Archive for the ‘social grid’ Category

Emergence of an Occupy Wall Street Colony

October 5, 2011

As of today, October 5, the outbreak of a new bufo colony was documented in augmented reality in a barricaded area in front of the New York Stock Exchange. We will simply call it the Occupy Wall Street Colony, or the OWS Colony for short. This particular species seems to have markings on its skin in the form of a swirling NYSE façade and generate above, a hovering pie chart of the US skewed distribution of wealth.

Bufo toad of the Occupy Wall Street Colony at an organizational meeting of Occupy Wall Street leaders at Liberty Park, including Michael Moore in the orange hat. Police presence severely hampering cell phone reception, causing toad to adopt a highly decreased size.  VIDEO


July 5, 2009

As we have worked to open up the grid structure of Second Life in its replication of real world  land ownership and commercial urban planning, it occurred to us that there are other network grids that might be appropriate  for a VF wanderment type drug. The rise and conversion of the “open source” social networking grids, where leisure activities are converted into commerce, such as Facebook, Myspace and YouTube, will be in need of diversionary activities to stave off increasing reports of dependancy and addiction. A programmable drug might allow users to wander erratically through Facebook walls, music groups or video remixes and eperience a welcome release from typical daily habits. Integrated into office worker software, an adapted VF drug might allow users to automatically wander through word processing, spreadsheet and database management documents, data structures, or interoffice communications. It would not be a stretch of the imagination therefore to envision a meta-VF which accessed  everything on and linked to a user’s computer.

folders_VFuser document wanderment pathfolders_VF_hallucinationspossible resulting document hallucination

Fringe Clinic Layout

September 23, 2008

The layout at Fringe Clinic seems to serve its function quite well. The real world clinic is similar to the SL clinic and allows for the dispensation, consultation, monitoring and evaluation of volunteer subjects experiences. The installation includes a comfortable multi-position patient chair, exam area, a waiting room and live SL projection screens for patient and public viewing. It is important to study the relationship of real world to virtual experience since the two are inextricably linked. We are not interested in mirrors or simulations.

The waiting room area allows clinical trial patients to relax  while waiting for an appointment to try VF under doctor’s supervision.  Participants  also use this area to fill out documentation of their experiences prior to and after taking the drug. The Fringe Clinic is open 12-6pm PST Thursday through Saturday,  September 25-27 and  of October 2-7. Contact Fringe Exhibitions, 504 Chung King Court, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 613-0160


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.