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


I understand what you are saying, my comment about the bastard space is just that if you define it as an electronically mediated space or electronically aware/influenced, then sure there is such a thing as the non-bastard space. All one has to do is remove ones-self from the sphere, but be careful that when you do it you are not relying on a car/radio/telephone as they all contribute. Further this non- bastard space only exists in memory and cannot be related (lest we mediate through electronic means). Certainly that is an overreaction but I think there is a subtle indication of my meaning when I say that the space does not exist.

The project you describe sounds fascinating and I do wish I had been able to experience it, the power of these spaces are found in our suspension of disbelief, and when that is easily wrapped up in a paranoid deconstruction of a material space, the results can be compelling I am sure.

I am up for a beer.


On Aug 2, 2007, at 1:52 PM, Stephan Doesinger wrote:

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
Sociologically it is liberating, anonymizing, and
Architecturally it is no different, the laws of
physics and materials

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
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
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

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

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

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
In sociological terms SL seems as if it is only
about "playing"
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

At the end of the day we realize, that all of this
"virtual matter"
swaps back to the first world, and somehow fuses,
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
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:



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

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