The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

October 11, 2016

Notes for Panel Talk for Unconference Conference,
Brown University, Modern Culture and Media, October 15th

Afternoon Session 2:30PM - 4:15PM, Studio 4, Room N330,
Granoff Center, Brown University

Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities: Immersive Media
Jack Mason, Alan Sondheim


1. We are always already virtual.
2. Culture and the construction of the virtual exists all the
way down.
3. Reality is always mixed.

1. Avatars are entangled among embodiments (abjections) and
2. Avatars exist all the way down.
3. Myth, avatar, and virtual worlding are always mixed.


1. Advantages of using virtual worlds. Suppleness, universal
2. Rough guide: packaged movements, avatars, objects, variable
4. Ideas of Gamespace, Edgespace, Blankspace
5. What happens at edgespaces? Everything is still contained
6. Blankspaces and the imaginary

8. dynamics, category theory, morphisms and arrows, objects:
think of gamespace/edgespace/blankspace as dynamic, striated:
how do these meld?
gamespace as kernel
edgespace: regions of
   contestation  again circumlocuted.
blankspace: contestation of the imaginary.
vr: variety of approaches
avatars: background figurations


Wall: (see Blankspace as well)
Cine: ontology of projections
Ididit: inaccessible constructions in OpenSim
Lastdawns: isolated figure in Localhost OpenSim
Learning to Dance: gamespace imitating gamespace
Mouthmouth: avatar with broken space speaking about leaving
Numbhir: anguish/talk from safespace
Qtise: improvisation on death in gamespace
Theykeep: one of the ISIS pieces

Blizzard and extracts
  against Light at the End
Speech of God and Thinking: text projections into gamespace
Other things: Wall, Struct, North, Virtual Futures

Distorted avatar materials
  Including NYUMocaps, Mocaps, BodylosesBody, Carrying
From Here: distorted escape
The Ruin: Changing body shapes of avatar
Bombing: alien objects in sky
Insizing: alpha-layer removal of landscape

Badchat: clotted text (improvisation in real time)
Bulb: extreme mapping
Chanterelle: double avatar dance/movement

Antenna: virtuality w/in the real: VLF
Vvllff: the same w/ Kira Sedlock
Vibration2: vibration of body and space  connects to
QincaveD: virtual speaking of the space (frequency raised)
  in relation to speaking of the instrument
Organon: insertion of the virtual into the real
Car: insertion of the real into the virtual: dis/place/meant
Kyber0: insertion of the real into the virtual: regress
Wrytprogram: dialog among virtual/real: performer as adience
AAGGDouble1: the virtual-real pathways: global circumnavigation
Floodwall: ontology of history and information in relation to
the real
Timemit: (echo in stationary landscape): splaying of time
Twotheaters: mixed proceniums in real and virtual
Suicide: mixed phenomenologies of real and virtual


In this talk, I focus on concepts of blankness, geography,
gamespace in virtual worlds, and what I term edgespace - the
limits of the gamespace, where language occurs and seethes. I
argue that the phenomenology of the real comes into play when
living spaces are abandoned, where broken geographies are signs
of a future already present. I present instances of digital
language production in such spaces, working through virtual
worlds such as Second Life and the Macgrid, as well as
self-contained Open Sim software that can be run on most

The edgespace is always uneasy, tottering, catastrophic; it is
the space of the unalloyed digital, where things no longer
operate within a classical or modernist tradition. Increasingly,
this space characterizes our current place in the world, with
its fractured media histories and environments of scorched
earth, environmental depredation, and slaughter. We can work
through and within such spaces, developing (as perhaps Occupy
did) new forms of production, resistance, and digital culture.

Blankspace is a flow within and without edgespace; blankspace is
the magic slate, entangled projection and introjection
(jectivity), the voice of the philosopher, (non)construction of
the artist entangled in the abject vocalizations of everyday
life, the susceptibility of the world to global migration,
warming, genocide, violence...

The virtual is an imminent transform; the real is an immanent

(I doubt I can cover all of this but I'll try.)

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