glimpsed: melbourne time

All papers published here as part of MelbourneDAC 2003 have been fully peer reviewed by an independent academic board. Details of the review process (which included two rounds of reviewing) are available.
All papers have been co-published by Fine Art Forum (Vol 17, Issue 8) August 2003 ISSN: 1442 4894

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Playing Research: Methodological approaches to game analysis

Espen Aarseth
University of Bergen
aarseth at

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The study of game aesthetics is a very recent practice, spanning less than two decades. Unlike game studies in mathematics or the social sciences, which are much older, games became subject to humanistic study only after computer and video games became popular. This lack of persistent interest might seem odd, but only if we see traditional games and computer games as intrinsically similar, which they are not. We might try to explain this lack by noting that games are usually seen as trivial and low-brow by the aesthetic and theoretical elites who cultivate the analysis of artistic media objects: literature, the visual arts, theatre, music, etc. But this does not explain the fact that aesthetic studies of games are now possible, and even, in some academic environments, encouraged and supported with grants. What happened to cause this change?

Negotiating Participatory Culture in the New Media Environment: Auran and the Trainz Online Community - An (Im)possible Relation

John A. L. Banks
The University of Queensland
School of English, Media Studies and Art History
E-mail: jl_banks at

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This paper offers an ethnographic account of participatory culture in the new media environment by describing an encounter with a virtual object: a 3D model of a steam locomotive designed to function within Trainz, a virtual railroad simulation. The encounter entangles us in the rapidly changing relationship between media consumers/fans and media producers in new media technologies, and foregrounds a transformation in the dynamics of cultural participation. These emerging dynamics demand that we rethink the relations between producers, consumers and media technologies. For example, are our understandings of fan culture as a choice between resistance to and cooptation by commercial imperatives enough to navigate these cultural networks? How do we respond to these fascinating objects? I argue that participatory culture is an event that is made and that we are responsible for our collusions in these enactments.

Alchemy, mimetics, immersion and consciousness.

Richard Brown
Honorary Senior Research Fellow,
The Victorian College of Art, Melbourne University
and artist in residence at the ABC.
E-mail: rb at

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In this paper I discuss a number of ideas on the representation and perception of space, time and energy and how these ideas have been inspirational in creating experiential art works. Areas I have explored include the concept of a fourth dimension, alchemy, mimetics, immersion, artificial-life and ideas about the nature of consciousness. I carry out these explorations through "art as a mode of enquiry", producing experiential artworks rather than written theory. This paper summarises a number of ideas I have found useful and inspiring in creating artworks that explore the perception and experience of space, time and consciousness.


Nanette Carter National School of Design
Swinburne University of Technology
144 High Street, Prahran, 3181.
E-mail : ncarter at
tel : 03 92146736

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This paper examines internet shopping sites in relation to developments in earlier spaces of consumption. It is a critical analysis of the use of virtual space in Internet shopping sites and the way they often reflect established practices rather than producing new modes of consumption. Despite the potentialities of virtual space, retailers and brands continue to commission sites that constitute limited remediation of catalogue and magazine formats with their linear and shallow navigational design. The neurotic referencing to real space (shops) and rationing of space in all its dimensions in the design of their websites reveal an anxiety on the part of brands and retailers regarding their ability to harness cyberspace through design.

Hypertext and Empire

Dan Fleming
Professor of Media and Cultural Studies
University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland BT52 1SA
Telephone: +44(0)28-703-24479
E-mail: dr.fleming at

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This paper asks what sort of wished for world is anticipated by the hyperlink. An answer is sought in observation of hypertext readers and in the theorization of 'e-motion' as combined hyperlink activation and receptive disposition on the part of the reader. It is suggested that hyperlinking's overarching disposition is towards a world of multiple productivities and productive multiplicities (anti-Empire).

The Myth of Interactivity or the Interactive Myth? - Interactive Film as an Imaginary Genre

Kristoffer Gansing
Malmö University, School of Arts, Culture and Communication - K3
E-mail: kristoffer.gansing at

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This study tries to go beyond the dichotomy of analyzing digital media in terms of the shift from "passive viewer" to "active user". This common ideology of the interactive seems today to fall perfectly in line with a global consumer culture. Within the topic of interactive film as an imaginary genre, I will consider the relationship between narration and interaction design, in order to pinpoint different structures of control that form criteria for the supposedly liberating interactivity. From this I will try to present a view on how interaction in digital media is becoming a kind of everyday practice, producing rise to actions which are not immediately visible within these structures but which can offer the consumer instruments for subversion.

Arcade Classics Spawn Art? Current Trends in the Art Game Genre

Tiffany Holmes
Department of Art and Technology,
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Phone: +011-312-493-4287
E-mail: tholme at

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The paper investigates the emerging relationship between videogames and art. The author explores how the interactive paradigms and interface designs of arcade classics like Pong have been incorporated into retro-styled art games. This survey of the art game genre explores the limitations of the emerging work and the narative and critical possibilities the game format offers artists. Discussion is focused in the following areas: defining a retro-styled art game, issues of quality and playability in the genre, art games that subvert traditional power relationships, and finally feminist art games.

