In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘layers of lives’

KAIDIE TRANS-MIGRATING? 6

Art time, life time, passing time. Teh-Ching Hsieh with Kaidie, 20 June 2012, Hayward Lecture Theatre, Nondon.

On 20 June 2012 Wednesday, Kaidie runs into one of her forerunners, the legendary Taiwanese-American performance artist Teh-Ching Hsieh at the Wide Open School, Hayward Gallery, Nondon. Hsieh’s seminal durational performances, in particular One Year Performance (Outdoor Piece, 1982-1982), has been guiding Kaidie in her running about, 30 years on (2009-2012), not to mention that, before that, before Kaidie was Kaidie, Hsieh’s quiet but powerful works have been inspiring her in her journeys. As Kaidie prepares to run further, for the last time, in the final 80 days of her life, to have met Hsieh, face to face, eye to eye (Hsieh, like Kaidie, is not big, built like an endurance runner), has served as an important breath of life. With that, she carries on with her journeys (Photograph of Kaidie with Hsieh taken by another ‘Kai’, called Kai Nien, [unrelated]).

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KAIDIE TRANS-MIGRATING? 5

Cabled-up, taken a deep breath, pink-socked, wobbled, ready to take off, to re-turn, to life, on earth. Thummmmpppppppppppppppppppplunginggggggggggggggggggggfreefalling.................. (tbc)

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KAIDIE TRANS-MIGRATING? 4

Is this Kaidie midway in her trans-migration-trans-figuration-trans-formation-trans-configuration-transcendence-transiting-trans-running?

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KAIDIE DIES: Variation 13.

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KAIDIE DIES: Variation 1.

On Sunday 4/24, a day of Easter bunnies & the resurrection of a popular figure, Kaidie’s 500th-day birthday, Kai Syng Tan’s 36th-year birthday in the external world, but 37th-year birthday including her time as an embryo, which would be the way a person of the Dao calculates it, and 4/24/37 was the time Kaidie ended the 2011 Nondon Marathon, like a bunny caught in headlights, this being the year of the bunny, being Kaidie’s rear, runny bunny, sunny runny, funny bunny gunny hunny etc. Photograph by ‘Trespasser’ on his mobile phone after he ran Kaidie over on this Skoda.

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CRUSHING DEATHS, CRUSHING LIVES: We seek not immortality (as if one lifetime is not more than enough!!) or happy afterlives (we yield not to bullying and blackmails by institutions); we fear not death, but life itself, and how we are living/running it.

16 March 2011. Along Hyde Park, as we ran out of the Royal College of Art, Nondon.

As we run inter-dimensionally across Life 1.0 and Life 2.0, we run in the chaosmos of mortality and immortality. Traversing backwards and forwards between living-subject-to-death and never-dying, the inter-dimensional runner is able to get best of both worlds. In such a setup, life and death become a multidirectional circle. Living or running in such a circle, any existential angst can be extinguished: we live (each) life to the fullest and cease fearing death. Instead of mourning for the dead, we sing, as Zhuang Zi (Chuang-Tzu) did after the death of his wife. ‘If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don’t understand anything about fate.’[1] Zhuang Zi looked at his wife’s death as another stage of life, as a continuation from ‘the time before she was born’ (which itself was a stage after ‘the time before she had a body’, which was in turn after ‘the time before she had a spirit’.) For him, ‘just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter,’ death is merely ‘another change’. As Sinologist Norman Girardot explains, the initiatory symbolism of returning to the condition of either infancy or death echoes the cosmic return to the chaos condition.[2] In this mixed, third condition, infancy and death are ‘symbolically equivalent’. This is the Dao’s (Tao’s) creatio continua. When a man dies, ‘he goes to his rest, rises again to his zenith’. This ‘return to the beginning’ after our death is ‘the ultimate harmony’, and is the chaosmos of mortality and immortality that the inter-dimensional runner is able to enjoy.

Daoist (Taoist) expert Kristofer Schipper observes that these notions (life and death as circular, and death as transformation and renewal) are clearly embodied in Lao Zi  (Lao-Tzu) himself, as well as the mythological circumstances of his birth. Across literature such as the appropriately-named Book of Laozi’s Transformation and Book of Endless Mutations of Laochun (another name for Lao Zi) and so on, the Old Master says: ‘I transform my body, passing through death to live again… I die and am reborn, and each time, I have a [new] body.’[3] True to form, Lao Zi is said to have gone through nine transformations before he was born, and was hence born already an old man. Yet another example of these ‘continuous mutations, this joyful changing according to time’s cycle and the nature of things’,  is the story of how the ‘Old Child’ was an orphan free of baggage, knowing ‘neither parents nor children, neither lineage, nor country’, and ‘no tomb nor holy relics’.[4] In yet another version of the story of his birth, the ‘Old Lord’ was said to be ‘his own mother’. The theme of the juxtaposition of life and death is most poetically encapsulated in the version that says that Lao Zi’s mother died ‘[at] the sight of her offspring.’[5] In the ‘brief moment between birth and apotheosis’, it is said that the Mother ‘reveals to her child the secrets of the art of immortality, of that ‘Long Life’ which the Old Child has just experienced in his mother’s womb’. Where there was ‘neither birth nor death’, a complete cycle of the cosmos was accomplished.’ To the Daoist, death and life are but ‘2 phases of a cycle’, with an ‘alternation analogous to that of yin and yang’.[6] All the stories of Lao Zi’s birth point to the same thing: that the ‘organic round of life and death’ is but a ‘rite of passage’ that ‘constantly involves moments of growth and regression, security and danger.’[7]

