Posts filed under ‘thinking’

Bob Dylan

I think it was blonde on blonde on cassette tape, I have no idea where I got the tape, but the songs took me away, I understood them with a ferocity I’d never seen, the poet trampled closed to the knit innards of my heart, visions of johhana I found in London and get immersed in, apparently Richard Gere also likes this track. But what was touching about Dylan was his expansion of my malaise, the way a lonely teenager newly ensconed in a memphis attic first year in a new school could hear and experience a sense of mission so consoling. It was nice to know someone else out there had learned to believe.

May 24, 2011 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Audubon

image

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.

April 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

Simulation

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.

April 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

Codes

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.

April 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

Video Games: Destrucibility or Fascist Violence

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

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!

April 16, 2011 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Christian Marclay The Clock

If you keep up with the art world you probably already know that Christian Marclay was working on a piece where in a film is a clock. My initial response to the idea was… that sounds stupid, but people far more intelligent than I think it’s sublime. Of course like anything by Marclay the more you think about it, the cleverer it becomes, a film that’s more than a film, it probably has a tie in to Deluezean film theory that it’s to early in the morning for me to see, but anyway people are pirating film works online these days, so enjoy these youtube clips below. As Zadie Smith noted, the film is actually quite good, and that’s perhaps the biggest surprise of The Clock, when I heard about it I thought it would end up like one of Warhol’s experiments conceptually necessary, but boring on the screen, but Ms. Smith is quite correct the work is actually captivating.

I would add some commentary, but click that first link and Zadie Smith will startle you with her commentary, thank you pirates of New York for digi-caming this for us. I had read the film was being streamed online somewhere, but am unable to find that stream… then again I woke up like 3 minutes ago…

p.s. it’s now later in the day and my critical functions are working, but I haven’t come to any conclusions beyond what Smith got to in her article. Essentially the film operates in clock time ala Bergson, but presents us with a variety of subjective time states ala film. I like that for Smith Paul Newman is his own time zone, and that in film a day can last 2 hours or a second, time argues Deleuze is the means that cinema produces meaning, by cutting according to clock time Marclay has cut across subjectivities, but in the resulting work time slows and crawls, speeds up, speeds the time-image decimates clock to the point that one loses track of the work’s functional ability to operate as a clock… maybe clock time is more complicated than Bergson thought?

I love the way it subverts the idea of a clock as an accurate keeper of time in lieu of the reality of how time actually exists, as subjective, varied, differing.

 

p.s. new yoker apparently has a revelation or two watch’n it too, but sadly such content is behind dollar’s bars.

April 8, 2011 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

History in a blur

What’s disturbing about mechanical intelligence isn’t its capabilities, rather its what an a.i. free from the pinnings of emotion could do, machinic intelligence can operate in ways different from human and be so valuable to be taken as a spouse. Singularities need to be part of a human ethnic group. The cellphone, the nanosuit, these are already important parts of the social group, the nanosuit assimilates with the soldier, the phone with our social lives.

In Gibson the singularity learns from the web. It even composes dub. Machinic learning represents an alternative interpretation of human ethnicity, human communication goes in, otherness comes out. The problem of producing an intelligence over the human becomes where will such an intelligence learn from. If all ethnicity is writen at the human speed what will it look like in a blur?

Knowledge is, beyond biology, how we construct much of the social around us. Race, for instance, in America has much more to do with class and less to do with skin color, if these intelligences construct their ethnicities from us, will they need someone to hate too?  Will they break into social groups? Should we expect machine intelligence with preppies and freaks?

But I think the bigger problem with the singularity, and the one that’s always bugging me is: can human thought be reduced to logic and mathematical reasoning? Do you really want o be an emulation of human intelligence running inside a machine intelligence that produces being in a different manor? By what means can we check that math’s swallowing of language is accurate? And after being swallowed, how will language change?

Let’s take for a moment James Gleick’s findings in The Information, literacy changed the way language worked. Pre-literature people think differently than post-literate people. Post-literates are better at abstractions, they think more like the machine they invented Platonism etc. The change from reality to living inside an abstraction creates multiple paradoxes, lest not forget that our singularity thing will need to somehow house the paradox of thought swallowing thought, as if that philosopher’s mirror: math could hold the brittle seductions of language inside itself. Additionally, as the linked white horse dialogue shows, words contain multiple contradictions in their usage, only resolvable because of a shared visual reality.  I’m rambling and this has been sitting in edits for a week, so I’ll go ahead and publish, but this needs a little polish, I just don’t have the time.

