam Stavropoulos, Joan Kirkby, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, p.140. 7 Juliet B. Schor, Born to Buy the Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, Scribner: New York, 2004, p. 65. 8 Juliet B. Schor, Born to Buy the Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, Scribner: New York, 2004, p. 65. 9 Op.ct. p.57

References: Buijzen, Moniek and Valkenburg, Patti M., “The Unintended Effects of Television Advertising: A Parent-Child Survey”, Communication Research, 2003,30:483. The online version of this article can be found at:http://crx. sagepub.com/content/30/5/483 Cranny-Francis, Anne, Waring, Wendy, Stavropoulos, Pam, Kirkby, Joan. Gender Studies: Terms and Debates. Palgrave: Macmillan, 2003, p.140 Linn, Susan, Novosat, Courtney, “Calories for Sale: Food Marketing to Children in the Twenty First Century”, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2008; vol. 615, 1: pp. 133-155. Schor, Juliet B., Born to Buy the Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, Scribner: New York, 2004, p. 65. Online source: http://www.mediated.org/assets/products/134/transcript_134. pdf, p. 5.

Maria Cernat is currently Lecturer PHD at the Faculty of Journalism, Communication and Public Relations in the Spiru Haret University. She graduated Journalism and Communication Science at the University of Bucharest in 2001. She is also a 2004 graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy in the University of Bucharest. She currently teaches several courses in Media Ethics and Communication Techniques at the Spiru Haret University.

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Delia Enyedi

Video Me/Mine Revisiting the Cinema of Attractions Abstract: The field of early cinema spectatorship met a shifting point in 1985 once Tom Gunning and André Gaudreault introduced the term “the cinema of attractions”. The panicking myth surrounding the first movie projections was replaced with an insightful analysis of audience, conditions of display, and most importantly content. The cinema of up until 1906-1908, reunited under the Eisenstein borrowed term of “attractions”, was identified as non-narrative and exhibitionist. After the emergence of narrative film-making, this type of cinema became the interest of the Avant-Garde practices. The study proposed follows the resilience of “the cinema of attractions” in the Internet video-sharing era. Committed to digital audiences and the unique conditions of distribution known as “sharing” the analysis follows the prosumption dynamics that shapes the architecture of the virtual space. In broadening the boundaries of net. art it has supported the emergence of a particular type of Internet video best exemplified by the worldwide famous clip Where the Hell Is Matt? (2004). A comparison with the 1901 Hungarian silent movie A táncz (The Dance) will follow the mechanism that has revived “the cinema of attractions” in the efforts to define its virtual equivalent that I propose as “the Video Me/Mine” type of Web 2.0 experience. Keywords: cinema of attractions, YouTube, net.art, prosumption

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n the process of its scholarly becoming, film theory had been shaped upon an evolutionary pattern which linked the early silent film to a technologically restrained primitive stage of cinema. Its sole relevance stood in leading the way to the edited narrative film seen as the true birth of cinema as an art form. This linear approach was fractured in the 1980s by two fundamental essays resulting from

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a collaboration between Tom Gunning and André Gaudreault: The Cinema of Attraction: Early Film, Its Spectator, and the Avant-Garde which appeared in the film quarterly Wide Angel and was later revised and Le cinéma des premiers temps: un défi à l’histoire du cinéma? (Early Cinema as a Challenge to Film History) published in the Tokyo journal Gendai Shiso. Their impact in the field of early cinema studies has been major, due to the now basic terminology they introduced namely the concept of “cinema of attractions” correlated with the “system of monstrative attractions”. The aesthetic of astonishment that frames early silent cinema gravitates around the term of “attractions”. Extracted from the work of director Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein and consequently from Russian constructivism, this term embeds a search into a particular relation set between theatre and the spectator. An “exhibitionist confrontation rather than diegetic absorption” (Gunning 2000, 232) governs the performance by means of a montage of aggressive attractions delivered to the spectator. Although different from the actual practice of the early cinema, this avant-garde vision sheds light upon the “revolutionary possibilities (both political and aesthetic) in the novel ways cinema took hold of its spectator” (Gunning 2006, 32). By exceeding the deformed perspective upon the uneducated early cinema audiences mystified by the moving images, the cinema of attractions sets itself as a complex theoretical tool engaged in deconstructing the open invitation into “an experience of assault” that “delivers a generally brief dose of scopic pleasure” (Gunning 1995, 121) which the early cinema projections represent. The mechanism of the attractions is similar to the laws that govern the fairground, the field in which the term places its original roots. Based on a teasing “presence/absence” game, the cinema of attractions emphasizes display rather than content (Gunning 1999, 82). It is an exhibitionist performance that acknowledges the spectator and in which the key role is played by the projectionist showman who builds up the performance before previously still projected images come to life thus envisioning “a cinema of the monstrator”. With the cinematic narration barely perceptible, in the system of monstrative attractions, “cinematic monstration reigns supreme, a system for which the privileged domain and the basic unity is the shot” (Gaudreault and Gunning 374-376). Thus the extraordinary features of the machine demonstrated dominate the performance, while the viewer’s curiosity is fulfilled by a brief moment of revelation portraying “a cinema of instances” (Gunning 1995, 123).

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Supported by the large-scale practices of Internet video-sharing, a new type of Internet video merges the particular elements that define the cinema of attractions with the revolutionary features of its medium. In the article Web Work: A History of Internet Art, published in 2000 in ArtForum magazine, Rachel Greene credits Slovenian artist Vuk Ćosić with the emergence of the term “net.art” back in 1995 defining online art and communication. Operating in the beginning only with e-mail connectivity, this mode of virtual expression intended to mix art and everyday life so that “Building an equitable community in which art was conspicuously present in one’s everyday activities was a collective goal” (162). It was obvious that, for net.art, discourse through different types of exchanges ruled over any optical aesthetic and soon large audiences embraced its immediacy and immateriality. Supporting its structure on the above mentioned theoretical guidelines, this study will explore the key elements that have revived the cinema of attractions in the video-sharing era. The first Hungarian film A táncz (The Dance) (1901) and the YouTube hit video Where the Hell Is Matt? (2004) will balance a comparative analysis in this respect completed by an outline of the crossroad point of the economyborrowed term of “prosumption” with those of “participatory culture” and “social currency” in order to define “the Video Me/Mine” concept as a Web 2.0 aesthetic experience that gravitates around the distinctive directions of the cinema of attractions, thus proving the successful assortment of this early silent film concept within the specificity of Internet art. The First Hungarian Film: A táncz /The Dance (1901) Studying the Hungarian silent cinema proves to be a research challenge, given the attempt to reconstruct a film historiography without access to the actual films. Out of an estimated 500 Hungarian movies shot between 1901-1930, a small percent has survived in the form of fragments, photos, or press evidence, and an even smaller number of them are in a full-length possible to screen form. Unfortunately, this is also the case of our chosen example, A táncz (The Dance) from 1901. The movie seems to have been destroyed in a fire, so that the only hard evidence remain a series of photos luckily taken in the course of shooting, completed by archived press information. A táncz is the first independent Hungarian film and this milestone is directly linked to the history of the famous Uránia building

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in Budapest. Commissioned in the mid-1890s as a music and dance hall, it later developed into a variant of “scientific theatre”. Established in 1899, the “Urania Scientific Theatre Society Corporation” used the building as a space of dialogue between science and the public, more precisely displaying descriptive experiences supplemented by an explanatory text. The audiences’ growing interest in the travel stories and history forced scientists to withdraw in the smaller rooms of the floor. The performances in the large main hall shifted towards fine arts, history, and geography, which could be illustrated with the main attraction - the projected photos (Papanelopoulou, Nieto-Galan, and Perdiguero 158 – 169). It is precisely in this main hall that the silent film A táncz premiered on April 30th 1901. Shot in the setting of an improvised dance hall on top of the Urania building, the film featured 23 episodes from the history of dance under the direction of Zitkovszky Béla (Gyürey, Lencsó, and Veress 17-18). They ranged from internationally established Passe Pied, Allemande or Gaillarde to the traditional Hungarian dances Palotás and Körmagyar and even a demonstration of an ill-performed Czárdás, as it was intended as a promotional material for the ballet company. The “Where the Hell Is Matt?” Viral Phenomenon According to the web-based 2.0 Urban Dictionary, the viral dimension of a video is linked directly to the practice of virtual sharing by means of entertainment websites, social networks, or e-mail. In other words, the increasing popularity of an Internet uploaded video leads to it becoming a “viral video”. The open invitation to “Broadcast Yourself ” launched in 2005 by YouTube merged with the widespread access of the public to an easy to use recording technology. With its application of simultaneously counting every view, a multicultural collection of viral videos emerged, absorbing their subjects into the cyberculture. The Where the Hell Is Matt? (Dancing Badly Around the World) viral phenomenon represents one of the best examples. Nowadays an industry of its own, spreading from a sponsored series of videos, website including an on-line diary, memoir book, lectures, and merchandising, Matt Harding’s road to Internet fame debuted with a 2003 souvenir taping of him dancing in Hanoi, Vietnam (McGrath). Adding collected dancing scenes from later trips, 20 locations that hosted his single quite awkward personal dance from the exotic destinations of India or Cambodia to remote locations such

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as the Impenetrable Jungle of Uganda, the first video (2004) captured interest on the Internet by e-mail sharing and was followed by YouTube promoted sequels which added gathered crowds in the performance. At this time the popularity of the man that makes the world dance is counted in terms of tens of millions of views of his videos. “Curiositas” and the Dominance of Cinematic Attractions The basic act of display that governs every visual artistic effort has continuously regenerated along the path broadened by technical innovation. Just as image reinvented itself by means of photography and was later set in motion, the radical possibilities of the Internet took video processed image to a stage of almost instant worldwide production, distribution, and consumption. Beneath the luring speed, the question of form and content of the relatively new Internet video discloses a startling revival of the mechanism that governed silent cinema in the beginning of the 20th century. Before addressing the specific features that deconstruct a century divided particularly by the close resemblance between a silent film and a YouTube video, a milestone assessment must be mentioned. In his study concerning the aesthetic of astonishment, Tom Gunning cites Saint Augustine’s Platonic schema concerning “curiositas” versus “voluptas”. While “voluptas” is the appanage of visual pleasure through beauty, “curiositas” governs “the lust to find out and to know” (124). Bearing in mind that silent film erupted in the midst of fairground excitement sharing the crowds appeal alongside other offers of entertainment and tracing the parallel to the hungry viral chase for rapid exchange of information as a daily practice of entertainment in the modern era, we place our comparison from the very start within the boundaries of “curiositas”, this search for a continuously fed thrill. Just as the process of still images coming to life attracted enthusiastic crowds in the wake of the cinema, an equally attracting feature must dominate all Internet videos in order to enter the privileged circuit of sharing. This joint use of finite viral materials initially employed e-mail as a supporting resource, but the emergence of social networks extended it, transforming the “share” option into a defined graphically illustrated function generating an outbreak of the practice, carrying out a warranty of guided personal interest or plain appeal captured in the content of the video. The Where the Hell Is Matt? (2004) Internet video followed

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faithfully this above described path to becoming a viral video, at the same time appealing to the structure and audience display specific to early silent cinema for which period the film A táncz has been chosen as the equivalent example. From the formal point of view, both videos comply with the limitations of the medium: silent films usually operated with a one-reel base translated into a maximum of 10 to 12 minutes in length, duration similar to any YouTube video, the platform initially imposing a 10-minute maximum for any uploaded video, and increasing this limitation to 15 minutes in 2010. We find ourselves on the territory of short-video making of an aesthetic approach. When referring to astonishment as a defining aesthetics of the cinema of attractions, Gunning points out several directions and the present study will explore three main theoretical aspects: the absence of a classical narrative scheme linked directly to the dominance of the cinematic attractions and the key role the monstrator holds in the performance. Both chosen examples similarly divide their structure of the otherwise basic unity of shot into a sequence of similar episodes. Each of these episodes has an undoubted narrative dimension of its own encapsulated in the unrolling of the performance from a beginning, through a demonstrative consistent section and the ending point of the representation. However, their succession is a multi-faced demonstration of appealing elements represented in our case by the dance. Defined as cinematic attractions, these formal devices function in a specific manner of addressing the audience opposed, in a very lax comparison, to the classically constructed style of the narrative. While solving a proposed enigma requires the unfolding of a narrative frame, the cinematic attractions seek to satisfy quickly a curiosity (Gunning 1999, 74-75) by means of instances and not developing situations. In both our cases, editing is thus reduced to what in silent film studies is called programming, in our case to the process of establishing the succession of the sequences and the insertion of collateral information, for the silent film the black paperboard interposed captions with the titles of the dances illustrated and the insertion of the geographical coordinates in the frame content of the YouTube video. With this absence of a classical narrative scheme, which absorbs the viewer into the fictional world depicted and solicits his/her empathy, comes also an awareness of the public that watches. The characters in an early silent film “rush to meet their viewers” (Gunning 1995, 121) by a set of pantomime and gestures oriented directly towards the camera. While in A táncz the eye-contact with the public is inevitably

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interrupted by the quick movements of the dance demonstration, for the Harding video, his positioning and continuous gaze leave no doubt about the open intention to contact the Internet spectator. The success of such an aggressive intervention stands in holding this excitement and fulfilment of curiosity, the defining “confrontation”, and “the immediate reaction of the viewer” (Gunning, 1995, 122). At this point, the showman stands out as the shaping factor of the structure of the performance as the true barycentre of the act of monstration that founds the cinema of attractions. One could easily imagine the excitement that accompanied the night of the premiere of the first Hungarian film. A master of ceremony must have definitely underlined the extraordinary original local result of putting the sensation of the day to work. For the first time, an actual dance could be performed and viewed all while the dancers were sitting next to the spectator, a shaking reality that must have aroused high anticipation, and in addition the movement was to be reproduced in full bodyscale, back than an entertainment of its own. Putting this nowadays faded interest aside a genuine attraction also functions in the YouTube videos through the practice of sharing that allows every receiver of a video to measure its appeal and, if satisfied, to continue this process, thus assuming the actual task of a monstrator. The Web 2.0 features of comments posting and view counting emphasize by means of dialogue this vital element of curiosity that sets in motion the sharing practice. The attraction in Matt’s internationally recorded identical dance could be a combined case of giving form to an outworn term such as ”globalization” with an instant invite to escape everyday routine by means of the common language of dance. Practically all persons of the globe with Internet access could relate to the freedom of personal expression within unique backgrounds. However, a more complex explanation comes from Benjamin and Kracauer in a demonstration also cited by Tom Gunning. Emphasizing the working masses’ attraction to facile entertainment, the case for both initial exhibits of the projectors and most of the YouTube content, the two define the phenomenon as a “culture of distraction” that feeds the “modern loss of fulfilling experience” (Gunning 1995, 126-127). Back at the dawn of cinema, the illusionistic features of the machine that could project a succession of dances onto a screen reigned supreme above all entertainment alternatives. In the same way, our viral video is the proof of an end-of-the-millennium temptation. The virtual space, far from being a faithful replica of reality, initiated a platform populated by constructed self-images. Leaving aside the employed service, be

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it e-mail, blog, forum, social network, or three-dimensional game, one’s personal virtual avatar is always a controlled fiction by means of filtering the information and its amount put out in the viral medium, even when referring to a performance as in our case. In their study dedicated to home-dance videos, Peters and Seier address the issue of mediated self-alienation concluding that ”the ambivalence of dance between constitution and transgression of the self seems to amplify itself once more through the practice of recording and distribution” (200). The Video Me/Mine Concept Roman Jakobson’s classical scheme of communication depicts six functions of the language according to the emphasis put on each of the elements of composition: the addresser, the addressee, and the four elements that come in between: the context, the message, the contact and the code (Hunsinger, Klastrup, and Allen 2010, 455). While in visual communication the emphasis is generally placed on the message, with net.art it is the addresser and the addressee who suffer a mutation that in the context of the YouTube phenomenon and for the current analysis carries significant importance. Based on the decades earlier introduced economy term of “prosumer”, Don Tapscott and Antony D. Williams defined in 2008 the concept of “prosumption” as the creation of the products and services by the same people who will ultimately use them. The control enabled by a platform such as YouTube bases almost completely its architecture on prosumption. The individual combines the artistic control of its product with the choice of submission circumstances up to the very specific detail, while exercising control and manipulating the classic passivity of consumption. In the circuit of sharing, every addressee is at the same time an addresser enhancing the viral dimension of a video by means of distribution and thus recognition of its cinematic attraction. Even the initial addresser finds himself in the simultaneous role of addressee, given the secondary storage function of every video sharing platform. This constant shifting or more precisely the superimposing of the two positions has re-enacted the prior to the Internet term of “participatory culture” as the core of the Web 2.0 concept. The significant dimensions attained by the transfer of resources via digital channels have been further translated into the term of “social currency”, accentuating the relevance of social networks and communities in shaping the postmodern individual’s identity, status, and recognition.

