The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

December 4, 2007

(Sandy Baldwin, You; Alan Sondheim, Alan Dojoji)

[18:44]  You: My avatars! My little people! They run around everywhere, 
underfoot. I will play a  song, a little aire, a jig or rondelay!
[18:45]  Alan Dojoji: There's nothing about us that isn't caressed by 
language, that isn't languaging. There's nothing about us that isn't 
read or inscribed; the real itself is an inscription, as far as we're 
[18:45]  Alan Dojoji: You might consider tattoos for example, or any 
gesture one might make...
[18:46]  sandy Taifun: sidecar
[18:46]  Sidecar Potluck: friends
[18:47]  Sidecar Potluck: nice boots
conscious and formal systems.
[18:49]  You: transformed new early version of the avatar 'outt' 
[18:49]  You: the avatar is blue in a  construct-space of 
[18:49]  You: each  avatar-video or each avatar-performance is 
different in content from each  other but not in degree.
[18:49]  You: sukara, dakshinanila, nandiskandhardhara, dhurya, 
prakata, pritvardhana, aparajita, sarvasattva, govinda, adhrita
[18:51]  Alan Dojoji: lecture given by a worm...
[18:51]  You: All water is a kind of milk
[18:51]  Alan Dojoji: or some such, a section of tissue
[18:51]  Sidecar Potluck: i hope the worm is contagious, lecturer
[18:51]  Alan Dojoji: We're further driven by desires; even the 
development or discovery of a formal system is dependent upon our 
wanting to develop or discover such.
[18:54]  Alan Dojoji: For me the emphasis is mess - nothing is as clean 
as it seems - we're coded in the virtual
[19:08]  Sidecar Potluck: sure. I'm enjoying the view
[19:13]  Alan Dojoji: The body is made to appear as if internal tissues 
are unfolding between the legs -
[19:13]  Alan Dojoji: This is done by color saturation,
[19:13]  Alan Dojoji: One of the things I try to point out is that 
these bodies, all of them,
[19:13]  Alan Dojoji: are composed of sheaves - sheave-bodies -
[19:13]  Alan Dojoji: In this sense they relate to tantra, mandalas, 
tankas, images which are to be imagined
[19:13]  Alan Dojoji: internally
[19:14]  Alan Dojoji: and as such lead one to enlightenment -
[19:14]  Alan Dojoji: but the image itself - there's nothing 'beyond' 
it -
[19:14]  Alan Dojoji: It actually breaks with the 
ikonic/symbolic/indexical symbolic categories of Peirce for example
[19:14]  Alan Dojoji: It creates a psychoanalytic semiotics which is 
[19:21]  Alan Dojoji: Language, behavior, the 'primnordial,' etc,, are 
all mixed in together
[19:21]  Alan Dojoji: as are the so-called virtual and the real...
[19:22]  Alan Dojoji: This debris also relates to other issues - 
geopolitical, ecological ones -
[19:23]  Alan Dojoji: the human as a kind of aggressive gaping maw, 
absorbing the world for whatever genetic reasons drive it
[19:23]  Alan Dojoji: - and with technology, drive it to annihilation, 
along with everything around it.
[19:24]  You: Yes.
[19:24]  You: Hello and thank you for attending AVATAR PASTE AND CODE 
SOUP IN FIRST AND SECOND LIFE. Sandy Baldwin, who is in Morgantown West 
Virginia, will be speaking through me. The workshop will also be led by 
Alan Sondheim, who i n is in Brooklyn, New York.
[19:32]  You: None of this is true, none of this as matter of true. He 
and I never touch. Nothing happens here in and on a screen that plays 
out sprites and their gestures.
[19:33]  You: Through this interdisciplinary mixing of tools and 
collaborators, Alan radically imagined the uses of virtual technology 
at WVU. Of course, there's a long tradition of creative misuse of 
[19:34]  You: The aesthetics of the glitch music, for example, explores 
the misuse of the CD. There's an initial similarity in Alan's work 
here: working against the seeming purpose of the tools, refusing the 
normative bodies mapped into these virtual spaces, wild dancing and 
utterance in spaces where we are supposed to be still and silent before 
the machine, an _ethical_ insisting on the pressure and weight and yet 
ineluctable absence of the body in virtuality.
[19:34]  You: But it would not be wrong to insist that a distinction be 
made: misuse or glitch is not the goal but means for consciousness and 
intention to problematize their inhabitation of the technology. This is 
seance and tantra.
[19:34]  You: The results are inspiring, awesome. They are also utterly 
alien, but alien in the sense of the alien that I am and that inhabits 
me and that is there when I shed the skins of habit.