The Utopia of Open Space in Role-Playing Videogames

Ben Hourigan
The University of Melbourne
E-mail: b.hourigan at

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An account of a variety of utopianism manifest in the ludic and narrative elements of role-playing videogames. The paper concludes with some speculations as to how the utopia of open space may be realised in cultural production.

Analysing the Performance of Interactive Narrative

Andrew Hutchison
Curtin University
E-mail: a.hutchison at

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This paper presents the comparative study of three quite different interactive experiences, utilising a narratological/performative approach. The author is motivated to the development of a coherent, systematic and comparative approach to the analysis of complex interactive experiences, regardless of their apparent 'genre', as a result of being involved in the production of the Juvenate project. The advantages of such an approach to the analysis of interactive experiences that are not necessarily imbued with any obvious or significant 'story' aspect will be explored. Bal's call for narratology to be positioned in a multi-disciplinary approach provides a framework for a concept in which a designed work 'implicates' the reader to 'enact' a 'performance'.

Exploring the nature of electronic space through semiotic morphism

Troy Innocent
Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University
E-mail: Troy.Innocent at

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Electronic spaces present endemic properties and structural relationships that are difficult to decode. Using these spaces to their full potential for effective communication and expression is difficult without understanding how they signify meaning. Combining theories of digital media language, electronic space, computational semiotics and formal languages, semiotic morphism may be adopted as a new approach to understanding the nature of electronic space. This process is demonstrated in an electronic game, entitled Semiomorph. Semiotic morphism may lead to new understandings of existing electronic spaces, provide a framework for the creation of new space, and demonstrate structures and relationships that are unique to digital media.

The Sopranos Meets EverQuest: Social Networking in Massively Multiplayer Online Games

Mikael Jakobsson
Department of Informatics
UmeĆ University
E-mail: mjson at

T.L. Taylor
Department of Communication
North Carolina State University
E-mail: tltaylor at

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This article explores the ways social interaction plays an integral role in the game EverQuest. Through our research we argue that social networks form a powerful component of the gameplay and the gaming experience, one that must be seriously considered to understand the nature of massively multiplayer online games. We discuss the discrepancy between how the game is portrayed and how it is actually played. By examining the role of social networks and interactions we seek to explore how the friendships between the players could be considered the ultimate exploit of the game.

Towards an Ecosophical Praxis of New Media

Keith Armstrong
QUT Creative Industries, Brisbane, Qld
E-mail: k.armstrong at Tel:0412 749 729

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We live under the enduring shadow of ecological crisis. Contemporary theorists have suggested that this 'problem of ecology' indicates a more general crisis of human subjectivity. Having observed much new media art praxis operates largely without awareness of the ecological implications of those practices I began developing new processes for conceptualising and developing media art works which I termed 'Ecosophical'. My objective was to discover whether such works could be used to create contexts within which participants might reflect upon connections between the 'problem of ecology' and the proposed problem of human subjectivity.

A Poetics of Virtual Worlds

Lisbeth Klastrup
Department of Digital Aesthetics & Communication (DIAC)
IT University of Copenhagen
E-mail: lisbeth at

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This paper presents a possible poetics of virtual worlds, part of which is the study of those "textual" aspects of a virtual world that define it as a virtual world. It introduces the concept of "world-ness" as a measurement of the particular traits that constitute the experience of a virtual world, and in an exemplary analysis examines some of the functions and aspects that define the worldness of a specific virtual world, EverQuest.

'This Is Not a Game': Immersive Aesthetics and Collective Play

Jane McGonigal
Department of Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies
University of California at Berkeley
E-mail: janemcg at

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The increasing convergence and mobility of digital network technologies have given rise to new, massively-scaled modes of social interaction where the physical and virtual worlds meet. This paper explores one product of these extreme networks, the emergent genre of immersive enter-tainment, as a potential tool for harnessing collective action. Through an analysis of the structure and rhetoric of immersive games, I explore how immersive aesthetics can generate a new sense of social agency in game players, and how collaborative play techniques can instruct real-world problem-solving.

Face It, Tiger, You Just Hit the Jackpot: Reading and Playing Cadre's Varicella

Nick Montfort
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania
E-mail: nickm at

Stuart Moulthrop
School of Information Arts and Technologies
University of Baltimore
E-mail: samoulthrop at

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We consider a specific character, Princess Charlotte, in the 1999 interactive fiction work Varicella by Adam Cadre. To appreciate and solve this work, the interactor must both interpret the texts that result (as a literary reader does) and also operate the cybertextual machine of the program, acting as a game player and trying to understand the system of Varicella's simulated world. We offer a close reading focusing on Charlotte, examining the functions she performs in the potential narratives and in the game. Through this example, we find that in interactive fiction — and we believe in other new media forms with similar goals — works must succeed as literature and as game at once to be effective. We argue that a fruitful critical perspective must consider both of these aspects in a way that goes beyond simple dichotomies or hierarchies.

Implementing Nonlinear Sound Strategies within Spatial Design: Learning sound and spatial design within a collaborative virtual environment.