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When referring to the issue of Internet video art, aside from the initial filtering that removes all uploaded adverts, music videos, short films and all television or silver screen fragmented materials, we are left with an amount of Internet videos represented mostly by amateur home-made tapings, a feature of all web 2.0 platforms that function by collecting personal data. In an article addressing this democratization of audiovisual space, Eggo Müller underlines the lack of any type of demonstration from these “anybodies” with no skills, no ambition, and no quality of their clips (126), that rely in their efforts on official tutorials, so that the complicity developed by a digital material with its medium of distribution stands out only as a secondary feature of digital artworks. The choice of the Where the Hell is Matt? dancing diary for the current analysis brings forth the defining element that separates Internet art from the total amount of viral videos and, similar to all arts, that is the aesthetic intention. However, a possible misleading use of terms must be clarified. When Rachel Greene replicates artist’s Vuk Ćosić vision on the term of net.art, she envisions a mix between internet art and communication (162). It is precisely this invitation to instant interaction that completes the Internet piece of artwork; consequently, the simple Internet transfer of a message eludes the category of net.art. In our viral video case, although debatable from the initial absence of a conscious aesthetic intention, the minimal editing, typical for the cinema of attractions, creates a coherent structure, sustained by matching soundtrack, defining an aesthetic video product. From the addresser’s position, the prosumption process unrolls logically with the choice of distribution and almost constant integration into a sharing circuit supported by a view count function and an open debate platform, assuming a monstrator’s specific tasks. Uploading a video on YouTube requires a personal account that opens up a variety of uses, but, even if this YouTube account only represents a personal depositary, a channel for family video-transfer, or an intended public virtual performance of any type, every user complies with the medium’s unrestricted instant public display. In the broad context of net.art, the Video Me/Mine concept confines itself as a Web 2.0 experience of aesthetically constructed video self-fictioning. Uploading a video for simultaneous private preservation and public consumption and the medium’s interactive applications (sharing, instant dialogue section, view count) merge as the equivalent of the system of monstrative attractions of early silent

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cinema, which, alongside the penurious display of composition skills, demonstrate the intention of returning to the reign of an exhibitionist regime, in the words of Fernard Léger, this “matter of making images seen” (Gunning 2000, 229) standing as a proof of the resilience of the cinema of attractions in the virtual cultural space.

REFERENCES Gaudreault, André, Tom Gunning. “Early Cinema as a Challenge to Film History.” Strauven 365-380. Greene, Rachel. “Web Work: a History of Internet Art.” Artforum May. 2000: 162–168. Print. Gunning, Tom. “An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the [In]Credulous Spectator.” 1989. Viewing Positions: ways of seeing film. Ed. Linda Williams. New Brunswick: Rutgers, 1995. 114-133. Print. ---. “Attractions: How They Came into the World.” Strauven 31- 39. ---. “Now You See It, Now You Don’t: The Temporality of the Cinema of Attractions.” 1993. Silent Film. 1996. Ed. Richard Abel. London: The Athlone Press, 1999. 71-84. Print. ---. “The Cinema of Attraction: Early Film, Its Spectator, and the AvantGarde.” 1985. Film and Theory: An Anthology. Eds. Robert Stam and Toby Miller. MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. 229-235. Print. Gyürey, Vera, Lencsó László, Veress József, eds. A magyar filmtörténet képeskönyve. Budapest: Osiris Kiadó, 2007. Print. Harding, Matt. Where The Hell Is Matt? Matt Harding, 8 July 2011. Web. 15 July 2011. Hunsinger, Jeremy, Lisbeth Klastrup, Matthew Allen, eds. International Handbook of Internet Research. London, New York: Springer, 2010. Print. McGrath, Charles. “A Private Dance? Four Million Web Fans Say No.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 8 July 2008. Web. 21 July 2011. Müller, Eggo. “Where Quality Matters: Discourses on the Art of making a YouTube Video.” Snickars, Vonderau 126-139. Papanelopoulou, Faidra, Agustí Nieto-Galan, Enrique Perdiguero, eds. Popularizing science and technology in the European periphery, 1800-2000. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2009. Print. Peters, Kathrin, Andrea Seier. “Home Dance: Mediacy and Aesthetics of the Self on YouTube.” Snickars, Vonderau 187-203. Snickars, Pelle, Patrick Vonderau, eds. The YouTube Reader. Stockholm: National

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Library of Sweden, 2009. Print. Strauven, Wanda, ed. The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2006. Print. Tapscott, Don, Antony D. Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Evetything. USA: Portfolio Publishing, 2008. Print. Uránia Nemzeti Filmszinház – A táncz. Nemzeti Erőforrás Minisztérium, Budapest, 10 July 2011. Web. 12 July 2011. Urban Dictionary. Urban Dictionary, 8 July 2011. Web. 8 July 2011.

Delia Enyedi is a 28 year old Romanian born visual arts researcher and film critic. Owner of a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Dramatic Art and Media she is currently undergoing a PhD degree program at Babeş-Bolyai University in the field of Performing Arts. Her main areas of interest are European silent film and its audiences and the Transylvanian history of theatre and cinema with focus on the HungarianRomanian historically bound intercultural exchange in the first decades of the twentieth century.

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Daniel Iftene

A Generation on the Run Portraits of the Young in the New Romanian Cinema Abstract: The New Romanian Cinema, that is the main cultural product of Romania in the previous decade, is certainly fascinated with youth. Whether we talk about movies exported successfully all around the world, or about less important features barely seen in Romanian theatres or television, young characters and the conflicts they create in the social and cultural realities inherited leave their strong mark on most of the Romanian films of the new millennium. Our study is not just an analysis of the discourse concerning the young, as found in short and feature films signed by the new generation of Romanian filmmakers, but also a debate on antagonistic imaginary histories in contemporary Romania. Keywords: Romanian cinema, Romanian New Wave, youth, postcommunism, Romanian filmmakers

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decade after the “registered” birth1 of the phenomenon that both national and international critics fit indomitably under the umbrella of the “Romanian New Wave”, despite the young director’s resistance to being pigeon-holed this way, there is at least one point in which opinions converge unanimously: the New Romanian cinema is essentially young2. Whether we are considering merely the age of the new Romanian filmmakers or the new aesthetics they’ve created, or the production mechanisms they’ve adjusted to circumstances in which the film industry had been severely damaged by the crumbling of the state’s financial aid, nobody can challenge the validity and rejuvenating force of the design proposed by the generation of Puiu, Porumboiu, Mungiu and of all the others who

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complete the portrait of a blissful age of our cinema. Without being oblivious to the above-mentioned issues - which would be clearly impossible and improper, the analysis we put forward attempts to go, nevertheless, through the operating gears of another generation, whose heroes are called Liviu, Ovidiu, Kiki, Alex, Felie, Silviu or Delia - young characters who marked the Romanian screens in the past decade. These are just a few faces in the big picture of youth in post-communist Romania, born during the darkest episode of Ceausism or in the chaotic post-revolution years, eager and able to indistinctly devour in one breath new patterns of family, social or economic relationships, with which the media assails them, and from which they re-enact self-representations that predictably wage war against the surrounding forms of authority. However, unlike the situation of their fellows born in a blissful West, the Eastern European coming of age stories cover the nearly desperate attempt to shake off a society in which the separation between generations and the lack of perspectives due to impoverishment have attained such considerable proportions that they seem insurmountable. For this reason, young men and women in Romanian movies - notwithstanding the immorality or amorality of their survival strategies - are usually rendered as heroes in the construction of a new and obviously better world. A widening of the observations made by Anikó Imre when studying portraits of the young in Magyar, Polish or Slovakian movies forces us to acknowledge the specific structure of the generational clash rendered also by the young Romanian directors: It is safe to speculate that the generational gap that separates baby boomers in the U.S. from their children, variously nicknamed “screenagers”, “slackers” or “Generation X” is not nearly as profound as that between parents who grew up in national isolation, under travel restrictions, centralized governments, and state-controlled media, in forced economic equality assured by relative poverty, and without democratic elections, and their children, who are growing up in a world where the very term “Eastern Europe” is becoming obsolete (Imre 72). Hence the quarrel between two generations that appear to have grown apart on the eve of the 1990s, which remains one of the leitmotifs used in constructing narratives about the generation that lives its young years in post-communist Romania. Obviously,

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intergenerational conflict is not an entry created by Eastern-European filmmakers, least of all by the Romanian ones. Nevertheless, a certain amount of specificity is present in the construction of the entire stage of the dispute: the arguments that the young - to whom Romanian filmmakers repeatedly assign the “seat” of the judge - use in symbolically terminating their predecessors’ rights. For example, during the first part of the 2000s, in key with the public sphere debates on finding scapegoats for the communist and post-communist trauma, one of the current counts is that adults had art and part in building a stifling social and economic system, in which shared values were replaced by savage survival strategies. A poisoned system, whose heritage becomes in its turn poisonous, as conceived by Corneliu Porumboiu, too, in the concluding metaphor of one of his first short movies - “Pe aripile vinului” (Porumboiu, University of Dramatic and Cinematographic Art, 2002). Costeluș, a country boy sick to death with the misery in which he lives together with his alcoholic father, dreams to escape from everything around him when applying for a job on an oil platform in the United Kingdom. Although he’s hated and rejected drinking his whole life, he will fail in accomplishing his dream precisely because of this heavy heritage his blood carries, which determines him to question disdainfully his entire bloodline. Whereas in Costeluș’s case Porumboiu uses bitter considerations, two years later he is going to make straightforward and sharp accusations through another one of his characters. Facing the lack of perspective of an entire generation conceived as the heir of a failed system, the main character in “Liviu’s Dream” (Porumboiu, University of Dramatic and Cinematographic Art, 2004) advances the historic incrimination that young Romanian directors used - in various forms - in order to justify the brutal but necessary alienation of the two generations they make act on screen: They worked hard my ass. If you ask them what they’ve done with their lives, they’ll start stammering. They’ll say they built apartments and factories. When they realize they haven’t really done anything they’ll put their blame on Ceausescu. If they were honest they would at least look you in the face. (Porumboiu, 2004 min. 19) However, even if the young men and women portrayed as the main moral pillars in the new Romanian cinema attempt to ensure a clean past by breaking from the system re-enacted, on a small scale,

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in the family environment, this is not as simplistic a solution as it may appear to be. For, as sociologist Ken Roberts stated in his study dedicated to the young and to the family life in Eastern Europe, the same as communism created the reflex of a scheduled life, dependent on the state since youth, post-communism gave birth to a conflictgenerating bidirectional expectation: the majority of the youth has become financially dependent on their parents up until that point in time when the latter expect and impose a financial aid from the former (Roberts 203). We see this clearly in The Happiest Girl in the World, Radu Jude’s movie (Jude, HI Film Productions - Circe Films, 2009), whose clichés of a conflict between parents and children are so considerably intimate that it determined some to charge it with tediousness. Here, we can tell apart very accurately the mechanisms of a confrontation centred precisely on this double expectation and in which manipulation, blackmail and intimidation are used unreservedly. Two parents who fantasize about becoming rich by selling a car won by their daughter in a promotional contest will attempt to break their daughter’s bitter obstinacy by any means, from emotional blackmail to threats with cutting the familial umbilical cord and symbolically aborting her. You won’t set foot in my house again and you are no longer my child. You won’t get anything from us anymore. Absolutely nothing. Take your car. You don’t want to sign, fine, bye-bye. I have to beg you. I raised you like a princess, I wiped your ass when you were little. You’ve no shame? Tell me, have you no shame? You don’t want to sell it, great, I don’t want to see you again. (Jude, 2009 min. 80) By pushing their characters in the middle of this traumatizing relationship based on the denial of the responsibility toward a past that does not belong to them and unremitting assumption of responsibility toward the family situation, young Romanian filmmakers render on screen the reflection of a generation whose escape is virtually impossible. Since relationships in the family remain extremely powerful during the 2000s, youth revolt in Romanian cinema carries a kind and pessimistic worm: irrespective of how much they want to escape the environment that is going to annihilate their hopes and dreams, irrespective of how sickened they are by their own origins, young men on the Romanian screens will never turn a completely blind eye to the grown-ups in their life, on whom they project an aura of victims, incapacitated, in their

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turn, by a hostile political, economic and social system. For this reason, the frequent solution they apply is a heart-rending resignation, which marks their actual coming of age: Costeluș will go back home having learnt the lesson on his own alcohol intoxicated blood, Delia will give up her car in exchange for the promise of a small amount of money and of the freedom in the student years, while Liviu angrily tosses his earnings to his parents so that his brother should leave to work abroad and, thus, escape from the system. However, when stripped of the burden of family responsibility, young Romanian directors’ characters run wild and build their escapes ruthlessly, like warrior heroes. In The Rage (Jude, HI Film Productions - Circe Films, 2009), Radu Muntean’s debut feature, Luca, a young man in huge debt with the gypsy mobsters in Bucharest, will kill two times in order to save his dream of a normal world and life. The director constructs a story where not even the close-up on the mobster’s eight year old son stabbed in the neck with a toy train rail is as horrid as the abuse over an innocent girl, which offers hope of a new beginning. Nevertheless, Romanian directors have no intention at all of portraying a selfish generation, interested only in their own future. Irrespective of the survival solution they apply, many times by breaking the law, young men in Romanian movies after the year 2000 are heroes. They are not educated, they steal and sell the stolen goods, they are drug mules, they argue with or bully their parents or they kill. On the other hand, they are generous, responsible, protective, raising valid questions on their existence and on that of the people around them. They are contrasting icons of the awaited generation3, placed by the Romanian directors in the most sordid corners of a country in transition. How else could one consider the following character, who travelled round the word in one of the recent hits of Romanian cinema? In If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (Șerban, Strada Film - Film i Vast, 2010), Florin Șerban, with Cătălin Mitulescu as co-screenwriter, turns a young offender into a hero, who sacrifices his chance to get out of the prison for his brother’s future. Traumatized by his mother’s leaving to work abroad and by the repeated rejection he’s encountered, Silviu starts a mutiny in jail and threatens to kill a girl in order to prevent his mother from destroying her second child. Beyond the emotional transfer the boy had to do in order to replace the mother who had failed to be there and raise her child, the director turns to another obsession of the so-called wasted youth characters in Romanian cinema: the responsibility toward those in whom innocence and the chance to shift the future to a better end still reside. Silviu projects

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the deliverance of his failed expectations in his brother, the same as Luca, Radu Muntean’s character, awaits salvation from his innocent schoolmate, whereas Liviu, in Porumboiu’s short movie, makes the transfer toward the unborn son. By accepting the impossibility of a complete escape, the abovementioned young characters assign in this manner a purpose to their own sacrifices. The socioeconomic context compels them to grow up; however, despite this, young men in Romanian films are not less young. Quite the opposite. Their ambitions and passions are those typical to their age, the change of paradigm being situated particularly at the level of the solutions they choose. But, since movies in Romania are produced rather scarcely, directors are bound to select their subjects very cautiously, which may explain economically the absence or the moderation in tackling the sexuality, the technological upgrading of the young generation or age-specific abuse. Practically, during the last years there have barely been two or three movies in which the young generation’s approach of sex would be treated in a manner different from that of a transient subject; with reference to the other concerns mentioned above, we could hardly pin down several such titles. However, we would make a mistake if we deemed the new generation of directors indifferent to such subjects. Most likely, the Romanian cultural and media environment lack of debate on and interest in such subjects, from which valid and challenging cinema approaches could be created, together with the difficult circumstances surrounding filmmaking in Romania, have kept the new generation of directors away from these topics. And when they do approach them, they do it awkwardly, giving more thought to the reactions that the young generation’s breaking of sexual taboos generates, rather than to the depths of such relationships. The first movie that, after the year 2000, attempts to shock by defying the taboos of a nation repeatedly said to be Christian by essence, would be considered a plain love story in Hollywood. The love triangle in Tudor Giurgiu’s Love Sick (Giurgiu, Libra Film, 2006), between a brother and a sister and the latter’s (girl)friend, a triangle in which the cutting edges are incest and lesbianism, is a narrative world cinema has been already using up for several decades, in all possible permutations. However, the Romanian director, the same as his entire generation, does not appear to have found his own path on this foreign land, since he simply laps a Hollywood-evoking aesthetics over a Romanian perspective.