[19:34]  You: The results can be understood as works, works of art. 
They are works, as well, of the real and the virtual, worked over 
virtualities, so that the work of art is trembling with the work of the 
[19:35]  You: The results are endless and undetermined. They form in 
chains and links from dancing bodies to clouds of code to avatars to 
writings and on and on.
[19:36]  You: Alan, the floor is yours.
[19:37]  Alan Dojoji: I want to begin by typing and comment on tantra -
[19:37]  Alan Dojoji: This is Buddhist, not Hindu/Shivite tantra, which 
I have little interest in
[19:37]  Alan Dojoji: But i'm interested in first of all notions of 
[19:37]  Alan Dojoji: Which are unable to be defined and which 
constitute the core of Mahayana philosophy
[19:38]  Alan Dojoji: And within this interest, there are what I could 
call illuminations
[19:38]  Alan Dojoji: that is referencing deity which does not exist, 
inhabiting, taking the deity upon oneself as non-existence
[19:38]  Alan Dojoji: until the deity canbe discarded
[19:38]  Alan Dojoji: There's an odd parallel in Second Life, since 
these avatar figures are basically sheaves, prims
[19:38]  Alan Dojoji: When you get close, when you close in on your own 
avatar, you see (physical)
[19:39]  Alan Dojoji: emptiness within,
[19:39]  Alan Dojoji: nothing but a collection of parts which relate to 
each other, seem somehow joined, but really are just contingent
[19:39]  Alan Dojoji: So tantra relates to this and to the tremendous 
power of projection possible in these spaces
[19:39]  Alan Dojoji: On the other hand the projections are safe, 
distanced, cleansed, always pure, purified; there's no dirt in Second 
[19:40]  Alan Dojoji: perhaps noise of one sort or another, but no 
dirty - hacking's not dirty for example, it rides and invades the same 
protocols we're using, just in a (fundamentally) different way
[19:40]  Alan Dojoji: Ok, anway to continue -
[19:40]  Alan Dojoji: I'm interested in the relationship between 
conscious and formal systems.
[19:41]  Alan Dojoji: Consciousnessness is outside formal systems; 
formal systems are the protocols perhaps ridden by consciousness
[19:41]  Alan Dojoji: Our relationship to formal systems is related to 
how we make sense of the world.
[19:41]  Alan Dojoji: By 'formal system' I don't mean axioms -
[19:41]  Alan Dojoji: just a coherent collection of 'vectors' 
repressenting objects and transformations
[19:42]  Alan Dojoji: To make sense of the world we have to consider 
our bodies, our selves. It's clear for example that a 'healthy body' 
sees the world differently than a sick one.
[19:42]  Alan Dojoji: And that a depressed mind senses a different 
world than, say, an optimist would.
[19:42]  Alan Dojoji: Not to mention an aroused mind, or a disgusted 
[19:42]  Alan Dojoji: We tend to assume a 'purity' of mind or 
rational-mind in order to comprehend the world philosophically, but 
there's really no reason for this
[19:43]  Alan Dojoji: In any case -
[19:43]  Alan Dojoji: We're further driven by desires; even the 
development or discovery of a formal system is dependent upon our 
wanting to develop or discover such.
[19:44]  Alan Dojoji: Now,
[19:44]  Alan Dojoji: Desires are like icebergs - their ostensible 
content might be the peak above the sea, but beneath the surface lies 
darker matter, abject matter.
[19:45]  Alan Dojoji: It's this matter that I'm interested in, the 
abject or obscenity that makes us human, even beyond the guise or 
presentation of language.
[19:45]  Alan Dojoji: Now obscenity is interesting
[19:45]  Alan Dojoji: I heard a lecture by Pinker on language and the 
'stuff of thought'
[19:45]  Alan Dojoji: and he talked about obscenity in relation to 
primitive areas of the brain;
[19:45]  Alan Dojoji: obscenity isn't processed in the same way as 
other languaging is
[19:46]  Alan Dojoji: In fact it elicits a reaction (mostly negative) 
that bypasses consciousness
[19:46]  Alan Dojoji: So that you can tap into the abject, the 
emotional, the dirty, etc., within the digital
[19:46]  Alan Dojoji: through sexuality, the obscene.
[19:47]  Alan Dojoji: Violence here is different - it's cartoon-like - 
but sexuality is more directed
[19:47]  Alan Dojoji: Technically, representations of sexuality here 
are ikonic in a sense; they act directly, whereas violence, I think, 
works through the indexical -
[19:47]  Alan Dojoji: it 'points to obscenity' but not much more...
