Re: [-empyre-] Wrap up and horse flu

"The Garden of Errors"
(Unwilling to create a new subject line for those using gmail, etc.)

Thanks 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

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