Lab04
One set of virtual footprints: a collective cyber-pilgrimage

Convenors:
Jonathan Miles-Watson (Durham University)
Vivian Asimos (Durham University)
Format:
Labs
Location:
Science Site/Maths CM219
Start time:
6 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The workshop will involve a virtual pilgrimage in which the collective consciousness of the group will be blended together in one avatar. The traditional categories of 'communitas' and 'contestation' will be tested against new media using the assembled group as the experimental subject.

Long abstract:

The workshop will involve a group, virtual pilgrimage in which the collective consciousness of the group will be blended together in one avatar. The traditional categories of 'communitas' and contestation will be tested against the realities of this new media using the group as the experimental subjects. Through this process, will we discover if (during this event) the assembled collective body of the anthropological community will experience 'communitas'? Or will power structures and hierarchies unveil themselves? We invite delegates to enter into this cyber-pilgrimage, where many minds mingle into one set of virtual footsteps. Here we will engage with questions regarding the "fields of experience", by directly interacting with challenges in virtual ethnography. How is the anthropological understanding of collective ritual impacted by an embodied pilgrimage, lacking physical footprints, but having virtual footsteps, blended into a collective trail? The event will be broadcast to the wider conference online and discussion will be encouraged to continue beyond the event through a virtual environment. This process will be facilitated by an engagement with 'Journey', an indie-developed pilgrimage platform that deliberately draws from mythography in the creation of a symbolically layered environment. The collected group will be responsible for a single avatar, and group participation will be encouraged through the spontaneous circulation of a single controller. Following the pilgrimage, the conveners will host a discussion. This workshop will be capped at 20; other delegates can participate via the online platform. Prior registration is necessary.