[19:47]  Alan Dojoji: Now to the virtual
[19:47]  Alan Dojoji: The virtual is everywhere, the virtual is 
symbolic, inscription, an index of our relationship with the real. Our 
bodies are as virtual as anything online; we're a mess of codes and 
protccols, languages, drives, instincts, communications, cries and 
[19:48]  Alan Dojoji: There's nothing about us that isn't caressed by 
language, that isn't languaging. There's nothing about us that isn't 
read or inscribed; the real itself is an inscription, as far as we're 
[19:49]  Alan Dojoji: But this is a mess - what's language and what's 
not language, what's pure body and what's not pure body, what's 
thinking and what's not - it's all a mess
[19:49]  Alan Dojoji: outside of emptiness, which is another issue, or 
not an issue at all
[19:50]  Alan Dojoji: So I'm trying to deal with this mess, with 
consciousness beyond or beneath language, with obscenity, with the 
real,m the virtual, working through models and other ways of exploration
[19:50]  Alan Dojoji: I model the ostensible carapace, the outer layers 
of the human and human behavior, the layers in space, transforming 
through time, morphing, dividing in both conceivable and inconceivable 
[19:50]  Alan Dojoji: And though this modeling, I hope to better 
understand what it means to BE human, particularly in relation to all 
of that debris beneath the surface, our obscene nature itself.
[19:51]  Alan Dojoji: Why obscene? Because this nature is read, 
processed differently than cool speech or conversation; this nature 
constructs readings and writings, and for that matter communication 
beyond or preceding language
[19:53]  Alan Dojoji: The body appears as if its very tissues were come 
out of the genital region,
[19:53]  Alan Dojoji: as if it were coming apart, opening
[19:53]  Alan Dojoji: But in reality - two things -
[19:54]  Alan Dojoji: First, the body is composedonly of prims, sheaves 
which have no thickness (well, a pixel or so)
[19:54]  Alan Dojoji: And there's nothing behind these prims, just 
emptiness -
[19:54]  Alan Dojoji: And second, that the idea of tissues is rally 
[19:54]  Alan Dojoji: by oversaturating the color in the image, nothing 
[19:54]  Alan Dojoji: Sandy, can you take over for a minute or two ?
[19:55]  You: Yes.
[19:55]  Alan Dojoji: I want people to look at the hhhhh files
[19:55]  Alan Dojoji: file
[19:55]  Alan Dojoji: perhaps you can describe it?
[19:55]  You: OK. Please look at hhhhh
[19:56]  Alan Dojoji: (Voice and music, Azure Carter, words mine)
[19:56]  Alan Dojoji: Avatars, Sandy and myself
[19:56]  You: The space is also here in odyssey - another part of 
[19:56]  Alan Dojoji: Space - I think this is Gaz's space 'above' the 
normal space of Second Life
[19:56]  Alan Dojoji: It's actually outside the gamespace itself
[19:57]  You: The song is a kind of keening in relation to the real, 
and the dance, the two of us, is about that limin of real and virtual
[19:58]  You: I see in the video: dance (choreography, both in Sandy 
Taifun's somewhat distorted but still "masculine" coded body and dress),
[19:58]  You: but also a kind of mating dance, a back and forth of 
ritual courtship
[19:59]  You: but also fighting, masculine egos at war
[19:59]  You: but all this is a matter of reading, of the spectator
[19:59]  Alan Dojoji: For me, this could be more successful on my end, 
we're stll working on control
[19:59]  You: The texts are grabbed out of the vast internet text of 
Alan's writing.
[20:00]  Sidecar Potluck: it's phenomenal
[20:00]  You: Alan, you mean you're looking at control, not hhh?
[20:00]  Alan Dojoji: In the sense of phenomena or the sense
[20:00]  Alan Dojoji: No I mean that I want to add some things from the 
[20:01]  Alan Dojoji: r the sense of terrific?
[20:01]  You: Oh, I see, yes, do add.
[20:01]  Sidecar Potluck: yes.
[20:01]  Sidecar Potluck: both.
[20:01]  Alan Dojoji: It's phenomenal in the way that phenomena are 
difficult to describe or limit, border
[20:01]  Alan Dojoji: Anyway in relation to human nature, if such exists
[20:01]  Alan Dojoji: anyway this nature contructs, let's say, states 
of affairs that, in terms of organism, might be considered PRIMORDIAL, 
uncomfortable, construing presence itself, desire, an awakening in the 
world, fear, dis/ease - anything before the world shuts down in 
relation to language, to the processing of language.