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Toward a New Generation On the other hand, an opening to the previously mentioned topics is already anticipated by several movies made during the last two years, which expose an entirely different generation. The young men and women previously used as remedial projections in a social and political context traumatized by an extremely unsettled transition from the totalitarian-communist approach to the democratic-capitalist one are now succeeded by an even more challenging type of characters. These are the young men and women whose period of development coincided with the technological boom, with the exposure to social networks, which binds them to a different ideation on intimacy, another type of sensitivity and identity construction and, perhaps the most important aspect, they are the protected and anticipated generation mentioned above. Emil Velicanu, the main character in Constantin Popescu’s Principles of Life (Popescu, HI Film, 2011), may as well be an adult adaptation of Ovidiu, one of the first young men rendered on screen by the new wave in Stuff and Dough (Puiu, Rofilm, 2001.). While in his twenties, Cristi Puiu’s character dreamt of having money - irrespective of the manner to earn it - in order to become a small businessman, financially free from any kind of authority; now he could well be, as Velicanu is, a businessman, shareholder in a company, married a second time, having a teenager child from the first marriage and an infant from the second. However, his dream of success would still be throbbed by something different from everyday worries: there is a wall between him and his 14-year old son in whom he would like to see the right heir of his life principles. Readily engaged in text messaging on the cell phone or online, in this virtual communication, rather than in father’s tiring lectures on life, sex or respect, the teenager blocks in few words almost any type of offline communication, pushing the limits up to the cathartic discharge in the end. The physical correction applied by his father can be read as more than the grown up’s attempt of insisting forcedly on the set of ideas and principles; it can be read also as an attempt to obtain immediate reactions, by breaking the wall he is otherwise unable to demolish. By using an adolescent character to trigger the conflict, Constantin Popescu is among the first Romanian directors to try to reach a new age of young men and women in Romanian cinema. A generation of major transformations in the modalities of communication, of interpersonal relationships and reactions triggered by immediate reality, which will

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definitely be a challenge both to the future filmmakers and to the present ones, if they want to get closer to the young cinema spectators. We would not want to give the impression that Romanian young men and women in the 90’s or the 2000’s passed through the decades in a traumatic technological autism. Like any other third world country with small to no regulation regarding the use of the internet, a family budget based on loans, and a great yearning for consumption, Romania became an important market for the latest gadgets and devices. Nevertheless, in the past years, young directors have paid little attention to cell phones, computers, webcams, or online messaging which are frequently used with two purposes. The first one is also the most obvious one: they are mere devices that speed up communication, with no impact in the evolving narratives. The other one comes to technologically emphasize the outlines of the generational gap we were discussing above, by portraying adults as noble and innocent savages forced to make contact with new realities. Forced to use computers, they are brought to a frightning yet fascinating new world, as portrayed in two recent short movies: The Yellow Smiley Face (Popescu, Saga Film, 2009) and Oli’s Wedding (Jurgiu, Libra Film Productions, 2009). The former stages the fear of technology of a major part of former Romanian workers now in their 50s, while the latter shifts more clearly to the pessimistic perception of the false being virtually created. The single father, who eagerly tries to take part to his son wedding, even if only online, conceives the coolness of the fake presence offered through the new technologies. At the other end of the world, he wears his best clothes; he buys the best wine and the tastiest food, but understands that his being there is all artificial. His feelings are described in opposition to those of the few young who surround him, for whom this type of online crossing the blurred line between the individual and his avatar comes naturally. But this crossing must have its rules or it may be dangerous, lecture other Romanian directors in their movies. In WebSite Story (Chişu, DaKINO Production, 2010), the film Dan Chişu created for the YouTube generation, the sermon is clear, mostly for those who bear the moral panic of the internet. Ignorant of the deceptive power of the virtually constructed realities, a father thinks he sees his own daugther involved in sexual intercourse in a movie posted on the internet. The outcome is devastating. Although artistically failed because of several of the director’s options, outdated even for the so-called commercial filmmaking, Dan Chişu’s experiment in the promotional stage of the Website Story movie

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should not be overlooked. Since this is a story on the already famous YouTube generation, the director chose to extract from the film the confession of one of the main characters on the traumatizing moment to later trigger the entire action of the movie and to upload on the internet. The result is unparalleled by any Romanian movie, since the story of the “unchaste maiden deflowered by her father” was seen and heard by tens of thousands of users and commented on by hundreds of people who then were stunned to find out that it was all fiction. While it did not manage to do it by an extremely violent and demonstrative film, the social network and video platform users’ reactions launch solid questions on the digital generation, on its clichés and obsessions, on its becoming vulnerable by the fading of the clear-cut border between fiction and reality or on the availability of acknowledging and maintaining the forced overlapping of the individual and of the avatar. Naturally, the themes identified above will be difficult to miss by Romanian cinema during the next years; the liberating, dreamy heroes, eager to escape dramatically from transition will become a former young generation of the big screen, but the most constantly dealt with during the first decade of the millennium. They will be replaced by a new age, apparently impervious to the immediate social, political and economic reality, skilful creators and handlers of masks, individualists, but impressively open to a global vision, although delivered in small bytes. In this context, apart from the technical and industrial changes, the great challenge of Romanian cinema, as to the ones of other industries outside Hollywood, will be the finding of those specific narratives that would appeal to local viewers and their position in a global perspective shared by a generation born while the WWW was breaking all boundaries, one by one. Notes 1 Even though the young generation of Romanian directors had successful debuts with their short movies, critics generally regard Cristi Puiu’s first feature film - Stuff and Dough (2001) - as the beginning of “the Romanian New Wave”. Thus, the most important film festival in Romania - Transilvania International Film Festival - held the tenth anniversary of New Romanian Cinema in 2011. 2 Aside from largely expressed opinios from critics worldwide, one significant portrait of this young generation of filmmakers resides in Mihai Fulger interview and critic approach book, The „New Wave” in Romanian Cinema (Fulger, 2006). 3 The awaited generation (Generatia asteptata in Romanian) was a long term project of an important Romanian newspaper which tried to advocate for young professionals in several areas as an option to a historically corrupt system.

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References: Fulger, Mihai, “Noul val” în cinematografia românească, Grup Editorial Art, Bucharest, 2006 Roberts, Ken, “Young People and Family Life in Eastern Europe”, in Leccardi, Carmen & Ruspini Elisabetta (ed.), A New Youth? Young People, Generations and Family Life, Ashgate Publishing, 2006 Sava, Valerian, “Generația așteptată” at IIFF Anonimul, in Observator Cultural no. 332, August 2006 Imre, Aniko, “Angels and Blockers in Recent Eastern and Central European Films”, in Shark, Timothy & Seibel, Alexandra (ed.), Youth Culture in Global Cinema, University of Texas Press, Austin, 2007 ***, Generația așteptată, Cotidianul, 2005 (http://www.generatia-asteptata.ro/) Șerban, Florin, Dacă vreau să fluier, fluier, Strada Film - Film i Vast, 2010. Film. Giurgiu, Tudor, Legături bolnăvicioase, Libra Film, 2006. Film. Popescu, Constantin, Principii de viață, HI Film, 2011. Film. Puiu, Cristi, Marfa și banii, Rofilm, 2001. Film. Popescu, Constantin, Fața galbenă care rîde, Saga Film, 2009. Film. Jurgiu, Tudor, Nunta lui Oli, Libra Film Productions, 2009. Film. Chișu, Dan, Website Story, DaKINO Production, 2010, Film. Porumboiu, Cornel, Pe aripile vinului, Universitatea de Artă Teatrală și Cinematografică, 2002. Film. Porumboiu, Cornel, Visul lui Liviu, University of Dramatic and Cinematographic Art, 2004. Film. Jude, Radu, Cea mai fericită fată din lume, HI Film Productions - Circe Films, 2009. Film. Muntean, Radu, Furia, Imaginator Film - Media Pro Pictures, 2002. Film.

Daniel Iftene is a PhD student at the Faculty of Theatre and Television (Babes-Bolyai University Cluj) researching the particular voices of Romanian directors who had carreers in both cinema and film. Being a graduate of the Journalism Faculty, for five years he works as a journalist and a film critic for several newspapers and magazines in Cluj and Romania.

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Proceedings of The digital generation international conference, cluj, romania, 16-18 september 2011

Andrei Biro

The Migration of Television to the Internet ABSTRACT The most important televisions developed a strong web presence. From BBC I Player to almost all big network You Tube accounts, a lot of programs are available on the net. The news channels in Romania developed parallel news sites where the newscast can be posted uncensored because of the lack of laws for online environments (for instance, Antena 3 – videonews.ro or Realitatea TV – Realitatea.net). Furthermore, newspaper or radio station sites are now sources of multimedia content – occasionally, exclusive recordings, footage or even broadcasting live interviews from the studios. Keywords: internet provider, IP TV, web-based TV station, video content

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1. Introduction

he recent years have represented an important change to the way people relate to media. Television was the cheapest and most important source of information and entertainment for decades. However, the viewing habits of the public changed. The printed newspapers era is getting close to its end and the TV guide makes no exception. It is now embedded in the set-top boxes as EPG (Electronic Program Guide). The fast evolution of broadband brought more and more public to news and video sharing sites; newspapers started to embed photo galleries and video in the online versions, even started online televisions. Fewer and fewer people program their life

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according to printed TV guides. New concepts like TS (time shift), PVR, DVR (personal video recorder, digital video recorder) provide functions such rewinding and fast forwarding live shows. Technological development did not occur in the manner anticipated twenty years ago. Development took place in a manner that has only one great factor: internet speed. A lot of technologies stopped evolving and let room for others to grow. From teletext to web and from the robotics to racks full of video players as seen in the past, the evolution was towards the “tube” sites of today, and concepts like stream or podcast. The user had a key role in the change. When a lack occurred in the offer on the market, the user turned into a player in the multimedia game. Live streaming peer to peer networks are used by people for sharing pay TV or exclusive channels. In Romania, this trend was generated by the fact that one cable and satellite TV provider took over the entire amount of first league national football live broadcasts. The image quality of these peer to peer networks was comparable to the one provided by standard definition cable providers. This was possible owing to the fact that, in the digital era, the preservation of signal quality in made easy by encoding. However, the most important televisions developed a strong web presence. From BBC I Player to almost all big network You Tube accounts, a lot of programs are available on the net. The news channels in Romania developed parallel news sites where the newscast can be posted uncensored because of the lack of laws for online environments (for instance, Antena 3 – videonews.ro or Realitatea TV – Realitatea. net). Furthermore, newspaper or radio station sites are now sources of multimedia content – occasionally, exclusive recordings, footage or even broadcasting live interviews from the studios. Nowadays, almost everyone can own their personal TV station online. Politicians took advantage of this new medium. With the lack of support from the major Romanian press holdings, president Traian Basescu developed his own online television, basescu-live.com, during the last elections. It is easy to play on a playground with almost no rules. The Internet is becoming the consumers’ primary entertainment source. The TV is increasingly taking a back seat to the cell phone and the personal computer among consumers age 18 to 34. Just as the ‘Kool Kids’ and ‘Gadgetiers’ have replaced traditional land-lines with mobile communications, cable and

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satellite TV subscriptions risk a similar fate of being replaced as the primary source of content access.” said Saul Berman, IBM Media & Entertainment Strategy and Change practice leader.1 Attempts to create interfaces that put together TV and internet service were quite a few, such as Apple TV, TiVo, Boxee or Samsung [email protected] But perhaps the revolution in this area is brought by Google TV. The most frequently used search engine will bring almost all the video content you can find on the net, on the TV screens and a set-top box or even the TV will merge the two services. You Tube developed its special XL version for TV sets. More and more people are connecting the computer to the big screen of the TV set, are buying small and quiet Home Cinema PCs, Blue-Ray or satellite receivers with (at least) You Tube capabilities. But the new generation of TV sets can connect directly to internet in order to play multimedia content.

2. Classification: The ways internet brings now the television, video content or video streams to our homes are various. This is my personal classification: 1. IP TV 2. Web-based TV internet providers 3. Web-based TV stations 4. Video sharing sites 5. Internet TV devices 6. Smart TVs 7. Internet integration on media devices 8. TV streams on mobile devices 9. Video content of internet sites

3. The IP TV

Why is IP TV probably the main source of TV programs, at the beginning of the 21st century? Why is cable or satellite no longer a good way to provide television? What are the features and the reasons

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to overheat broadband connections? The first condition for the implementation of IP TV is a good broadband infrastructure, capable of constant speed, exceeding 20MB/ s. “IPTV is not a purpose in itself but a consequence of a very good broadband network”2 said Doru Popescu, the manager of Cross Point, the company involved in developing the Romanian IP TV networks. The first Romanian provider that implemented IP TV was Innes. It remains only a premium provider for less than one thousand users in Bucharest and the nearby residential area. The services are provided at an expensive rate for the Romanian market. But the expertise gained in this project by Cross Point, the company that implemented it, was used in developing much larger commercial, popular and cheaper IP services for Romtelecom - the former national public telecommunication provider, as well as for RDS&RCS the fastest growing market leader in telecommunication. 3.1 The differences between IP TV and cable television systems The IP TV changes the way we receive the TV signal and comes with a set-top box with enhanced features. Basically, coaxial cable is replaced by a network connection. The cable TV reached its limits even with the extra space provided by digital compression. A cable TV network could theoretically carry about one hundred analogue TV channels or six times more digital. But in the Romanian cable networks, at least until now, more than half of the space is still reserved to analogue TV, dedicated to those clients who won’t switch to digital. This still leaves to digital television space for more than one hundred fifteen channels. But the demands for HD transmissions are higher and they take at least twice more space than a standard definition channel. Therefore, in digital cable TV, we reached the boundary of sixty analogue channels, one hundred and fifty digital standard definition TV channels, more than ten HD ones, and some space for internet connections. The DVR, PVR features are just those provided by some set-top boxes and no chance for time shift or re-run in the case of missed TV programs. The IP TV breaks this barrier. The server-based time shift or rerun service can bring on screen previous programs (the user missed) that were not even programmed to be recorded by the user. Consequently, IP TV means more channels, better image and sound quality and multiple VOD, PVR and TS services for customers

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without the use of a computer. 3.2 The differences between IPTV and Internet TV IPTV allows the provider to protect much better the content, to protect the streams against piracy, to offer services in a customizable operating system (more and more frequently, a Linux OS can be found behind the simple interface, providing endless possibilities) by a settop box. This at least in theory. Now there are internet sites that are offering mostly illegally IP TV streams from various countries. You don’t have to use the computer or to connect to a specific web site. The box may offer a full range of connectivity options and low energy consumption compared to a normal PC. The functions are more complex than those contained in a classic STB. Time shift allows the pausing of live transmissions, going back or forward on a live program. For this reason, on the large majority of settop boxes the function Time Shift (TS) is on the pause button (actually it is a start-record function – on a local HDD, flash memory, or in just a simple mark for a stream recorded on a external server). Owing to this feature, the set-top box is a time machine of broadcasting. This could complicate the way ratings are calculated. However, a set-top box connected to internet by a LAN or Wi Fi connection could set to the providers a wide range of useful information about the viewers’ habits. Usually, IP TV uses the provider’s network in order to assure a quality connection and not the internet as a network. The only exception in Romania is PBX Telecom. The company offers a set-top box that can be used in almost any internet network. The internet is used as a network mostly in the case of web-based internet TV providers. 4. The web based internet TV providers The main difference from the IP TV is that the access to the TV station is made by a web interface using a computer, a tablet or even a mobile phone and not a set-top box (there are internet TV providers like PBX in Romania that offer the web TV service and a separate set-top box too, like an IP TV provider). This site allows “logging in” to your favourite channels, from wherever you are in the world. It works even when travelling by car, bus, train and you have a decent connection. Various types can be met on the net, from the crowded and blog-like wwitv.com site to the more executive business class-type

