Archive for April, 2011
Before there was a dictionary of birds there wasn’t an other rather there were idengious beliefs. What Audubon did was turn the owl from the moon’s twin into a scientfic object. He merely provided the languages of Artitotle and the gaze of math with preemient places in the wild kingdom.
Math, as everyone knows, is a fine hunter. It stuffs splints of certianity in all the wholes mother nature leaves. Math and science built nature a new house, one with circulating abstractions, but when exactly nature was unknown, other, was actually produced by this movement. Up to that point nature was simply a manifestation of divinity, afterwards a mirage of selves and intelligence logic never knows. To understand an owl in categories is to lose the owl in the spirits and sadly its not the mathematical owl that makes owls knowable.
Someone inside me tells me Eve needs to go to New York. So we set up a vacation, an English class vacation. Ms. Eve can bring any boy she wants. She doesn’t want a boy. “I want Fah,” she says. I tell her she has to get a boy. “Oh, alright. Carbew,” she says. In the course of the game Fah ends up married to Jedi (in New York no less) and Eve is angry. I ask her why, “because I want to marry Fah,” she says. All the boys stand up, “lesbian! Lesbian!” But she doesn’t seem to care.
Homosexuality is at heart about identity, but that someone can desire that clearly towards a category others despise is the issue, Eve has been taught at 11 to hide who she wants to be. More interesting for a second a group of children came face to face with what bilitis consists of. Yet, no one has turned around the issue, applied the construction of sexuality to their own. These children are also way to young for the politics of dating yet.
I’d like to posist the following idea: that there are a signficant population of people out there that wrote over the original impulses of identity and end up stranded, fractured, with out a real opinion of a soul. Lets hope that Eve doesn’t end up one of those.
On Koh Tao a group of British men come up to me and ask me why I’m a wearing a dress. “I’m a woman,” I pronounce, we all break out in laughter and then I explain my whole thing, that I think more like a women, that women are who I feel I understand. They say, “thanks for being honest.” and then they go.
Most of my time in Koh Tao I spend alone. I met two guys on the bus who help get me down to Chumporn. In Chompon the hostel owner explains to us that there is a karoake bar where the girls can’t sing, but for 2000 baht you can do whatever you want with them. He also mentions an English teacher from Canada who broken up with his girlfriend from Canada here, but whom “can’t get used to Thai women”. Thai women?
Ying is overweight and always so nice. Gem is a little sketchy, I can’t tell if she likes me, but Ying is precious, she loves us so. I’m at a summer camp with Reina and I’m concerned at first if Reina will like me or not, but when we get in the cab she actually seems to be glad to be there. Teaching another summer camp at the same school turns out to be boring. I don’t have the same energy, my lesson plans drip down into that abandon, that big place called “I don’t wanna be here anymore,” Bangkok is increasingly clean. The city I came to of ladyboys and gay scenes stretching street stops is shrinking, Gene has even been kicked out Sukhumvhit clubs. Bangkok has a strange dynamism to it, the (conservative?) culture of sexpats, so obsessed with the hetero-normative that they buy women in order to preserve the veneer. Then the queer culture underneath, but the two get along in Bangkok at least fairly fine, Pattaya seems to be where the less opened mind end up. In Chompoon I met a ladyboy, the first one in what seems like years. I didn’t want to sleep with her, but her Thai, I could almost touch her language. It was nice to talk to someone however brief. She made herself scarce quick.
Reina with the amazing last name (Pruksajarnsiri) is increasingly an organized teacher, the years it took me to become organized she has mastered in a matter of months. I’m actually just adding her name because my stats page shows people googling their names all the time, so I wanna see if she finds hers quick enough. My android ap and processing processes impress Alex Mercury who is surprisingly in town, Cyncerie is back in Portland, probably up to nothing good with a clean gin fizz and a pitcher of beer, Vinni is doing some type of project on the ceiling at lush, my processings have to adjusted, the usual light problems and then the fact that my projector is so low res that the exploded picture on the wall starts to suck… and that my webcam maxes out at 640 x 480 resolution. I think the next one will need to be sans camera, maybe something with the cellphone.
