# Sep 26, 2010

“According to the Brechtian paradigm, theatrical mediation makes [spectators] conscious of the social situation that gives rise to it and desirous of acting in order to transform it. According to Artaud’s logic, it makes them abandon their position as spectators: rather than being placed in front of a spectacle, they are surrounded by the performance, drawn into the circle of action that restores their collective energy. In both cases, theatre is presented as a mediation striving for its own abolition.” (8)

- Jacques Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator

# Sep 25, 2010

“That speaks to what games are really doing, which is allowing people to express themselves in a living system with other people who are doing the same. You’re actually making decisions that are going to move one way or the other and that will have effects concretely on other people. I think that for many people, sometimes including me, real life doesn’t always feel like something that you can have concrete effects on in a systemic way. It’s not always easy to figure out how to be generous in a way that can touch a lot of strangers. Games allow us to do these kinds of things. It’s true that what’s happening in them is fictional and useless, but it’s as fictional and useless as literature or cinema. Games allow us to see each other, for a moment, in a way that living in a city prevents.”

- Reality has a gaming layer – O’Reilly Radar

“We always thought we would use Second Life as the enemy, that it was the exact opposite of what we were trying to do. If Second Life was about trying to simulate reality optically, what we were interested in was running light interference with the real world to make it more interesting.”

Reality has a gaming layer – O’Reilly Radar

“[We have] a focus at area/code on the interesting ways in which games overlap with the real world. Where games insert themselves into your life and the kind of surprising ways that they can overstep the boundaries, and how that can lead to interesting new kinds of game experiences. In the case of urban gaming, it’s about appropriating public space and rethinking how you turn a familiar space into a game space. In the case of Parking Wars, I think it has a little bit to do with time, you know that…this is a game that you’re always playing, and the rhythm of your ordinary life becomes part of the game dynamics. When you are asleep at night, you know people who are parking on your street and there’s nothing you can do. Now, if you are away on vacation and you don’t have access to a computer and your friends know that, then that becomes part of the game, you know that becomes part of the tactics and strategy of the game.”

- Frank Lantz of area/code, interviewed in Jesper Juul’s “A Casual Revolution”

# Sep 24, 2010

“People’s creativity and participation can only be awakened by a collective project explicitly concerned with all aspects of lived experience. The only way to “arouse the masses” is to expose the appalling contrast between the potential constructions of life and the present poverty of life. Without a critique of everyday life, a revolutionary organization is a separated milieu, as conventional and ultimately as passive as those holiday camps that are the specialized terrain of modern leisure.”

- Instructions for an Insurrection (Situationist International)

“In closing, we should briefly mention some aspects of what we call ultra-détournement, that is, the tendencies for détournement to operate in everyday social life. Gestures and words can be given other meanings, and have been throughout history for various practical reasons. The secret societies of ancient China made use of quite subtle recognition signals encompassing the greater part of social behavior (the manner of arranging cups; of drinking; quotations of poems interrupted at agreed-on points). The need for a secret language, for passwords, is inseparable from a tendency toward play. Ultimately, any sign or word is susceptible to being converted into something else, even into its opposite. The royalist insurgents of the Vendée,(7) because they bore the disgusting image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, were called the Red Army. In the limited domain of political war vocabulary this expression was completely detourned within a century.”

- A User’s Guide to Detournement (Guy Debord & Gil Wolman)

Fandom Squared

My paper, “Fandom Squared,” was published this month in Transformative Works and Cultures. From the introduction:

Being a fan has always been about more than just “voting” for a particular story world. Indeed, in contrast to the streamlined logics of Web 2.0, fandom is a dynamic and sometimes elusive set of “social structures and cultural practices created by the most passionately engaged consumers of mass media properties” (Jenkins 2010). As such, fandom often exists (at least in part) beyond the boundaries of taste and canon sanctioned by the creators of those properties. While it is sometimes gratifying to know the companies behind media franchises are keen to listen to and directly address their properties’ fans via real-time Web applications, in many cases, those fans would actually prefer to be left alone. It is through such tensions that we can see the emerging shape of fan practice in the era of Web 2.0. Here, I outline several such tensions by comparing how Web 2.0 businesses and fan communities conceive of, foster, and manage participation. (TWC: Fandom Squared)

Read the full paper here.

# Sep 21, 2010

“We might frame the question this way: does the need for the ground-level agreement of participants pull social artworks towards a uniformly positivistic or even utopian tone? If participation is furthered by honesty, fairness, giving, and helping, does this prevent us from talking about or being interested in their opposites: lying, cheating, stealing and harm? Can we imagine art situations where we break or reconfigure the rules of participation rather than just inhabit and obey them? And as we invent social structures outside of art contexts, is there something important about “art” and its conversations that we want to keep?”

Let’s Blush – Sal Randolph « 127 PRINCE

“There are interesting parallels in the debates between Williams and McLuhan and those between STS and ANT . . . Williams and many STS traditions can be seen to foreground the social at the expense of an appreciation of the cognitive or esthetic, while McLuhan and some variations of ANT tent to privilege networks and specific media to the exclusion of social and economic structures. There are useful elements to be gleaned from both sides . . . In an age of ‘intelligent agents’ and everyday engagements with various machine-based intelligences, we should take seriously the notion that our perceptual and cognitive facilities may be shifting, even as we understand that these shifts are part and parcel of larger cultural forces.” (8)

-Tara McPherson – Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected