UT vs. Halo: You’ve been served

January 29, 2009

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While not exactly World of Warcraft, but here is a saweet Machinima video that I came across today – check this $hit out…
– FlashAddict

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DIVA 202 – Back to Skool…

January 7, 2009

Jeff Wall – Vancouver based photographer – featured on the cover of vanity fair (went to school with Ian)


Fungible – ability to take any piece of a production and send it overseas where it can be done faster and cheaper
Fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution, where one unit of a commodity can be exchanged for another unit of the same commodity in the same quantity and grade. Examples of highly fungible commodities are crude oil, precious metals, and currencies.”

Damien Hirst ($230 million – sold directly to auction – subverted the gallery system)

– The asking price for For the Love of God (below) was £50,000,000 ($100 million or 75 million euros). It didn’t sell outright,[32] and on 30 August 2008 was sold to a consortium that included Hirst himself and his gallery White Cube.

In December 2008 Hirst threatened to sue a 16-year old boy for £200 because he incorporated pictures of For the Love of God into grafitti stenciles and sold them on the Internet.


Marcus Garvey
– “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”


– What makes digital art history compelling is that it is as much shaped by science and technology as it is by traditional art history.

– Digital art history is thus inextricably linked to the industrial-military complex, research centres, as well as consumer culture and associated technologies.

Leonardo Da Vinci
– Drawing showing cannon trajectories over castle walls

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (USNR 1906-1992)

– PhD in Math from Yale in 1934
– joined naval reserve in 1943 and assigned to bureau of ordinance
– went to work in UNIVAC (universal computer), and wrote the first compiler
– co-invented COBOL and gave us…
– photo # NH 96566-KN (First computer “bug” in 1945)
– found an actual moth in the relay tape for the computer


Dr. Vannevar Bush

– wrote “As we may think” – coordinated science to warfare
– build a computer back in 1929 – Differential Analyzer
– used the computer to design bouncing bombs used to destroy German dams during WWII
– envisioned a device called The Memex – basically an analog version of the PC, the web and google

– picture of the memex in LIFE magazine – circa 1945
– his essay predicted many technologies
“Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped in”
Earth versus the flying Saucers

– Hollywood used the actual computer for this film
Marshall University Differential Analyzer

Claude Shannon

– one of Bush’s graduate students – known as the “Father of information theory”
– A Symbolic analysis of Relay and Switching
– introduced to George Boole’s algebra as an undergrad
– proved that boolean algebra and binary arithmetic could be used to simplify the electromechanical relays then used in telephone
– enabled engineers to transform circuits from analog to digital realm

Theodor Nelson

– an American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the term “hypertext” in 1963 and published it in 1965. He also is credited with first use of the words hypermedia, transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people. His motto is:

A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.

– invented the words hypertext and hypermedia in 1961 – networked Docuverse

Douglas Englebart
– best known for inventing the computer mouse, as a pioneer of human-computer interaction whose team developed hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs; and as a committed and vocal proponent of the development and use of computers and networks to help cope with the world’s increasingly urgent and complex problems.

First computer Mouse

Early Macintosh Mice


Marcel Duchamp
Rotary Glass Plates, 1920


– found imagery and appropriate it – READYMADE
– precursor of digital art practice

– a name taken from a Latin word meaning “to flow”—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada noise music and visual art as well as literature, urban planning, architecture, and design. Fluxus is often described as intermedia, a term coined by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins in a famous 1966 essay.
– series of instructions to reach an event


John Cage

– pioneer of chance music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde and, in the opinion of many, the most influential American composer of the 20th century
4′33″ (Four minutes, thirty-three seconds) – the sound was different wherever it was played because it was silence


Grahame Weinbren

“The Digital Revolution is a Revolution of Random Access”
– Random Access is a basis for processing and assembling information


– created by Grahame Weinbren, is an interactive narrative that is controllable by the viewer’s touch. The installation was exhibited internationally between the years of 1991 and 1999. Containing classical narratives of passion and violence by Tolstoy, Freud, and the Apocrypha, Sonata requests viewers to create their own narratives through interaction, and thus their own interpretations.

By touching the screen at any moment throughout the piece the viewer will affect the way the narrative continues. This includes viewing the narrative from a different perspective, superimposing future footage, or allowing a split-screen effect to show two different characters simultaneously.