Journals have been a major part of this blog, and I’ve found them secretly cached away and then googled by friends and associates, it’s funny to read the hold ones, so just take this as a time capsule Andrew Lyle Jones April 24th, transgender warrior of sorts, prolific cross dresser, pseudo-homosexual, drinker of gin fizz, wanna be programmer, expert English Teacher. A man worried about the future of Bangkok.
A couple of guys in a lab invent a cyborg. The cyborg is cool, people love the cyborg. The cyborg has a thick steel voice as if the robot is competing with the human to speak. The robot is competing with the human to speak.
The cyborg is sent on missions. It is sent to stop a drug cartel. The drug dealers all shoot the cyborg. Pieces of flesh drop off the cyborg. The cyborg rips off its flesh and walks around all chrome and steel. The drug dealers die.
The cyborg is a hero. They hold a big press conference for him. The journalists ask questions, the scientests reply. A woman comes up to the Cyborg, “Richard?” She says, The cyborg doesn’t reply. “Richard, do you remember me?” She stops and motions to a small boy next to her, “this is your son.” The cyborg is annoyed. His carbon fiber biceps push past her in the crowd. The woman yells, “richard! We don’t even get a pension anymore!”
The newspapers report cyborg is dead beat Dad. The cyborg doesn’t reply. He is sent on another mission. This time he has to hunt down a white robot. The white robot lives in a hi-tech research facility. The cyborg sneaks in. The white robot helps people, it has a huge smile painted on its oval body. The cyborg approaches the white robot. The white robot pops open a hatch in its head, a variety of saws pop out. The white robot takes a scientest hostage. The cyborg can not kill the scientest, the white robot goes behind a glass wall. The cyborg can not go beyond the wall. The glass is cyborg proof. “Meep, meep,” says the white robot as it escapes.
The cyborg is forced to rejoin his family. He eats dinner with his wife and two children. Someone blogs the event CYBORG SITS QUIETLY THROUGH FIRST DINNER WITH WIFE. The government corrects the problem, the cyborg is given a little voice box. “I love you,” says the box to the cyborg’s kids. “You’re not my real father,” says the son.
The cyborg is sent on assignment again. This time he goes to a lush rainforest. An army of bio-engineered super mutants assail him there. The white robot has amassed a team of bioengineers. The bioegineers love the white robot. They inject themselves with mutagens and attack the cyborg. The white robot escapes on a teradctyl.
The cyborg makes progress at home. He recharges in bed with his wife, “you’ll catch that white robot,” she kisses his cheek good bye. His children get to send him messages. The cyborg’s voice box does a good job parenting them, ” I love you,” the voice box intones, “I love you too Dad,” his daughter says.
The cyborg helps his children at school. He helps his kids with math homework. He scares off bullies. He teaches his son to shoot.
The cyborg is sent to the moon. The white robot has a moon base. The cyborg needs to pee. Cyborgs can’t pee. He tries to hold it. He does a crabwalk and is captures by martians. The martians like the cyborg. “We have children too,” the martians say. The white robot comes by with five little white robots. The martians like the white robot. The martians try to kill the cyborg. The cyborg’s daughter calls. “Dad, Akim won’t give me my barbies back.” The cyborg is fighting martians, the voice box says, “beverly daddy is busy at the moment.” The martians have 8 hands, the cyborg is overwhelmed.
The cyborg dwells in space. The cyborg sees a white robot. The white robot rips the human out of him. The cyborg falls to earth, where his wife waits.
Quite often when we talk about games we discuss the neurocognitive effects of them. The neurocognitive model is the idea that games let us learn with out necessarily being conscious of it. Bioshock for instance requires a lot preplanning for each mission, plasmids need to be swapped, environments take into consideration, things like that.