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livestation.com. Some are just portals offering links to streams, others are embedding the stream. The quality of the reception depends on the connection and cannot be guaranteed by the provider of the service, like in the case of IP TV provided in a controlled network. Some providers, such as Romtelecom, offer IP TV and web TV, too. IP TV is offered for network subscribers and the web TV service can be found at dolcetv.ro, available to anyone. It offers TV streams, on demand free and paid programs, too. But not all TV programs are broadcasted entirely. There are some limitations because of copyright. Some TV programs cannot be broadcast over the internet and some shows are blocked due to copyright regulations. PBX offers a web service and an IP TV with a proprietary box, too. Unlike other IP TV services, you can connect the box to any internet network. 7 days re-runs and recording are available for all the channels. These are official web TV providers, but there are “unofficial” ones, too. 4.1 Official web TV providers They provide streams that are free for rebroadcasting or charge a fee or a subscription for premium content. In Romania, we have dolcetv.ro, pbxtv.ro, i-tv.ro. A good international internet TV platform is livestation.com. These services are an interesting alternative to cable TV, using especially flexible methods of payment like SMS, Pay Pal or prepay accounts instead of subscriptions. 4.2 Unofficial web TV providers They developed in Romania especially when the rights for the national football championship were taken by a cable provider and the clients of other companies were not able to watch the games. “Unofficial” links were promoted even in sports newspapers. Other pay TV channels, like HBO, are also available in the list of these providers. In Romania, cool-tv.net is the best known. At European level, Fbhosttv.fr is offering IP TV channels and web TV streaming from all around Europe. In Romania, these sites that offer live TV station streaming started as a free alternative to cable TV. First of all, the users were especially Romanians abroad that could watch channels from their country. But the boom of this kind of service, financed only by advertising (because net TV streaming generates a quiet good traffic – Google ads or even ads to legal TV services) occurred when a cable company took the rights for Romanian national football championship. Hundreds of

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thousands of subscribers of the other distributors had no option in watching the matches but by changing the provider. But RDS&RCS had a very poor customer service and installation could be delayed for months. Consequently, certain sites started streaming the games. Sports newspapers stared to promote it freely on the front page. 4.3 Platforms and software that allow user streaming In the digital era, anyone can have their own internet TV station. The web is full of tutorials of how to go live on the net. Sopcast or U stream are the services that allow anyone to broadcast. Software such as VLC player can also do the job. 5. Web-based TV stations Web-based TV stations were the trend of the past decade. Some low profile emerging Romania media “moguls” took the opportunity to create televisions with about 10 % of the price of an on air TV project. Therefore, a lot of on line TV stations appeared. But the major part of the people is no more looking for individual products; instead, they are looking for packages. HappyFish.ro is such an example (still working) of net TV station. Other brands like briantv or evotv disappeared, at least for some time.



The press wrote in the past about them like about aliens; unfortunately, they had a short life. Both of them died because of lack of traffic and low income.3 6. Video sharing sites

You Tube is so popular now that people no longer use it only as a video sharing site, but also as a search engine. But there are a many other sites like it; some focus on the good quality of the materials, such as Vimeo. Some consider products like Joost, Babelgum internet TV products because of the controlled selection of the content. In Romania, the most popular is Trilulilu.ro, but there are other successful sites, too, like peteava.ro or 220.ro. Media Pro, the most successful Romanian media group, according to ratings, has recently launched in our country the CME online VOD platform called Voyo, offering films and the productions of the media group.

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7. Internet TV devices The announcement of the launching of the Google TV service seemed the beginning of a revolution. Defined as the platform that unites the internet with classical broadcasting, it looked like the future of TV viewing. The concept borrowed a big part of the mobile phones world, too – the apps. This is an endless playground for creativity. But is it better than Apple TV, Roku or Boxee? Experts’ opinions are different, with respect to the success of the platform. Will Google TV be successful in bringing on screen content as good as the results of the searching machine? The keyword in this is content and the key players are the content providers. Will the existence of the Google box complicate even more our video home systems? However, SONY announced that will implement Google TV in its TV sets and Logitech offered a set-top box. Only Apple Tv is available in Romania. 8. TV streams on mobile devices I am not talking about some Chinese mobile phone sets that have an analogue or even digital TV tuner using classical on air broadcasting. Fast mobile internet connections allow us to watch TV on the go on mobile devices. In Romania, 8 channels are provided now by the demo service of PBX Telecom. The Android OS application has already 20,000 downloads. The service was successfully tested even on car computers on the way. 9. Video content of internet sites The video content is now an important part of almost any site. The online version of the newspapers provides video content or is even developing an internet TV station like “Adevărul TV” in Romania. Video content is almost a must for news sites – national or local. Even radio stations ask their reporters at least to make pictures for the internet site. In these conditions, almost all journalists became video journalists using video cameras, photo cameras with motion recording features or even mobile phones that allow video recording. This content can be accessed not only by computer but also by any equipment with an embedded browser connected to the TV set or even to a Smart TV.

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10. Smart TVs TV sets producers try to cut down the delays between purchases. New features are introduced every year. The Smart TV can connect to the internet by a wired network connection or a wireless one. So the user can access content from You Tube and other sites. Because of the limited number of HD TV channels available on cable or IP TV, the access to internet provides a wide range of high definition content. Some producers made their own online services to provide Video on Demand content. New buttons and features appeared on the remote control. There is a “fight” between content providers to win a place on the remote control of a new set-top box or even TV set. What about a You Tube or a Hulu button? Who will win the place on the remote controls? Some providers give free access to internet by an embedded browser, others select carefully the content providers. But what about a remote control which can add up or change buttons, since the new generations of remote controls look like smart phones and the buttons are replaced with a touchscreen? 11. Internet integration on media devices More and more home theatre devices have an internet connection, too. Because of low selling, more and more Blue Ray manufacturers also included an internet connection and usually a You Tube application. Satellite receivers like Amiko Alien or Optibox Anaconda provide access to internet and You Tube, weather and Picassa applications. The Optibox product also has a web browser called Web Zeal, run from a stick. 12. Data and statistics According to Broadband Forum, in 2010, there were almost 40 millions IP TV users in the world, half of them in Europe. Video sharing sites. According to SATI, in July 2011, Trilulilu. ro had 2,585,678 unique viewers. Pe teava, another Romanian tubelike site, had 1,301,829 unique viewers. The movies offered for free every month by dolcetv.ro services have only hundreds of viewers each. In 2009, Internet TV HappyFish.ro had 50,000 visitors per month.4

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In its official documentation, PBX says the service has over 300,000 IPTV customers in Romania, USA, Canada, Australia and Pakistan and 230,000 registered users in Romania. These figures were attained with no advertising.

13. Case studies

13.1 Digi Play – the creativity and innovation came from the users Implementing IPTV on the biggest Romanian communication provider RDS&RCS. RDS&RCS is the biggest Romanian telecommunication company. It operates on several Central European markets, such as Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Italy and Spain. Doru Popescu, the manager of Cross Point, the company that implemented Digi Play, used a Softpedia Forum to stay in touch with beta testers in order to gain feedback on the product. A lot of ideas and suggestions were implemented in the set-top box functionalities and firmware. In this way, he freely gained hundreds of pages of usage reports and live feedback on the problems, and a free tester platform. 13.2 Big Brother in Romania The most famous cross media show was not a big success in our country. The reason? At the time of its release, the development of broadband was just at the beginning (pay video streaming and mobile phone rates for SMS were quite high at that moment). It was difficult to watch paid streaming on the net and to follow the competitors in the show all day around. The show had come too early on the market. 14 Conclusions With the migration of television to internet through web interfaces or IP set-top boxes, new functions have emerged. The public is connected not only to a list of channels, but also to video sharing services like You Tube or Vimeo. The providers of these services even try to get a place on the remote control. Other functions, such as RSS clients, forecast, Facebook and Twitter are embedded in the systems. Different kinds of combinations appear on the market: TV sets with browsers, Blue-Ray players with You Tube or satellite set-top boxes with weather, Picasa or RSS clients. Smart buyers are now looking for infinite expandable functions by plugins (like WebZeal – Optibox satellite receiver internet browser plug in) or various apps that are expected

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for the Google TV platform. Firmware developed by third parties is much better than the original ones created by producers. Sometimes the best firmware is a unofficial one created by a enthusiastic non-profit developer. The TV sets will become more and more complex, providing the functions and functionality of a basic computer. The older one (and I mean the one without internet connection, sold in the past years) will be upgraded by a Home Cinema or a Living Room PC, an internet or IP TV box or a smart Blue Ray or satellite receiver. It is interesting to follow the destiny that internet TVs will have without being included in packages. Will they find enough public or will they become lost in a huge multimedia market? Undeniably, the television, video content and streaming will come from the internet. And the TV guide will make no more the viewers’ agenda; instead, the audience will make their own schedule. Notes 1 Berman Saul J., Battino Bill , Shipnuck Louisa and Neus Andreas “The end of advertising as we know it” IBM Study 2007 2 “Financiarul” 16 February 2010 issue 3 Bunea Iulia, Raluca Preda “Internet televisions are followed by bad luck” Adevarul 25 November 2009 4 Ibid.

Bibliography: Berman Saul J., Battino Bill, Shipnuck Louisa and Neus Andreas The end of advertising as we know it. IBM Study 2007 Orlando Matei Rethink IP TV Services. PBX Telecom Bunea Iulia, Raluca Preda “Internet televisions are followed by bad luck” in Adevarul 25 November 2009 “Financiarul” magazine16 February 2010 issue “Chip” Magazine Collection SATI Statistics

Andrei Biro works as a videojournalist for the news department of TVR Cluj (regional station of the national television). He was editor in chief at NCN TV (local television) and he worked as a cameraman and videojournalist for Realitatea TV (national news network). He graduated from Theatre and Television Faculty at Babes-Bolyai University ClujNapoca and he is following a master program in Interactive Multimedia. He also teaches the practical module of the Image for Film and Television course at Theatre and Television Faculty.

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Digitizing Analog Culture

 KEYWORDS digital city, digitization of communication, observational theatre, anarchic theatre, jeu de l’acteur, langage métaphorique, métaphore, formation théâtrale, blog, virtual space, carnival, exhibitionism, voyeurism, theological-like perspective, philological perspective, anthropological perspective, blogging, blogosphere, blogipelago, literary blogs, writers’ blogs.

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Nicolae Mandea

The Anarchist Theatre Cultural Intervention and Digitalized Mobilization ABSTRACT The economic theory of mutualism depicts a type of anarchism that the digital city obviously supports. It is not just about economic behaviour. One that has contact with the education environment grasps without difficulty the vulnerability of the authority compared with digital networks. Digital networks get easily federalized through association. On the other hand, specific social education is needed. The impact of technology is strong, but not to be overstated. Communication technology is an example of low technology incorporating high technology features. A strong concept of social education moderates the contact with technology. Keywords: digital city, digitization of communication, observational theatre, anarchic theatre

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hat I propose is a contribution to the definition of three terms required by a new type of cultural action. These three notions are found in the wider field of what we call socio-cultural theatrical phenomenon: theatricality, participation, theatre pedagogy. An author rediscovered by a new reading is Guy Debord and the idea of “society of performance” - rebuilt in the context of digitization of communication. Oeuvres Edition, Quarto, Gallimard, 2006, 1900 pages, provides a large number of texts related to this metaphor, envisioned as fundamental to contemporary, but also by the context of intellectual anarchism of The Situationist International. A reference book for the prospect of a new perspective on what a theatrical metaphor could be is Metaphors We Live By, by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, University of Chicago Press, 2003, second edition. The meeting point of these authors defines the most concise point where I think

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we could start. I think - or hope - that through connecting the ingredient principles of participatory practices and what the metaphor of contemporary theatricality could be, associated with elements of a connected pedagogy could generate a cross disciplinary research field with very interesting pragmatic consequences. Modern theatre (and what I mean right now is “theatre as art”) is fundamentally linked to the notion of dramatic text. The idea of predominance of the text, the axiom of the dramatic text perceived as generative nucleus in the performing arts, is highly structured for the artistic phenomenon, but questionable when we talk about theatre as a metaphor of reality associated with the social sphere. The idea of a “text” existing world is strongly conservative and inappropriate, I think, at least in a partly pragmatic approach. At the same time, it is not an approach that needs to be rejected, but the opposite conceptual pole that gives the possibility to relate polemically. The multitude of concepts makes the difference between the self-centred artistic discourse and self-placement in the field of arts perceived as the field of knowledge. So I will start by defining the paradigm of systematic theatre, the predominant paradigm, although not exclusively, in the twentieth century. It may seem paradoxical, because this period of history is governed by the authoritarian figure of the theatre director, the author of spectacular theatrical work, author of a tangible artistic reality, exposed to perception in presence (according to Cesare Brandi - General Theory of Criticism, Romanian translation., Ed Univers, 1980). I defined this theatrical paradigm by the systematic theatre formula. The fundamental concept for systematic theatre is the dramatic text. Based on a text which is analyzed in depth and in its context, working with a team of actors, building in space through its staging and building scenic images (static or dynamic signs), the director creates, through a personal artistic vision of the original concept, their work of art. Each element of this five-step synthetic definition requires extensive and nuanced development. The real challenge is to define an even more synthetic expression: theatre as an art of the context, the director as the artist of contextualization. This would be, in short, the vision of systematic theatre. What happens then, if we remove the main hypothesis, the axiom in which the text pre-exists, the premise in which the generative core is the dramatic text? First, we notice that this is possible. There are plenty of examples, from antiquity to the present. We rediscover the anarchic spirit from the Dionysian festivals to the creative relationship between Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre actors or the political theatre created by Augusto Boal.