On Time

– one of the four short films produced for Garage Flicks. Directed by Ted Chung, with the screenplay by David Bradley Halls, and produced by Bianca Bodmer, Rich Ho Kok Tai, Elena Titova, and Vincent Schmitt. The credits also show their ‘Project mentor’ as Grahame Weinbren – his works, in my opinion, share similarities with the story of On Time. Sonata in particular as it experiments with future knowledge, just as On Time does.

Howard Wise
EAI : Electronic Arts Intermix Funded by a number of American state agencies, federal agencies and organisations, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) was founded by Howard Wise in 1971 to support video art. It is a non profit making organisation. As well as video art, it now rents and sells audio, CDs, CD-ROMs and other interactive media works by artists. Web projects are also featured online. The searchable online catalogue includes artists’ biographies, descriptions of the works, QuickTime excerpts and ordering information. The website consists of an alphabetical list of authors and titles; a new artists / new titles section; audio and interactive media; selections from the video archive; streaming video, where excerpts of the video collection can be viewed; and a Resources section, which includes bibliographies and information about exhibitions and events. The Features section includes Web projects, which can be viewed online.

John Whitney – CATALOG

– computer generated pictures in 1965 – used analog military computer equipment to create his short film CATALOG
demo reel of work created with his analog computer/film camera magic machine he built from a WWII anti-aircraft gun sight.
– Also Whitney and the techniques he developed with this machine were what inspired Douglas Trumbull (special fx wizard) to use the slit scan technique on 2001: A Space Odyssey


Slit-scan is an animation created image by image. Its principle is based upon the camera’s relative movement in relation to a light source, combined with a long exposure time. The process is as follows:

  1. An abstract colored design is painted on a transparent support
  2. This support is set down on the glass of a backlighting table and covered with an opaque masking into which one or more slits have been carved.
  3. The camera (placed high on top of a vertical ramp and decentered in relation to the light slits) takes a single photograph while moving down the ramp. The result: at the top of the ramp, when it is far away, the camera takes a rather precise picture of the light slit. This image gets progressively bigger and eventually shifts itself out of the frame. This produces a light trail, which meets up with the edge of the screen.
  4. These steps are repeated for each image, lightly peeling back the masking, which at the same time produces variation in colors as well as variation of the position of the light stream, thus creating the animation.

Naturally, this effect is very time-consuming, and thus expensive, to create. A 10-second sequence requires a minimum of 240 adjustments.

Billy Kluver
– art and science should colaborate
– was an electrical engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories who founded Experiments in Art and Technology. Klüver lectured extensively on art and technology and social issues to be addressed by the technical community. He published numerous articles on these subjects.

Techno Viking – original has now gone viral

World of Warcraft spoof

They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard techno spoof





– macbook wheel – the onion spoof



– Halo machinima movies

The Original Human Space Invaders Performance

– props to Julaluck (aka Bob) for finding this golden nugget!

– created by Douglas Gayeton – hbo bought it for $6 million – Who is the Creator?

Snow Crash and Alternate Reality Games

November 15, 2008



– lethal text as popular fiction
– Neal Stephenson stared writing Snow Crash in 1989; published in June 1992
– in 1990, Tim Berners Lee began testing the ‘world wide web’ at CERN in Switzerland
– in 1991, the world wide web was released
– in 1992, there were 26 websites, mostly associated with the University of Illinois
– in 1995, traditional online dialup services like AOL began to provide access to “The Internet”
– cyberpunk / post-cyberpunk genre novel
– Time listed it on the 100 all-time novels written since 1923
– a graphic novel without the graphics
– cyberpunk is gritty (technology bad – like Blade Runner)
– post-cyberpunk = technology is good (Hiro Protagonist – technology is celebrated – young urban professional with more social status)
– Phillip Rosedale who created Linden Labs (aka Second Life) – Snow Crash was their business plan
– there is a video game company named Black Sun
– Are the characters governed by their ideas and origins or their feelings and emotions?
– popularized the word AVATAR- virtual world-ware named Blaxxun (after the disco in the metaverse)
– Google Earth / Google Knol – monetizing information = CIC

