Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Flesh of the Gods, or, Pan in Cyberspace

---Carnival revelers in Lucerne, Switzerland, February 16th of this year.

So another Mardi Gras has come and gone.

---Carnival celebrants in Belgium last week.

Another Shrove Tuesday...

--Carnival in Ulm, Germany.

Another end to Fasching....

---Carnival somewhere (Venice?) in Italy last week.

As we contemplate a cybernetic future, enthralled within our digital scrim, shadow selves and avatars leading fleshless lives in a Hadoopian world of zettabyte data streams, we nevertheless continue to congregate corporeally, to celebrate mysteries that go back to our beginnings.

Carnevale both refutes and prefigures this future.

Refutes because we still crave the visceral connection of one another; we desire the pulse of music and the smell of smoke, sweat and cooked meats embracing us without an electronic intermediary. Welcome, welcome, step right up to the carny...

Prefigures because in our pageants, rites and masques we have forever been imagining ourselves transcendent and hybridized. The trail is not so long from the ships in the rituals of Isis and the mysteries of Eleusis to multi-player online role-playing games and endless self-fashionings on Facebook.

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