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Important however is that the empty spot of the dramatic text is immediately conquered. We are considering the other triggers of the creative process: observation, narrative cores, themes, imagination, and vision. Whereas a dramatic text is part of the process, the text is only a mark (reminiscence) of the creative process, or a late outcome, never a generator for the creative process. The idea of observation as main source is fundamental. An observational theatre is not a documentary theatre, but it does not exclude the possibility. The notion of observational cinema is known in the world of cinematography, but this notion is sooner related to an anthropological concept. In a brief definition, theatrical observational refers to the human behaviour (verbal and nonverbal), the human relationship with space and objects, simple narrative cores and situations containing theatrical potential. The observational material, which has as start point the documentary (more precisely, the poetics of documentary theatre) is not a direct representation of reality. Following Hakim Bey, I would use the term “temporary autonomous zone” (Hakim Bey - Temporary Autonomous Zone - Text Spring Equinox, 1990, reprinted Bibliobazaar, 2007). The observation cuts out of reality “temporary autonomous zones” autonomy in relation to the context of everyday life, but with great potential for coagulation by the force of a “poetic terrorism” that determined in the audience a reaction with the force of an aesthetic shock (Hakim Bey - Poetic Terrorism, Bibliobazaar, 2007). Opposite to the emotional trigger I place the concept, a formal intuition type over the possibility of a theatrical development through the participation of the audience in a relational aesthetic, emotional and cognitive process. The performance that gets closest to the observational mode of thinking is Rosia Montană – on the physical line and on political line created by the dramAcum group at the Hungarian State Theatre of Cluj. Andreea Vălean, Gianina Cărbunariu, Peca Stefan and Radu Apostol, together with the team of actors and the set designer Andu Dumitrescu started a process of direct observation and documentation in Rosia Montană, a narrowly defined community, strongly affected by a mining project, with a major existential and environmental impact. Several scenes are developed through dramatic writing and theatre improvisation, a mosaic structure which is both orderly and ontological anarchy, with a strong piercing attitude. Finally, the performance is defined as “a project against Rosia Montana Gold Corporation”, “a theatre project against the Romanian state that has abandoned its citizens”. Its spatial structure serves only to the theatrical needs of each scene and to stimulate the active relationship with the audience. The only decorations are either ready-made objects or models of buildings, or elements of real environment. Instead, there is a strong audio-visual device,

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support of powerful extensive projections, mainly documentation, but this is not all (in one of the scenes, even graphics animation solutions are used). We encounter an anarchic theatre by definition, primarily by the absence of the text, but it is equally clear that an important goal is to get involved in order to determine an effect in the existential dimension. Guy Debord, in his text “Rapport sur la construction des situations et sur les conditions de l’organisation et de l’action de la tendance situationiste internationale “, Paris, 1957 (the Gallimard edition, Oeuvres, p. 308-328) links the idea of the revolutionary type of change of the world to those actions that make change possible, which are more easily identifiable in the field of culture and cultural and artistic innovation. It is a text that justifies its rediscovery for a new discussion on what we can now define as artistic action or cultural intervention. Major references concluded today (I mean for example, Joseph Beuys and the social sculpture from the ‘70s and the subsequent conceptual developments, but also for example Nicholas Bourriaud - Esthetique rélationelle, 1998 and the writings of Jacques Rancière) put in a new light the relationship between the aesthetic avantgarde, the avant-garde in the field of knowledge today and the educational component of culture. We are facing the return to the initial idea of theatre (in the broad sense: the performance) as a community phenomenon. We can refer to the theatre community as a phenomenon on two levels: the creative community and cultural community. The creative community generates a conceptual and pragmatic poetics, while the cultural community is defined by option-related values in multiple plans, including social situations. The main quality of the performance comes from its ability to generate a participation process (emotional, cognitive and aesthetic) in a small group (the audience) that is by definition, unrepresentative statistically, marginal by placement: a community that overtakes the individual, able to represent itself on a social dimension exclusively through the force of a symbolic message and the capacity to get contaminated with an informal learning process. The cultural interventions that include performances, but are limited to performances only, designed and made by group with a variable component – “Offensive Generosity” - are an example of artistic and teaching oriented practice as a vector of change. “Offensive, organized, generous” - the slogan of this initiative is part of a larger current, which Ted Purves brings to discussion in a book called “What We Want Is Free - generosity and exchange in recent art”. In the cultural action projects defined as “generosity projects”, art as a gift is a central concept. What should be noted, I think, especially, is the focus to a new audience, which has no relationship with aesthetics and a clear sense

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of its autonomy. In this sense, the “Tour in the countryside” project has a unique dimension in the contemporary Romanian theatre space: it gives back, through performance, the real story to the community out of which it was extracted. Cultural intervention projects include the performance as a vehicle component communication with an audience whose vague homogeneity does not come from his habits of cultural consumption (rather absent), but its social and community location. The story is generated by a simple fact (the cleaning lady and English teacher at the same time in the same school, free to choose decisively in favour of one of occupations). Except for the performances in La Bomba Community Centre (in the district of Bucharest Rahova-Uranus), the audience was made up overwhelmingly of people who experienced a theatre performance for the very first time. It was not an impediment, but the pedagogical component of cultural intervention has become more important. After the performance, the public debates, moderated by Bogdan Georgescu, main author of the project and main animator of “Offensive Generosity” established equilibrium between the extensive artwork, assumed as the active art and community empowerment strategy, through militarism for the reconstruction of cultural centres as active art community centres. Other performances made by Bogdan Georgescu under the umbrella of the same concept bring to main attention the definition of theatre as a community phenomenon. Whether in Craiova or in Chisinau, the strategy is the creative anarchy of the theatre and creates a community of creation and reception - a vital stake centred on the concept of participation. We are however in the situation of the “intercultural theatre” (as defined by Patrice Pavis in the introduction to The Intercultural Performance Reader, Routledge, 1996). The two cases are different. “Rosia Montana” welcomes viewers to the theatre, with an additional difficulty: the Romanian-Hungarian bilingualism of the performance. “Tour in the countryside” has no theatre to host it, it moves to where the spectator is identified. What unites them is the creative strategy defined as “anarchic theatre”. To speak but of anarchism in the context of the triumph of capitalism in the neoconservative version seems to be just the beginning of a conceptual fissure. Does community theatre open a new path towards a form of Marxism refreshed? Novelty, not only in relation to the nineteenth century, but even with the twentieth century, is given by the digital communities, which could called mob communities. Mirroring the effect of urban dwellers in the digital environment, these communities are a consequence of the mancity dematerialization relationship. If one avoids simplistic essays about virtual reality and the digital city, we see that we are facing a reality of urban communities, which self selects in the virtual environment, but acts

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locally in a territory not defined as belonging identity. One might say this is exactly what happens when a theatre sells tickets on the Internet; but I’m not talking about a sales strategy here. We need to take a step back to the issue of anarchism. Anarchism (or rather “anarchisms”) is a body of ideas against authoritarianism describing a state of absence of governance trough ignoring the law. The state of disorder may be desirable for individuals. Or groups tend to self (Paris Commune), rejecting the state that pressures communities. We distinguish between passive anarchic attitude rather individualistic lifestyle, and a proactive approach, having in mind the construction of complementary strategies of community affirmation. Of these, already very visible, but only as signs preceding, are graffiti, posters and informational interference. There is a real conflict between city communities, which tend towards congruence with its topography, and virtual communities, generated and structured information. It is a key moment when the community comes out of the digital virtual and becomes real, in a real public place in town. At that moment, we face a spectacular event with a powerful social potential. In particular, it can be an event in a specially designed or in a public space, and if limited, in a squatted place. The digital environment promotes social behaviour based on voluntary agreements between individuals versus centralized structures of the city or state. The economic theory of mutualism describes this form of anarchism that the digital city obviously favours. It is not just about economic behaviour. One that has contact with the education environment easily understands the fragility of the authority in relation to digital networks. Digital networks get easily federalized through association. However, how are these related to the idea of theatre and cultural interventions? Specific social education is needed. The impact of technology is strong, but not to be overstated. Communication technology (internet, mobile telephony) is an example of low technology incorporating high technology features. A strong concept of social education tempers the impact of technology. Community remains the key term. Earlier in the discussion, the theatrical metaphor as a metaphor for knowledge was mentioned. The spectacular involved in education can reconcile the conflicting moods caused by reflux emphases of cultural endowments in real society. The alarming number of small cinemas, theatres, cultural institutions underfunded and numbness of the existing management system for community ignored dismiss from the social game communities with a real potential of participation. It becomes necessary in the direction of a soft - anarchism an education, a digital mobilization as a natural component. Judith Suissa, in Anarchism and Education A

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Philosophical Perspective, Routledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education, 2006, Chapters 6 Anarchism goes to school (pp. 75-101) and 7 for year Anarchist Education Society (pp. 102-127), and analyzing historical examples, raises the maximum of problems in terms of education for social change. My proposal is something much simpler and more modest: a link between communities mobilized through digital social networking, active in the virtual environment and real communities, precisely located in community centres or non-localized, migrating in a vaguely defined space spontaneously located. A critical component of education for such targets is theatrical education, but that is another subject, or another subject of the development we started talking - anarchic theatre. References: Bey, Hakim. Poetic Terrorism, Charleston: Bibliobazaar. 2007 Bey, Hakim.Temporary Autonomous Zone. Text Spring Equinox. 1990 Bourriaud, Nicholas. Esthetique rélationelle, Dijon: édition Les presses du réel. 1998 Brandi, Cesare. General Theory of Criticism. Bucuresti: Ed Univers. 1980 Debord, Guy. Rapport sur la construction des situations et sur les conditions de l’organisation et de l’action de la tendance situationiste international. Paris: Gallimard. 1957 Lakoff, George; Johnson, Mark. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2003 Pavis, Patrice. The Intercultural Performance Reader. Oxon: Routledge. 1996 Purves, Ted. What We Want Is Free - Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art. New York: State University of New York, 2005 Suissa, Judith. “Anarchism goes to school” and “7 for year Anarchist Education Society” in Anarchism and Education A Philosophical Perspective. Oxon: Routledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education. 2006

Nicolae Mandea, PhD is a professor and the Dean of the National University of Theatre and Cinematography Bucharest. Owner of an engineer degree (automatics and computers), and that of a stage director, he coordinated and was a member of cultural and artistic projects, among which tangaProject and dramAcum (a project for contemporary dramaturgy). He is the author of the volume Theatricality- a Contemporary Concept. Nicolae Manea is a member of the board that coordinated the volumes Masters of Romanian Theatre from the Second Half of the 20th Century.

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Alain Chevalier

Pour une analyse du discours des pédagogues de théâtre et ses implications1 Résumé : La suite des réflexions présentées ici s’enracine dans une expérience personnelle et récurrente: celle d’avoir assisté à des débats ou des rencontres rassemblant artistes et/ou universitaires autour de la question de la formation de l’acteur et se présentant trop souvent comme des joutes verbales de la plus belle tenue mais se terminant en évident dialogue de sourds. L’approche inclut aussi des enjeux importants pour la compréhension du système de la formation théâtrale. Vouloir dépasser la dimension purement descriptive de tout discours, c’est d’abord rappeler qu’un discours n’est pas nécessairement neutre et qu’il peut charrier avec lui une dimension prescriptive. Mots-clés: jeu de l’acteur, langage métaphorique, métaphore, formation théâtrale Préambule: une expérience récurrente

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a suite des réflexions présentées ici en cascade et qui constituent le présent article s’enracine dans une expérience personnelle et récurrente: celle d’avoir assisté à des débats ou des rencontres rassemblant artistes et/ou universitaires autour de la question de la formation de l’acteur et se présentant trop souvent comme des joutes verbales de la plus belle tenue mais se terminant en évident dialogue de sourds. Ces colloques se sont multipliés ces trente dernières années, mais les débats semblent se répéter sans fin sans que nous puissions y voir de réelles avancées. Nous avons voulu retenir deux de ces événements qui ont donné lieu à deux publications. Il s’agit premièrement du compte rendu des débats qui se sont tenus le 8 mars 1982 au Théâtre de Gennevilliers et qui ont rassemblé plus de 400 participants — étudiants, comédiens, professionnels

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et amateurs, metteurs en scène, professeurs, directeurs de cours, chercheurs —, autour des deux questions suivantes: «Apprend-on le métier de comédien?» et «Quelles écoles pour aujourd’hui?»2, et deuxièmement, des actes du colloque international «Former ou transmettre: le jeu s’enseigne-til?»3 organisé à Paris par l’Université du Québec à Montréal et l’Université Paris X-Nanterre au Théâtre National de la Colline en avril 2001 et qui a réuni un public de quelque 500 personnes et un panel de 47 intervenants, tous artistes et assurant pour la plupart des activités de formation. Pour ouvrir le champ d’application de nos réflexions non plus seulement à des productions orales mais aussi vers des textes écrits, nous avons également retenu ceux publiés dans Les Chemins de l’acteur4, ouvrage qui recueille soit des retranscriptions de conférences données au sein du Département de Théâtre de l’Université du Québec à Montréal en 1995 et en 1998, soit des textes spécifiquement écrits à l’occasion de ce livre. Après avoir rappelé les difficultés que les artistes rencontrent à parler de leur pratique, nous montrerons ensuite que ce constat d’incompréhension mutuelle que nous faisons est régulièrement partagé par les organisateurs mêmes de ces rencontres et ce, sans qu’aucune explication satisfaisante n’en soit donnée. Pour ouvrir une piste possible, nous nous proposerons de nous arrêter sur le corpus défini plus haut en tentant de l’éclairer à la lumière des travaux conduits par Michel Foucault sur le langage. Nous étayerons également notre propos d’extraits tirés du texte «Le jardinier»5, écrit par Jacques Delcuvellerie, professeur d’art dramatique au Conservatoire Royal de Liège et considéré comme emblématique6 de la pédagogie théâtrale audit Conservatoire. Ce texte nous apportera explicitement une clé de compréhension du fonctionnement des discours en pédagogie théâtrale. Enfin, pour préciser les enjeux possibles de notre approche, nous ne ferons pas l’impasse sur la question du pouvoir étroitement liée à celle de discours et nous verrons les implications qu’un certain type de relation pédagogique entraîne pour la construction de l’identité du sujet «artiste» ou «étudiant-artiste». Une description impossible ! Si les colloques entre artistes et universitaires se sont effectivement multipliés ces dernières années dans le but — comment ne pas le supposer? −, d’apporter plus de compréhension au phénomène de la formation de l’acteur, nous n’oublions pas non plus —c’est un truisme de le dire—, que les artistes sont en général peu enclins à théoriser leur pratique, ce qui n’aide assurément pas à l’efficacité ni même à la sérénité des débats.

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Les artistes résistent même quand d’autres tentent de se charger de cette théorisation ainsi que le soulignait Pierre Bourdieu en 1998 dans l’avantpropos de son ouvrages sur Les règles de l’art: Pourquoi s’acharne-t-on contre ceux qui tentent de faire avancer la connaissance de l’œuvre d’art et de l’expérience esthétique, sinon parce que l’ambition de produire une analyse scientifique de cet individuum ineffabile et de l’individuum ineffabile qui l’a produit constitue une menace mortelle pour la prétention si commune (au moins parmi les amateurs d’art), et pourtant si «distinguée» de se penser comme individu ineffable, et capable de vivre des expériences ineffables de cet ineffable.7 Nous repérons tout d’abord l’emploi par Pierre Bourdieu du terme «ineffable», ou «qui ne peut être exprimé par des paroles»8, emploi qui nous invite, un peu à rebours, à nous interroger sur le langage lui-même et son utilisation dans le champ artistique. Nous y reviendrons. De même, mais sans entrer dans les considérations polémiques du sociologue, sans parler de défense face à une «menace» que ressentiraient les «amateurs d’art» devant toute analyse scientifique, il appert que ce discours de l’impossibilité à dire le processus est souvent porté par les artistes - pédagogues eux-mêmes. Eugenio Barba, par exemple, précise que «l’apprentissage permet d’assimiler ce savoir tacite, essentiellement pratique, qui ne se laisse pas formuler par des mots»9 ou que «l’essentiel ne peut être que muet. Il est action mais l’on ne peut le communiquer»10. Dans le même ordre d’idées, Luc de Smet, dans la brochure publiée à l’occasion du vingtième anniversaire de son école, la Kleine Academie à Bruxelles, il nous dit: Rien n’est plus difficile à formuler que ce qui constitue exactement le travail que nous faisons à l’école […]. Coucher par écrit des idées de haut vol n’est pas difficile, mais elles ne feraient qu’un brouillard au-dessus du paysage. Ecrire sur l’Ecole est sans doute si ardu parce que le travail est indissociable de l’ici et maintenant. Les formules parfois brillantes du cours perdent leur éclat sur le papier et deviennent lettre morte pour qui n’était pas témoin de l’instant.11 Nous retrouvons, avec ce «brouillard au-dessus du paysage», l’expérience que nous rapportions en préambule. Quant à l’usage des «formules brillantes», si elles ont ici pour cadre le cours lui-même, nous