Gregory More
Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory,
RMIT University,
Melbourne, Australia,

Lawrence Harvey
Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory,
RMIT University,
Melbourne, Australia,

Jules Moloney
School of Architecture,
University of Auckland,
Auckland, NewZealand

Mark Burry
Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory,
RMIT University,
Melbourne, Australia,

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The integration of Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE) into design curricula highlights shortcomings in the existing pedagogy of spatial design teaching. RMIT University's Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) has utilised software developed by the University of Auckland from a commercial game engine to enable the teaching of spatial sound within an architectural design studio "Memory Games". This paper reports on the outcomes of the design studio and discusses potential extensions of this approach for spatial design education, and for design and architectural practice.


Dr. Anna Munster
School of Art History and Theory
College of Fine Art
University of New South Wales.
A.Munster at
(02) 9385 0741

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To date, most discussion about the aesthetics of Flash animation has taken place within the context of web usability and design debates, between, on the one hand standardization, simplification and the inherent deceit of the visual, and, on the other, the mannerist excessiveness of a design-driven Flash aesthetic on the other. This paper proposes that a more thorough investigation of Flash aesthetics is necessary; one that shifts its analysis towards the broader function and place of animation within contemporary on and offline contexts. It will be suggested that by situating Flash within the context of graphic narrative, networked culture and the post '89 debates over censorship and representation, we can see a rich set of media and mediated elements at work within its flattened space. Consequently, a Flash aesthetic is not synonymous with global design or high-tech information spaces but rather is a hybrid product of information exchange and meaning between cultures: low-tech, high- tech, Japanese, American, digital and analogue.

Electronicas: Differential Media and Proliferating, Transient Worlds

Andrew Murphie
School of Media and Communications
University of New South Wales
e-mail: a.murphie at
+612 93855548

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"Electronicas" are defined as electronic music and the cultures involved, and more broadly as music's not-so-distant cousins, the electronic arts. Electronicas require us to rethink many "givens" in mainstream ideas about contemporary culture and technology. Yet, despite the obvious series of connections between electronicas and the more workaday applications of new media in general, and despite the recent increase in analysis of electronicas themselves, there has been little attempt to think through new media from the "point of view" of electronicas. This paper outlines some theoretical bases - drawn primarily from the work of Bernard Stiegler - for an exploration of electronicas. It does so in the twin contexts of their innovative and longstanding engagement with technology, and their more recent attempts to put the digital back into the world. It gives a brief account of the contrasting natures of an electronic understanding of culture and technology and some more mainstream views. These contrasts lead to a general theoretical consideration of digital media as differential media. This term implies media based upon the technics, philosophies and cultures of intensive difference rather than the stabilisation of differences into the "unity" of "communication".

Developers In Exile: Why Independent Game Development Needs an Island

Julian Oliver
E-mail: julian at

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An 'Independent Game' is widely understood as a game released by the company that made it, in other words a game that doesn't publish through a third-party producer. While the producer offers investment in the development budget, this is at the cost of relinquishing some financial and intellectual control over the project, hence the reference to a relative state of 'independence'.

The Paradox of User Control

Daniel Palmer
University of Melbourne
E-mail: e at

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Many writers on digital media have identified customisation as one of the key features of digital media. In his influential book The Language of New Media, Lev Manovich shows that digital media is characterised by variability, which in practice often means its customisation by and for individual users for commercial purposes. The 'culture industry' also has its own reasons for encouraging active, rather than passive, modes of consumption. In short, participation in the digital media imaginary is increasingly becoming an obligation. While new participatory modes of media engagement are almost always considered in enabling terms, in this paper I argue that many are complicit with the production of new media subjectivity - a performative mode ideally suited to the 'flexible personality' demanded by contemporary capitalism. This is the paradox of user control, a pervasive fantasy of choice within which the user is offered up for a form of soft domination.

Processual Media Theory

Ned Rossiter
School of Political and Social Inquiry
Monash University
Email: Ned.Rossiter at

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This paper argues that new media studies is dominated by a particular empirical mode of research that overlooks the dynamic relationship between that which has emerged as an object, code or meaning and the conditions of possibility. The paper proposes a processual model for media theory that extends the current empirical paradigm into what Deleuze terms "radical empiricism." New media aesthetics are considered in relation to systems theory in order to register the processual dimension of sensation. The paper concludes by suggesting that a politics of time is central to processual systems.

System Dynamics as Story Engine for Interactive Video

Hanne-Lovise Skartveit
InterMedia/ Department of Media Studies,
University of Bergen, Norway
E-mail: hanne-lovise.skartveit at

Magnhild Viste
InterMedia/ Department of Information Science,
University of Bergen, Norway
E-mail: magnhild at

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This paper will discuss visualization of system dynamic models, particularly the use of video, as a method for designing interactive multimedia learning tools. Although traditional media productions may capture elements of natural and soci--al develop-ment as well as the underlying causal structure, such productions do not often match well the com-plex-ity of this structure and typically does not explain well how such a structure produces the develop-ment observed. Therefore, we design interactive multimedia environments that allow for the presentation of the relationship between the underlying structure and the re-sult-ing beha-viour of natural and social systems in the form of narratives produced and presented on demand. Using video in the visualization of simulation models raises practical and theoretical questions such as: How is the immediacy of a simulation game affected when pre-recorded video of a past event is integrated, and could this be done without limiting the openness of the simulation? Departing from prototype examples, these are questions to be explored in this paper.

