Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to the Bastard Space!

Hi James,

regarding your comments I would like to adress two
issues that I feel are worth reflecting:
1) "presence"
2) "interaction"

Just to illustrate: One of my first experiences with
constructing a virtual world is back in 1998. For an
art event in Munich me and my partner recronstructed
the architecture of one of Germanys biggest
techno-club, with the 3d modelling programm of the
ego-shooter game "Marathon". You all may know that
Then we installed the game within the physical club.
The virtual reconstruction was very detailled, we even
integrated the art works of all the other artists, who
presented their work in the "real club". We installed
more than 30 screens and projectors and everybody
could play this LAN game. Needless to say it was a
fairly agressive game...

The Marathon scenery somehow began to merge with the
real space it only copied. A bit later it even
occupied the real space... 

Everybody who played the game in this "doubled
environment" was flashed by the experience of a
"double floor" that emerged. After having played the
game, one couldn`t go around the corner in the "real
club" without some sort of caution or even anxiety.
This feeling off-game was enhanced by a crowded space
filled with techno-music, fog, etc.... 

But there were two other experiences which we found
striking in terms of "presence" and "interaction":

1) The power of the simulation of space created a
feeling that we lost the sense for the "genius loci" -
the presence of the real space. We were overwhelmed by
the games´audio-visual world, which took control over
all other senses. All those other senses how we feel
and experience space and our intuition, were
2) The interaction of the game demanded our full
concentration. This media space was about instinct and
reaction. One's own associative mind was completely

I am aware that SL is more than a LAN game is in many
ways much different but there were clear paralells to
dedect. Presence became something like an "alienated
presence" - a similar feeling that occurs in SL. In
that respect I would subscribe to G.H. Hovagimyans
comment that emotionally this sort of presence is
indeed very poor.

The Bastard space is defined by media that demands
interaction - which forces an involuntary
concentration. Once you are stripped of all media that
surrounds you (no cell phone, no nothing...) you will
experience physical space and the people you meet
there differently. You realize that you are not an
At least I did, when I stayed in a very remote place
in wild nature in Turkey recently. No media space
would indrude there. So yes - there is a non-Bastard
space - although it may have become an exceptional

Join me for a beer now?

Well, only that which is absent can be imagined!


--- james <> schrieb:

