Friday, April 30, 2010

h.cosas electrones libres

LOLI LA from h.cosas on Vimeo.

Paper Theater

"In the 18th century dioramas became very popular as a means of entertainment. Around 1730, the Augsburg copperplate engraver and publisher Martin Engelbrecht created miniature theater[s]. [They] consist of 5-8 scenery-like sheets, which create a perspective image if arranged one behind the other. Along with religious themes, these scenes show courtly life, the seasons...These small-size dioramas are regarded as the precursors of the paper theaters that became popular in the 19th century." -- The Miniature Theaters of Martin Engelbrecht

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Emily Howell is Software

"Things that touch me at my deepest core — pieces of music most of all, which I have always taken as direct soul-to-soul messages — might be effectively produced by mechanisms thousands if not millions of times simpler than the intricate biological machinery that gives rise to a human soul."

from Triumph of the Cyborg Composer

Cultivated Play

Cultivated Play: Farmville

"If Farmville is laborious to play and aesthetically boring, why are so many people playing it? The answer is disarmingly simple: people are playing Farmville because people are playing Farmville ... The secret to Farmville’s popularity is neither gameplay nor aesthetics. Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations. When users log into Facebook, they are reminded that their neighbors have sent them gifts, posted bonuses on their walls, and helped with each others’ farms. In turn, they are obligated to return the courtesies. As the French sociologist Marcel Mauss tells us, gifts are never free: they bind the giver and receiver in a loop of reciprocity. It is rude to refuse a gift, and ruder still to not return the kindness. We play Farmville, then, because we are trying to be good to one another. We play Farmville because we are polite, cultivated people ...

Citizens must educate themselves in the use of sociable applications, such as Wikipedia, Skype, and Facebook, and learn how they can better use them to forward their best interests. And we must learn to differentiate sociable applications from sociopathic applications: applications that use people’s sociability to control those people, and to satisfy their owners needs." -- A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz

21st century is going to be about game design

Interview with Jesse Schell transcribed from CBC Spark

"The attention economy, in a world of information human attention is a scarce resource, and [game structure] is something advertisers might be interested in using.

I believe that one of the things that's really going to characterize the 21st century is this war for the attention of every single individual in humanity. We had this to some extent in the 20th century with radio, television, billboards and magazines competing for your attention. But that's going to be nothing! Now that everyone carries around a digital device that can interrupt them at anytime in their pocket, and now that the machine that you work on has things like facebook, which have the potential to send you emails ... everything is going to be trying to distract you constantly, and it's going to have much more ability to distract you, because these things are going to know what you're doing, where you are, and where you're going. The attention economy is very relevant here. And the advertisers are just now starting to wake up to the power of games.

I think for the 20th century the dominant means of building one's brand and capturing a person's imagination had to do with the graphic arts, it had to do with logo design, and designing brilliant commercials, and beautiful ads in magazines. In the 21st century, it's going to be much more about game design ... how can I incentivise you to focus on my product, pay attention to my product, tell your friends about my product, think about my product all the time. Game design is going to make that easy to do ...

Game designers are starting to feel conflicted because they realize "Wow, this is not about me trying to make a fun game, as much as it is about me trying to create situations where people feel unexpectedly compelled to pay money." So, there is a little bit of discomfort in this whole idea of putting people into a Skinner box as it were." -- Jesse Schell

The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fascination with the Interior

*insert one of many essays I intend to write here*


"There's a riot of information racing by, and to survive, we snatch little bits and then magnify them into what we embrace as the full picture. Nuance? No time for nuance. Every interaction might be the whole thing." -- Seth Godin

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Addicted to Being Certain

Neurologist Robert Burton

"Burton ... speculates that the insistence on being right might be the mental equivalent of a physical addiction. There are many people who seem to “derive more pleasure from final answers than ongoing questions, and want definitive one-stop shopping resolutions to complex social problems and unambiguous endings to movies and novels.” Perhaps such know-it-alls are people who are addicted to the pleasure of the feeling of knowing.