Reading Resident Evil-Code Veronica X

Susana Pajares Tosca
IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
E-mail: tosca at

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This paper proposes a close "reading" of the computer game Resident Evil-Code Veronica X, in a practical attempt to argue for the application of reader response criticism to digital media.

Performing Fictions: Interaction and Depiction

Jill Walker
Dept of Humanistic Informatics
University of Bergen, Norway
E-mail: jill.walker at

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This paper presents a method for analysing an aspect of interaction that can help us understand how users can feel that they are part of a work. I argue that interaction can be a form of depiction, causing the user to imagine both her perceptual actions and her manipulation of the work as being fictional as well as actual. This produces an ontological fusion between the actual and the fictional. In brief analyses of three interactive works, I suggest how this framework can enable a better understanding of some aspects of interactive art and literature.

Flickering Affects

Susan Ballard
School of Art, Otago Polytechnic
E-mail: sballard at

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All digital work is made and viewed in the glow of the flicker: the image moves, our eyes move, our body enters into some digital space. Whether or not a screen is present, the viewer of digital installation art is implicated within this flickering affect. This paper discusses three installation works by New Zealand artists informed by digital practice. I argue that an affective viewing experience can be examined through the semantics of the flicker.

Split Attention Problems in Interactive Moving Audiovisual Texts

Nitzan Ben-Shaul
Tel Aviv University, Dept. of Film and TV
E-mail: benshaul at

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New interactive media works based upon moving audio-visual material often result in distraction rather than sustained engagement. Using Dual Coding theory, Cognitive Load theory, and Constructivist Narrative Film Theory, this study claims that distraction results from split attention problems generated by these works. Analysis of several new media works, particularly "Interactive films", instantiates these claims. For interactive moving audio-visual works to sustain deep wide ranged engagement, multi-tasking split attention problems have to be avoided or managed.

Ceremony of Innocence and the Subversion of Interface: Cursor Transformation as a Narrative Device

Jim Bizzocchi
Simon Fraser University, Canada
E-mail: jimbiz at

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There is a potential inconsistency between the experience of story and the process of interaction. Many interactive narratives ask the interactor to switch between an immersive state of immediacy and a hypermediated awareness of process. The paper examines the interactive CD-Rom Ceremony of Innocence and identifies two design strategies that are used to suture any potential disjuncture. One is the saturation of narrativity throughout the entire work. Analogies are drawn to both classic Expressionism and a more widespread expressivity in cinema. The other is the subversion of the interface itself to reflect narrative concerns. Narrativity is thus situated both globally and at the heart of the interactive experience.

"To the Spice Islands": Interactive Process Drama

John Carroll
Charles Sturt University
E-mail: jcarroll at

David Cameron
Charles Sturt University
E-mail: dcameron at

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This paper describes the strategies employed to produce a learning experience combining role-based improvisational drama and digital interactivity. The "To the Spice Islands" project draws on the distinct yet parallel traditions of Interactive Drama and Process Drama, attempting to match levels of dramatic engagement with levels of digital interactivity. This hybrid approach allows action and narrative to develop simultaneously.

The Experience of Information in Computer Games

Patrick Crogan
University of Technology, Sydney
E-mail: patrick.crogan at

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This paper responds to Espen Aarseth's provocative proposition about the way First Person Shooter games reveal a fundamental modality of human experience by embodying a dialectic of "aporia and epiphany." It is argued that if the First Person Shooter Doom tells us something fundamental about living today, then this is because of the programmatic nature of the prevailing cybernetic world view of which Doom is an elegant illustration. The military origins of this world view are then examined. The logistical tendency to order and control contingent events is discussed as a central legacy of the military source of cybernetic thought influencing contemporary technoculture. The concept of information in the widespread notion of information processing is cited as a key element of this legacy. Information is examined in its initial mathematical conception as a means for calculating future eventuality in a cybernetic communication system. The experience provided in the First Person Shooter is discussed as a ludic variant of the logistical tendency to anticipate the future by means of modelling and simulation. The ironic or critical potential of the First Person Shooter as a game which not only plays out but also plays with the prevailing values of technoculture is discussed.

Language Dancing in a Maze: Ternary Logic, Language, and Mind-States in Glide

Deena Larsen
textra at

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Electronic media provides an opportunity to create and explore languages not based on sound and words but on movement, vision, and meaning spaces. This paper examines how Glide[1], a visual/gestural language conveys complex cognitive perception processes.

HeteroForm Organization and The Cinema of Braided Processes

Aleksandra Dulic
Computing Arts and Design Sciences
Simon Fraser University
E-mail: adulic at

Kenneth Newby
Computing Arts and Design Sciences
Simon Fraser University
E-mail: knewby at

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This paper discusses an extension of the experimental cinema language through the possibilities opened by computational media. An investigation of the compositional potentials opened by computable cinema provides the ground for a new form of cinematic experience which involves an elaboration of conceptions of the traditional cinema image. The idea of braided narrative structure drawn from South East Asian performance traditions, in particular the Javanese shadow play, can act as a model for organization of media within computational environment. This heteroform organization of media can support a structured system of improvisation organizing a multiplicity of voices, negotiated order, distributed participation and direct dialog with oneself and others through the materials of the work.

