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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies II
Flames 1+2 (Manetas, Miltos), 1997

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down by art history. [44]

In «Lara Croft's» case, the artificialness of this kind of construction is obvious—which in the eyes of her defenders lends her the characteristics of a «post-gender cyborg» (Haraway) [45] with whom players of both genders may identify. [46] Nonetheless, markings of a stable and uniform (female) identity dominate, which clearly contradict her interpretation of the cyborg as a «creature in a post-gender world»: «Lara's life is geared towards stringentness, consistency and realizing her true mission; her behavior is predictable and permanently repeats itself; and her over-sexualization suggests an inherent femaleness.» [47] Thus the designers of the game have supplied Lara Croft with a biography that corresponds with the ‹imperative of anthropomorphism,› also in respect to her human origins. [48] Her father, who is dead, is not only a model for her choice of career, but he also repeatedly plays a role in the basic plot of the games. In addition, the fact that Lara is never shown completely nude and never enters into relations with other characters that would suggest a sexual relationship fits into the heteronormative perspective


in the same way as the fact that all of her actions have to be steered by the players—who are not directly in Lara's body, but who control it. And if Lara's ‹hypersexiness› is not transferred into sexual acts in the game itself, it is preserved—quasi in virgin chastity—all the more effectively as a promise to the playing voyeurs. It is hardly by chance that there are countless fan sites in the Internet in which Lara poses as a nude model or a soft porno starlet. There are also program sequences—«patches»—in circulation in which Lara performs a striptease, or as the «Nude Raider» even battles throughout entire game sequences. [49] And it is hardly by chance that numerous artistic works aim at accentuating precisely these ambivalent qualities of the charismatic game heroine: For instance when in his minimalist videos «Flames 1+2» (1997), Miltos Manetas loops brief game sequences in order to let her repeatedly die a senseless death as the incarnation of the automatic game action implemented in her; or when the Dutchman Rob van Oostenbrugge poses as «Lara@HAL» (2001) at a meeting of hackers; or when in their performance series «Lara Croft <listen:do>» (1999) [50] the Norwegian group «Motherboard» invites

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