He further wonders whether our education system, which promotes black-and-white answers might be warping the reward systems of our students. If the fundamental thrust of education is “being correct” rather than acquiring a thoughtful awareness of ambiguities, inconsistencies, and underlying paradoxes, it is easy to see how the brain reward systems might be molded to prefer certainty over open-mindedness."
-- review

"Everyone stands on the pedestal of certainty, and it has lead us down some horrible paths ... Why are people so certain? Is this all simply personality, or is there something within our inherent biology that makes some of us more certain than others. What if there were aspects of brain function that actually created a sense of conviction, or certainty, or being right, and that if you understand that certainty arises out of involuntary brain mechanisms that are beyond your control, you have to acknowledge the fact that even though you might feel certain, that this is no different from being angry, or feeling love or resentment.

Science now points to reason as being a function of the brain, but that emotions, feelings, mood states influence how we start reasoning at the very beginning ... so if you think in terms of pure reason, as being the paradigm for proper life, you're going against what our modern day science is telling us about our brain function.

If you run up a tree and escape a charging tiger, that is the way you learn to avoid a tiger. But then you could say "Will this always work?" And then your mind sets out to think of examples of when it might not work, for example, the tree trunk is to thin and you fall down, and the tiger eats you. "Well, it will work when the tree is strong enough, but I can think of examples when maybe it wouldn't work. So, I can say it's right this time, because the tree is very strong and will hold me up, but I can't always know ... with certainty that this will always be right. Therefore, I'm always going to asking "it's true this time, but I don't know if it'll be true in the future." It's hard to learn that way. You've got to learn it's true now, and it will always be true in the future, even if that's not true. A thought, by itself, will never be finished ...

You need a second system in the brain. You need a 'feeling' about your thought ... that the thought you had is correct. Recent studies have shown these areas of the brain in which these phenomena of feelings of understanding and knowing arise have rich connections with the areas of the brain that provide reward systems ... The reward for a thought is the feeling of the thought's correctness. Every time that you feel that sense "Ah! I'm right!", you're rewarded in the same way as you would be rewarded if you took cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, won the lottery... This feeling of being 'right', for many people, is just as strong an addiction. You see these people saying "I know that I'm right!" with a big smile on their face. They're feeling pleasure.

Cognitive Dissonance, you hold on to an opinion that goes against something else you know to be true, against overwhelming contrary evidence [because the sense of conviction is pleasurable]." -- Robert Burton

CBC Ideas Podcast

Science Friction 1959

Black Mass Implosions


"Marco Fusinato’s sequence of drawings ‘Black Mass Implosions’ transform avant-garde musical notation into new graphical interpretations ... Aside from the allusion to the physics of space, the title might also refer to the ceremonies of witchcraft, wherein the proposed transmutations of the original music might take the form of a ceremonial rite of annihilation."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Aesthetic Coherence

essay by David OReilly

"A phenomenon is created truthfully in a work of art through the attempt to rebuild the entire living structure of its inner connections" – Tarkovsky

David OReilly on Aesthetic Coherence in 'Please Say Something':

"My central idea in constructing the world of the film was to prove that something totally artificial and unreal could still communicate emotion and hold cinematic truth. The film makes no effort to cover up the fact that it is a computer animation, it holds an array of artifacts which distance it from reality, which tie it closer to the software it came from. This idea is in direct opposition to all current trends in animation, which take the route of desperately trying to look real..."

"Those who aren’t fully conscious of the aesthetic fabric of their worlds will revert to default decision making, essentially to the common doctrine, or mediocrity..."

Alec Holowka on Holistic Game Design

"Games right now are still a Wild West. It's a vast, largely unexplored space and it's not encompassed by any one single label ... the term 'Art Games' to me is just a ridiculous term, because all games of some artistic element to them. To me, it's like saying 'This is a blue blue'" -- Alec Holowka.

Alec Holowka: Holistic Game Design from Jeriaska on Vimeo.