Ned Rossiter has become Ned Kelly. His presentation has started with an Edward de Bono homage with coloured overhead markers, overheads, and thinking out aloud and sideways. The glow from the projector illuminates his face in ways that are wildly reminescent of early German expressionist cinema. He's trying to describe the manner in which ways of knowing remain unacknowledged in the debates about things like games and game theory, and new media theory in general. That the debate is, as I understand it, already about determined or determinable objects, but the discourse that is determining the determinable is not visible. From here he's moved to his paper, more or less, where Ned seems to want to develop an argument around intellectual property rights, the conditions of production and reception, and the politics of these. Somewhere in here is cybernetics, feedback loops, and a critique of recent commentary on the political economy (is that what it's called) which thinks that in a networked postindustrial environment there is no outside. For Ned there is, there are a plurality of outsides, and this ought to be the site of critique. I think, if I were trying to conclude Ned's argument, I'd probably read this as the critique should be located in this outside, not in the work itself where the outside has not been articulated.
Andrew's paper this morning was, well, intimidating. This is, in many ways, the sort of work that I was hoping to attract with the emphasis on time based media and the rather abstract 'streaming worlds'. Time has been absent from much of what I've seen (though it appears in numerous ways today). The notion of force, of flow, and differentials is an extremely productive idea that moves us away from the idea of signification as somehow primary. Something must be prior to signification, or if prior is the wrong model, then alongside. Signification is subject to this.
Jane McGonigal's paper uses "The Beast" as its object of stud three features of immersive gaming: they're invasive, episodic, subversive. The Beast was a viral marketing campaign for Speilberg's AI. The game had no identifcation in any way to indicate any sort of corporate ownership. Jane's research interest is about the dissolution of the difference between reality and games, well, not quite. What happens when game play enters the real world, is in the world and follows the time and flow of the quotidian world? Wow, Jane just detailed some collective groups that are investigating real life crime but treating it as like a game world.
Old school immersion v. new school immersion. Old school about VR, simulation, needs a special interface, limited interaction. New immersion is augmented reality, everday interfaces, everyday spaces, and interactivity is not constrained through things like an 'interface'.
Andrew Hutchison's presentation is thinking about what they really made in their Juvenate project. Which is quite a useful problem to pose. Interested in a comparative analysis that allows us to compare apples with oranges, games with hypertexts with multimedia works. Looked to narratology and Mieke Bal's idea of the way a work implicates the reader (this work that I know Jill has also done). It applies to work that may not be traditionally narrative, not constrained by categorisation and can be applied to any constructed artefact. Bal's model uses fabula (events, actors, time, location and their interactions), story (what is made more specific), and text (the specific manifestation of this).
Bal has these three levels and the text as the manifestation of these and is where experience 'happens' (experience here is defined in terms of relation of reader to text). Used this to produce a 'matrix' of what sorts of things can be done in a text, by who, as a way of being able to compare differences and similarities between different texts. I'll have to read the paper, as I can't see what the connection is between the introduced idea of implication and then the analysis performed, why the implicated reader is necessary to the categories being used to consider the objects of study.
And he managed an ad for BEAP 2004.
Tiffany Holmes' presentation is on the art game genre. Suffering conference note taking fatigue about now.
Deena Laresn's introduction to Glide, which seems to be a complex combinatory glyph 'language' that provides english translations of the glyphs that are generated by the system. It seems to be a bit like the I-Ching meets a combinatory textual apparatus. She has invited everybody to use the combinatory engine to build their own poem from the system. The thing that I don't know, but it could be because I arrived late for the session, is just what the system or process is for. Is it a constrained combinatory system, is it about deep narrative (in some sort of Joseph Campbell sort of manner?), is it about poetry, or is it something else. The paper is very good and a fantastic introduction to Glide and how it works, and I really like the idea of a mode of writing that is non textual.
Julianne Chatelain presented Diana Slattery's paper on Glide. She did a fantastic job of pointing out the major points and possibilities of Glide, and it really is just an exciting idea to build what is almost a runic system.
Truna gave an almost dramatic, aka highly performative, presentation about interaction design. Was various, wide ranging.
Other times, peoples' personalities lets you remember what they said. "It's not just you and the computer in that darkened room, darlings," Truna told us this morning with a seductive toss of her long red ringlets, "it's a menage a trois, darlings, the designer's in there with you too!"