> Hello Stephan,
> I have been patiently waiting for this discussion
> for a few months  
> now.  Allow me to introduce myself first then I hope
> to address some  
> issues and maybe pose some thoughts.  I.R.L. I am
> known as James  
> Morgan, mild mannered lecturer at the CADRE
> Laboratory for New Media  
> at SJSU. I also have a not so Secret Life as
> Rubaiyat Shatner,  
> director of Ars Virtua New Media Center and Gallery
> located in Second  
> Life (on the border of Dowden and Butler).
> I have been in Second Life for nearly 2 years now,
> and WoW for  
> probably about a year.  I consider myself a gamer
> and have played in  
> other immersive environments in the past.
> I welcome the discussion "beyond the hype."
> Aesthetically SL is a 3d cartoon, a low resolution
> rendering of a  
> vast small place.
> Psychologically it is a game or a first person
> shooter.
> Sociologically it is liberating, anonymizing, and
> egalitarian.
> Architecturally it is no different, the laws of
> physics and materials  
> differ.
> The first show that we did in Ars Virtua was titled
> "The Real."  I  
> curated this show and was deep in the process of
> patting myself on  
> the back for coming up with something so clever as a
> "real" show in a  
> "virtual" environment when in the process of
> collecting the work and  
> laying out the gallery I realized that despite my
> desire to see the  
> work as "virtual" it was in fact as real as any
> other art that I had  
> experienced. That is to say that the experience was
> real, the objects  
> had reality, and the engagement and writing about
> the work were also  
> real.  The simulation had become the simulated.
> It is hard for me to see any mediated interaction as
> anything but a  
> "Bastard Space." Along those lines though I am not
> certain that there  
> is a non-bastard space, or that there ever was.
> The quality of SL (and WoW) that I find most
> compelling is the  
> immersive social quality. It is difficult for me to
> explain the  
> difference that I feel between a phonecall/IM
> conversation and one in  
> SL, but it centers around a difference in the
> medium.  I have found  
> that in SL there is a common experience, one that
> contributes to a  
> sense of presence.
> So if the space is not fundamentally different from
> another mediated  
> space and the primary function is social, what does
> that mean to  
> "native" art in SL?  It becomes a question of the
> mediation and the  
> nature of the social content and context.
> Consider Brad Kligerman's
> Architectural/Sculptural/Mapped/Visual  
> space that would have a hard time existing anywhere
> else and I think  
> we start to see a partial answer, but what is it?
> Truly there is no  
> simple answer, though I would not dare to claim it
> is new it is an  
> amazing extension that begins to illuminate the
> corners of a new medium.
> So what role then does architecture have in this
> space?  What is the  
> purpose of architecture IRL?  The meaning of a
> building is completely  
> without context in an environment where distance is
> deprecated.   
> There is no need to move from point A to B when you
> can teleport, and  
> there is no necessity of a floor when everyone can
> fly.  Architecture  
> becomes a magnificent barrier, an inconvenience and
> a governor of  
> experience.
> Imitation of functional forms from other media
> creates an inherent  
> uselessness.  Mind you I think this can be
> compelling and  
> illuminating but I have classically railed against
> this sort of  
> transliteration.
> James Morgan
> Rubaiyat Shatner
> On Aug 1, 2007, at 2:27 AM, Stephan Doesinger wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > first of all: thanks, Melinda, for your initiative
> and invitation  
> > to this discussion.
> > There are not many forums that discuss Second Life
> "beyond the  
> > hype"...
> >
> > It is obvious that 3D technologies SL are
> multilayered. So to keep  
> > life simple - or at least trying hard - my
> contribution to this  
> > forum will focus on architecture....
> >
> > Aesthetically SL seems to be a mirage of reality.
> > Psycologically it may appear as a stageset filled
> with digital  
> > puppets.
> > In sociological terms SL seems as if it is only
> about "playing"  
> > communication.
> > Architecturally SL appears as a fusion of
> different spatial  
> > concepts - "The Bastard Space"(...).
> > In terms of technology SL may appear as a "3D
> telephone" or maybe  
> > even a new kind of internet-interface.
> > If one imagines a combination of SL (or something
> like SL) with a  
> > GPS navigation system, Google Earth or Microsoft
> Maps, one could  
> > also imagine, that this could create a new
> topography of our real  
> > cities.
> >
> > At the end of the day we realize, that all of this
> "virtual matter"  
> > swaps back to the first world, and somehow fuses,
> creating  
> > something new...!
> >
> > So, as for a kick-off, I want to put forward a few
> thoughts on  
> > Second Life, that I summarized in a text entitled
> "The Bastard  
> > Spaces".
> > It was written for the (not yet pblished)
> catalogue of the Ars  
> > Electronica Festival 2007, where the "1st
> Architecture & Design  
> > competition in SL" will be held. (
> >
> > Apart from that, I also want to invite everone of
> you to submit  
> > your projects to this competition...
> > Please find all details at:
> >
> > Stephan
> >
> > -----------------------------------
> >
> > Bastard Spaces
> > 1st Annual Architecture and Design Competition in
> Second Life.
> >
> >
> > Why are so many people fascinated and at the same
> time alienated by  
> > the virtual world in *Second Life* (SL)? Is a
> deceptive alternative  
> > to physical reality, to so-called ?First Life,?
> being suggested  
> > here? What if this metaverse (1) is an eerie
> mirror of reality?
> > Could it be that Walter Benjamin?s 1929 commentary
> has become the  
> > central metaphor of our basic cultural situation?:
> ?When two  
> > mirrors look at each other, Satan plays his
> favorite game and opens  
> > the perspective to infinity.?(2)
> > I initiated this architecture and design
> competition because  
=== message truncated ===

Stephan Doesinger
Kaiserstr. 44
D-80801 München

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