Friday, April 27, 2007

Bodies in Quotes - My panel presentation at Ars Virtua...

The "Bodies in Quotes" panel from left to right: Xerxes Druart (Stuart Bunt) , Wirxli Flimflam (me), Natberg Sternberg (Nathaniel Stern) and The Unknown (Carlos Castellanos - Moderator) .

To hear Wirxli FLimflam's RL biological alt "Jeremy O. Turner" speaking at the panel presentation, click on Miulew Takahe's pocast link.

Here is a quote from Wirxli's RL self after listening to his own voice on the podcast...

"Wow! That is quite the lisp I have there! My avatar persona must be having an affect on my RL biological voice-tone...I sounded like I was more from LindenLand (San Francisco) than from Canada! Maybe I can go for a voice interview with LindenLabs to get a job there? Heheheheheh... I also noticed that I tended to mumble alot! As for content, it was hard to latch onto what I waa trying to say at the panel...I just hope that my avatar distracted people enough from the actual voice coming through! Now I know why so many people rely on text to get their ideas across...at least there can be a realtime editing process...sheesh! Well, at least they could also hear my RL son causing trouble in the background so they knew I had an excuse for sounding spacey!" -Jeremy O. Turner (April, 2007)


Hello performance art, biotech art and body art fans!

Phew! I just wrapped up my panel discussion at the Ampitheater on Learning. The panel's theme "Bodies in Quotes" that Carlos Castellanos moderated. This was part of Ars Virtua's conference series called Borders. This conference was sponsored by the CADRE Laboratory for New Media in San Jose, California.

I had alot of fun being on this panel and I even got a chance to augment my avatar's overall persona and voice chatted with the rest of the gang for quite some time :-)

Since we were quite dependent on voice-chatting as our in-world broadast medium for the masses - I felt the need to at least type a few words out into the open unless it turned out that no one was actually hearing us. "If avatars chat amongst themselves in Ventrilo, does anybody (else) hear?"

Heheheheheh.. That must be a new koan for SL ;-)

So anyway, when it came time for my turn to talk, I first pasted into the chat-history my point form notes about what I was hoping to blather about in order to completely consume the full coveted 10 minutes of air-time... Normally, I would just spend 10 minutes blatantly hyping Second Front but I knew there were some academics nearby so I had to appear "objective". ;-)

Here is an edited version of my pasted notes that were intended for the audio-less to read and imagine exactly what I was elaborating/rambling about...

Here was my grandiose and academic-esque title...

"The Borders between ALT Bodies: Toggling between multiple SL windows and one biological window."

1) Identify Henrik Bennetsen's (SL name = Lys Ware) difference between Augmentation and Immersion.

2) Discuss both Richard Bartle's and Bennetsen's personality archetypes that haunt the virtual/biological bodies...

BARTLE's Archetype list = Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers.

As a related sidenote, I found it kind of odd and amusing that Richard Bartle once made an appearance as an avatar in SL to declare the Text-MUD's creative supremacy over visually-based virtual worlds such as Second Life itself and others...

BENNETSEN's Archetype list = Creators, Philosphers, Socializers, Businesspeople...

3) mention my different alts and identify which archetype fits best for each alt and how they address performance "art"

4) Mention also the archetypcal borders between the alts (including the biological body in "quotes").

5) emphasize that the most virtual body in SL when it comes to performance art is actually the biological body..it takes simply a figurehead mythological status until one dies.

6) Wirxli's SLebrity body enters and enhances mythological space (mention bodyguards and expanding persona in products).


So as you can see, these were very last-minute notes that I had hastily scrawled onto my off-world notepad application (no, I did not use the in-world "notecard") and only when I found out that voice-chat was going to be the primary broadcasting method, did I realize that I should probably make my notes public... I hope that was a good idea!

I really enjoyed what the other panelists had to say and I hope to hang out with them all in SL again soon... I had so many distractions in RL during this time that I found it very difficult to tune into what my colleagues were saying... To summarize:

1) Xerxes was mentioning how the semi-living biological entires being made in their RL lab were making the public feel uncomfortable, yet ethically responsible...

2) Natberg was bringing up the qualities of living in the grid that caused him some discomfort and intellectual distance..I wish I could summarize his talk better but his audio kept on crashing and also he happened to speak when I had all these essential RL distractions...sigh! I am sure we will be back in touch in SL and he can update me on what he actually said today...I humbly apologize, Natberg! :-)

3) As I said earlier, Carlos was our moderator and was doing a really good job at fielding questions and raising new ones that would engage all three of us panelists....yaaaay!

Other than one fielded forth by Humbert Xingjian, the only quesions we got were from Ars Virtua's curator, Rubaiyat Shatner aka. James Morgan.