SIMple & Personal: Domestic Space and The Sims

Mary Flanagan
University of Oregon
E-mail: mary at

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What happens when video games, a typical "male" space primarily created by men, are combined with domestic space? Domestic space has been historically linked to the feminine, and therefore, playing a game set in a house must be a kind of "feminisation" of the player. That the game The Sims is popular among women and girls also supports this thesis. In this essay, I postulate that this feminization manifests through the design of the game space, game tasks, and game goals, and that further, this feminisation is reflected socially through the dominance of consumer culture.

Languages Of Navigation Within Computer Games.

Bernadette Flynn
Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
B.Flynn at

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Video game designers pay much attention to questions of player navigation, terrain mapping, spatial design and aesthetic immersion. In contrast within computer game studies there is an overemphasis on ludus and narrative as defining and at times oppositional aspects of computer gameplay with minimal critical examination of navigation as the carrier of cultural meaning. This paper considers movement as a defining feature of games and places it within a wider discursive framework focusing on the role of histories of navigation and spatial representation. Drawing on Harvey's models of spatial practice and extending on de Certeau's idea of space as practiced place, the paper proposes that navigation of game space encompasses both a formal representational language and a symbolic, associative one.

Undiscovered Worlds - Towards a Framework for Real-Time Procedural World Generation

Stefan Greuter
RMIT Centre for Animation and Interactive Media
stefan.greuter at

Jeremy Parker
RMIT Centre for Animation and Interactive Media
jeremy.parker at

Nigel Stewart
RMIT School of Computer Science and IT
nigels at

Geoff Leach
RMIT School of Computer Science and IT
gl at

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With advances in computer hardware, 3D game worlds are becoming larger and more complex. Consequently the development of game worlds becomes increasingly time and resource intensive. This paper presents a framework for generation of entire virtual worlds using procedural generation. The approach is demonstrated with the example of a virtual city.


Dene Grigar
Texas Woman's University
Email: dene at

John F. Barber
University of Texas at Dallas
Email: jfbarber at

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This paper discusses a theory of translating print-based literary texts for the web, called new media translation theory, and the principles underlying it as they play out in the online bibliography of writer Richard Brautigan.

Situationist Roaming Online

Maren Hartmann
SMIT - Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
E-mail: Maren.Hartmann at

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Situationism has recently been equated with the online context, especially in form of information access as a kind of online 'dérive'. This equation is not necessarily an obvious one and thus will be questioned in the paper by referring to the original concept(s) in Situationism. The concentration is on an outline of the concept of the dérive and its potential relationship to online information access. The suggestion is that it is only a useful comparison if one wants to put a particular emphasis on the disruption of usual information access patterns.

pricklings: appearance

Teri Hoskin School of Architecture
University of South Australia
E-mail: ti at

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What is the manner of appearance? Is appearance the mode of virtuality coming-into-significance? What is the time of appearance and what is it that appears? This paper takes as its problem appearance within the discourses of electronic arts and culture. It considers appearance in two ways; as a philosophical term that hinges upon the arrival of the unexpected (a matter of time), and also appearance as the way things look (their manner). How can we judge appearance when the very terms of judgment fix its possibilities? Often the terms of the digital are fixed on the object in a too finite manner that prescribes style and in doing so arrests the possibilities of chance and poetics. My area of interest is electronic writing as inscription at the points of undecideablity between new media arts, architecture and visual arts.


Darshana Jayemanne
University of Melbourne
E-mail: rjayman at

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Are videogames art? This essay considers in what ways videogames may be considered artistic and some challenges the form brings to contemporary aesthetics.


Mathew Kabatoff
MFA Candidate - University of California San Diego
mkabatoff at

| download paper (pdf) |

In 2001 artist Heath Bunting began a project called "Border Xing's" where he set out to cross all of the national boundaries within the Eurozone. Not deterred by the eager optimism of a newly formed European Commission, nor criticisms levied against his project proposal claiming that the notion of the 'border' within the Eurozone has become obsolete. Bunting proceeded in order to prove this criticism and socially fore-grounded notion of open borders wrong seeking to provide a double negative. But does this double negative transpire with the conditions he established for the project? Can this double negative even be produced by a body that fits all of the requirements of the able, Western—albeit a bit scruffy looking—globalized traveler?

Clicklit | Cinelit & the Invisible Hand <skinborgs & poetmachines>

Jayne Fenton Keane
Griffith University.
jfk at

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This explores relationships between poets, texts and technology through the trace of the hand.

Charting the Frontier: The Electronic Literature Directory

Robert Kendall
Electronic Literature Organization
E-mail: kendall at

Nick Traenkner
Electronic Literature Organization
E-mail: nick at

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The Electronic Literature Directory is an extensive descriptive directory with highly flexible searching and browsing features. It was designed to meet the unique bibliographic and typological challenges presented by electronic literature. This paper discusses those challenges and our programming and administrative responses to them.