Keith Armstrong connects an ecological crisis with the crisis in subjectivity. Ecosophy is a wisdom of the dwelling and that creative practitioners would like to engage with ecosophical ideas, but how. This study and action research project is refining praxis and new media is useful in developing this conversation. Documented a research project around 'Public Relations' an installation design project around a platform in a major public railway station in Brisbane. What I enjoyed about this is that it is work thoroughly in the public domain and combines analog feedback (suggestions box for instance) with digital systems, with a public sphere sort of project.
As an academic presentation the DVD documentation Keith showed made very literal and visible what an ecosophical approach might be.
Dan Fleming on Hypertext and Empire. A paper I have very much looked forward to. Dan opens with Ted Nelson's comic book reader, and from there to questions about the literal nature of the representation of the link in the comic book reader (visible lines on screen between nodes) to more ambiguous or richer notions of linking. He then showed a nice preliminary work in Flash that uses collage layers in a literal manner to explore how links might be embedded in this model. I'm not convinced that this works, because at some level I think Dan is still treating the link as quite a literal and singular object. There is a tension between the link as an event with a multivalency, and the origin of the link as metaphoric, visual, or whatever.
damn, had to run out to deal with conference admin things, missed important bits.
Contrasts instrumental uses of hypertext linking versus cultural forms. Why has the hyperlinked emerged and become a part of our culture? There is a wished for world in the link rather than wished for knowledge. Described the movement from nation states and the idea of the mass (public mass) towards a notion of the multitude, a 'ghost-citizen' the promise of an empowered consumer, an idea Dan is appropriating from Negri. This is dense work, and requires familiarity with the paper. Dan described what I'd probably think of as a political economy around the multitude and the common (via Negri) and uses this to contrast the multitude and Empire, where Empire is that which offers but closes down the promise of the multitude. What is good is that this is then layered onto hypertext as a technology, but no so much as a technology but as praxis, and more specifically hypertext linking.
Nick Montfort and Stuart Moulthrop's paper. Nothing to write, too busy listening. This is exceptional work. A complex close reading of an interactive fiction work, the sort of close reading that provides a deep, theoretically informed hermeneutic. The sort of reading of such work that is thin on the ground. Concludes by dissolving the dualism that Lev Manovich (and many others) establishes between games, narrative, play, story, and information or representation and control. That the interactive fiction that is being played and read has to be played and read, there are explicit levels of cybertextual activity, interpretation, and activity. They are simultaneous and not something that is added on top of game play.
Had you thought about the similarities between nineteenth century paper doll houses and The Sims? I hadn't even heard about paper doll houses, but Mary Flanagan has. Talking about her paper she showed wonderful (and hilarious) parallels between these cut out worlds and the Sims. Paper dolls houses and regular dolls even had their own fan fiction, Mary said, explaining how magazines encouraged readers to send in stories they'd enacted with their own dolls. Right now similarly Victorian images fill the large screen in Storey Hall, as Nanette Carter is comparing nineteenth century shops, advertising, department stores and modern shopping malls to online shopping. She's finishing up by talking about rather creative online shopping sites, like vuitton.com - which compares favourably to Sportsgirl's bland backdrop of noisy music.
Well, here I am at DAC, in an odd green building full of geometric patterns and shapes, a very appropriate venue. A quick welcome from the dignataries of Melbourne started us off with a rush.
Mikael Jakobsson and T.L. Taylor, Sopranos meets Everquest: Social networking in massively multiplayer online games.
People distinguish between RL (real life) and gaming friends--sounds like how mafia people introduce each other: friend of mine or friend of the family.
Everquest is a 3d world where people interact. One of the massive games: 430,000 subscribers, peak playing periods can host 100,000 people at once. People pay $12.95 a month, buy upgrades to the software, and keep up with the system to play.
To succeed at the game, you must have social capital: social networks developed through the game. This is not in the manual; but has developed through people playing the game.
Link death: when the network crashes and loses contact. People can petition game masters (employees who run around helping people.) Trust is important: lizard looted an object--according to the rules--he shouldhave given it up but disappeared. He then got a poor reputation, and could not play effectively. The social network functions as a way to keep and gain trust--if trust is abused, players will not go far.
Friends are the ultimate exploit in the game. Social networks evolve and are not played according to the manual. Players are not supposed to have more htan one player, but does own other characters. People group together, play with family and friends. This is a rich social space.
Rich social networks evolve in a formal way with guilds as well. System recognizes guild structures as formal associations, which facilitate game play. However, there is a high degree of sociability in the guilds. Guilds build reputation both with an individual's identity and guild itself. You apply to a guild with a posted application.
