Monday, April 28, 2008

Second Skin: MMORPG documentary


Creepy but insightful. Good machinima

Second Skin premiered at the Boston IFF , linked with Rofl con, shows U.S. MMORPGers in their native element: middle America, working middle class, primarily white American men in front of screens doing their thing. The doc focuses on WoW and EverQuest, locking into the depth of play and the competitiveness that create strong links online and that translates to friendship circles offline (for many).

Again and again, players give testimonial that the meaningfulness of life online as an Blood Elf or knight translates into power in the real world: the presence of one’s virtual posse wherever they go.

We are legion.

Addiction and duplicity is where things continue to get stuck in what happens in MMOs and how it’s reported to the world.

1. Not growing up and getting on with real life (Andy one of the gamers has twin in course of doc).
2. Losing your health, teeth, job because your’re playing and depressed…

Scot Osterweil pointed me to a report from Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health that suggests it is not the most avid gamers but the most maladjusted who get stuck in the game spin cycle of doom. Makes instinctive sense, but
here is the report

Edward Castronova is the leading “expert” in the doc and he makes the defense of synthetic worlds that he has in print: so many people play here because the real world is not so good; synthetic worlds provide a critique of our culture. Over-weight girl in small town can be an angel fairy in EQ.

This line of reasoning is like a painkiller or sedative. I am not keen on it. Does not address root problem of why the girl bummed out to start with. Ender’s Game got the perils of real life meeting the perils of virtual ones on target. It seems to hurt all over.

Director Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza gave a lucid post-screening. He said that MMOs will no more bring down Western civilization than television did. Each new popular medium brings its own change. This is totally reasonable, but it’s not what he shows. The movie errs on the side of the dramatic and extreme….because it’s boring I supposed to show a well adjusted gamer just going about daily life. The fairly explicit point of the movie is that there no “well adjusted” hardcore gamers.

IMHO, MMOs, five years into it, are already morphing into different kinds of animals: more of them and more diverse…and mostly more casual. I felt claustrophobic and creeped out by a lot of the movie. Maybe that was the point.

They did some very nice non-permissional WoW machinima. The game animation in general looked great.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blimp film


Excerpt from Blimp, Beth Coleman and Howard Goldkrand. Shot Marfa Texas, 2004. Stills from Parkett insert, 2006.

video

Vernacular, associative data software project


Vernacular, associative data software project, Beth Coleman and Howard Goldkrand, Electronic Arts Intermix/Rockefeller Foundation, 2003. This software we designed was an early investigation of meta-data tagging, which we used subsequently as the "motor" for the Music Box installation (Waag, 2004).

Vernacular%20.zip

source code is available––email if you want it

Monday, April 14, 2008

Waken, multi-media installation, Beth Coleman and Howard Goldkrand. New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, New York 2005. The still here is from the digital animation.

For stills of installation, sculpture, and sound design Max patches go to Soundlab Waken


video

BDO Cute robot character sketch

This is a character sketch of Cute Robot, head of Cute Robot Army. Made and shot in Second Life engine.

video

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Boba Fett “descent”: tulum test

video

This video is test shot of BF's arrival into rw dimension, in the body of a 6-year-old boy. shot in Tulum mexico.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Boba Fett's Day Off, a networked film (MIT talk 4/8)



For any of you in Cambridge area, I will give a talk on Boba Fett's Day Off, a networked film, Tuesday April 8.

Topic includes:

Machinima production
Geolocative arts
Participatory media models:
korsakowSystemOSX

MIT Trope Tank,
14N-233
April 8, 2008 (Tuesday) 6pm-7pm,
Purple Blurb


MIT Trope Tank,
14N-233
April 8, 2008 (Tuesday) 6pm-7pm,
Purple Blurb

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fast Company: Brand Obama


I suppose it is a compliment for a publication like Fast Company to do a cover story calling Democratic party presidential nominee frontrunner Barack Obama a “brand.” The article smushes the language of politics into business speak.

It’s primarily point is to underline the ways in which Obama’s “adaptive-leadership” technique has won with a millennial generation's embedded ethos of social Internet and shared knowledge committees.

The Web 2.0 homilies abound.

From the article: “Yet giving up control online, in the right way, unleashes its own power.

"The campaign's secret weapon, Chris Hughes...brought with him a mastery of the human side of social networking.”

“They've also taken advantage of messages created by others. The 'Yes We Can' mashup by the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am, starring a handful of his famous friends, cost the campaign nothing and became a viral hit.”

The article does nothing for Obama (he did not participate in the article), and it sounds like canned news for Fast Company. "Yes, we canned," I suppose…Nice cover shot though. Makes me feel sorry for poor ole Al Gore.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Three events March 14: Weizenbaum, Virtual World AI, Second Life shift



Three events reported March 14, 2008

News of the death of Joseph Weizenbaum, the computer scientist who invented the ELIZA program, is broadcast around the world.

Eddie , an AI living ins Second Life of “child-like” intelligence (developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) is announced.

Philip Rosedale, creator of Second Life, the virtual world,
steps down as CEO.

….disparate events, but it’s feeling like a changing of the guard in mediated communication. One cycle of is innovation over and now we invent the next.

Joseph Weizenbaum RIP