PathScapes - Interface Options for Visual Indexing

Mike Leggett
University of Technology Sydney
E-mail: Mike.Leggett at
legart at

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A short paper outlining some issues concerning hypermedia, cinematic immersive states and navigation in the development of an interactive multimedia prototype, PathScape. The experimental model set out to critique Human Computer Interfaces that rely heavily on metaphors derived from the mechanical age and found more in common with classical pre-literacy interfaces that complemented the workings of human memory. The modern computer is capable of circumventing the written word and demonstrating, on-demand, the spoken word, sound and picture. Though the technical provision for achieving this is rapidly occurring, an interface for indexing sounds and images which is not dependent on words, lies comparatively neglected in HCI advancement.

Mainstream Rebels: Informalization and Regulation in a Virtual World

Christina Garsten
Stockholm Center for Organizational Research (Score)
Stockholm University
E-mail: christina.garsten at

David Lerdell
Stockholm Center for Organizational Research (Score)
Stockholm School of Economics
E-mail: david.lerdell at

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This paper discusses the relation between informalization and regulation with respect to work related social interaction on the Internet. At focus are the dynamics and tensions between informal and standardized codes of conduct. We question the idea that virtual, mediated, communication differs substantially from 'real', face-to-face communication. One way to approach this tension between informality and standardization is to further investigate the relation between the virtualities achieved through electronic means, and the "real life" situation of those people creating these virtual worlds. These investigations have been made through fieldwork at Apple computer in Sweden, California, US, and France, where online and offline communication among professional software engineers and other Apple employees was studied. To grasp how computer professionals communicate while forming the basic structures of the Internet, participant observation has been made at meetings arranged by organizations involved in the process of defining and organizing the Internet, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The role of art and design in it-education at the digital Bauhaus

Lone Malmborg
Arts and Communication
Malmö University
E-mail: lone.malmborg at

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In this paper, I discuss experiences from the interaction technology education program at Arts and communication - the digital Bauhaus - Malmö university. Focus is put on how the education program is oriented towards a combination of material artifacts with digital media, and on which role art and design play in this combination.

Place as a Pattern of Stories

Caroline McCaw
University of Otago
E-mail: picnic at

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A series of public art trails and an online MUD event are used to examine issues of geographic location and social activity. Conversation becomes a tool with which participants are able to both contribute to the building of place descriptors and identify as a discourse community.

PlayStation 2: Selling the Third Place

Mark McGuire
Department of Design Studies
University of Otago
New Zealand
E-mail: mark.mcguire at

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As the "Third Place", Sony markets its PlayStation 2 game platform as a new digital commons, as well as a surreal, dreamlike space. Simulated adventures are promoted as being preferable to physical experiences. While players connect to form gaming communities, online communities are becoming more like structured games. The result is a displacement of public space by privately owned and controlled electronic amusement parks.

Phonic Frequencies shaping networked realities

Tamas Szakal, Christoph Groenegress, Wolfgang Strauss and Predrag Peranovic
MARS - Exploratory Media Lab
Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication, Sankt Augustin, Germany
E-mail: {szakal, groenegress, strauss, peranovic}

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The paper introduces a networked multi-user installation and interactive mixed reality environment that combines the fields of interactive art, telecommunication and streaming technologies. Phonic Frequencies is an audiovisual data space whose appearance can be altered via networked communication devices. Visitors are active agents and participate in shaping spaces as they control audiovisual data with their telephones.

Linking the physical space to the digital network space, Phonic Frequencies opens a hybrid reality for distributed sound exchange and visual communication, blurring the boundaries between verbal communication and digital information. The work attempts to break the conventional communication cycle of bidirectional dialogue and to consider the meaning of in- and output from a different perspective.

Aphasia+Parrhesia: Code and Speech in the Neural Topologies of the Net

Christina McPhee
transmedia artist
Department of Architecture
Hargrave Studio
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo CA USA 93407
E-mail: christina112 at

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An allegory of the net as a site, body, and voice of neural trauma. The net is imagined as a cyborg brain. Aphasia denotes recursive, perseverant, garbled speech patterns caused by aneurysm or traumatic shock. If the cyborg's aphasia is contemplated as "fearless speech", or parrhesia, iconoclasm and algorithm mesh in the dark space (amygdala) of a neural-electronic universe. Foucault's observations of unequal power relations as a signal characteristic of parrhesia play through a critique of artificial intelligence as an atopic net.

Mixed Reality Story-telling : Story-setting and Story-sharing

Alok b. Nandi
media author/artist
182, av. W. Churchill, B-1180 Brussels, Belgium
E-mail: nandi at

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Mixed Reality Story-telling is explored by immersing real actors in virtual settings, while breaking the narrative design process into story-setting with story flows: in this paper, the author analyses the specific architecture of virtual and actual spaces allowing the interactors to live a narrative or poetic experience.

Journalism online: the search for narrative form in a multilinear world

Sybil Nolan
RMIT University, Melbourne
E-mail: sybil.nolan at

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This paper considers mainstream journalism's attempts to bring interactive story-telling to the world wide web. It examines the development of immersive news technologies as a case study, showing that journalism based on such technologies is modelled on a games metaphor. The paper argues that games are not an appropriate model for journalism. It uses this case as a springboard to discuss the failure of mainstream journalism to come to grips with the multilinear qualities of web culture.

