Fundamental questions, some of which I am most likely not properly equipped
to answer. But, I will try my best to explain a bit further regarding the
metaverse. And in order to be able to do so, I am afraid that I will have
to go over the 500 word or a few phone screen limit by quite a bit. So, my
apologies about that before all else:
I do not think that the primary challenge of the metaverse is spatial but
rather it is emotional. In the previous post I have talked exclusively
about building, I know. However, the biggest creative challenge of the
metaverse does not revolve so much around the creation of things as it does
around the creation of an entirely new life - and indeed in most cases
around the creation of multiple lives, of establishing valid purposes and
reasons to "build" a novel existence (or indeed novel existences). These do
of course have their foundations in your Real Life self but are
nevertheless quite apart from it - in the sense that Pessoa's heteronyms
come from Pessoa but are discrete entities nevertheless.
Of the tens of millions people who have created accounts in Second Life
only about 1.5 million have actually remained in Second Life, and of those
only about half login with any kind of regularity. So, the fallout rate is
unbelievably high - and this is for a very good reason: "Building" a new
life, finding a raison d être that is unrelated to Real Life affairs is
actually a very tough thing to bring about. So, the primary creative
activity of the Colombian metaverse resident and I, if we are both still
around today, would not have been about building stuff but about building
an existential purpose that was powerful enough to keep us logged in, in
the first place. And that existential purpose, as far as I have witnessed
and from personal experience, will involve the creation of a paracosm, and
a wish to play therein
- in the sense that Huizinga describes play - as a state of freedom that
sets the player outside the confines of the 'ordinary' or of 'real' life
for the duration of the play session.
Coming now to heritage: I would say that where heritage comes in very
powerfully is in the creation of this "second" life itself. Yes, Real Life
identities can be fully concealed (and very often are) in the metaverse.
However, I do think that heritage - be it from a broader cultural
perspective or from a narrowly personal one - is a major factor in how the
paracosm and the player (i.e., the avatar persona) are created. And, I
relate this process to childhood more than I do to a mere transference of
the grown up individual's attributes to a virtual persona. I think what
happens is that we build our avatar selves out of our childhood. And isn't
our childhood all about heritage? The stories we were told, the pantomimes,
the nursery rhymes, the dances, the folklore we grew up with, the songs,
the rituals, the processions and carnivals we participated in as children,
how powerfully they impressed us at that young age, the architectures and
spaces we were awestruck by, the early picture books, the fairy tales. The
mystery of it all.
So, of all the hundreds of avatars whom I either know very well or may have
only briefly encountered, I cannot think of a single persona that does not
appear to come out of childhood. In many cases very plainly visually
manifested before even a hello has been uttered, in others divulged during
the earliest conversations, straight off the bat. And my own alt personas
(I have 8 altogether) are certainly products of my childhood - or rather
different influences / experiences / encounters of my childhood. And the
building activity is of course an offshoot of that. Which is how, I would
think, the Colombian colleague would also be operating - under the adages
of his own childhood and therefore his heritage. This would not of course
necessarily mean that what he builds or what I build would be easily
identifiable as such. If all this comes from childhood, it will probably be
mostly subliminal / half remembered and will therefore probably peek out
only as traces. So, I think it is actually quite a subtle thing that may or
may not be easy to identify in the artifacts that we build. But, given this
childhood influence, I do think that it will be there.
Your question: "does any one have good examples of totally new cultural
heritage forms in cyberspace ?" I do not know of anything that is totally
new but I do think that if we consider things not under the term of
"output," but rather under the term of "process" there is something that
may be quite intriguing in the idea of creating a persona that then becomes
creatively active in his / her / its own right. Alpha (one of my avatars)
builds, indeed thinks, altogether differently from Xiamara (another avatar
of mine who is a fashion designer, as is also Alpha). Not at all new, of
course - after all Charles Dodgson thought and wrote differently than Lewis
Carroll - but something to be explored nevertheless, especially when put
within a virtual context.