– video of Neal Stephenson speaking in London in 2008

– did Stephenson write a technical vision of the future or did techies take his ideas and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy
– Dr. William Gibson – wrote Johnny Mnemonic (invented the term cyberspace)
– memes are self-replicating units of culture – memes to genes as memetics to genetics
– memetics = the theory that cultural information comes in chunks, and are transmitted like viruses.
– Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
– principal thematic concern of Snow Crash is memetics – ideas are transmitted like code and are vulnerable to hacking
– the original Sumerian is analogous to binary/machine-level coding
– language and ideas are programs written by priests/hackers
– diversity in a culture is a good thing so as to not have everyone vulnerable to a single viral attack
– L. Bob Rife (metaphor of L. Ron Hubarb) seeks to control the media and UNDO the nam-shub and then recreate a lethal text that will control through hacking
– a computer virus is a lethal text
– The Tower of Babel
– Die Laughing?

MONTY PYTHON – funniest joke in the world then die laughing

– lethal text paradox: no one can know the lethal text and remain capable of telling it (perpetual auto-responder computer paradox)
– many a malevolent computer in science fiction has been short-circuited by making lethal text queries that have no logical output (Wargrames)
– we can choose to lose at Tic-Tac-Toe – the WOPR in Wargames came to a rational conclusion about nuclear war by being force to play tictactoe

– “The only way to win is to not play”

– the brain can deflect paradox by ceasing to think about it, machines cannot – no one can win, so why play?

– is dystopic or futurist writing (in this case cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk) a form of memetic virus that infects the future?
– Mosaic and Google founders / CEO of Second Life / XBOX architect J Allard
– most prophetic aspects may not be the technology, but the depiction of a decentralized, post-statist social system
– has de-coupled the notion of land of sovereignty and redefined nations as people linked by values or interests

– posits an atomized, completely de-centralized future
– “Rhizomatic” structure; small, inter-dependent nodes, no central government
– the one nuclear power in the story  is an individual, Raven (the ultimate free-agent)

– Freidman wrote “The World is Flat” in 2005 – just won the Nobel Prize for economics
– international best seller – describes the mechanics of fungibility and out-sourcing
– documents flatteners like technology, workflow, the web, outsourcing…
– American economy needs to shift to a creative or value-added economy
– Blackwater = General Jim’s defense System and Admiral Bob’s National Security
– for-profit prisons in the state that has 3 strikes you’re out laws!

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– an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform
– uses media and traditional game elements (like puzzles) to tell a story that may change or be otherwise affected by the participants’ actions or reactions
– the internet is the central binding medium for an ARG (cellphones, the web…)
– players are more actively ‘controlled’ by designers, as opposed to the AI-based characters in a video game
– does a game require an opponent?
– ARGs don’t necessarily have an opponent
– puppet master may change or engage players in real-time, but they want you to ‘solve’ things


The Curtain = a metaphor for the dividing line between the designers and the players (from Wizard of Oz – man behind the curtain)

Puppet master = the lead designer or producer of an ARG; directs or impedes the progress of the players through clues or puzzles

Rabbithole = AKA Trailhead, the Rabbit hole is the first clue or invitation to the ARG (Alice in Wonderland)


Archaeology = not a single narrative, but a story that is assembled by player community from pieces scattered across multiple media

Platform Appropriate Media = using the best media to deliver pieces of the story (ie: download mp3, watch youtube, send txt / I Love Bees)

Crowd-source Solution = requires cross-discipline expertise within player community to solve

Whisper Rather Than Shout = present the entrance to the Rabbit hole with a whisper rather than a shout; get players to ‘pull’ out the story, rather than ‘push’ it on them

TINAG = this is not a game – actual phone numbers, URLs etc all worked – characters functioned like real people

NAH = Not A Hoax – at the same time, one has to be aware of creating panic, discomfort or a disturbance in players, public and civil authorities. It needs to be a game.

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– Halo 2 launch event website – they sent jars of honey to previous ARG players with ilovebees website and the countdown = rabbit hole
– around the same time, TV commercial showed a link to the ilovebees url
– these were not connected publicly for several weeks – curious players went to the website that had been “hacked”
– no direction or guidance was given – the community worked within itself to help this lowly beekeeper
– players were given 210 time codes and gps locations (turned out to be pay phones) which were when the pay phone calls would go down
– communications between puppet masters and gamers increased in scope – phone calls, emails
– the winners got to go to 4 theaters and play first edition Halo 2 game
– over 3 million people were playing the game
– game was designed and produced by 42 entertainment