Families are built around reputation, trust, and responsibility.There are social guilds to hang out with and raiding guilds with a strong purpose. Groups of people pool property as a guild bank. However, this is not formally recognized in the system, so this depends on the trust of the players. People also trust their lives and property to fellow guild mates. People share accounts (a bannable offense) with guildmates, so they are also risking real life consequences --being banned from the game.Brad McQuiad, designer, says "The key to creating community is interdependance. In EverQuest, we forced interdependance in several ways and although we've been criticized for it, I think thats one of a couple of reasons behind our success."
So, just like the mafia, there is a strong level of trust and honor in the absence of legal boundaries. A favor and family system has evolved to create groups more powerful then the individual. A vow of silence within the guild enforces these social exploits and grouping to play the game inside and outside the formal game boundaries.
Lisbeth Klastrup, University of Copenhagen
A poetics of virtual worlds
This is part of her pHd thesis--recently completed--CONGRATULATIONS LISBETH HOORAY!!!
We have all been (Virtual) world builders. We play and demarcate playing spaces --a child playing on a carpet can be on a spaceship or a lion's den.
A virtual world is:
A virtual world is computer created. It is fiction that "Pretends to be real. These worlds are a potential waiting to be realized: The seed is vitual, the tree an actualisation, the cycle of constance re-virtualisation. This re-virtualisation takes place with expansion packs--new charactgers and features--and interact--players create new spaces and new actions.
THe world is an interpretive framework:
Virtual worlds are a cultural artifact, a new variety of an interactive text with two main possibilities of interact:
interaction with the world (naviagtion, manipulation, game system)
interaction with the players (social network)
We can ask the same questions in a virtual world as we do of traditional literary texts --what are the rules, forms, and laws of this specific aesthetic genre? WHat creates social experience, immersion (suspension of disbelief) presence (Feeling that you are there).
Worldness--the specific and unique traits that make it a world. This is like literariness or gameness. The worldness of a specific world are system (what you can and can't do and the backstory of the world) and emergence (shared social experience and mastering geography and strategies--what you live and experience, and what others live and create)
Life cycle of experiencing a world:
1) Getting to know the world, learning the lingo
2) Experimenting with successful strategies and mastering rules, socialising
3) the sum of lived experience, mastering the rules to perfection, extended social network.
EverQuest is a sum of the experience of the player--as a game, as a social world, as a piece of software.
Worldness should be applicable to other environments such as hypertext and single user games, (Navigable and geographically extended fictional texts) Can we make a general theroy of this type of text.
Her next project is the meaning and implementation of death
John Bank, University of Queensland
Intellectual property--who gets access in a game development company.
New media demands that we rethink relationships between producers and machinists.
Is this a form of resistance and consumers? Is this a cooption by cultural imperalists?
Next, a whirlwind of faces from the past for me: wonderful to see Nick Monfort, Rob Swigart, Rob Kendall, geniwate, Julianne Chatelain, Wendy Morgan, Catherine Bott, Komninos., Jill Walker--too much to talk about too quickly!
Whew it is incredible to get together with so many creative and friendly foks!
Panel 2: Room 2
textuality Janez Strehovec, University of Ljulana
Internet culture and internet textuality
Digital textuality is the field of visual culture. This is a moving target--not just about reading and writing but how to search the progrfam to navigate this new media.
We are using technology (cursor and stylus) to enable us to read and write and get a subtle feeling of being there, of being in the text-scape--a textual landscape. This is a subtle form of virtual reality.
The visual, time based aspects of the text and poetry is a way to look at literary works in an entirely new way.
This is not just about the semantic issues, but the relationship with the viewer and reader--the cinematic, visual, spatial aspects of the signifiers come to the fore.
Print and electronic poetry have common factors: writers manipulate words, both use random access. Both use white space--the absence, silence, display and not display. The whiteness and absence can be seen in the movement of the text, the animation and time sequence of the poem.
Poetry language can be defined as an attempt to express as much meaning as possible in the fewest amount of words. This economy of language is intensified in the electronic media, using temporal and spatial syntax as well as text.
(An aside, the technical aspects can be funny --the "no Signal" message of the projector floats across Janez' head--showing an irony. Janez actually is full of signals--I am getting caught up in the integration of white space and silence in digital works and print works, I think about the power in Ahkmatova's leaving just the edited out spaces in Poem without a Hero, of Claire's use of whiteness and blanks in Dazzle as Question...Now I will go back and listen..)
One problem with digital poetry is what is the reference frame? What is the environment for digital poetry, for electronic creativity?
Digital poetry is club culture, internet culture, emerging from online and modern (modem?) communication. It is devoted to the screen. It is time to come closer to kinetic poetry, to digital poetry, to time based images.
The logic of replacement gives way to the logic of coexistence and simulation.