April 7, 2011 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Playing

Play is a state between seriousness, it is the necessary stuff, the kinda oreo creme filling of that deadly serious thing meaning. Play enables cross combinations, mutations of possibility, it just happens to dead end in the profound or at least that’s how its supposed to work.

You’ve spent the last 8 hours building up a relationship with a group of space marines. You trawled through the Galatic space pit, into the solar winter, outside the black hole you had a moment with your a.i. and the alien commando you escort back home. You remember how sarge was supposed to retire yesterday. Sweets is barking your mother jokes into his handset and sarge is now ordering pizza. Just as the symphonic choral waves signal the significance of this battle your character breaks out in a run, he jumps over a barrier and kicks a jeep into the enemy hulk, he snags a missile launcher stashes under some chairs and then he fires to soon, his body rises into the air with the octaves of the chorus and symphonic-ally breaks through some planks as a long tonal stretch sentences this scene to the profound and then he dies several small midget like aliens shoot feathers into his ass and giggle in high pitch voices. Restart!

Games lack the stability to ensure the profound, like the Derridaen sense of play mentioned early, they suspend seriousness with a huge field of possibility, it becomes harder to write for them when your a ok space marine might end up ass first hanging out of a glitched waste barrel in the midst of a serious fight. In other words all the adornments of cinema’s spiritual build into violence as resolution become confused and convoluted, linear media enables the stable build of events that produce those grandiose triumphs with ease and an amazing level of tension, games need replays.
The replay is an obvious failure on the game’s part to meet the standards of cinema or literature in terms of story telling. We simply ignore them and play again. In Bioshock I often respawned 6 – 7 times before passing through an otherwise normal story even. What’s worse is that space has become the means of enforcing the character in a game into the cinematic frame. Watch this duty calls clip below it about captures the ridiculousness of many games.

Games in other words need stories and spaces that don’t strangle the possibilities of game play. If you have to fight the shark let it come to you just please don’t make it so we have to swim into its jaws. Its here that Valve comes into play. The half-life games caught one of video games major differences from cinema: in the fps we don’t identify with the main character. Gordon Freeman is mute, nerdy, and thankfully unseen. His deaths in the game seem accidental, again he’s a dweeb so we don’t care. You can’t make a movie out of him because no one would ever want to spend two hours locked on a nerdy mit grad who has taken a crow bar to another dimension.

Valve has nailed how to write a story around a shooter. Their purchased property Portal gave us a suitably silent protagonist and a world that was creepy, disturbing, and highly playable. Portal succeeded because we don’t mind our main character dying, and the warping through space portion of the game was wonderful.

The game managed to make a comedy out of an fps while producing a world that’s disturbing reality gave the architecture its menace and the play its edge. Portal’s world would work in film just not its protagonist. It here that video game designers are learning a property of nonlinear story telling: the player needs to be disposable the world, on the other hand, needs to be what we’re attached to.

April 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

Mechanical childhoods

The industrial revolution brought in a new conception of childhood. Children were now being groomed to be obdient the ethnicities of capitalism began to be passed down, even in adolescene we were learning how to fit into the machine, but this begs a question what of cultures that produced well mannered kids to start? Did the heavy socialization in japanese culture produce children capable of living inside the techne of another culture? Western culturw has gone through radical shifts to fit in with the ethnicities techne has passed down, but were some cultures better prepared for such a change?

April 2, 2011 at 5:13 am Leave a comment

Fucking the id

Is sexuality stored in the id? Can we undesire the uncontrollable? There is a kinda urban legend of sexuality, that you only get one shot, once you’re one thing you’ll never be another, but i’m not so sure in the long run such advice is valid, the id fluctuates, attenuates, unravels, the id is actually cosmopolitain and loves to learn and forget. We’re not condemmed to sexualities, we merely learn to crave them.

March 26, 2011 at 9:07 am Leave a comment

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