One question he wanted to ask seemed to want to put into question the "official" wikipedia definition of Transhumanism. My personal ideas about Transhumanism came from one of the official sources which is more reliable than Wikipedia... Well, I will have a word with Ruby about that later ;-)

In the meantime, here are some other snapshots from my archives for you to peruse on your way down to reading the rest of my blog postings...

Here we all are sitting pretty for the panel...that is all you really need to do in SL...heheheheheh! On the right there, you will see some ad for a Tour-HUD. I knew that in-world HUDs were a dime-a-dozen but had no idea that they would have a special one for touring....KEWL! One of the drawbacks of the design though is that no Superman will request a guided tour. ..heheheheh!

In this pic, you see the front-rows of the audience..I am sure many were hiding in the nosebleed section...heheheheheheheheh! My trusty personal bodyguard, Bear Brooks was keep watch on the audience in case anything theoretically sneaky happened. I told Bear right off the bat to "never trust academics and skeptics"....Heh heh! I think he may have seen a critic or two in the audience as he was reaching inside his coat pocket for his gun :-) But seriously, I not only need critics to prop me and my career up, I also need bodyguards to protect my frail, drugged-up and quoted-up body!


Here is a side-view for you... For some petty and probably narcissistic reason, I really like taking the same situation from different angles. If you recognize yourself and your nametag in the audience and want to ask me additional questions about the panel discussion, please do not hesitate to IM me in-world.


Photo by Miulew Takahe.Special thanks to Miulew Takahe who is my colleague in the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse. He not only took this hi-rez pic, he also recorded the audio so i could have a sneak preview of all the stutters and interruptions I made ;-)

Photo by Miulew Takahe...and here is an additional pic by Miulew. Quite the nice side-profile I have there! :-)

Well, I hope the audio portion of the conference panel is officially posted soon so I can add a hyperlink to this blog! Please scroll down to read more postings...

15 comments:

Richard Bartle said...

>I found it kind of odd and amusing that Richard Bartle once made an appearance as an avatar in SL to declare the Text-MUD's creative supremacy over visually-based virtual worlds such as Second Life itself and others...

That's not why I made the appearance. I made the appearance because I was invited to be interviewed by an audience. I had no idea what they would want to ask me.

As it happened, in an attempt to tell people who I was and why they should come, strong reference was made to a recent blog discussion about the various merits of text and graphics (in which I felt the graphics side overstated their case more than somewhat). This meant that people showed up to the question-and-answer session in SL expecting it to be all about that. It was none of my doing.

For the record, the debate in SL took place entirely in the text window...

Richard

Jeremy O. Turner aka. Wirxli Flimflam said...

Hey there Richard,

Thanks for replying my blog!

For the record, there was no disrespect intended when I made that comment about your appearance in SL.

I just found the whole idea amusing, that is all - especially if is true that you are a text-puritan when it comes to experiencing virtual worlds and communities (is it true?).

I have actually hung out in both Text and Graphical worlds and I find them both very beneficial for different reasons...I think the same thing can be said for oral vs. literary transmission(s)...both have their pros and cons and provide a very different variety of learning experiences.

My main beef about text-based worlds is that they do not seem to have much in the way of embodiment going for it.

As rich and detailed as the imagination is, I would probably need to ingest some heavy psychedlics in order to get any kind of virtual embodiment out of the experience... The text just seems to scroll endlessly down the page (especially if lots of text-avatars are online) and one spend's half their time trying to read and interpret what was said before the visceral nature of any kind of over-active imagination kicks in.

I found text-MUDs very difficult to visually process in realtime and this is even with a 70 WPM typing average and a very fast reading comprehension level...it is difficult enough catching up to all the text-chat and the private text IMs in SL ;-)

Having said all that, I still think there is lots of merit towards the idea of experiencing a pure-text world. Literacy becomes the only real barrier to the imagination but hmmm...I bet there alot of frustrated philosphers who feel stumped by the inability of the (English) language to properly express and articulate their imagination...sigh!

However, I am still very nostalgic for that time way back in the pre-history of 1982 where I explored the C-64 "Pirate Adventure" game with my parents...that was indeed a virtual world that is still very vivid in my imagination and that one was even pre-scripted!

Please keep on texting me, Richard...If you want to text me in more detail, my email is ideatron@gmail.com

Cheerz, Wirxli. :-D

Richard Bartle said...

>For the record, there was no disrespect intended when I made that comment about your appearance in SL.

Oh, I didn't think there was. I was just correcting the impression you seemed to have that I had gone into SL specifically to evangelise for text over graphics.