The ontological status of digital poetry--we are changing from stable artifact of paper to a nonmaterial entity of screen. we are changing experience from a linear paper to a nonlinear multimedia exploration.
Susan Ballard, Otago Polytechnic
Talks about three artworks in her paper: her own work, a student's, and Maddy Lees--she came across these at the same time and tried to work out what these works share.
They don't share media--not the same media, or location (spatial or aesthetic), or content.
They share a notion of affect, so Susan examined the aspects of affect in these artworks.
Katherine Hayles also examined these affects--of flicker.
These are connections of embodiment--what positions do we adopt in front of artworks?
People walked up to an artwork in an exhibit and tried to touch the screen. Played James Walton's projection (untitled)--I wanted to touch it too, the film of the water aned rocks looked like I could touch the velvet surface of the awater, the dry graininess of the rock. This is a still work, Susan says, but I see the movement of the waves. Susan says this has a clock jumping about with times, but there are still waves, still a scene that persists (Lisbeth's words) through the time.
This plays in between digital and analogue, virtual and actual.
Susan then showed pictures of installations of her work Sensible. This is a photographic piece with lights and movement, a differing still feel than James'. It was filled with scent, and Susan expected people to be "attacked by the sense" and then go to the pictures. But people actually looked at the photos and then start to gag at the scent, and look around for the source of the scent. Viewers were made aware of their own embodiment and materiality.
Susan showed an installation of Maddie Leach's work, Lilacs. This is a film in two rooms, and you move between the two parts. Maddie constructed a large ice skating rink, and you could put on boots and skate up and down, so you become the work--performed the work and making the work happen.
What is the flicker? Do viewers enter the flicker? Or is it something we can see and not enter? Thinking in terms of squeezing in and virtual immersion. In her paper, the word flicker shifts and changes as the notion of flicker shifts.
(I like the idea of words changing and celebrating noise and flicker, it is an intriguing notion when the word reflects what it is, a sort of three dimensional onomotopeia.)
Jim Bizzocchi, Simon Franz Universiy
Showed and talked about the interactive fiction, Ceremony of Innocence. The interactive logic is an "obstructivist" design--get a post card, solve the puzzle, get another postcard. You go through 60 levels to get to all the lexia.
It is simplistic at the macro level, but delightful at the micro level. The puzzles are funny, inspiring, and witty./
I have to spend time with this work!!!***
You get a suspension of disbelief--you surrender to the experience.
This is a narrative like a game--is there a contradiction between interactive experience and engaging with the text and suspending disbelief?
Do you need narrative in an interactive work? Can the audience flicker between surrendering to the work and engaging with the work?
Oh, this is based on the three art books with Griffin and Sabine!! I LOVE those. I HAVE to get this!!!
Narrative is infused in the design and work.
Narrative texture--the exaggeration of craft to express narrative emotion and character.
Expressivity application of craft to infuse meaning into a work
(This will be intersting to compare the physical work of the art books with the online work.)
Narrative texture spreads information throughout a work.
Functional transformations-with cursors (matches are used in Griffins, and Griffin is mundane objects, limited characters). Sabine's cursor is a parrot, a butterfly, whereas Sabine's are exotic. Sabine is a witches familiar, a dark angel. GRiffin's is a sad, mechanical death whereas SAbine is a transcending death.
The cursor tumbles and becomes disoriented, lose control of the cursor. The cursor gets swatted out of the picture with a cat. In some, there is no agency at all. The cursor loss of control shows the loss of agency for the reader. We lose the nexus, the interface between the hand, eye, and screen. The subversion of the cursor is part of the puzzle, and part of the character and narrative and plot development.
(wow, what a great idea. to work within and subvert these convensions...hbmmm.. I gotta play with this....)
REal Media Media==get through Amazon
I skipped out of the third session to get setup and put this online immedioatly. Welcome to blogging and real world timing! I have resisted this immediacy for a long time, but I can see--briefly--where it might help...
Lisbeth asked "have you ever seen a book with a bug screen?" A good question. I wonder if an errata is a book's bug screen, or is there something more substantial recorded by or via a bug screen?
Lisbeth Klastrup is talking about the poetics of virtual worlds. Something I'd invited presenters to do is talk to their papers, and to let us know why their work is of value and exciting to them. Lisbeth, as a result of this question, has pointed out that from the question she realised that her interest in this research goes back to her childhood and the carpet she used to play on. How the carpet provided a border which was the virtual world of her games. Minor point, perhaps trivial academically (who can tell yet), but it is good that as a researcher she has been able to identify a qualitative reason for why she does what she does.