KO- While you were playing on the furniture, I got to interact with Chris Hales' "A Dozen Interactive Movies", a visual installation that let us touch a screen and make things happen.
And also with Mary Flanagan's WORK, a physical-audio sculpture that made us think about gender, work and technology by touching. Both works make use of the simplest of interfaces (our own body and hands) to make us reflect about deep technological issues.
TOS- I hope you didn't break anything. I didn't see you at the performances though. The first was "The shadow of the network", by Alok Nandi, who took us on a trip through the virtual universe of "the Obscure Cities". An impressive world made of images and sounds of disquieting connected places and the characters that inhabit them.
Then we enjoyed "Cyborg Mommy: Everything I Know About Computers I Learned from Mother", by Pattie Belle Hastings, who proposed that multitasking was long ago discovered by our mothers, the first de facto cyborgs. Her costumed appearance and taped voice accompanied the projection of a CD-ROM about the cyborg as opressed self. A perfect closing for a perfect take-off day.
KO- With some nice wine.
TOS- Ahem, I didn't stay up as late as you .
That's why I was fresh for the first panel on Thursday, "Digital Landscapes", and you don't have any notes for the first speaker. Lidunn Mosaker talked about "Visualizing historical knowledge using VR technology". She looked at VR reconstructions of the past: all architecture, no life forms. But stage sets, however perfect, don't tell us much about how people lived there. These historical reproductions reduce authencity to the visual surface. Mosaker asked for other kinds of experiences that allow for more active interaction than walking through depopulated cities.
KO- I arrived when the next speaker, Maria Sieira, took the virtual out to the real world in her "Ghost Architecture: The Hybrid Space of Moving Image Projection". I hadn't realized before how space has non-physical aspect -- like light. Sieira proposes to build film or digital projections into physical architecture as another "material", effectively making another way of seeing reality.
It seems we are not so concerned with exactly reproducing reality in digital form anymore, but the digital medium has started to transform the very physical reality it used to copy! I close my eyes and see a theme for Umberto Eco ...
TOS- (Annoyed) Always walking in the woods with your eyes closed.
Jay Bolter's "Cultural Narrative in Augmented Reality" talked about something like that. Augmented reality is a sort of Virtual Reality taken out to the real world. Do you remember the "ghost movies" he described? They are video projections of people that the user can see integrated in real rooms. You are real, so is the room, but not the person in it who is talking to you!
KO- Like a Star Wars hologram! Cool. Imagine the potential for museums and historical reconstructions.
TOS- Virtuality and reality are completely intertwined, I would be interested in further possibilities for interaction with the images...
KO- I bet you would be! Never the fun but the theory.
Tosca ignores Tosca-ko
TOS- You should be ashamed of your decadent attitude. At this point in the conference, you slipped off to play on-line games at the cybercafe, and I had to go look for you. Missing yet another panel, or rather two!
KO- But we were back for the next Keynote, Victoria Vesna! It was perfectly appropriate: "Building a Community of People with No Time". It applies to you so nicely!
TOS- It doesn't. Because she was talking about interaction in the net, and especially interaction with agents: what people expect from them, how we want them to be intelligent and do our work for us. But this never happens and we end up having still more work to do.
KO- Can a net community exist that people almost never visit?
KO- What did we do after that? Oh, yes, the panel on "Embodiment, Hyperfiction and Authorship", with only two speakers. I must say that the word "embodiment" gives me the willies.
TOS- Everything vaguely theoretical does.
Anna Gunder read her paper "There is no simple way to say this: On narratological models and hyperfiction".
KO- Not afternoon again!
TOS- What do you have against it?
Gunder expands the classical narratological model in order to adapt it to hyperfiction and not the other way around. She introduced four important concepts: omnidiscourse, omnistory, real discourse, and real story, and looks closely at the act of reading hyperfiction.
KO- I have notes on the next speaker, Christiane Heibach, who in "The Distributed Author: Creativity in the Age of Computer Networks" emphasizes the social character of literary discourse and the new forms of authorship that are emerging in the digital world. A very good point was to characterize online literature as mainly participative, instead of trying to judge its quality comparing it to print media.
The important thing online is to participate, and not to come up with Hamlet between six authors...
TOS- If you like multiple authorship, I suppose you enjoyed the last forum very much. In "Time For No One, Hypermedia Duration", four people (Stuart Moulthrop, Nancy Kaplan, Markku Eskelinen and Raine Koskimaa) discussed Adrian Miles initial position statement.
KO- Oh,yes! That was fun!
Time and hypertext is an exciting issue. Adrian argued that time in hypermedia could be better described and understood using ideas from cinematography than from narrative. Hypertexts have a sort of hybrid time, including one independent of the reading, and then the user's time, so there is more than narrative time to it. After his position statement, everyone attacked Adrian!
TOS- Well, you make it look as if there had been bloodshed, and it was quite civilized; many important questions came up. Very amusing.
With this the conference day was over and we had a great dinner in a restaurant up the mountains.
KO- Hey, hey, hey! Wait! The day wasn't over. After dinner there was a performance: "The Stories of the 7 Speaking Mountains" by Tulle Ruth Koefoed-Jespersen. It's a sound project that uses the digital 3D shape of the mountains to produce sounds that are the mountains' stories. After the very lively presentation a bunch of us went to that mountain peak to hear it speak.
TOS- Oh, I went to bed. What did the mountain tell you?
KO- That I was wise getting rid of you. At certain points.
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