Networked_Performance

– empyre – The Garden of Errors

dpc_full.jpgThanks to you Melinda and the guests (programmers / speakers) for a great month.

R. Buckminster Fuller, for all his failings, developed a compelling history of our faith in the unseen. Technology and especially this monstrous world called virtuality was for him powered not by metaphors but an existing history, going back to the first representational arts, by which we placed faith in exteriority. That was the force by which we intuited representation and metaphors. A natural instinct for feedback which when developed, becomes trust – and distrust.

Fuller’s World Game “takes advantage of ephemeralisation – technology’s ever-higher- strength-per-weight metallic alloys and chemistries and ever-more-comprehensively incisive-and-inclusive electronic circuitry performances per volume” and is an ongoing element of activity by which virtual prototypes leap from the traditions of architecture into activity. To cut to the chase, its the poetics of prototyping. Hope springs eternal. The life which is second produces meanings about the first even without drawing back the bleeping, erratic curtain.

The Ludic Society’s interest in ludic deviancy manifests in issue four of their journal, focusing on Second Life. Meeting Borges Orbis Tertius and Popper’s World 3 concepts. Margeurite Charmante’s piece “3rd Life Playsure: Tertius Orbis Memorandum” describes the links between the promises of technology tinkered with in magical realism and theoretical science. The deployment of the shadow of Oulipo (here Ou/lu/po for ludics is met with a startlingly concise summation:

Second Life remains attractive as a set of rules (a game?), a willfully taken constraint, a bondage. Like any good bondage it liberates us from our freedom… Accept a game as a set of rules, then the Second Life world is a game, the player is tied painfully close to the limitations of network traffic and access points. As surplus to those limitations by the technological topography, a set of trading rules is superimposed by a game industry monopoly. Now the bond is strong enough that even businessmen, anti-tech hustlers and a Jedermann find SL equally attractive – for chatting and trading with each other, for sex and lollies.” – Margeurite Charmante’s “3rd Life Playsure: Tertius Orbis Memorandum”

My passerby summation of reading this month’s something agitated discussion is twofold; that Second Life is immediately encased in a tomb of problems – corporate, unreal, unable, rigid, outdated. Articulating these constraints, which are regular for a poetic prototyping world but so much more pronounced in SL, is how art can be. The d.lux pony club tour crystallised some thoughts for me, as I lagged behind the group and turned up to galleries late, my pony long since glitched out and my body falling through the sky/floor for the 234th time. I am a visitor to a garden of errors. There is not an aesthetic of testing, but of gaming, testing, rules bouncing free, and catastrophes gamboling freely in the fields. Things are not tested in SL. SL is a bubble blown at a particular moment, and in the gloss we can see all sorts of distortions we can’t see otherwise. There is vitriol there too, armies of vicious sex crimes waiting in the wings, teenagers stealing data from banks, television towers toppled.

If an analysis of a whirlpool could ever be made, it would have to lack the terms of ‘what remains to be seen’ anywhere, and yet that is the first instinct. To be in there first. To watch something happening. The coda implicit is that our second lives are doing precisely what we do too much of. Waiting for something to happen, assuming it won’t be us to trigger and shift objects around in the sky. There could be no pangryic of Second Life. Second Life is a a poem about our expectations of technology, with all the vowels removed. It is a domed city formed from triangular panels of glass (polygons), with the dome all around the world, the panes of glass our monitor screens. Once released from the pressure to be like art, to be artful, the poetics and absurdities emerge. Its a waste, yes – but what a waste…

Christian McCrea
Critical Games Incubator
Swinburne University of Technology
[posted on empyre]


Aug 31, 18:38
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