[-empyre-] Johannes Birringer, forwarded post
This is a fascinating discussion.
"Instruments" -- the term is often used now when we think of creating/composing
interactive environments and architectures using certain devices
sensors, infra red, or machine vision systems) which invite or ask
the visitor to
become active in a space (sensorially exploring it and learning how
one's motion or
gesture affects feedback & media output or behaviors of the system).
"Intrumentalizing" such viewer or visitor behavior (and viewer is
not quite the
correct term as such architectures often work synaesthetically and use sound
diffusion and sonic events-- urging us to think more about acoustics and the
psychology of acoustic experience) raises a political issue that
seems connected to
the negative meaning the term received in Marxist critiques. But I
quite agree with
Sally Jane that the composition (or programming) of a "space" and the
might happen in it needs to be seen on other levels. Musically, the
is closer to the creative and even virtuosic use that a "performer" in such an
envionment might make of the sensorial interfaces. In such cases, in
active design, the issue generally turns on the gesture-controlled
of the real-time system space and what will happen in it.
in some installations however the "instrument" for the visitor is not
so easy to
learn or "control", if you think, for example, of Ryoji Ikeda's work.
spaces, I agree with SJ, surely "hyperinstrumentalize" our
perceptions. They blind
How would this now relate to "mediaskins" and surfaces, if surface
evokes a tactile
sensory perception, and then a visual and acoustic one of course. I
would like to
hear more about these surfaces and how artists are "composing" such
spaces or architectural spaces or the inscriptions that run on them (LED work,
projections work, etc).
Hugh Davies's "Map-Me" work (Analogue Art Map) is intriguing, since the whole
question on "mapping" data in interface design is central to the social
configuration of analogue and digital environments. What is the
creating a physical Myspace or Facebook....>>user friendly social art in public
areas - Analogue Art Map seeks to use non
digital media to discuss digital culture and technologies with a
towards mapping spaces>> ... and isn't it interesting that such "map
public areas (office spaces? shopping malls?) wouldn't necessarily
art at all, but how strong is its criticality? how does such a
digital culture" ?
Again, what I have seen here rarely can be said to include a critical
dimension unless you define "self-reflectiveness" as a critical idiom
conceptual art and after the postmodern sunset sounds quite
unconvincing) or think
of countergaming or retroengineering as a model of intervention into
protocols and action dynamics of gaming. How to remap a game or game
space to make
the "bee not be completely taken by the honey"?
Distracted attention may not be so good for gaming. It then depends
on how you want
to produce pleasure in a retroengineered game. I can't speak for
have not seen that many buildings or spaces that invite
playing/living in fantasy.
But i know that a good number of digital artists are exploring game
hacking into game engines. I watched a group this summer working on a virtual
environment ("Daedelus ex machina", created by Nancy Mauro-Flude,
Scot Cotterell) which in a most facinating manner "mapped" the actual
we worked into a digital game / VR space and then sought to introduce real time
physical "interventions" into the game architecture (cf.
http://www.lowstandardnet/daedalus/).... In the
words of the designers:
"In a classical 3D virtual game-space we embed the formal
affect a webcam supposes, with fictional and subjective elements such as live
audio, intimate gesture, and location changes spurred by the
narrative reality of
the performative event. The live performer acts in relation to human interface
devices (HID) - objects that are embedded with sensors. These
networked objects are
spread around the stage and interface with modified videogame
software that allow
for a comportment of physical and digital synthesis and act as sonic and visual
emulators with the screen 's point of view........"
I saw early test rehearsals with Nancy Mauro-Flude performing a
character moving into and out of this strange VR environment that
looks like our
building but had become immaterial, a strange maze. Other actors or
join in (via network connection), and such pervasiveness, if this is
an example of
pervasive gaming, is quite paradoxical.
What does one pervade? where does one wade? the VR environment is
I can't say too much about, it seems to escape reason and is socially
devoid of context and function and pleasure.
As as non-militant, creative and/or user friendly collaborative
space, a mystery
space, etc., it could become useful if it is adaptable. In last
on Second Life, i was waiting to hear about those processes of
adaptation, and why
so many apparently would want to "live" (for a little while) in a
synthetic safe VR
Not all may be safe either.
The "virtual" now seems to gather strength and attract all kinds of ideological
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
285 Goldwin Smith Hall
Ithaca, New York 14853
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