Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Nicklas Muslaban, Erik Vänliga Jätten and Jim Didgebaba play in the park. Fretless bass guitar, decks and didgeridoo with bells and sticks.,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Repetition in the Interactive Drama Façade

In Façade repetition guides reader responses by incorporating both semantic and technical elements. In the following example an image of an Italian villa is used to introduce the keyword ‘romance’ into the narrative,

TRIP: Um... uhh, Now, Jim, in one word, what does this picture say to you?

GRACE: Say to you... say to you... yes, good -- (interrupted)

JIM:: sure...Italy

TRIP: N -- No, I just want one word...

GRACE: How about controlling.

JIM: Italian

TRIP: Romance! No it says... romance...!

GRACE: Romance? Ha, in our marriage, that's just a code word for manipulation.


Romance is the searched for keyword in this short exchange that is initially prompted by the image of the villa on the apartment wall, a reference to which is used to open a verbal exchange on the marriage of the programmed characters. Keywords are used as prompts and are repeated, as in this example, or even offered directly, by the characters Grace and Trip to the reader.

A breakdown in the parsing of a keyword can be confusing in the procedural sense, but in reading it can add considerable nuance to the narrative. The keyword “work/ing” fails to be parsed in the syntactic NLG-sense in this example from Façade, but instead creates a space for metaphor, which is indicative of the poor state of the relationship shared by the programmed characters,

TRIP: See Grace, no one is complaining about your decorating, there's nothing wrong with it!

GRACE: Trip, I can't explain it, but this room is just not working, okay? I'm going to return what furniture I can, and redo it all.

JIM: I think it is not working

TRIP: Oh yeah, let me tell you about work. I just brought in a new account - print ads for a line of -- (interrupted)

JIM: Grace

TRIP: um...

GRACE: (big sigh) (Façade)

The keyword is ‘work/ing’, and each of the characters attempts to negotiate a dialogue based around it. The term is used twice as an adjective (working) and then as a verb (work). The design of the text’s programming organizes input from the guest around the parsed keyword ‘work’. While it is not a fully syntactically realized exchange, the confusion can be said to reflect, in the design, the narrative of Grace and Trip’s divergent and conflict ridden marriage. In the above quote, the character Trip comes across as removed from the emotions of his partner, totally missing Grace’s concern for the aesthetics of the room, with a focus on his job (work) and the success he is experiencing there. This distance on the part of Trip is found throughout the Façade narrative, and is often a key element for inviting reader input to the work. His ‘missing the point’ is a negative form of procedurality, where the failure of the program to “capture experience as systems of interrelated actions” (Murray 274), nonetheless provides a metaphor for the failure of the marriage of Grace and Trip.

Repetition results in a patterning that suggests a point of stability in reading. One example of this stability is the repetition through the looping of images. Such repetition is a navigational and functional determinate, which works through an emphasis of particular elements (visual or audile) to mark them in the spatial arrangement of the text as significant or as performing a particular function. The concept of monumentality explains the emphasis placed upon particular points in the work through repetition. By repeating these particular features they are established as anchors in the works.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ambient Time Arm in 320 bit haziness

Friday, June 10, 2011

Forced Extradition on Commercial Flight

I flew from Gatwick Airport to Riga today on an Air Baltic flight. On the flight three UK Border Agency agents were escorting a deportee to Uzbekistan via Riga. The man was deeply distressed as the audio on this video illustrates. We waited for about 40 minutes while the man screamed and shouted. He was handcuffed when he arrived on the flight. He yelled that he would be killed upon return to Uzbekistan and that his family would also be punished. Finally he was removed from the flight by two more Border Agency officers along with the three that were already accompanying him. The entire event was extremely distressing and the mother and baby that were sitting in my row of the fight were both in tears. They left the plane for the final 30 minutes of the yelling and screaming before the man was removed from the flight and taken to a police van on the tarmac. We were almost an hour late taking off.

Uzbekistan is a known human rights violator. United States Department of State defines Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights" and IHF express profound concern about "wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights". According to the reports, the most widespread violations are torture, arbitrary arrests, and various restrictions of freedoms: of religion, of speech and press, of free association and assembly. The reports maintain that the violations are most often committed against members of religious organizations, independent journalists, human right activists, and political activists, including members of the banned opposition parties. In 2005, Uzbekistan was included into Freedom House's "The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies".

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

HUMlab Virtual Worlds: Teaching and Research

On Wednesday, June 8, 15:00 to 17:00 CET (6:00 to 8:00 am SLT), NVWN will have its monthly project meeting. Items on the agenda include an update of the project’s activities and a presentation by Jim Barrett of HUMlab of Umeå University. From 16:00 to 17:00 (7:00 to 8:00 am SLT), Jim will present an overview of HUMlab’s virtual world activities.

You are welcome to join us for the meeting on SSE’s island in Second Life!