Word and code, code as world

Daniel Pargman
Dept. of Media Technology
Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
E-mail: pargman at

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This paper examines imaginary worlds - complex but logical-and-controllable systems. The paper analyzes the overlap between structural characteristics of different sorts of imaginary worlds, as they are constituted in (fantasy) literature, role-playing games and computer code.

Aarseth's Scriptons and Gunder's Content Spaces: Perspective and the Analysis of Textual Systems

Thomas A. Porter
The University of Queensland
Department of English, Media and Art History
Brisbane, QLD 4072 Australia
thomasaporter at

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Espen Aarseth's taxonomical classification of textual systems as presented in Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature relies largely upon the separation of textual storage from textual presentation. Reference to scriptons (script as presented) and textons (script as stored) define many of the relationships and variables through which Aarseth explores textual systems. However, there is a confusing shift in the perspective from which the units of presented script, or scriptons, are determined. In order to address this shift in perspective, I propose to adopt Anna Gunder's notion of content spaces to refer to the larger wholes into which individual mechanical units of presented script are assembled by the actions of a system user, however such wholes may be determined. Aarseth's scripton is then reserved for reference to units of presented script from the perspective of the media system involved. This addition to Aarseth's taxonomy broadens the utility of his approach to textual systems by removing a connotative uncertainty from this approach to textual systems.

Game, Space and the Politics of Cyberplay

Brett Nicholls
University of Otago
E-mail: brett.nicholls at

Simon Ryan
University of Otago
E-mail: simon.ryan at

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This paper traces the overlapping spaces that constitute Sega's/Smilebit's Xbox game, Jet Set Radio Future. Our claim is that this cybergame emerges in and through what Edward Soja calls Thirdspace. This means that even though cybergames are currently the site of more capital investment and more real-time cognitive activity than any other form of mass entertainment, it does not follow that players become capitalism's drones. Building on the evidence of the game, and Soja's insights on space, the paper works through Alec McHoul's concept of cyberbeing, in which gamesplayers hover in a twilight zone between interconnecting spaces. This "between" suggests that game playing is a politically engaged activity and that the study of games should involve tracing the passages and intersections, and indefinite possibilities of spatial negotiations that mark play.

gardens, games, and the anamorphic subject: tracing the body in the virtual landscape

Eugénie Shinkle
Department of Design, Digital Media, and Photography
University of Westminster
London, UK
E-mail: eugenies at

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The undeclared visualist bias of contemporary theories of virtuality ignores the body/technology relation and restates the ontological assumptions of scopic Cartesianism. Virtuality is an embodied concern, however, and demands a critical/historical approach that acknowledges this. Based in phenomenology, and historically traced via eighteenth-century landscape, the embodied and affective character of interfaced being is articulated through the concept of the anamorphic subject.

From Interface to Interspace: LiveGlide and the 3rd Dimension

Diana R. Slattery, William Brubaker, Charles R. Mathis, Robert E. Dunie
Academy of Electronic Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
E-mail: slattd at

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The Glide project is an ongoing series of explorations into the new possibilities for writing and for language itself enabled1 by the computer. Glide is a visual language, a system of discrete signs or glyphs that can link and morph dynamically. Glide signs carry significance and behave semiotically. Current research moves the writing space from planar inscription into the 3rd spatial dimension. Some implications of this added dimensionality are examined using a theoretical framework derived from N. Katherine Hayles recent work, Writing Machines, [5] which foregrounds the importance of materiality in the production and reading of technotexts.

Text as a Loop/ On the Digital Poetry

Janez Strehovec, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor at Academy of Visual Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
E-mail: Janez.Strehovec at
+386-1- 4368-108

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Digital Poetry is a genre of its own, residing at the intersection of the Poetry Avant-garde and Neo-avant-garde, Visual and Concrete Poetry, Text-Based Electronic Installation Art, Concept Art, Net Art and Software Art. It includes kinetic and animated poetry, ergodic and visual digital poetry pieces, digital sound poetry, interactive poetry (with collaborative authorship), code poetry, poetry generators as well as digital textscapes and installations with features of poetry. It is of importance that this genre applies an expanded concept of textuality including symbols of netspeak and programming languages, which means that the ASCII language and HTML symbols are also involved in new poetic structures with striking visual, animated and even tactile features.

The Object of Performance: Aural Performativity in Contemporary Laptop Music

Caleb Stuart
University of Canberra, Australia
caleb.k at

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The use of the laptop in performance causes various negative responses from the audience who feel a loss of spectacle and performativity in the action. This occurs due to the lack of gesture and visual cues from the performer and the loss of focus from the audience who have no visual object to ground their aural experience. A shift in focus from an understanding of the visual spectacle in performance to that of aural performativity is needed. Once this is understood the audience can approach the performance with a shifted focus and come to new understandings of the aural object and contemporary digital audio.