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verrons qu’il en est de même lorsque les pédagogues tentent de parler de leur approche personnelle de la formation théâtrale. Un constat partagé Dans les conclusions qu’elle tire du colloque de Paris, Josette Féral souligne que celui-ci a commencé dans l’harmonie pour finir «dans un bouillonnement contestataire»12. Pour y avoir personnellement assisté, nous pouvons ajouter que parler de «bouillonnement contestataire» rejoint bien notre constat de départ. Josette Féral y évoque aussi un des colloques organisés au Département de Théâtre à l’UQAM, tel qu’évoqué plus haut, et à propos duquel elle dit: Tout en partageant la même langue, la même passion pour le théâtre et les mêmes objectifs de formation de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique – du moins en apparence -, il est apparu de façon évidente que les participants ne se comprenaient pas, qu’ils relevaient les uns et les autres de sphères culturelles et idéologiques en matière théâtrale qui n’avaient que peu de points en commun. L’écart semblait infranchissable.13 De son côté, François Rey, qui a rédigé le rapport des débats de Gennevilliers sans y avoir assisté mais en se basant sur leur enregistrement sonore, nous précise en exergue: Cinq heures de débats, beaucoup d’interrogations et peu de réponses, des interventions construites et documentées, d’autres plus spontanées, passionnées et souvent décousues, des points de vue divers, divergents, contradictoires et parfois même hétérogènes, une écoute toute relative de la parole d’autrui, maints détours et retours en arrière…14 Inlassablement, les participants de ces rencontres, même s’ils partagent langue et intérêts, semblent ne pas se comprendre ! Le dialogue de sourds est omniprésent et se répète d’un colloque à l’autre. Les propos fusent dans toutes les directions malgré une thématique apparemment précise. L’abîme se creuse. Les points de vue semblent inconciliables. Comme explication possible, Josette Féral rappelle que le jeu de l’acteur, et partant celui de sa formation, est un domaine extrêmement diversifié, une «Tour de Babel»15, faites de «divergences heureuses»16, qui seraient d’ordre culturel ou linguistique notamment, rejoignant par là

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les propos de Jean Duvignaud qui, face à la diversité des formes et des langages théâtraux, insistait sur le fait que «ces cheminements parallèles se rencontrent ici et là pour de fécondes copulations»17. S’il en est assurément de même quant à la multiplicité des approches en formation théâtrale, cette considération n’apporte qu’un éclaircissement partiel face à ce sentiment d’incompréhension mutuelle qui domine les rencontres mentionnées. Nous pourrions dire aussi, comme le fait Josette Féral, «qu’il y a quelque chose qui nous échappe et qui nous échappera toujours dans ces questions sur l’enseignement»18. Et elle appuie cette aporie en ajoutant «fort heureusement d’ailleurs»?19 Mais cela ne nous rappelle-t-il pas cet «ineffable» dont parlait Pierre Bourdieu? N’y aurait-il pas une autre piste à proposer? C’est ce que nous allons tenter à présent. Une forme particulière de discours En parcourant les textes de notre corpus, nous y repérons une caractéristique assez marquée et que nous nommerons «métalangagière». Portant un commentaire sur leur énonciation, les pédagogues appliquent en effet régulièrement un regard sur le langage qu’ils emploient. Barba par exemple, en partant, d’une part, d’un propos de Meyerhold qui dit que «ce n’est pas la méthode qui est importante mais la personne qui l’enseigne», et d’autre part d’une affirmation d’Eisenstein selon laquelle «si l’artisanat théâtral ne peut s’enseigner, il peut s’apprendre», se demande s’il ne s’agit pas d’une «boutade» de la part des deux maîtres russes20. Il parlera plus loin de «superstition, dans le sens étymologique du mot, de quelque chose qui est au-dessus de nous»21. Puis il ajoute: «Stanislavski le disait d’une autre manière: ‘tu dois aimer l’art en toi, et pas toi-même dans l’art’»22. En 1982, une participante au colloque de Gennevilliers signalait qu’elle n’aimait pas le mot de don23, tandis que, déjà à l’époque, un autre remarquait à propos que: Dans mon expérience de formation, j’ai remarqué qu’effectivement le plus grand problème était de définir les mots, surtout dans une discipline comme le théâtre, qui est très mal codifiée par rapport à ses buts et à ses effets.24 Josette Féral, de son côté, pointait également le langage employé par les artistes aux conférences données à l’UQAM: La formation privilégiée par les artistes dans les textes qui suivent se résume en certaines formules qui soulignent que, par delà les

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techniques, les exercices et les savoirs accumulés, certains objectifs plus importants sont à poursuivre: - les élèves doivent apprendre la folie et la rigueur – Jacques Lassalle ; l’adaptation à l’impossible – Peter Sellars ; la gestion des désirs – André Steiger […].25 Elle en répétera le constat après le colloque de Paris en insistant souvent sur les formulations qui ont fusé: - Le jeu s’enseigne, bien sûr, mais plus encore il s’apprend […]. Barba a suggéré que la notion de formation gagnerait à être remplacée par celle de contamination, de virus même. Cette image a semblé l’emporter. […] - Une image a surgi présentant l’école comme étant «le présent du futur» (Alice Ronfard). La formule a séduit […] - Qu’apprend donc l’acteur? Les réponses varient et les formules choc également: à gérer son désir (André Steiger), à développer l’ouverture (Stéphane Braunschweig), […] à permettre l’échange (Mario Raimondo), […], à permettre un passage vers la liberté (Martine Beaulne), à devenir son propre maître (Jean-François Dusigne), à dissoudre les frontières (Paul Monterde).26 Elle nous y parle aussi d’«images», et de «formules chocs» ; «formules brillantes» nous disait Luc de Smet. Ces dernières sont effectivement très répandues dans le discours des pédagogues. «Je conçois les répétitions, nous dira Anne Bogart de son travail à la School of the Arts de la Columbia University, un peu comme le spiritisme [...] L’art est violent. Prendre une décision demande une certaine violence»27. Et plus loin: «Tout acte créateur implique un saut dans le vide»28. Michel Nadeau du Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec reprendra l’image qui fait de l’élève une «page blanche sur laquelle s’écrit sa trace, son arbre, sa mer, son vent, son chat, sa cire, son carton, son acier…»29. Au débat de Gennevilliers, Ariane Mnouchkine précisera que «ce qui doit se travailler le plus chez un comédien […], c’est un certain muscle qui s’appelle l’imagination»30. Cette analogie y sera longuement rediscutée par les autres participants. Les expressions fortes abondent aussi dans le dialogue fictif du Jardinier de Jacques Delcuvellerie: «L’élève doit se taire, le maître ne doit pas parler»31; «Tu n’enseigneras jamais rien mieux que ce que tu découvres en même temps que ton élève»32 et «Le jardinier d’acteurs sait bien qu’on ne fait pas pousser les fleurs en tirant dessus»33. De manière significative, ce dernier texte est présenté, dans le numéro des Cahiers du Groupov cité en note 3, comme un texte qui «expose l’essentiel des convictions [de Jacques

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Delcuvellerie] sous une forme pastichée des dialogues chez Stanislavski, et constitue aussi une métaphore théorique de ses pratiques sur le terrain».34 Car il s’agit effectivement − et c’est la deuxième caractéristique, éminemment liée à la première, que nous voudrions faire ressortir de la lecture des textes cités −, d’un langage qui fait régulièrement appel à la métaphore. Or, la métaphore, surtout si elle n’est pas annoncée comme telle, se caractérise par un sens instable. «Chaque expression comporte une force métaphorique potentielle (explicitée ou non), et cela peut donner lieu à malentendu, l’un des interlocuteurs entendant l’énoncé comme une figure et l’autre non, ce qui témoigne bien de la présence simultanée des sens possibles»35. Il en résulte un caractère flou de l’expression et une absence de consensus précis sur quelque définition que ce soit. Nous voyons par là que l’utilisation d’un langage métaphorique est largement susceptible de provoquer des incompréhensions, telles que celles qui nous occupent. Si cet emploi de la métaphore a assurément des vertus dans notre domaine au sein de l’activité pédagogique elle-même, son instabilité ouvrant à la créativité − et Ariane Mnouchkine nous rappelle que «l’art réel du jeu est métaphore»36 −, c’est son utilisation dans le discours des pédagogues, c’està-dire lorsqu’ils parlent de leur pédagogie, qui doit être mise en question et examinée. Pour une analyse du discours en formation théâtrale Cet emploi fréquent de la métaphore donne aux textes analysés un statut qui les rapproche de celui des textes littéraires. Et nous aimerions approfondir cette question à partir des réflexions que Michel Foucault a menées «sur la littérature comme langage qui ne se réfère qu’à lui-même»37, principalement dans son ouvrage, Les Mots et les Choses.38 Dès sa préface, Foucault y explique que le lieu d’origine de cet ouvrage est un texte de Borges dans lequel apparaît une classification chinoise qui n’est possible que dans le non lieu du langage.39 «Il y aurait donc, comme lieu de naissance de Les mots et les choses, une expérience souveraine du langage comme effondrement du lieu commun des mots et des choses. Ce que désigne aussi la littérature»40. La littérature est cet «être vif du langage»41 qui a gagné son autonomie en opacité en dissolvant la transparence du lien entre les mots et les choses. En conséquence, approcher notre corpus en mettant en avant ces caractéristiques «littéraires», c’est dépasser la relation, souvent unique et souveraine lorsqu’on parle du langage, entre signifiant et signifié, entre les mots et les choses. Ce qui est proposé, c’est une analyse des discours sur

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le modèle de ce que Michel Foucault disait de sa recherche sur la folie. «En un mot, nous dit-il, on veut, bel et bien, se passer des ‘choses’. Les ‘dé-présentifier’»42. Il ne s’agit plus de se poser la question de l’adéquation du signe au référent ni, en conséquence, de chercher à savoir ce qu’est le «réel» de la formation théâtrale, ni en quoi elle consiste, mais bien de focaliser l’analyse sur le discours lui-même. Le discours est alors vu comme une pratique autonome dont il convient d’étudier le fonctionnement en se penchant sur les règles structurales qui le régissent, sur ses conditions d’apparition et sur sa relation avec les autres discours. Il ne s’agit plus de dire et de redire que le théâtre, et partant la formation théâtrale, est une Tour de Babel faite de divergences, heureuses ou non, mais bien de se centrer sur les pratiques discursives de la discipline et ce, exclusivement. Nous savons que cette approche est loin d’être neuve en soi: elle se rattache au programme de recherche qui s’est développé, dans les années 1960-1970 sous l’appellation d’Analyse du Discours (AD), même si ce terme, comme le signale Francine Mazières, a beaucoup perdu de sa consistance de par le foisonnement confus des travaux qui s’en sont réclamés43. Mais qu’on ne s’y méprenne pas: il ne s’agit nullement de vouloir annihiler la dispersion des discours qui nous occupe, mais bien de la prendre comme objet de recherche et de ne plus s’attarder sur l’impressionnante dispersion du référent non-discursif, que constituent, comme nous l’avons vu, tant les formes théâtrales que les types de formations existantes. L’étude proposée fera ressortir les relations existant entre les discours eux-mêmes, les filiations et les oppositions qu’ils construisent. Elle précisera quels sont les discours dominants et quels sont ceux qui ont peine à s’imposer. L’application de ce programme de recherche offrirait au domaine particulier de la formation théâtrale un cadre théorique et méthodologique qui lui fait souvent défaut. Conclusion: l’image de l’étudiant artiste En conclusion, nous voudrions préciser que l’approche proposée renferme aussi des enjeux importants pour la compréhension du système de la formation théâtrale. Vouloir dépasser la dimension purement descriptive (ceci est) de tout discours, c’est d’abord rappeler qu’un discours n’est pas nécessairement neutre et qu’il peut charrier avec lui une dimension prescriptive (ceci doit être). Parler d’Analyse du Discours, c’est aussi, comme nous le rappelle Dominique Maingueneau « appréhender le discours comme intrication d’un texte et d’un lien social, c’est-à-dire que son objet n’est ni l’organisation textuelle ni la situation de communication, mais ce qui les noue à travers un dispositif d’énonciation spécifique,

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[…] dispositif [qui] relève à la fois du verbal et de l’institutionnel»44. Le discours sera vu comme une pratique en lien avec autres pratiques, sociales ou institutionnelles, tels les établissements d’enseignement, pratiques qui se renforcent l’une l’autre comme l’a longuement démontré Michel Foucault dans la leçon inaugurale qu’il a tenue au Collège de France45. La pédagogie sera envisagée comme un lieu qui, en plus d’être le lieu défini de transmission du savoir, est aussi celui de l’exercice d’un pouvoir sur ceux à qui ils s’adressent in fine, c’est-à-dire aux étudiants. Dans cette perspective, lorsque, dans un texte comme «Le Jardinier», nous lisons que «le théâtre reste nécessairement le dernier endroit où l’apprentissage professionnel transite par ce très vieux système de la relation Maître-Elève»46 ou plus explicitement, lorsque Anatoli Vassiliev nous dit que «L’école n’est capable de créer de vraies personnalités que s’il y a cette puissante et totale soumission au maître»47, la question qui se posera ne sera pas: est-ce vrai ou faux? mais bien, quelle est la place de ce discours parmi tous les autres? quels liens il construit avec les autres pratiques? quelles influences il exerce? quelles exclusions il produit? quel(s) pouvoir(s) il charrie. Parler exclusivement de relation «maître-élèves» comme le font les pédagogues cités, c’est en effet faire référence au processus archaïque de subjectivation tel que le définit Edouard Delruelle dans son ouvrage, Les métamorphoses du sujet: Un moment condense tout le processus traditionnel de constitution de la subjectivité: l’initiation. […] Parvenir à l’état d’adulte ne consiste donc pas, comme c’est le cas dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, à «prendre son indépendance», à «tuer le père», […], mais au contraire à se mettre sous la dépendance des fondateurs symboliques du groupe et à reconnaître ainsi son appartenance essentielle, en tant que sujet, à l’unité de la communauté. Les deux traits caractéristiques du mode de subjectivation traditionnel sont donc l’hétéronomie (la soumission à la loi d’un Autre) et le holisme (grec holos = le tout, la totalité) c’est-à-dire l’appartenance au «tout» social.48 Et c’est bien là ce que nous voulons mettre en exergue: le caractère hétéronome de ce type de processus pédagogique proposé aux étudiants. Pendant toutes ses études, l’étudiant doit se soumettre et ne manifester aucune autonomie, et partant aucun regard critique sur celles-ci. L’étudiant d’aujourd’hui s’y retrouve-t-il vraiment? Confronté à ce type de pédagogie de l’hétéronomie, son processus de subjectivation en tant qu’étudiant n’entre-t-il pas en contradiction avec celui prôné depuis l’idéologie

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progressiste des Lumières et qu’Edouard Delruelle, —en faisant référence à la réponse qu’Emmanuel Kant donnait à la question «qu’appelle-t-on les lumières?»49 —, définit comme étant «un combat sur soi-même pour se libérer de toutes les formes d’hétéronomie, de servilité intérieure à l’égard de maîtres et de tuteurs»50.

