Media Anthropology represents a convergence of issues and interests on anthropological approaches to the study of media. The purpose of this reader is to promote the identity of the field of study; identify its major concepts, methods, and bibliography; comment on the state of the art; and provide examples of current research. Based on original articles by leading scholars from several countries and academic disciplines, Media Anthropology provides essays introducing the issues, reviewing the field, forging new conceptual syntheses.
Chapter 22: Ritualized Play, Art, and Communication on Internet Relay Chat
Ritualized Play, Art, and Communication on Internet Relay Chat
In a novel form of image-based communication on Internet relay chat (IRC), participants interact in real time, not via typed words but via the display of brilliantly colored images created from typographic symbols on the computer keyboard. About a dozen channels (chat rooms) on various IRC networks have featured this phenomenon, but it has particularly flourished on #mirc_rainbow1 (henceforth rainbow) on the Undernet.2 This chapter will show that the classic anthropological concepts of play, myth, and ritual help illuminate this novel phenomenon.
Rainbow activity draws on the basic constitutive and regulative rules of face-to-face interaction ritual (Goffman, 1967), as well as on the traditional exchange of paper greeting cards ...