Author Archive

Presentation of Results

July 25, 2009


On October 11, 2008 Dr* W Pappenheimer and Dr* JC Freeman,  speaking for our four member team on the in and out-world, presented our preliminary procedures and findings in the VF clinical studies so far at the New Museum in New York. We were happy to be present at the request of our original venture  Investment sponsors, Rhizome.org,  though it was not easy to gauge the reception of an “art” audience.

Movie Documentation: VF at Rhizome Commissions panel, New Museum

VF Clinic “Plein Air” Design

July 7, 2008

The VF Clinic is mostly complete featuring a wonderful “plein air” design by Dr. Freemont.  The building contains our clinic headquarters, reception counter, waiting room, exam and interview area in a space that flows from one function to another. The floor extends to be outside patio with steps leading down to the ocean. We tip our hats to Frank Lloyd Wright, hoping that the building integrates itself into its surroundings like “Falling Water.” This design also allows clinical study participants to wander easily outside as they begin their wayward journey.  With most of the preparatory elements of the clinical study coming into place, it will not be long before we are able begin the trials. All members of the project are looking forward to this day.

Clinic SLURL:

New Pill Design: Confusion and Facade Affinity

July 5, 2008

The new pill designs have arrived at the clinic also. We are now working on experiments with the proper dosage. It appears that our initial dosages are problematic. They produce two side effects that impede long-term wanderment variability. One is best described as confusion or disorientation. This causes the user to move in more limited areas and engage in crisscrossing or backtracking (See figure 1 below). The second effect can only be described as an affinity or fixation for the walls of buildings. In these cases the user seems to walk towards building facades and then, looking into windows, moves back and forth along them repeatedly (See figure 2 below). While this shows a consistency with aspects flâneurism such as window shopping or voyeurism,  it will also lead to less adventurous walks which are also desirable. We will be conducting more precise experiments with respected dosage shortly since this will be such an important part of the user’s experience. The issue is most likely related to code repeats and higher user rates of serotonin turnover, The figures below track these walks from the SL minimap aerial view.

              figure 1: confusion                     figure 2: facade affinity

Intro to New Lab Assistant

June 1, 2008

Bufot XeuWe are pleased to be joined by Bufot Xue as a lab assistant. He comes to us via his First Life avatar featured in a link from the Bufotenine  entry on the blog (excerpt from Fox News, KCTV-TV, Lawrence, KS.)


Pet Store OwnerHe has extensive experience with the Bufo toad species, since he sells them as pets. He will be of vital   assistance to us from time to time when he is not at Persephones Journey herbal store in Lawrence, KS

Grief and Ecstasy

April 27, 2008

 

While Dr Freemont and I were working on the VF pill casing at Morris Sandbox we were “attacked” by “griefers”. We attempted to finish our work but movement eventually became impossible. This event was very memorable and brings up many issues that we will perhaps return to in this blog. Despite the opinions of some that griefers are “terrorists,” which we feel dilutes an already fuzzy term, the practice seems more like “noise bombing”. 

For myself, the whole experience was quite spontaneously beautiful. One even might say that it was a liminal experience, removing one temporarily from the pragmatics of making things to an experience of being. The cacophony of visual, audio and textual information was in its own way, ecstatic. However, the important Wired magazine article on this practice introduces a cacophony of questions not only concerning it’s practitioners but also the nature of virtuality. Strangely, the injection of emotional categories into the dialectics of web vs real world epistemologies, strikes us as an odd development on both sides of the issue. Griefers (aka goons) want virtual participants to lighten up about the silliness of taking the virtual world too seriously. Goons often employ virtual violent disruptive means to inspire humor. It is interesting to consider whether Griefer’s see themselves part of the larger hacker community and hence connected to the alternative value system of hacker ethics or simply operate from internal drives such as the Pleasure Principle. 

On the other hand, the emotional suggestion that virtuality is silly, unreal or impotent seems increasingly irrelevant in the context that it is now inseparable from many real world activities and institutions. A virtual bomb on stock market data exchange would have a very real set of catastrophic consequences that might not be so funny. Conversely, a Mercedez Benz is no more real value in terms of its material than a Tata car, its all about surplus value. But try telling the police to lighten up after you have just rammed a Mercedes-Benz CL or to the nicely dressed hacker who has just taken a high paying job at Microsoft and is the proud owner of the car.

 

We are aware that the development of a drug like VF could similarly be viewed as antisocial, or “disruptive” (as Dr* Fremont likes to call it). After all the affects cause aimless wanderings across the use oriented grid of Second Life. It gets hard to see property formation, social order and profit through the lens of hallucination. But that’s what makes our study so intriguing. And we are also a clinic- as interested in administering the drug as addressing its affects. 

New VF Capsule

April 27, 2008

 

New VF Capsule
Dr. Fremont managed to design and manufacture an excellent pill capsule with many important specifications conducive to the touch infusion of VF. The Texture mapping must have many thousands of repeats per meter and be offset just enough to allow for the two-way flow of data and commands. These processes must be able to be repeated with subroutines for the duration of VF’s affects. While the external pill does not yet have its full capability of utilizing web parsing, the development of this versatile casing ensures that nothing in the internal pill delivery will prevent these functions from taking place.

We also have included the pill imprint, the VF graphic logo, such that future circulation of the drug, in combination with searching our website, will lead to a positive drug ID. To make a definitive drug identification, a user might need to follow a series of “specific steps or mouse clicks” at the professional Medical site drugID.info. Needless to say, VF is not yet in their database, nor does it have an NDC code. However searches can help with processes of elimination and mis-identification, such as with the drug, VANEX FORTE, that is a synthetic alkylamine derivative used in allergic reactions.

Bufo Virtanus Specimen Released at Test Parcel

April 25, 2008

We have identified a hardy specimen of bufo virtanus for release on the test parcel. We would discourage touching them (or other forms of contact) until we know more about the effects of its toxin under SL conditions. We can now proceed with studying some of our comparative theories concerning VF molecular similarities and psychoactive effects.