Archive for the ‘wanderment’ Category

Remote Control

December 12, 2008


Part of our ability to supervise clinical trials remotely involved opening as many telecommunications  programs and windows as possible to connect to the space. The idea was that should we lose the patient physically, psychologically or virtually we could find them in one window or another. This proved to be a lifesaver in a number of instances. At other critical junctures, this multilateral telepresence also allowed Dr.* Freeman and I to enter the consciousness of a clinical participant subtly through text or visually-audibly through AV Chat. With all the windows open simultaneously, and various kinds of activity and communications happening in many forms, it was somewhat exhilarating feeling of connectivity. There seems little question that we might be entering an era of medi-valence in the best sense of this concept. However, to call this control, is somewhat of a misnomer, since our highest goal in developing VF  is to cause or allow the patient to the unbridled freedom of wandering.

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Trials and Recruiting

September 30, 2008

The last few weeks of open clinical trials have been quite busy and yielded a considerable amount of experiences and reactions to VF.  Much of our attention has been devoted to recruiting new subjects and then guiding them through the careful administration of the drug. The general reaction has been positive, generating reports of renewal, outside of body sensations, cosmic tourism and interesting graphics. Most participants seem comfortable with resigning themselves to the flow of wandering, which is of course the main effect of VF.  Interestingly few report to engage in this kind of activity on a weekly basis in their “real” lives. There have also been quite a few responses best described as discomforting. Disorientation, frustration, phobia and limited graphics summarizes the reports of some trial participants. One or two patients have reported continued after effects in this range. However, this is to be expected from a study this early on in clinical development. Besides any psychoactive drug from those deemed to be illicit to widely prescribed antidepressants is known to produce such ” negative” results in some patients. Future reports of our pre-and post-trial questionnaires will detail some of these patient accounts as well as correlate some of the data.

Dr* Pappenheimer recruiting potential clinical trial for disciplines in the Fringe clinic opening night.

Documentation of Early VF Trial Results

September 16, 2008

The Virta-Flaneurazine clinic opened on Saturday, September 6, 2008. We have begun to compile and document the early trial results.

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

Wanderlust Deficit Disorder

June 20, 2008

MEMO #2008-06-20_032

To: Dr. willpap

From: Dr. johncraigfreeman

Re: Wanderlust Deficit Disorder

This is an internal memo intended for your eyes only. Please keep its contents confidential.

Given the disastrous results of the latest mice trials, the parent company and our investors have recommended a change of course in our research. They have asked us to consider redeveloping VF to target the lucrative recreational pharmaceutical market. In order to do this successfully, a malady must be identified, or created as the case may be, which VF can be reasonably seen to remedy.

After careful consideration. I propose that we focus on Wanderlust Deficit Disorder (WDD). We know that VF has shown promise in getting even the most flaccid internet addicts up and active, even if that activity is aimless or misdirected.

Internet Addiction

The parent company’s marketing department and our lobby consulting team agree that WDD could constitute a sizable market in coming years.

We have been asked to indicate this change of direction by changing the appearance of VF to include a more “happy-go-lucky” color scheme and sexier graphics.

Bufotenine

April 12, 2008

While watching Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, we realized there could be a relationship between the Bufo Toad toxins and VF.  Not only is there a similarity in the bufotenine molecule, 5-hydroxy-DMT, but experiential reports of distortions in the senses of time and space, instantaneous transportational perception and  color hallucinations would seem to confirm the analogous relationship. The Bufo Toad toxin secreted by glands in the toad’s shoulders and then boiled down, crystallized and safely smoked by hippies in communes.

The other ingestive alternative known as “licking toad” runs the risk of severe neurological effects such as paralysis, seizures, blurred vision, and dizziness. We should also consider the possibility that distorted time and space affect of imbibing bufotenine might be related to the “transference” of the toad’s seemingly aimless patterns of mobility as well as the “hopping” effect of teleporting in SL. This could be a fruitful approach for further study with respect to the digital form of VF.

Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie

April 12, 2008

Anthony Cunha

Mariko Mori, Tea Ceremony III, 1995, Laminated crystal print, 48 x 60 x 2 1/2 inches.  Collection of Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton, Santa Monica, CA, Photo: Anthony Cunha.

Steeped as we are in our field of clinical pharmacology, it was a literary colleague who, upon hearing our reports of the emerging drug’s discovery, directed our attention towards the analogy of the 19th century flâneur. So, upon further investigation the word became the hallmark of the drug’s title. Our favorite descriptive passages come from the French poet Charles Baudelaire’s essays in “The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays.” Baudelaire summarizes the flâneur as a “gentleman stroller of city streets.” However, successive authors, artists and critics such as Edgar Allen Poe, Walter Benjamin, Situationists and Susan Sontag have helped us understand that the idea is much more complex and pervasive in our modern life. 

Little did we know that the idea itself might be considered “dandy” nowadays. We hope that we were not lead by a turtle, as some flâneur’s were rumored to do!  

An example of this currency is an exhibition that we thought we would bring to your attention before it closes soon on April 13. It is itself an opportunity to be a flâneur of the museum (another sociological spin-off!) and a list of well-known artists more or less related to the topic. Our favorite inspiration is Francis Alÿs. Person of the Crowd is curated by Thom Collins, Director and on view from January 20-April 13, 2008. Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase, Purchase NY