Perhaps it is true that the term "cyberculture" is one of the hottest terms of the decade. However, the concept is definitely not an invention of the decade. In Canadian Marshall McLuhan's The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967), McLuhan described the cyberculture as "a world remade by electronic media in which we are bombarded by a never ending stream of information" (Taylor 73). To Sherry Turkle, the author of Life on the Screen, cyberculture is "a culture of simulation in which identity is multiple and postmodern epistemological and ontological conceptions are brought into popular consciousness" (Taylor 76).
In the world of virtual pets, www.Neopets.com is a cyberculture that has all the characteristics stated above. It is free for any surfers who arrive at www.Neopets.com to sign up for a virtual pet or multiple virtual pets. After the simple sign up procedures, one could surf around the Neopets community online freely with his or her nicknames or other obscured identities. One could chat with other pet-owners online or battle with other pet-owners without physically meeting each other or releasing his or her true identities. This notion of "remapping of body and identity through the blurring of the artifactual and the natural" is postmodern. Also, "the blurring of biology and technology and the drive for transcendence of the body" that takes place at a virtual pet community, like Neopets, is also very postmodern.
It should be noted that the chat forums at most of the virtual pet communities are strictly monitored. No vulgar languages and unpleasant discussions are allowed. There seems to exist an "electronic panopticon" in each virtual pet community.
On the other hand, at www.VirtualFishTank.com, web surfers are given the opportunity to design their imaginative fish, which are put into the actual exhibitions at the Museum Of Science at Boston. Modernists feel that imaginative fish should never be mixed with the real fish in science exhibitions. Therefore, this is a postmodern idea to be blending the high and low cultures together and have both of them displayed at the Museum of Science.
See bibliography for photo credits.
WWW.Neopets.com Community and Battle Place:
WWW.VirtualFishTank.com (Design a imaginary fish, and then put it on disaply at the Museum of Science in Boston):
Go back to see other flying postmodern virtual pets...