You can build non-Cartesian spaces in SL, you can build anything you pretty
much want really. I have tried to rebuild El Lissitzky's Proun 5A
<https://www.homage-to-el-lissitzky.com/proun-5a>, for example, which
turned out to be a massive job because El Lissitzky (as I found out while I
was re-building the construct from his drawings) had not adhered to the
rules of Cartesian space in the Proun 5A series. I have built quite a few
spaces in the metaverse that are quite hard to negotiate / make sense of /
get around in Cartesian terms. I have tried to examine these under the
Deleuzian concept of smooth and striated on my website
<http://www.elifayiter.com/smoothstriated>. What emerges from such an
examination however is that smooth space becomes striated as soon as there
is any kind of human occupancy. So, none of my spaces can be smooth - they
can be hybrids at best - from the moment that I make an intervention that
will allow my extension, my avatar, to become the occupant of that
particular location. Which is probably where the crux of the non-Cartesian
space building challenge resides. So, yes, we see plenty of digital spaces
that are non-Cartesian, especially in fields such as data-vis. But, at
least all the examples that I can think of, are spaces that we observe or
interact with from the outside, without actually occupying them. As soon as
occupancy and all its related activity becomes a factor (and the avatar is
of course an occupant in this sense) I think we forsake the purity of
Finally, digital natives: I really do not know about this Roger. I am not
at all sure that digital natives are all that they are cracked up to be. I
have been teaching design students for nigh on 25 years now, and of course
increasingly over the past decade they have moved into the age group of
digital natives. And, as far as I can see, there is no more of a
generalization to be made among them than among people of our generation.
Some are inquisitive and experimental and explore digital boundaries and
resources to their limits - but then so do I, and so do quite a few others
of my age group. Most however, will limit their digital nativity to posting
photos on Instagram, sending stuff on whatsapp and downloading movies via
Torrent - which we do as well, no?
Again, apologies for such a long response. But, again, a long response to
some very germane questions, so I hope it will not be taken amiss.
On Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 5:11 PM, roger malina <email@example.com> wrote:
> just wanted to pick up on your comment on how your mediterrranean rim
> heritage resufaces in your on line work in second life and open sim
> "I first became aware of this subliminal inspiration and how the visual
> heritage of my beloved city seemed to work its way into what I built, when,
> during my very early years in the metaverse, I was blogged about as a
> Byzantine metaverse builder (
> So how does one's cultural heritage translate into the culture we are
> building on line ? Right now i am in Manizales Colombia for ISEA..how does
> a metaverse built on line here differ from yours built
> in Istanbul
> And do 'born digital' indigenous natives develop other forms of on line
> culture ?
> I remember in the early days of Ars Electronica we used to joke on the jury
> that so often the
> work was 'signed' by the software and the persons own background barely
> came through.
> But then I remember work by Char Davies, or Paul Sermon, or Lynn
> Hershman..or Eduardo Kac
> which somehow synthesised the emerging on line and grounded cultures.
> Also I remember being annoyed that space in simcity or second life was so
> cartesian.. why couldnt
> space be reinvented in on line culture in the way that Linda Henderson has
> document in her book
> of the 4th dimension in art and science ?
> Last century I wrote on the stone age of digital culture...but where are
> our cave paintings on line to be preserved for 50,000 years ? There is no
> gravity in cyberspace..so why is cyberspace so 3d and Cartesian ?
> Oliver grau chronicled the work of artists in immersive spaces from caves
> to vr...does any one have good examples of totally new cultural heritage
> forms in cyberspace ? Or are like the colonial powers imposing our
> terrestrial culture on cyberspace ? Its time for the digital natives to
> revolt like Caldas did here in colombia
> Roger malina
> Roger F Malina
> is in Manizales, Colombia
> 1-5108532007 or whatsapp
> blog: malina.diatrope.com
> roger malina
> is in paris
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