“[C]inema replaced all other modes of narration with sequential narrative, an assembly line of shots that appear on the screen one at a time. For centuries, a spatialized narrative in which all images appear simultaneously dominated European visual culture; in the twentieth century it was relegated to ‘minor’ cultural forms such as comics or technical illustrations. ‘Real’ culture of the twentieth century came to speak in linear chains, aligning itself with the assembly line of the industrial society […]. New media continue this mode, giving the user information one screen at a time. At least this is the case when it tries to become ‘real’ culture (interactive narratives, games); when it simply functions as an interface to information, it is not ashamed to present much more information on the screen at once, whether in the form of tables, normal or pull-down menus, or lists.” (232)
From Henri Bergson’s The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics:
…let us imagine an infinitely small piece of elastic, contracted, if that were possible, to a mathematical point. Let us draw it out gradually in such a way as to bring out of the point a line which will grow progressively longer. Let us fix our attention not on the line as line, but on the action which traces it. Let us consider that this action, in spite of its duration, is indivisible if one supposes that it goes on without stopping; that, if we intercalate a stop in it, we make two actions of it instead of one and that each of these actions will then be the indivisible of which we speak; that it is not the moving act itself which is never indivisible, but the motionless line it lays down beneath it like a track in space. Let us take our mind off the space subtending the movement and concentrate solely on the movement itself, on the act of tension or extension, in short, on pure mobility. This time we shall have a more exact image of our development in duration. (165)
I wonder how Bergson’s meditations on time and free will would have played out had he been able to mess around with the Khronos Projector, a time-spatializing Processing sketch by Alvaro Cassinelli. This online instance is a stripped-down version of Cassinelli’s 2005 installation:
The Khronos projector unties time and space in a pre-recorded movie sequence, opening the door for an infinite number of interactive visualizations. Using the Khronos projector, event’s causality become relative to the spatial path we decide to walk on the image, allowing for a multiple interpretation of the recorded facts. In this sense, the Khronos projector can be seen as an exploratory interface that transforms a movie sequence into a spatio-temporal sculpture for people to explore at their own pace and will. (Khronos Projector)
Tonchidot defines their amazing Sekai Camera–in Japanese, World Camera– as a "social tagging device" for the iPhone. It combines most technologies in the iPhone 3G, from the camera and the GPS to the internet connectivity and its microphone. When you start it, the application first checks where you are using the built-in GPS in the iPhone 3G. (gizmodo)
Old and clunky though it may be, the Space Shuttle is still awesome. This spectacular video shows a full launch-to-splashdown cycle from the POV of one of the shuttle’s booster rockets.
A fun little Java applet that allows you to play around in isometric space. Runs in your browser here.
The idea of procedurally-generated MMOs has appealed to me for a while. I’ve tried to imagine what such a space might look like and how it might work, but a working prototype is really what’s needed to examine the concept in depth. Eskil Steenberg’s “astonishing and somewhat unsettling” procedural MMO, Love, provides a touchstone for future imaginings:
The game itself, dubbed Love (as in For The Love Of Game Development), is an exploration-based moderately-multiplayer FPS with astounding impressionistic visuals and a procedurally generated universe. Since Steenberg is a one man show, he’s relying on clever maths to build the world for him and then clever gamers to come in and help him figure out where to take it, and what to do with it.
So far he’s already populated it with weird animals and wondrous, gaseous visuals, and he intends to build the world into a kind of communal adventure, where gamers work together to furnish a central village, defend it from enemy attack, and explore the surround world and its many dungeons. Players will be able to do things like deform elements of terrain, allowing them to build tunnel networks or walls to defend their property. Items will also be intended for the good of all as Steenberg creates them and drops them into the world. You won’t be picking up rifles in your adventures, but more likely the plans for the rifle-building machine, that can then be utilised by everyone in your village. Part Zelda, part Tale In The Desert, part adventure shooter, and wholly abstract and beautiful, Love looks the kind of amalgam of art, programming and internet savvy that we’ve desired without even being able to imagine. It has the potential, and Steenberg has the huge intellect, for this to be one of the most precious events in PC gaming. (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
levelHead is a spatial memory game by Julian Oliver. It uses a cube – with an image on each face – as its only interface.
It uses a Sony EyeToy camera to capture the image and a screen to present the computed result.
‘Inside’ the cube are six rooms, each of which are logically connected by a network of doors. By tilting the cube you lead a character around the rooms.
Some doors lead nowhere and will send you back to the beginning. You have just 120 seconds to find the exit of each cube and move to the next.
There are five cubes (levels) in total and just as you imagine, the traps become increasingly difficult to avoid. (julianoliver.com)
Powers of Ten is a 1977 short documentary film written and directed by Charles Eames and his wife, Ray. The film depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten (see also logarithmic scale and order of magnitude). The idea for the film appears to have come from the 1957 book Cosmic View by Kees Boeke. (Powers of Ten – Wikipedia)