The neurocognitive everything bad is good for you has a minor problem. It’s called fruits ninja. The game is very simple, you swipe the screen and slice fruit. The game is wonderful, I have never played anything that so vividly makes smell part of the game. If we examine the game from the viewpoint of false consciousness, we are learning some rudimentary hand eye cordination for the reward of a second of that fruit feeling. But, and this is the problem interactive media faces, simulation can addict us to different things and in fruits ninja I don’t think I’m learning very much. Still its gonna stick around on the phone a little while.
City of Light (which is a blog I miss) has a good book review
“”No more than a couple of times in an era, a building comes along that fully transcends its specialised context—that is, that challenges and intervenes within developments taking place across an entire society. Such a building forces us to acknowledge that the shaping of subjectivity and the organisation of (productive and other) forces in a society are dynamic activities, which can be understood as somehow ubiquitous design processes that are guided by invisible hands. Sometimes an architectural work can make these processes palpable, or like a delicate servo-mechanism guiding a much larger machine, it can modulate the larger system’s output in such a way as to make its dynamic apprehensible. In these cases nothing is more stifling and misleading than forced recourse to the technical languages and concepts of architectural appreciation and analysis.” [emphasis added]“
- Kwinter on the Pompidou Center.
The fruits of Vietnam are fairly standard fare for the Asian traveller, but a few in there are new to me and need to be sampled.
Reg (I don’t actually know her) posts some AMAZING stuff, but these snipplets from a cultural history of Dirt are amazing. Love the victorian cholrea suit.
Denns Cooper posts anything you ever wanted to know about Japanese minimalist Ryoji Ikeda.
Marginal Revolution reports on a book dealing with the origins of political order.
Ars technica reports on a study of human languages (I’m assuming written not spoken) that treated certain grammatical functions as genetic traits. The anaylsis run showed no hereditary traits linking the 4,200 languages involved. The finding further the idea of language either list its origin or developing independently of each other. The later seems to be the case, the tendance of lips and social groups suggests languages evolved seperately got caught in pockets and bent to others’ will.
The report though wonders at the ability of children to learn so many languages in so short a time. Apparenty some Chomsky supporters proposed that a commonality in languages could explain this rapid development, but I’d like to think its more desire. Each word ingested gives the child more to ponder over, more to desire. The pecularly open desiring of childhood is a carnivore for words, by the time the adult approaches language enough socialization has adhered them to linguistic/cultural group, they perpetuate desire at the expense of others. Children learn a phrenia of cultures when they grow up multilingual and probably maintain such an openness in adulthood. Chomsky’s idea has appeal in its simplicity, and the way it makes structualism relevant, but if language’s share a commonality it’s the in the way they teach us to desire, the ethnic in thought, and not in grammar or other genomes.
OPB: Pale Kings (Wallace’s last novel), Minecraft becomes a WII themed FPS, everyone inside the spectacle!
David Foster Wallace, whose novels I found less interesting than his articles, died last year. His editor has compiled all the cuts of his last novel into one semi-finished book. the reviews are great, especially recommend the nytimes review, salon’s review is ok, via the millions who also note the kindle version is out.
What was bound to happen to minecraft? A WORLD WAR TWO THEMED FPS. Yes, the duties of trenches and blowing up enemy fortresses have been called into action by a little indie dev. Rock, paper, shotgun is in love with the game (haven’t dl’d it yet, but it does look intriguing). It’s funny, when I first started playing minecraft, I had the idea of doing a procedurally generated mod in source, but ace of spades looks more promising than the xbox 360 clone and it’s use of destruction is surprisingly unfascist for a game which will probably involve Hitler in the near future.
There’s been a recent build up into destructibility in games. In Angry Birds it’s a constant, in the latest graphical engines it appears to be a feature. Remember blast corps? DIDN’T YOU JUST LOVE RUNNING YOUR TRUCK INTO BUILDINGS AND WATCHING THEM EXPLODE? Humans are gifted with a peculiar love of destruction. Trees, houses, toilets, we love making things not work. Anger comes out of us and we get that peculiar sensation the joy of destruction. But this is not a sexual destruction… well unless we read to much into that missile the blast corps are clearing the way for.