Player, reader and social actor

Anne Mette Thorhauge
Department of film and media studies
University of Copenhagen
E-mail: annemette at

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When we approach the videogame as a text we have to take into consideration that its recipient is a player, not a reader. In this paper I discuss some implications of this problem and suggest the concept of metacommunication as a way to cover the new aspects of the recipient.

betwixt and between: a mixed media expose of the epistemologies of cyberspaces and beyond places: a performance introduction

truna aka j.turner
Queensland University of Technology

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This work offers an introduction to a mixed media intertextual performance on the nature of digital space and its multiplicity of worlds and the mediating effect of its history and authors. It explores digital space as a cultural construct and examines those 'strange new worlds' and their rhetoric as a soap opera, seeking in the process the place where such worlds might be understood as cultural texts.

The Many Voices of St. Caterina of Pedemonte: An Experiment in Non-Linear Digital Narrative

Alison Walker
University of California, Riverside
alison at

Silvia Rigon
University of California, Los Angeles
srigon at

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Saint Caterina of Pedemonte is a digital narrative published on CD-ROM, which attempts to answer questions regarding the nature of interactive participation, and its role in unveiling non-linear storytelling and meta-commentary. The story is comprised of a multitude of voices that compete and compliment each other to form a cacophonous narrative. This project aspires to illustrate the many voices, which shape our perceptions of past events and people. In this case, the authors focus on mystic saints who use starvation as a way to illustrate their devotion.

From Instrumental Texts to Textual Instruments

Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Brown University
E-mail: nwf at

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This essay begins with brief descriptions of Screen and Talking Cure, collaborative artworks of a type some have called "instrumental texts." Instrumental texts are said to be played, in an analogy to musical instruments. However, the play material is predetermined, making their play more like most computer games. "Textual instruments," on the other hand, can play many compositions (and each composition can produce many different textual outcomes). A first of these instruments, created with Brion Moss and using n-gram algorithms, is described.

Drugs, Machines & Friendships: Cybertext, Collaboration, and the Beatles

William Gillespie
Spineless Books
E-mail: william at

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That spark of interaction that happens during a successful and inspired collaboration is as important as it is elusive. Said spark involves friends having fun together, and may be beyond the grasp of traditional academic language. Chemistry is an apt metaphor, and while it is unreasonable to expect a theoretical chemical formula to reproduce the web of motivations, sensibilities, and techniques that underlie a collaborative work of art, some strands can be identified. I am particularly concerned with the role of Producer, as well as certain types of feedback between machines and artists that shape the artists' intentions.

Internal Networks Revisited: Telepathy Meets Technology

Camille Baker
Master of Applied of Science Candidate
Interactive Arts Program
Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC, Canada
1(604) 708-997
E-mail: cbaker at

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This is speculative paper that explores the paradigm-shifting concept of initiating a mind/body to computer communication or interaction, it is not intended necessarily a prescriptive work. This idea pushes the boundaries of accepted conventional science, in terms of human versus computer capabilities and the potential for these capabilities to work in tandem, through means currently accepted only in science fiction. This paper takes the recent revelations in physics, psychology and neuroscience then couples them with the idea of human computer interaction and wireless communication to envision experiential means of connecting human consciousness with technology.

Interactivity or Interpassivity: a Question of Agency in Digital Play

Laetitia Wilson
University of Western Australia
E-mail: noumena_lw at
(08) 9380 5072

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The utopia of interactivity is waning and a question emerges; is what we so often refer to as interactivity in fact interpassivity? If so, how does this impact on the participant, the player in the digital field? This paper engages in a questioning of the dynamics of interpassivity through a call for closer attention to agency in the user-interface relation.

Smearing Discontinuity :: In-Game Sound

Jeremy Yuille
RMIT University

On the whole, digital games treat sound with something akin to a mix of fear, contempt and jealousy. Sound is used to accentuate visual transitions, to help create atmosphere, or to inform us of an event that is not visible. Sounds are triggered at discrete points in game time and space, and are very rarely the object of fascination or final goal. This paper explores the possibility of continuity between game sound events, through the introduction of real-time synthesis. It reports on experiments conducted by the author this year with game systems for use in installations, and attempts to chart the territory of sound driven digital games, particularly with respect to real-time performance..

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PANEL:Interface, Design and Visual Indexing

Chris Bowman, Jacqueline Gothe, Daniel Ireland, Mike Leggett
University of Technology Sydney
E-mail: Chris.Bowman at; Jacquline.Gothe at;
Mike.Leggett at

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Each of the panel are working in related ways in the context of this session, to address the storage and retrieval of the stories of a modern oral and visual culture. Four distinct projects will open out the approaches and thinking being pursued and the overlap that exists between them. We have become aware of one another's work over the last nine months, have been working on our separate projects for varying periods with and without budgets, and also have in common development cycles of from 5 - 10 years. These short presentations will each highlight the specific problem encountered or theoretical concept being tested and why the outcome of the project could be of wider social value.

PANEL: Whatever It Takes: The New Media Editor

Robert Kendall
Electronic Literature Organization
E-mail: kendall at

Rob Swigart
San Jose State University
E-mail: rswigart at

Nick Montfort
University of Pennsylvania
E-mail: nickm at

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In preparing new media literature for publication, the editor must often take on nontraditional roles. In this panel, three new media editors discuss these new roles.

adrian miles adrian.miles at conference chair
antoanetta ivanova antoanetta at conference producer
anna farago conference administrator

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