[20:02]  Alan Dojoji: Again, it's complex:
[20:02]  Alan Dojoji: anyway this nature contructs, let's say, states 
of affairs that, in terms of organism, might be considered PRIMORDIAL, 
uncomfortable, construing presence itself, desire, an awakening in the 
world, fear, dis/ease - anything before the world shuts down in 
relation to language, to the processing of language.
[20:02]  Alan Dojoji: The world shuts down in relation to death; it 
also shuts down in relation to obscenity, the abject
[20:03]  Alan Dojoji: By the world 'shutting down' I mean a kind of 
turning-away, turning inward, interiority
[20:03]  Alan Dojoji: So:
[20:03]  Alan Dojoji: I began by thinking about the repertoire of human 
physical behaviors, what the body can or cannot do; I used motion 
capture equipment to record and modify the behaviors. The equipment 
installs behaviors into files, much as labanotation filed away dance - 
it's a form of dance notation - much as film records movement.
[20:04]  Alan Dojoji: These files are bvh files, of which more in a bit.
[20:04]  Alan Dojoji: Please go to, hmmm.... anitaberberr.mp4 - this is 
an old piece
[20:05]  Alan Dojoji: In the center, Maud Liardon is dancing; on the 
left and right are two avatars imitating (to an extent) what she's 
doing, but only to an extent
[20:05]  Alan Dojoji: They're mirror images of each other,
[20:06]  Alan Dojoji: The movement was hand-crafted in relation to the 
video of Maud and then superimposed
[20:06]  Alan Dojoji: You don't have to run the whole thing to get the 
idea here
[20:07]  You: But what about when Foofwa enters?
[20:07]  Alan Dojoji: He's entering into the Maud-space, not the avatar 
space, he moves in and out; the avatars keep dancing
[20:07]  You: ok
[20:07]  Alan Dojoji: You might think of him as a meta-diegesis - in 
other words outside the narrative but nonetheless controlling it; it's 
his choreography
[20:08]  Alan Dojoji: Please open jungamer.mp4
[20:08]  You: I'd wonder about the earlier terms "shutting down" and 
interiority in relation to these examples?
[20:08]  Alan Dojoji: You might also want to come closer to my moving 
figure here -
[20:08]  Alan Dojoji: I can't answer that at the moment?
[20:08]  You: ok
[20:09]  Alan Dojoji: I'm not sure where you mean; I'm running off 
thebasic description I prepared but we can go back to this afterwards.
[20:09]  You: no, its fine - a question for later
[20:09]  Alan Dojoji: Now about the bvh files -
[20:09]  Alan Dojoji: So these files, which contained behaviors, were 
then used to reconstruct such behaviors with mannequins, avatars, in 
two different kinds of spaces -ones that were completely recorded, like 
film itself, and ones that were live and in real time - so that a 
viewer might walk about an avatar behaving in a particular way, in a 
particular live space.
[20:10]  Alan Dojoji: This is, of coursem the real time space.
[20:10]  Alan Dojoji: Now how was this done? Since I started with human 
beings and encoded their behaviors, how were the behaviors made so 
violently impossible?
[20:11]  Alan Dojoji: But more than that - the behaviors themselves 
were INCONCEIVABLY CODED, that is, created in such a way as to presence 
an impossible body - which then becomes a distorted body, a body 
transformed by the pressue, for example, of war, of torture, of 
incandescent sexuality - an impossible body -
[20:11]  Alan Dojoji: But a body that, being impossible, also 
represents our desires in the world, desires which, if they could, 
would take apart a real body, dissolve it in the throes of passion.
[20:12]  Alan Dojoji: In other words, the behaviors do 'violence' to 
the virtual body
[20:12]  Alan Dojoji: The techniques are surgical, cutting and suturing 
- separating and bringing together. The operations occur first in real 
life; when a participant wears a motion capture harnass, a number of 
sensors are aligned with her body parts - left leg sensor on the left 
leg, neck sensor on the neck, and so forth.
[20:12]  Alan Dojoji: (again)
[20:12]  Alan Dojoji: We rearrange these sensors, splitting them among 
a number of people, reorienting them; the body maps become distorted, 
[20:13]  Alan Dojoji: We ask the participants to move. We record the 
impossible movements of a single body.
[20:13]  Alan Dojoji: In other words, the sensors might be applied 
upside-down, or split between two people, etc.