Notes: 1 Cette communication a été donnée initialement au VIIIème Congrès Mondial de l’Association Internationale du Théâtre à l’Université qui s’est tenu du 28 juin au 02 juillet 2010 au Centre for Excellence in Performance Arts, Université de Montfort, Leicester (UK). Cette nouvelle version nous a permis de compléter le corpus de départ et de préciser, en conclusion, les implications de notre approche. 2 François Rey (Réd.) – Anne-Marie Gourdon (Dir.), « La Formation du Comédien. Débat C.N.R.S./Théâtre de Gennevilliers » in théâtre/public, n° 46-47 (juilletoctobre 1982), pp. 23-39. Ce débat avait été organisé par le Groupe de Recherches Théâtrales et Musicologiques du C.N.R.S. (ndlr. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique en France), l’Association des Amis du Théâtre de Gennevilliers et théâtre/public à l’occasion de la sortie l’année précédente du volume IX de l’importante collection du CNRS : « Les Voies de la Création Théâtrale ». Ce volume était consacré à la formation du comédien. (REY-GOURDON 1982). 3 Josette Féral (Dir), L’école du jeu, former ou transmettre… les chemins de l’enseignement théâtral, Actes du colloque international sur la formation de l’acteur organisé par l’Université du Québec à Montréal et l’Université Paris X-Nanterre au Théâtre National de la Colline (Paris, avril 2001). Saint-Jean-de-Védas, Éditions l’Entretemps, 2003 (FERAL 2003). 4 Josette Féral (Ed.), Les Chemins de l’acteur. Former pour jouer. [Québec], Éditions Québec Amérique, 2001. (FERAL, 2001). 5 Jacques Delcuvellerie, « Le Jardinier », in Alternatives Théâtrales, n° 70-71, « Les Penseurs de l’enseignement. De Grotowski à Gabily, (décembre 2001), pp. 38-43. Ce texte avait été initialement publié dans « L’art du théâtre », n° 8 (1988) et est également repris dans « Le Jardinier (… et avec lui la vie d’un homme). Le Groupov et la formation de l’acteur », Cahier Groupov, n° 2 (décembre 1997), pp. 15-25. Ce texte se présente sous la forme d’un dialogue entre un élève et son vieux maître. 6 Ce texte serait « le contrat moral entre pédagogues et étudiants» selon Max et Olivier Parfondry, « Explorer avec l’acteur tout ce qu’il ne sait pas qu’il sait » in FERAL 2003, p. 322-333. 7 Pierre Bourdieu, Les règles de l’art. Genèse et structure du champ littéraire, [Paris], Éditions du Seuil, 1998, p. 12 8 In Paul Robert, Le Petit Robert, 1984, s. v. « ineffable » 9 Eugenio Barba, « L’essence du théâtre », in FERAL 2001, p. 14 10 Eugenio Barba, Id., p 26 11 Luc De Smet, de Kleine Academie 1986-2006, p. 35-36 12 FERAL 2003, p. 17 13 FERAL 2003, p. 18 14 REY-GOURDON, 1982, p. 24 15 « Il n’existe pas, il n’existe plus – si tant est qu’il ait jamais existé – une formation

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unique de l’acteur. Les textes d’acteurs, les témoignages du passé, les écrits des chercheurs prouvent que le jeu de l’acteur a été d’emblée diversifié, multiple. La Tour de Babel ne fut pas seulement d’ordre linguistique. Dans le domaine du jeu, la diversité s’imposa dès l’origine. » in FERAL, 2001, p. 11 16 FERAL, 2003, p. 19 17 Jean Duvignaud, « Double jeu du texte et du geste » in « Théâtre en pièces. Le texte en éclats », Etudes Théâtrales, 13/1998, p. 21 18 FERAL 2003, p. 24 19 FERAL 2003, Ibid. 20 Eugenio Barba, « L’élève est plus important que la méthode », in FERAL, 2003, p. 29 21 Eugenio Barba, op. cit., p. 34 22 Eugenio Barba, Ibid. 23 REY GOURDON 1982, p. 28 24 REY GOURDON, Ibid. 25 Josette Féral, « Le travail du jeu », in FERAL, 2001, p. 14 26 FERAL 2003, pp. 19-22 27 Anne Bogart, « Six chose que je sais à propos de la formation des acteurs », in FERAL 2003, p. 39 28 Anne Bogart, op. cit., p. 45 29 Michel Nadeau, « Pour une pédagogie de l’acteur-créateur », in FERAL 2003, p. 65 30 REY-GOURDON 2003, p. 26 31 Jacques Delcuvellerie, op. cit., p. 40 32 Jacques Delcuvellerie, op. cit., p. 42 33 Jacques Delcuvellerie, op. cit., p. 40 34 Jacques Delcuvellerie, op. cit., in Cahier Groupov, n° 2 (décembre 1997), p. 14 35 Jean-Yves Pouilloux, s.v. « Métaphore », in http://www.universalis.fr/encyclopedie, (septembre 2010) 36 REY GOURDON 2003, p. 26 37 Nathalie Piegay-Gros, « La critique littéraire et la pensée de Michel Foucault », in Philippe Artières, Michel Foucault, La littérature et les arts. Actes du colloque de Cerisy-Juin 2001, Paris, Éditions Kimé, 2004, p. 95 38 Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les Choses, [Paris], Éditions Galllimard, 1966, 400 p. (Collection Tell). 39 « Ce livre a son lieu de naissance dans un texte de Borges […]. Ce texte cite ˝une certaine encyclopédie chinoise où il est écrit que les animaux se divisent en : a) appartenant à l’Empereur,, b) embaumés, c) apprivoisés, d) cochons de lait, e) sirènes, f) fabuleux, g) chiens en liberté, h) inclus dans la présente classification, i) qui s’agitent comme des fous, j) innombrables, k) dessinés avec un pineau très fin en poils de chameau, l) et caetera, m) qui viennent de casser la cruche, n) qui de loin semblent des mouches˝. Dans l’émerveillement de cette taxinomie, ce qu’on rejoint d’un bond, ce qui, à la faveur de l’apologue, nous est indiqué comme le charme exotique d’une autre pensée, c’est la limite de la nôtre : l’impossibilité nue de penser cela » (Michel Foucault, Op. cit., p. 7) 40 Frédéric Gros, « De Borges à Magritte » in Philippe Artières, Op. cit., p 17. 41 Michel Foucault, Op. cit., p. 5 42 Michel Foucault, L’Archéologie du savoir, [Paris], Éditions Gallimard, 1969, p. 69 43 Francine Mazière, L’analyse du discours, Histoire et pratiques. Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2005, p. 4 (Que sais-je ?).

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44 Dominique Maigueneau, « L’analyse du discours et ses frontières », in Marges linguistiques, n°9 (mai 2005), p. 66. 45 « Or cette volonté de vérité, comme les autres systèmes d’exclusion, s’appuie sur un support institutionnel : elle est à la fois renforcée et reconduite par toute une épaisseur de pratiques comme la pédagogie, bien sûr, [.. .]. » in Michel Foucault, L’ordre du discours. Leçon inaugurale au Collège de France prononcée le 2 décembre 1970. Paris, Gallimard, 1971, p. 19 46 Jacques Delcuvellerie, Op. cit., p. 39 47 Anatoli Vassiliev, « Enseigner la tradition », in Josette Féral, Mise en scène et Jeu de l’acteur. Entretiens. Tome 1 : L’espace du texte, Montréal (Québec) – Carnières (Belgique), Éditions Jeu/Éditions Lansman, 1997, p. 289 48 Edouard Delruelle, Métamorphoses du sujet. L’éthique philosophique de Socrate à Foucault, 2ème édition, Bruxelles, De Boeck & Larcier, 2006, pp. 13-14. 49 « La sortie de l’homme de sa minorité, dont il est lui-même responsable. Minorité, c’est-à-dire incapacité de se servir de son entendement sans la direction d’autrui, minorité dont il est lui-même responsable, puisque la cause réside non dans un défaut de l’entendement, mais dans un manque de décision et de courage de s’en servir sans la direction d’autrui. Sapere aude ! Aie le courage de te servir de ton propre entendement. Voilà la devise des Lumières» in La philosophie de l’histoire, p. 46). Cite par Edouard Delruelle, Op. Cit., p. 190. 50 Edouard Delruelle, Op. Cit., p. 190

Bibliographie Barba, Eugenio. « L’essence du théâtre », in Josette Féral, Les Chemins de l’acteur. Former pour jouer. Québec: Éditions Québec Amérique, 2001 Bogart, Anne. « Six choses que je sais à propos de la formation des acteurs », in L’école du jeu, former ou transmettre… les chemins de l’enseignement théâtral, Actes du colloque international sur la formation de l’acteur organisé par l’Université du Québec à Montréal et l’Université Paris X-Nanterre au Théâtre National de la Colline (Paris, avril 2001). Saint-Jean-de-Védas: Éditions l’Entretemps, 2003 Bourdieu, Pierre. Les règles de l’art. Genèse et structure du champ littéraire. Paris: Éditions du Seuil. 1998 Delcuvellerie, Jacques. « Le Jardinier », in Alternatives Théâtrales, „Les Penseurs de l’enseignement. De Grotowski à Gabily”, n° 70-71, 2001 Delruelle, Edouard. Métamorphoses du sujet. L’éthique philosophique de Socrate à Foucault, 2ème édition, Bruxelles: De Boeck & Larcier. 2006 Duvignaud, Jean. « Double jeu du texte et du geste » in « Théâtre en pièces. Le texte en éclats », Etudes Théâtrales, nr. 13, 1998 Féral, Josette. L’école du jeu, former ou transmettre… les chemins de l’enseignement théâtral, Actes du colloque international sur la formation de l’acteur organisé par l’Université du Québec à Montréal et l’Université Paris XNanterre au Théâtre National de la Colline (Paris, avril 2001). Saint-Jeande-Védas : Éditions l’Entretemps, 2003 Féral, Josette. Les Chemins de l’acteur. Former pour jouer. Québec: Éditions Québec

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Amérique. 2001 Foucault, Michel. L’Archéologie du savoir. Paris: Éditions Gallimard. 1969 Foucault, Michel. L’ordre du discours. Leçon inaugurale au Collège de France prononcée le 2 décembre 1970. Paris: Gallimard. 1971 Foucault, Michel. Les Mots et les Choses. Paris : Éditions Galllimard, 1966 Gros , Frédéric. « De Borges à Magritte » in Philippe Artières, Michel Foucault, La littérature et les arts. Actes du colloque de Cerisy-Juin 2001, Paris: Éditions Kimé. 2004 Maigueneau, Dominique. « L’analyse du discours et ses frontières », in Marges linguistiques, n°9, mai 2005 Mazière, Francine. L’analyse du discours, Histoire et pratiques. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 2005 Nadeau, Michel.« Pour une pédagogie de l’acteur-créateur », in L’école du jeu, former ou transmettre… les chemins de l’enseignement théâtral, Actes du colloque international sur la formation de l’acteur organisé par l’Université du Québec à Montréal et l’Université Paris X-Nanterre au Théâtre National de la Colline (Paris, avril 2001). Saint-Jean-de-Védas: Éditions l’Entretemps, 2003 Piegay-Gros, Nathalie. « La critique littéraire et la pensée de Michel Foucault », in Philippe Artières, Michel Foucault, La littérature et les arts. Actes du colloque de Cerisy-Juin 2001. Paris: Éditions Kimé, 2004 Pouilloux, Jean-Yves s.v. « Métaphore », in http://www.universalis.fr/ encyclopedie Rey, François; Gourdon, Anne-Marie. « La Formation du Comédien. Débat C.N.R.S./Théâtre de Gennevilliers » in théâtre/public, n° 46-47, 1982 Robert, Paul. Le Petit Robert, Paris: Les dictionnaires Robert. 1984 Vassiliev, Anatoli. « Enseigner la tradition » in Josette Féral, Mise en scène et Jeu de l’acteur. Montréal: Québec Amérique. 2007

Alain Chevalier, Vice-President of the International University Theater Association. Université de Liège. Director/ Manager of Théâtre Universitaire Royal de Liège (TURLg) and of Rencontres Internationales de Théâtre Universitaire de Liège (RITU).

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Ruxandra Cesereanu

Blogland. Synthesis of an Enquiry ABSTRACT: This essay is a synthesis of the enquiry on blog literature, published in the cultural magazine Steaua issues 3 and 4-5, year 2010. It records the theologicallike, anthropological, philological and implied psychoanalytical and ontic perspectives on the implications of the Blogland system. Keywords: blog, virtual space, carnival, exhibitionism, voyeurism, theological-like perspective, philological perspective, anthropological perspective

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n the Steaua magazine issues 3 and 4-5 during 2010, we suggested and published an enquiry (which gathered answers from twenty-three young – mainly -, but also older participants) on the literature of the blogs and the speculative direction of the digital, virtual space; we are going to synthesize this investigation in the following pages, since, until now, it remains the most comprehensive in the Romanian cultural environment. The foundation of the enquiry is the following: Whether we like it or not, the confetti-showered world of the blogs plays on a carnivalesque that is at least minimal. However, the nearest at hand is the carnivalesque whose purpose is a liberating or exhibitionistvoyeuristic one. Blogland is a speckled and graphic country, when looking at the Internet users: all sorts of texts, suggestions, images and self-portraits - rudeness, platitudes, pathos, desuetude, ribald maters, and also sweetness, metaphoric use of the text, dreamers and pure literature. At any rate, it is not easy to weigh and shed light on things in Blogland; it is not easy to deliver judgment. And the most difficult aspect is the diagnosis. In the following diagnosis, we will deal strictly with the blogs of/made of words and not with those of/made of images. Furthermore, we are dealing strictly with

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author, individual blogs, not with multiple authors, official, institutional or information ones. 1. We consider that seventy percent of the literary-driven individual blogs in Romania are mediocre and less than mediocre, meaning that they do not offer anything, and they do not assume the bearing of aesthetically valid offers either. These blogs are made only for the sake of being made, out of the authors’ desire to operate one way or another and to become appealing and stay in the trend. Some of the owners and proponents of these blogs are mere graphomaniacs whose blogging graphorrhea cannot be prevented, for they are truly assured that everything they write is amazing. 2. Twenty percent of the individual blogs exercise exhibitionism. They want to stimulate by all means, they play on harshly feigned self-importance. There is no idea-based or text-driven structure, nor any such architectural intention underlying these blogs. For this reason, comments on these blogs are sometimes fit for absurd anthologies, given the ineptitude that spouts in crippled words, written down by individuals who no longer know how to talk or who have never known it. Such bloggers yearn for the digital flirt, the telenovela and the tabloids. Regularly, such blogs host self-retardation in spiralling display and are (probably mechanically) performing a ritual of re-enacting the ape. Some of these blogs can be deemed cabinets of wonder, in which delirium should be diagnosed at least semi-pathologically. The “couldn’t-care-less” attitude displayed by some blog owners fits here, too: this couldn’t-care-less attitude runs the risk of fuelling semi-idiotic comments and an abridged telenovela setting. 3. Ten percent of the individual blogs are worth reading (though the authentic and playful carnivalesque only functions for half of the above ten percent). These blogs are marked by an adequate intelligent structure that is set to communicate (not only to dally with) and to interfere peripatetically (in a cultural or ontic manner). Some are blogs of book reading and comment; other blogs are mere logs. Other blogs are professed author literary blogs. Yet other blogs are blending puzzles and mosaics, designed as scented gardens. The enquiry carried out by the Steaua magazine was meant, from the beginning, to prevent extreme tendencies such as the adulation or exaltation of the blog literature versus the demolition of the same, which would deem it residual and abortive. The obvious concern was to theorize and classify in a non-biased manner the literature and the universe of blogs, researching and analyzing (in a speculative manner) their merits and flaws, their interference points or even predicting, potentially, their socio-human ramifications. For this reason, the suggestions provided by the participants to the enquiry had several guiding tones, of which some were along the line of theology, while other were philological (along the direction of literary

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theory), anthropological or simply technical. The ontic perspective was present in almost all the answers, which substantiates the fact that the Steaua enquiry has acted also at a subliminal level, owing to which each participant thought it proper to justify at least partially their involvement in the universe of the blogs not only as commentators, but also as protagonists and as human beings facing a new type of relational existence). a. The theological-like perspective Of course that, considering a theological-like perspective on the universe of the blogs, we relate to it in a symbolical and metaphorical manner, despite the sharp theological language applied in the verdict. Many of the participants to the enquiry pointed out the perspective of a new apocalypse, but the one who remained firm on this position was Doru Pop. According to him, homo blogus is marked by a form of teratology; the monstrosity of this new human specimen is at the same time a legitimate and authentic feature, which validates us in our world. The blogosphere boom has fuelled a symbolic apocalypse, respectively a “revolutionary explosion” which could establish a new “civilisation” that, nonetheless, “lacks humans and humanity”. b. The philological perspective Mihaela Ursa considers the blog text is “a shifting and collective hypertext”, whose appeal grows from its “melting pot, work-in-progress” nature. The contributor’s philological perspective is complemented by a psychoanalytical one, relating to the validation of the carnivalesque and avatar heteronymous character; the latter is included in an oral-anal Freudian stage, which allows both the “delights of anonymity” and the “abusive permissiveness”. According to Florin Balotescu, with the rise of the world of blogs the notions of author and subjectivity are, in fact, modified (or rereleased in a different way). Therefore, the Internet and the blogs are “synchronization, confirmations and natural extensions” of certain theories predicted in “poetical and theoretical texts (palimpsest, re-contextualization, rhizome structures, dissemination, fragmentarism, browsing alternative spaces). Felix Nicolau examines the forum feature, as a blog relay and feuilleton, undertaking even the position of opera aperta (because the writer and reader’s traditional condition has been cancelled in Blogland). Adriana Stan identifies in the dominant unofficial diary condition of the blogs a “proto-literature of the self”, a “sui generis Bildungsroman of thoughts, events, experiences”, conditioned by our world’s “hunger for the literature of the self”. Ruxandra Bularca recognizes in the blog writing the birth of an “auto-

