real life half life

There’s a lot said and written on immersion into alternative or even virtual worlds, on people getting lost in gamespace or the Internet’s interactive realms, and so on. In consequence thoughts about the questions arising with these ‘other realities’ fly into every direction. As the ‘cyberanthropologist online among the gamemodders’ I deem myself to be, I am especially interested in how the Cyberians themselves tackle this issues. The people I am affected to appropriate all kinds of related artefacts and then artistically slap the demarcations between meat- and cyberspace around with a large trout—big time. Aaron Rasmussen for example thought … Continue reading

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stability of cyberspace

At the ↵Cyberspace 2005 Conference I will give a little talk. Here’s the abstract: The lack of a suitable understanding of reality experienced by human beings hampers the discourse on social and cultural phenoma triggered by information and communication technologies (ICTs). This lack generates misunderstandings which accumulate in the notion of ICT-induced realms as a Gegenwelt, either in the form of an utopia or dystopia. The majority of the studies so far on the subject suffer from an utter lack of clarity of the discourse’s ever-resurfacing core-concepts “virtual reality” (VR), “cyberspace”, and “virtual community”. In fact, throughout the literature a … Continue reading

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why cyberanthropology, why “cyber-”?

or, cybernetics as a tacit but paradigmatical cultural topos  Already in 1994 anthropologist ↑Arturo Escobar bid his colleagues ↵welcome to cyberia and hinted at a path towards an ‘anthropology of ↑cyberculture‘. But astoundingly enough Escobar takes words as ‘cyberspace’ and the like to be misnomers—he only uses the term ‘cyberculture’ as an element of analysis due to the widespread acceptance of the prefix ‘cyber-’. (↵1994:211, fn. I.) Just having complied to fashion while formulating new concepts is not quite an academic justification—a weak one at best. I do not at all share the opinion that ‘cyber-’ is misleading. Quite to … Continue reading

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DGV05: structures of computer-mediated cultural spaces

by Timo Baur It is still difficult to delineate the medium Internet as an object of investigation for cyberanthropology. The same is true for precisely positioning the cultural spaces which are perceptible via the Internet within a broader anthropological perspective. Because of geographical criteria this tasks at first seem easier concerning cultural spaces ‘traditionally’ belaboured by sociocultural anthropology. The presentation is based upon a semiotic concept of culture, McLuhan’s notions, and the ISO (International Standard Organization) OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) reference model. It aims at making explicit a structure upon which the Internet is based, both as an abstract medium … Continue reading

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cockroach cybernetics

  Via his thesis development plan ↑Control and communication in the animal and the machine I stumbled onto Garnet Hertz’ ↑Cockroach controlled mobile robot:  “Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine” is a cockroach-controlled mobile robot system. The system uses a living Madagascan hissing cockroach atop a modified trackball to control the three-wheeled robot. Infrared sensors also provide navigation feedback to create a semi-intelligent system, with the cockroach as the CPU. Enjoy! … Continue reading

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cybernetics

Cybernetics was defined by Norbert Wiener [see picture above] as ‘the science of control and communication, in the animal and the machine’ [↵Wiener 1948]—in a word, as the art of steermanship, and it is to this aspect that the book will be addressed. Co-ordination, regulation and control will be its themes, for these are of the greatest biological and practical interest. (↵Ashby 1957[1956]:1) Additionally a slightly longer quotation from a more recent article: Derived from the Greek kybernetes, or “steersman”, the term “cybernetics” first appears in Antiquity with Plato, and in the 19th century with Ampère, who both saw it … Continue reading

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floating elvis

  —is anybody home | Calling elvis—I’m here all alone | Did he leave the building | Or can he come to the phone | Calling elvis—I’m here all alone [Mark Knopfler—originally released on 'On Every Street'] The Unreal 2003 mod ↑Karma Physics< Elvis [there is a video to download | .mov | 3.5MB] is not only a perfect follow-up to the ↵liquid ragdoll, but—like the ↵white room—an equally perfect example of cultural appropriation of computergames for artistic means:  Karma Physics< Elvis is a modification of the first person shooter computer game Unreal 2003. As the viewer camera floats through … Continue reading

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senseless 2

↑Orange already had ↑pointed us to ↑spezial#1 (see ↵senseless), now she has ↑duly blogged the release of ↑spezial#2—both being South-Park-style satirical flash-movies by Christian Wasser of ↑sinn-los.de [senseless] taking up the computergames & violence issue. [both movies in German] The production values of #2 are considerably higher and it runs way longer than #1—but in my opinion storyline and dramaturgy of the sequel do not live up to ‘the original’, which completely blew me away. But it has to be mentioned, that #2 is charged to the brim with allusions and insider-associations. However, the creator himself seems not to be … Continue reading

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