Destruction is that big fluffy marshmellow-ee stuff in the soul. We love it, it possibly loves us…. depends on if you’re in that building or not or if the destruction is physical. It differs from other pleasures, sexuality’s constructions are often overt destruction’s pleasures are a bit of a surprise, we don’t know what anger it stimulates what catharsis it cools.
Are my arguments like the shanties in angry birds? Brittle, influenced by physics, filled with pig breath? If you don’t knock ‘m down will the pigs walk through my thoughts? Will they haunt the argument scruffing down all my good ideas?
Destruction in these games is violent, but not directed at others. I have no quarrel with the pigs, my truck in Blast Corps isn’t an agent of malevolence, my enjoyment of explosions does not necessarily include sadism, my anger might not be personable. Rather it produces a slight vertigo, we feel the scaffold fall, the rocks break, and we’re glad for what we’ve done. Destruction is accomplishment on the easy side, an instant fix of satisfaction.
Above: Battlefield 3 – sniper
The immense power I feel when something blows up, is only magnified in these games, but why do we enjoy destruction? What possible vantage do we gain from preferring this over creation? Battlefield 3 at least returns us to angry birds, there’s a sniper in that nest. We have collapsed a building on someone, in hi-def no less. Was there a pig in the building too? Is my argument collapsing around the sniper? Is violence gaining is the architecture of battlefield a word of potential violence?
The arena is growing. The simulations of violence in quake or doom even the gombas you squashed as a youth, games are incredibly violent worlds, but the violence continues to escalate, the bullets rain down, the decapitations are gorier, and now even the buildings explode. I’m imagining a rube goldberg device of epicly violent proportions, a world in which even the smallest mistake escalates into gore. Why are we designing environments that stimulate such simulations of rage? Are we heading towards a hedonistic architecture of destruction?
Red Faction: Armageddon
In Red Faction (above) destruction becomes recursive, it becomes possible to reconstruct and destruct in one easy motion. Additionally this destruction jumps from violence to violence the magnet gun sweep creatures away with buildings, violence of the inanimate and violence physical converge. But is inanimate violence really a substitute for physical violence? Is the affectation I feel towards the buildings and empowerment of taking them away really just a link precursor to the physical? Red Faction seems to suggest no, empowerment is just empowerment and red faction’s ability to invert destruction make it play. We destroy and recreate just to see the effects as much as we replay angry birds. A certain type of joissance opens up here reconstruction and destruction moving at hyper violent speeds, inversion allows infinite recursion, the ability to reply these scenes beyond pleasure.
Mad World is perhaps the best example of the difference between inanimate and animate destruction. This is a game that’s in love with the mechanic of physical physical violence. People are impaled, severed, destroyed, playing it is strangely cathartic as you decide on the life of another in consistent real time, and that’s where the two destructions meet: physical and animate have a finality to them (except in red faction), you are rendering judgment on something. The satisfaction of destruction is the ability to put a matter to rest: the evil dictator is dead, the building is decimated, we’ve accomplished something. What’s disturbing though is how pervasive these modes of game play are. Assassin’s Creed is addicting because we have such an amazing ability to clamber over space, it simulates a fantasy of spatial empowerment, the fighting seems almost unnecessary in reflection, Madworld or Angry Birds rather salt us with the satisfaction of destroying things, the empowerment of the will to annihilate something. Such dreams ultimately boil down to the desire to impose a single view, to yoke the world with a fascist desire. If fascism can in reality be done away with I don’t know, but it’s telling that such tendencies prefer simulation to reality.
The actuality of killing or destroying is far less appealing than the fantasy of it in games. These games call back to a pre-adolescent state, one with out the liberties of cosmopolitanism or consideration. Angry Birds always reminds me of the cruelty of children, the way they can accuse, hurt, and even destroy things with little consideration for others. That we don’t get rid of these desires as our cosmopolitanism grows speaks to their fundamental nature, but arena of video games calls to them far more than the reality of everyday life. Destruction is like an argument, an attempt to impose a world view… and both have pigs inside them!