Wandering Chinese Poets and Virtual Stasis


The translation of “Virta-Flaneurazine” to 虚 拟 信 步 治 疗 法, xǔ nǐ xìn bù zhì hàu fǔ, means roughly: a remedy of affinity for virtual wandering. The phrase includes the characters,  信 步, refering to an important Chinese literary tradition, 闲 庭 信 步, xián tíng xìn bù, known as, “love (or trust) of wandering in the garden” which resonates with the flaneur. Poet Li Bai (712-770 AD) of the Tang Dynasty was perhaps one of the most well known. The wandering poets were often interested in landscape, social commentary and intoxication through drinking wine.

Here’s a nice stanza reminiscent of VF from the poem “Three—With the Moon and His Shadow” by another of these poets, Li Po (701-762).

I sing, the wild moon wanders the sky.
I dance, my shadow goes tumbling about.
While we’re awake, let us join in carousal;
Only sweet drunkenness shall ever part us.
Let us pledge a friendship no mortals know,
And often hail each other at evening
Far across the vast and vaporous space!

Stasis: Server Blockage

When we arrived in Xi’an and launched our connection to the virtual world of Second Life, the important effects of Internet wanderment characteristic to the programmable drug were increasingly blocked by the Chinese networks. This caused the drug to be virtually ineffective, the test subject to be confined to the virtual clinic and a poetic experience such as in the stanza above to be be unattainable. It was not until we discovered virtual techniques for transcending these limitations that we were able to resume and carry out the trials.

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