>I just found the whole idea amusing

So did I. I spent most of the event with my text box enlarged to obscure almost the entire screen.

>that is all - especially if is true that you are a text-puritan when it comes to experiencing virtual worlds and communities (is it true?).

I think text is better overall, but that doesn't mean I think graphics are bad. Graphics are much better for newbies, for example; text only really comes into its own when players have been playing for some time.

>As rich and detailed as the imagination is, I would probably need to ingest some heavy psychedlics in order to get any kind of virtual embodiment out of the experience...

Well, different people see things different ways. Ingesting psychedelics would seem to me to be more of a disembodying experience, but then what do I know?

>The text just seems to scroll endlessly down the page (especially if lots of text-avatars are online) and one spend's half their time trying to read and interpret what was said before the visceral nature of any kind of over-active imagination kicks in.

And conversation in a graphical world works differently how?

Richard

Jeremy O. Turner aka. Wirxli Flimflam said...

Hey Richard,

Thanks for replying my blog again.
I find extremely amusing that you enlarged the text window to obscure your view of the graphics..hopefully no audience member played pranks on you while you were viewing the text window
;-)

As for psychedelics, some enhance agency and embodiment and those that are dembodying sometimes rembody you in a graphically intensive virtual world - sometimes maybe text would be the only trigger.

Conversation in a graphical world works differently (well, depending on the graphical world in question) because you do not have to worry as much about typing to describe the space you are in and also describing the type of movement...one can instead move around using arrow keys and a few other keystrokes and focus instead of the content of the conversation.
My experience with text-chat worlds was focusing alot on describing what I am doing all the time and was never able to develop depth in the actual conversation...describing everything just got too distracting after awhile.
However, I am still very inspired by the idea of text worlds...
Last year, I even made a "spoken word" reading in SL based on your work...What I did was layer a fictional text-based virtual world overtop of the graphical one...
Check out the documentation at:
http://wirxliflimflam.blogspot.com/2006/12/archives-from-second-livre-solo.html
Cheers,
Wirxli

Richard Bartle said...

>hopefully no audience member played pranks on you while you were viewing the text window

I don't think the lag at the time was exactly conducive to playing pranks...

>Conversation in a graphical world works differently (well, depending on the graphical world in question) because you do not have to worry as much about typing to describe the space you are in and also describing the type of movement...one can instead move around using arrow keys and a few other keystrokes and focus instead of the content of the conversation.

I don't know what you mean here.

In a textual world, everything happens using the keys on the keyboard, so when you want to move or to undertake an action, you don't have to change mode - it's all there, right under your fingers, and therefore the sense of connection between text and world is greater than if you move using a mouse or whatever.

I'm not sure that's what you're talking about though. What do you mean, "you do not have to worry as much about typing to describe the space you are in"? Who worries about that in textual worlds?

>My experience with text-chat worlds was focusing alot on describing what I am doing all the time

Uh? Describing doing what? Describing it to whom? Didn't the textual world produce third-person messages to let those in your location know what actions you were undertaking?

>What I did was layer a fictional text-based virtual world overtop of the graphical one...

Which was in turn overlayed on the real world, of course.

Some textual worlds embedded other textual worlds within them. You can go on like this through various frames indefinitely if you liked.

Ah, worlds within worlds within worlds!

Richard

Jeremy O. Turner aka. Wirxli Flimflam said...

Hey Richard,

I am enjoying this exchange...once again - text worlds within worlds ;-)

Did you get a chance to check out my piece referencing your work?

I guess different text-world programs have different ways to navigate through it...which ones do you use? In some you have to type room descriptions but maybe you are using interface-constructed macros for it? Is all the room-descriptor text pre-written by the DM? If yes, it makes navigation easier but then the user-driven content can be reduced and the imagination is as limited as a graphical world.

The last time I was in a pure text-space was in Achaea as I was performing in that space with a friend (who I also know in SL) as a butterfly-collecting cult follower...It was fun but after an hour or so, I got burned out having to read not only the chats but also the descriptions of the various actions of all those D&D types find new ways to butcher and martyr us.

After awhile, I was just reading to catch up with the action and had difficulties multitasking the mind with it...does this make sense? Maybe I just found a busy room to do my performance in and certainly it can be also difficult to multitask socially in SL at times.

One thing I will give a text world, is that it is less laggy than SL ;-)

Hmmm...but for text worlds, I have not yet felt the same connection between the pure text and the keystrokes and the imagination...

I mean, I get a bit of the imagination rolling when I blog about events in SL but that is more considered reflection than like a realtime "embodiment" situation.

Have you ever read Hansen's book "Bodies in Code"?

Cheerz,
Wirxli

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