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morphic text”, holding a draft and feuilleton-like nature. Olga Ștefan explains the blog universe as shifting between a “locked diary and a spectral communication”, endorsing a “decentred po(i)etics” of the blogs, which allows even an “imaginary hermeneutics”. Diana Mărculescu assimilates blogs with artistic postmodern installations and relates the Blogland to the forms of street-art, although she does not rule out the relation to the Lego game either. The impact of the blog text is presumably owed to the fascination exercised by the condition of the draft that becomes a complete text: “The larva changed in a nymph-text, waiting its turning into a pupa-text, and in the end, into a butterfly”. Călina Bora refutes the charge with non-literature in the blog matter, pleading for the blog as a form that generates symbiosis and as a “virtual used book store” where the author is, automatically, also the seller of his or her texts. Ironical, if not even cynical, Codruța Simina identifies in the blog the offer of fast literature allowed on the grounds of convenience, trend and adaptation instinct: “Fast literature as in fast food? The Internet says, yes”. c. The anthropological perspective Marius Conkan distinguishes in Blogland a virtual agora – a formula adopted by other contributors, too; however, in his opinion, the blog coalesces something more important than this, which means that it is a form of heterotopy (as defined by Michel Foucault), with a special addition – heterotopy “for the post-humans who live under the illusion that the virtual environment provides them with something that they have long lost in reality”. This is not the canonical anthropological perspective, but the anthropology that becomes itself definable as virtuality, given that the virtual man is an “e-body”. In fact, it is the anthropology expanded or recircumscribed to another notion of man, different from the man in flesh and blood. According to this definition, the blog becomes “a virtual mall where everybody attempts to satisfy their needs”. Where, in the philological interpretation, Olga Ștefan had discussed the imaginary hermeneutics to which blogs lend, she was conceiving the blogs as “invisible cities” specific to the post-industrial society. Another contributor, Laurențiu Malomfălean, also understands blogs as “virtual dream shops”. We keep in mind the fact that, from a phantasmatic and anthropological perspective, blogs are comprehended, therefore, as more or less intricate instruments or devices that produce everything pertaining to the dimension of the compensating illusion. Suzana Lungu detects in blogs a phenomenon related to “transition rituals”, i.e. a form of gradual growing up, depending on virtual ceremonies

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presumably borrowed both by the direct protagonists and text creators, and by the secondary subjects, i.e. the blog commentators. Andrei Simuț sees in blogs also “a practical subversive action of the consumerist system, of the aggressive advertising system, of the textual integration of the image, meaning also a necessary deconstruction/ undermining of media and political hysteria [...] via a message that lacks ideology and mystification”. Therefore, according to Andrei Simuț’s pattern, the blog is anti-consumerist and anti-media; however, the contributor ignores the calculatedly consumerist and deliberately media-conscious personal stake of blog owners; some of the latter play just on such an aspect in the virtual system in which they operate and they do not avoid the manipulation devices consecrated precisely by the media network. According to Claudiu Turcuș, the blog owner is a “virtual landlord who establishes a power relation to those who happen to cross his / her ”, administering on his/ her blog, in an authoritarian (aggressive or ironic) or moderate (civilised) manner, the freedom-censorship relationship. However, [he/ she is] never indifferent to what is commented in the space he/ she administers and owns. This synthesis and review does not include all the contributors to the enquiry published in the Steaua magazine, but only those who were helpful theoretically in the manual labour of a test tube portrait of the Blogland empire. However, I will finish it with Igor Mocanu’s opinion that gathers together the psychoanalytical, ontic, technical and anthropological perspectives: “could literary blogging be also an expression of the text nostalgia for pre-history, when it was only image?” Ruxandra Cesereanu is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Letters (Department of Comparative Literature) and Editor at “Steaua” cultural magazine, in Cluj. She is the owner of a PhD Degree with the dissertation The Concentration Inferno Reflected in the Romanian Modern Consciousness. She is the member of the staff of the Center for Imagination Studies (Phantasma), Cluj, director of the Oneiric Literature Studies and Creative Writing Workshops and also a member of the Romanian Writers’ Union. She is the author of (selectivelly) the novels Angelus (2010) and Tricephalos (2002), essays The Gulag in the Romanian Consciousness (1998), Gourmet (2009), Biblioteca stranie/ Strange Library (2010), the poetry volumes Oceanul Schizoidian/ Schizoidian Ocean (1997), Venezia cu vene violete/ Venice with Violet Veins (2002), Kore-Persefona (2004), Coma (2008) and fiction books Nebulon (2005) and Nasterea dorintelor lichide/The Birth of Liquid Wishes (2007).

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Marius Conkan

Romanian Writers in the Blogipelago ABSTRACT: Blogs were not invented and created for writers. However, various prominent Romanian writers own at least one blog. Blogs give to these writers the false impression of (be)coming closer to their readers who are able to send immediate feedback on the literature published by blogger-writers. This virtual proximity is hazardous, since it acts specifically on the tie between writer and reader. We witness the birth of a bond between imaginary identities, which twists the writers’ perception of self. Blogging is parasitic and narcissistic. Keywords: blogging, blogosphere, blogipelago, literary blogs, writers’ blogs

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s an interface for various scattered identities, the blog offers the illusion of false communication, by integrating, in the virtual environment, subjects (users) who either camouflage their real existence or expose it ostentatiously, until, in both cases, this existence becomes a fiction. Thus, the blog constitutes the manifestation frame of some imaginary identities that aim to obtain, by using the virtual, that which in the day-to-day reality, is impossible for them to obtain. The most widespread are the blogs with diarist characteristics, through which users confess to an other stranger, as fictitious as them; in this case, the gesture of confession is essential, rather than finding solutions for the discussed intimate problems. Other blogs keep the appearance of an effective communication, having as purpose the entertaining of an audience that accesses the blogging system as a form of entertainment addiction. One of the most recent and pregnant studies on blogs is Jodi Dean’s Blog Theory. Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive (2010), whose ideas help us understand more clearly the way in which the relation between users in the blogging system works.

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Blogs were not invented and created for writers. Nonetheless, many of the renowned Romanian writers own at least one blog. I believe that the blog provides to these writers the illusion of being closer to the readers who, as users of blogging, have the possibility to send immediate feedback regarding the literature published by the blogger-writers. Nothing more dangerous than this virtual closeness, that intervenes in precisely the classical sense of the connection between writer and reader, creating a relation between imaginary identities and distorting the naïve writers’ perception of self (any positive or negative criticism, in the virtual environment, can be, at a certain point, without any relevance whatsoever). Blogging is parasitic and narcissistic (Dean 36); by creating a blog, writers exercise their narcissistic tendencies, stimulated by anonymous (or not) commentators who are like parasites of the blog. That is why parasite commentators’ responses (meaning about 50% of the commentators) are, from a certain point, predictable, while the writers’ reactions to the feedback become clichés (Dean 33). This moment of the predictable marks the death of the specific blog: whatever the writer may post, the comments would be equally redundant and involuntary. It is, in fact, the moment when the blogger-writer should terminate his/her virtual page. Who are, after all, the parasitic commentators? They are those virtual identities that distress and alter a blog by permanently being there for feedback, no matter the nature of such feedback. Thus, if a blog is limited by the presence of those parasite-commentators, without the involvement of other remarkable commentators, it means that that particular blog is obsolete, inefficient and that it must cease. Furthermore, the parasite-commentators, through their immediate intervention, take the blogger-writers far from the act of writing, since they fuel their narcissistic need, which determines them to offer feedback to feedback, thus allowing blogging to prevail against the act of writing. The virtual experience and the affects are, in the case of bloggers, conducted by the commentators. What can be more passionate than a commentator’s adherence or negation regarding a certain post on the blog? The blogger posts and anxiously awaits feedback. Is this a form of pulverizing the blogger’s identity? Yes, it is, to the extent in which the blogger’s expectation is marked by anxiety. Dean often mentions anxiety as being an indispensable state in the case of blogging (Dean 91-93). A blogger posts and follows intensively what is commented in regards to his/her post. However, this exclusive attention generates anxiety. As is the case with common bloggers, the virtual experience and affects are dictated by the commentators. If one commentator answers in a negative manner to a writer’s post on a personal blog, the writer’s reply will be an acidic-ironic one. This is like throwing straws against the wind. In the blogging system, a large part of the users are

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anonymous (even though their identity can be revealed fairly easily). And even if revealed, a writer will never have the certainty that the commentator is the person previously revealed. An interesting combination makes the imaginary identities of the virtual reality to, in turn, fictionalize. Jodi Dean talks about bloggers in general, his intentionally Lacanian interpretation (as we shall see in the selected quotes) being conclusive for the dispersion and the fragmentation of identity in the virtual environment. Blogging is a technology uncoupled from the illusion of a core, true, essential, and singular self. The subjects of blogs are fragmented, appearing as neither true nor false, just appearing as whatever they happen to post. (Dean 56) Blogs build a virtual reality of the present, replacing the idea of centrality with the short existence of some identities floating on the boundaries set by a certain entry. That is why these identities can pass from one imaginary stage to another imaginary stage, according to the virtual narratives formulated by links, images and text. Blogging involves a mechanism of repetition and often, one of redundancy, of changing real identities into fictive ones which, through ritualistic pulverization, distance themselves from the matrix that had generated them. In communicative capitalism, the gaze to which one makes oneself visible is a point hidden in an opaque and heterogeneous network. It is not the gaze of the symbolic Order of our ego ideal but the more disturbing, traumatic gaze of a gap or excess, objet petit a. (Dean 56) In the blogging system, the other’s look is no longer a constructive one, but has become a look of the others who represent, in turn, just as many fragmentary identities. In a consensus with the mechanism of repetition, that which matters is not the fulfilment of desire, but the road leading to its completion, a road marked by entries, clicks and other entries; in this respect, blogging may be viewed as a virtual culture of the excess, of the emptiness necessarily filled with the virtual substance of masks that watch, make vulnerable and transform instantly. The media that incite us to create and express, to offer our thoughts, feelings, and opinions freely, to participate (but in what?), deliver us to others to use for purposes of their own. (Dean 56-57).

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The confessional nature of blogging encourages its users to confess their states to some avatars that, in many cases, are merely some imaginary constructs, with no connection to the non-virtual reality. Like in the Facebook system, blogs promote friendship without friendship (Dean 35), communication without communication, being important “not so much the content that allows the connection, but the connection in itself” (Dean 51). With reference to writers’ blogs, these are mostly focused on the content of the entry, despite the fact that other users’ comments are not always answers to this content. The game which mimics the writer-reader dialogue is frequent on this type of blogs that are created to make the writer visible, but end in making him/her fictional. “The fluidity and adaptability of the imaginary identities are accompanied by frailty and insecurity” (Dean 57), so that, asides from being visible (even if in a fictionalized manner), the writer must also assume the fact of being vulnerable in front of the other users. With the existence of the blogging system, the classic image of the writer who would only meet his/her readers at a launch, colloquiums or conferences (thus, a relationship mediated by protocols) has now changed into a virtual image, in the avatar of a writer willing to respond to any of the reader’s comments, to confess his/her writing mechanisms, to talk about leisure, proving once more (was it really necessary?) that he/she is human. Through a careful analysis of these blogs, one can clearly see that the writer’s virtual “humanization” has not provided a more profound connection between reader and writer. Furthermore, exchanging comments at the base of an entry is often a faded, dull, activity, devoid of ideas. Far from having contributed in a relevant manner to the improvement of the writer-reader relationship, blogging has made it vulgar, creating the basis for infertile and predictable dialogues, distorting the classic image of the writer. I find it disquieting that many of the entries of such blogs contain unheard-of creations of the blogger-writers, which are going to be commented (the correct term would be distorted) by parasitic users who, under the veil of anonymity or not, being philologists or not, claim that they can view the text from a hermeneutical point of view or that they have opinions of “superior” quality. I find it equally unsettling that writers allow and encourage such comments, justifying their aesthetic options in front of fictitious identities who periodically visit their blogs in a parasitic manner. Before consolidating with arguments the necessity of a dictionary of blogs pertaining to contemporary well-established Romanian writers, I shall emphasize a series of differences between the blogosphere and the blogipelago, between literary blogs and writer’s blogs and I shall try to identify the blog as a “virtual room” (Hillis 65), made of “metaphors of reality” (Hillis 73), where

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Hupomnemata, “individual notations supporting the memory” (Dean 50) play an essential part. To accentuate the diversity among blogs, the way that bloggers do not constitute some kind of natural group, understand themselves as a collective, or interact in a common space, not least because of differences in language, culture, location, and interest, I favor the term “blogipelago” over the more common “blogosphere.” The term “sphere” suggests a space accessible to any and all. It implies a kind of conversational unity, as if bloggers addressed the same topics and participated in one giant discussion. The term “blogosphere” tricks us into thinking community when we should be asking about the kinds of links, networks, flows, and solidarities that blogs hinder and encourage. “Blogipelago,” like archipelago, reminds us of separateness, disconnection, and the immense effort it can take to move from one island or network to another. It incites us to attend to the variety of uses, engagements, performances, and intensities blogging contributes and circulates. (Dean 38) In the case of blogger-writers, I found the term “blogipelago” to be the proper one, because, unlike the “blogosphere”, it envisages an insular dimension of the virtual separation, being a matching part to the profoundly individualized styles which these writers practice in their literature. A blogipelago made of island-blogs, allowing users to go from one blog to another, while hoping to identify a common mentality that functions in the case of blogger-writers, beyond the aspects that differentiate themselves. Another distinction which must be established is the one between literary blogs and writers’ blogs. Literary blogs constitute spaces in which the blog’s owner (writer or amateur) posts his/her artistic creations, most of the times recent ones, while writers’ blogs are spaces where literary writings are mixed with diary-like ones (movies the author saw, photographs the author took etc.). Strictly literary blogs lack commentators, since the relation between the writer and the parasitic commentators becomes, at one point, predictable. Whereas Virginia Woolf needed a “separate room” to write, writers nowadays need a “virtual room”, through which to manage, in front of avatarreaders, their self-image. These virtual rooms are represented in the Internet age by blogs, dangerous environments that distort and alter the classic profile of the writer, spaces made of images as metaphors of meanings (Hillis 135). Everything is a metaphor within blogs: from links and photos to the text. Starting from these metaphors that make up the virtual reality, bloggers

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initiate communication without communication, the access of symbols that do not make myths into narrations, but alienate with surgical accuracy. Beyond the negative character of blogs which is based on a sickly relation of the other’s look, an essential fact of literary history is precisely how the Romanian blogger-writers manage their self- image in the virtual environment. In the readers’ collective memory, there will, undoubtedly, always remain the individual notations Romanian writers have been posting on their blogs since the year 2000. They call them notes without any destination, once more infertile and lacking relevance to the parasitic commentators, whose presence on the aforementioned blogs is justified by the excess and obsession for the virtual. A dictionary of Romanian literary blogs and blogs pertaining to Romanian writers (once more, I emphasize this distinction) is necessary, first of all, for the archiving of textual confessions, without images and links (often innocent and without considering that they will be put in a dictionary), of the particular writer. Another reason is the conservation of the to completion finalizing. The third reason is linked to mentality: the blog provides the writer with a comfort not allowed by magazines; more accurately, through blogs, writers practice their narcissistic mood, in spite of parasitic commentators who access their posts. I see only from one point, but in my existence I am looked at from all sides. (Dean 55) I am sure that Romanian writers did not take into account this fact when they created a blog. REFERENCES Dean, Jodi. Blog Theory. Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010. Hillis, Ken, Digital Sensations: Space, Identity, and Embodiment in Virtual Reality. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Wood, John (ed.). The Virtual Embodied. Presence/Practice/Technology. London: Routledge, 1998.

Marius Conkan, born in 1988, is a contemporary romanian poet. Currently he studies for an MA at the Babeș-Bolyai University’s Faculty of Letters. His research interests are concerned with alternative worlds.

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