[20:13]  Alan Dojoji: Such distortions speak of desire and 
dismemberment, torture and ecstasy
[20:14]  Alan Dojoji: The recording is in the form of a file which is 
fed into one of three applications: a 3-D modeling application, where 
abstract forms are mapped onto the recording, resulting in an 'abstract 
performance' or 'performer' - a mannequin modeling application, where 
human forms are mapped onto the recording, resulting in considerable 
distortion -
distortion -
[20:14]  Alan Dojoji: And a 'live' virtual space, where the behavior 
recordings are used in live avatar performance. I'll demonstrate these 
in turn. I'll also demonstrate various ways and results of scanning the 
body itself.
[20:15]  sandy Taifun: that's beautiful
[20:15]  Alan Dojoji: In stripped, the file is fed intoa 3d modeling 
program, Blender
[20:15]  Alan Dojoji: and objects are assigned to the sensor nodes -
[20:15]  Alan Dojoji: in other words, instead of, say, a neck on a neck,
[20:15]  Alan Dojoji: one of these shapes might be assigned to the 
neck, etc.
[20:16]  Alan Dojoji: So you get this abstract model of tensions and 
the interiority of movement withoout the carapace of the body itself
[20:16]  Alan Dojoji: Sandy, how long have we gone here?
[20:17]  Alan Dojoji: Sandy, how long have we gone here?
[20:17]  You: alan: about 50 minutes
[20:18]  Alan Dojoji: so you'reseeing the joints from within, the 
nearest I've gotten to organs here...
[20:18]  Alan Dojoji: Sandy, do you want to take over for a while? 
Shall we quit for a bit?
[20:18]  Alan Dojoji: What does everyone else think of this - please 
give us feedback
[20:18]  You: I think take a break. Perhaps get notes on the logistics 
from others?
[20:19]  You: How did this work for y'all?
[20:19]  Sidecar Potluck: It's very good. And it works well.
[20:20]  Sidecar Potluck: A couple comments, if that's okay: one 
conceptual / theoretical and one technical / performance
[20:20]  Alan Dojoji: Ok
[20:20]  You: Of course, this is just a part - oh yes, comments.
[20:20]  Sidecar Potluck: I really like that you're presenting a new 
(or at least alternative) aesthetic of the abject
[20:21]  Sidecar Potluck: The performance of this works well as a 
marriage of the concept and the thing itself
[20:21]  Sidecar Potluck: I can literally see what you're saying
[20:21]  Alan Dojoji: Other comments?
[20:22]  Sidecar Potluck: yes~ the additional materal works very well
[20:22]  Alan Dojoji: Does it load quickly enough?
[20:22]  Sidecar Potluck: hhhhh is great
[20:22]  Sidecar Potluck: it loads quickly, but it's a bit tricky to 
find the files to which you refer
[20:22]  snarkl Aeon: well . . . i'm not working from my laptop
[20:22]  You: Jeremy: do you see problems with the directions or the 
method (going back and forth)
[20:22]  You: or nick, do you see problems?
[20:22]  snarkl Aeon: so it's quite fast on the clc computers
[20:23]  Sidecar Potluck: going back and forth wasn't terribly rough, 
and it works well as is...
[20:26]  You: So, what would happen:
[20:26]  You: we would go on in a similar fashion.
[20:26]  You: I have more talk that I'm still preparing, about audience 
and other things.
[20:26]  You: And then we dance.
[20:27]  You: remediations, mediations, projectivities, 
introjectivities, phenomenologies, histories, and mechanics, of avatars
[20:27]  You: Extruded intruded (upon) body: cleansed bodies of the 
continuous middle-eastern 'war'
[20:27]  You: armored bodies and imaginary journeys  (Rhine, England); 
sexualized bodies:
[20:27]  Alan Dojoji: At the moment, I have to go - I'm teaching 
tomorrow and have to prepare since I'm going up to Providence...
[20:27]  You: OK. Alan, do we need to talk on the phone? Or aim to do 
this Weds?
[20:27]  You: My avatars! My little people! They run around everywhere, 
underfoot. I will play a  song, a little aire, a jig or rondelay!
[20:27]  You: audiophiles app avatar avatar arounds bio avatar avatar 
blogs awk biomes  tion tr 
[20:27]  You: My avatars! My little people! They run around everywhere, 
underfoot. I will play a  song, a little aire, a jig or rondelay!
[20:27]  You: SORRY!!
[20:27]  Sidecar Potluck: Thanks for this ~ Sandy and Alan ~ very nice 
[20:27]  You: audiophiles avatar avatar avatars exe everglades
[20:27]  You: empathetic everglades encapsulations episteme extasis 
entropic extasis  extensivity everglades fantasm externality 
[20:28]  You: yes, ok. By nick and jeremy. THANKS!
[20:28]  Alan Dojoji: again, THANK YOU!
[20:29]  sandy Taifun is Offline

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