The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

January 5, 2009


From Johnson's Dictionary:

Aporia: A figure in rhetorick, by which the speaker shews, that he doubts
where to begin for the multitude of matter, or what to say in some strange
and ambiguous thing; and doth, as it were, argue the case with himself.

Aposiopesis: A form of speech, by which the speaker, through some
affection, as sorrow, bashfulness, fear, anger, or vehemency, breaks off
his speech before it be all ended. A figure, when, seeking of a thing, we
yet seem to conceal it, though indeed we aggravate it, or when the course
of the sentence begun is so stayed, as thereby some part of the sentence,
not being uttered, may be understood. - Smith

Aporrhoea: Effluvium; emanation; something emitted by another. Not in use.

Art: [first definition, only one close art-making of any sort] The power
of doing something not taught by nature and instinct; as, to walk is
natural, to dance is an art.

>> Recursion in Second Life: automated vertical movement with Dojoji
seated on fleeing object = self-fleeing object (movement in determined
stages). There are 125 megabytes of files here but the phenomenon is
unusual and has been more or less captured; check out for self-induction pngs, .mov, and .mp4. The
rise seems to top out at 4117 SL units; at least on this occasion, every-
thing stopped. Falling objects (the ones not immediately above the
rocket-prim) meander down, often go off-world.

>> Or not exactly recursion but a repetitive act which constantly steps-up
as object moves, dragging the catalyst with it (catalyst seated on object,
object as catalyst-bed): the prey flees the hunter who rides on its back -
but of course the hunter never catches the pray, which drags the hunter
along with it. Or rather, the parasite move the thing and thereby creates
a vector, exploration, culture.

>> But each particular command, each action is limited; this is not a
continuous automated movement but a movement relying on a performative
repeatedly called upon - there is a double level at work, the level of the
script creating flight, and the level of the avatar Dojoji following suit.
In this Dojoji is not only passive but seated.

>> Therefore it is in the level and performative of the signal itself that
flight is initiated, which is then carried out for the set amount of time
by the script. Think of this as an autonomic nervous system, sensing and
reacting on a quantum level and thereby constructing a chain of events
which continue until what might be a ceiling is reached - in which case
the whole thing stalls. Note that the ceiling may well be artificial, a
result of my computer at this end acting upon the chain, as I attempted to
record everything going on.

>> And of course what is going on is _miniscule_; the excitement lies in
the (false) glimmerings of artificial life as the total local environ-
ment - call this the _habitus_ takes over from the avatar controller and
makes a line for itself.

>> Why _self-induction_? Because the avatar and object-environment, con-
sidered as a _single_ objects, acts reflexively upon itself, just as a
coil for example self-induces. Let the initial charge be the establishment
of the circuit by the avatar controller, and the continuous charging, much
as occurs in an induction (spark) coil be the result of self-action - the
rest follows suit.

>> Of course this is at best a metaphor; still, one can imagine a _system_
of objects, scripts, and avatars, interacting as if in mid-air in Second
Life, producing the equivalent of simple binary circuits. Two possible
models (among many): simple calculation; and cellular automata behavior.

From Francis Bacon, The Great Instauration:

The practical doctrine of nature we necessarily divide into two parts,
corresponding to those of speculative; for physics, or the inquiry of
efficient and material causes, produces mechanics; and metaphysics, the
inquiry of forms, produces magic; whilst the inquiry of final causes is a
barren thing, or as a virgin consecrated to God.

To access the Odyssey exhibition The Accidental Artist:

How to view The Accidental Artist exhibition in Second Life

The exhibition is quite complex now. Here's some suggestion when visiting:

1. Try turning the glow off. Go to preferences, graphics, and uncheck
basic shading, if it's on. Basic shading seems to use up more resources
than anything else with the rendering engine. You can also set things like
rendering distance; the lower the distance, the faster the loading.

2. Turn the video media button off. This on the lower right-hand corner of
the screen. If you turn it on, the texture-mapping consumes a huge amount
of resources. On the other hand, the audio for the parcel (the audio
button) runs fairly lean.

3. If you find the space too cluttered to enter, try flying in.

4. If you find flying in too cluttered, fly higher, and drop in. There is
a dome in the center of the space which you can enter.

5. Most objects on the ground level (and some beneath the ground, on the
seafloor) will flee from you - what looks crowded from a distance might
well clear out.

6. If it clears out, look up - you'll see all sorts of things above you.

7. Fly vertically to see the rest of the exhibition. If you can't fly as
high as you want, click control-alt-d, which opens up an advanced menu.
Open the menu and get rid of camera constraints. You can then move the
camera at a great distance from your avatar body - your viewpoint moves
independently, and you can move at least to the top of the exhibition,
which is maybe a mile or so up, SL measurement.

8. If you get stuck anywhere, teleport back in.

9. Try moving inside the objects; the interior textures are often
different from the exterior ones (this is almost always the case with the

10. You can push objects vertically into the sky by moving beneath them
and flying; they flee upwards.

11. You can see the exhibition 'differently' by using the advanced menu,
going to render, and then looking for info - clicking on any one of the
info options will give you different viewpoints.

12. You can often sit on moving objects, which will whirl you around; if
you sit on an object that moves vertically as a result of your proximity,
you can ride it up. When you stand up again, you can fall down back into
the space. The riding height seems to be around 4117 SL units, but unless
you have a flight bracelet or feather, you probably won't go that high.

13. Moving about on the ground level, keep the sound turned on (lower
right), and you'll hear a variety of songs about SL and language. These
mix with a number of looping sound modules embedded in the space.

14. Go to
and you'll find shortcuts for all sorts of rendering possibilities; most
of these are also available in the menu or advanced menu.

15. If you've been moving around SL a lot, go to preferences, and empty
your cache; this might speed things up. You'll have to restart SL again.

16. If you see a sign for teleporting, try it. Sometimes it will lead back
to the ground level, sometimes to the seabed, sometimes to a skysphere.
All of these locations have clickable objects which will take you else-
where (or back to the same space but at a slightly different location).
You might have to right-click on the object, then click on teleport - or
you might just left click - it depends on the object.

17, Try different 'lenses' - click on control-8 to make the image wide-
angle, control-9 to return to normal, control-0 for telephoto. Repeated
clicks work as well - with control-8 you can create extreme distortions.

18, Try moving into 'small' spaces and look about. You can save snapshots
of anything you see, on your hard drive.

19. That's about it. The general idea is to run lean, fly about, teleport
back if you're stuck, play with the controls. The architecture is constan-
tly changing and deconstructing itself - play with that....

To go into the space, as always, go to, get an avatar, go
through the initial 'training' which is usually under five minutes, then
click on the URL below:

Let me know if you have any difficulties.

- Alan

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