Yet, even though death is not considered as an ‘ill’ in Daoism, but as ‘only one phase of the total process of human life in time’,[8] prominence is still placed on achieving a good quality of life before death. This is where the notion of yangsheng – the preservation of life and nourishment – returns. In fact, the emphasis is not only on a good journey before life, but a good long distance journey before death, with longevity and, as an extension of that, immortality as the aims of yangsheng. Indeed, Schipper goes so far as to say that it is legitimate to ‘link the classic works (the book of Zhuang Zi and the Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]) as do the Daoists themselves, to the search for immortality […].’[9] While there are mystical elements (as we have seen in the case of Lao Zi for instance, who was said to have lived for thousands of years), the Daoist concept of immortality is primarily focused on everyday reality, through real-life practices including medicinal science and physical exercise, as we have already established at the beginning of this Chapter. Hence, when we run inter-dimensionally, in the chaosmos of Lives, not only do we run to-and-fro the circle of life and death, we also ensure that, before dying, we run a good, long distance life.


[1] Zhuang Zi, ‘The Complete Works Of Chuang Tzu’, Terebess Asia Online (TAO), trans. by Burton Watson <http://www.terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu2.html> [accessed 13 January 2011].

[2] Girardot, N. J., Myth and Meaning in Early Daoism: The Theme of Chaos, Three Pines (Three Pines Press, 2009), p. 126.

[3] Schipper, Kristofer, The Taoist Body (University of California Press, 1994), p. 116.

[4] Schipper, p. 166.

[5] Schipper, p. 122.

[6] Schipper, p. 37.

[7] Girardot, p. 5.

[8] British biochemist and Sinologist Joseph Needham 1974, 77?84, quoted in Girardot, p. 5.

[9] Schipper, p. 15.

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Walk the talk / run the dmc: WE PAID UP FOR OUR 18948km NONDON-SAO-PAULO OF CARBON FOOTPRINTS WITH OUR FOOT+FOOT (=FEET) RUNNING 189.48km IN OCTOBER.

Rundown of our runs, 3-30 October, as documented by our Garmin Forerunner 405.

As you know (you do, don’t you?), we visited Sao Paulo, Brazil last month to present a paper of our of-and-out-of-this-and-other-worlds theory, Trans-dimensional Running for our Lives! A Rough Guide To A Critical Strategy for our technologically-layered Multiverse, at Soft Borders, Upgrade! Before we flew, we also came up with a plan to make up for our carbon footprints from the return journey, and decided that to pay back for our 18948km of travelling, we had to run 189.48km in Life 1.0 .

We are happy to announce that we reached our target on 30 October. From 3 – 30 October, we ran a total of 191.11km. This includes, unfortunately, one week of NO RUNNING while we were in Brazil for several reasons. So, in reality, the task was accomplished in 17 days, which works out to be an average of 11.24km each time we ran during this period.

Our next flight is a long-haul flight which is at least 10,000km one way. If we go by the same rules we have set up for our Nondon-Sao-Paulo journey, of moving 2 decimal places of a given distance, we deduce that we will have to run at least 200km, to make up for our dirty flight. Again we will aim to do that within the period of one month.

While we are at it, we want to tell you of our plan that we have been harbouring for the past 11 months of our existence, since we came into being: it consist of 2 runs in a certain city-state. One is a run running North-South (22.5km) of the country, and the other running West-East (41.8km) of the country. The former translates to slightly more than a half-marathon, which we can estimate we can run within approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes (and hopefully less) under humid conditions, the other a full-marathon, which we estimate taking us 5 hours, or less, hopefully. With these two runs, Kaidie, the partially-imaginary figure, runs the entire country. Read this statement in any way you wish. We will complete this exercise wthin our lifetime, this life. When we do realise this endeavour, do recall that you read it here, first, my Dear Reader.

While we are at it, some of you may also recall a stubborn shin splint and tendonitis that we experienced for a couple of months over Summer, on our right leg. You may be pleased to know that they are not so lonely any more, as we have introduced them to our left leg as well. We now have very well-balanced limps (and Lives). As they say, life goes on, or rather, Lives go on.

Our GPS track (in green) records of our locomotion in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the image on the right as the most detailed.

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CHAT WITH KAIDIE ‘LIVE’ SATURDAY 16:00hrs + SUNDAY 18:30hrs (Singapore time)! We’re at ‘kaidie3rdlife’ on Skype.

Above: From the ARTSingapore catalogue. Below: from I-S magazine, Singapore.

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Talk ‘live’ with Kaidie on Skype on 7th, 9th and 10th October at ART Singapore 2010!

As you are aware, we are going to be virtualy a-live at ART Singapore 2010. Directed by Meena Mylvaganam, who is also one of our co-runners in our grandiouse quest, this is an annual event of contemporary art from Asia. We will be presenting a 50-minute film and prints for sale. In addition, we will also talk with YOU, our dear Conspirators of Pleasure, at the following times (Singapore time, followed by British Summer Time): Thursday 7 oct 20:00 Singapore at the Gala opening dinner of the show (13:00hrs BST); 9 October Saturday 16:00 Singapore (09:00hrs BST); 10 October Sunday 18:30hrs Singapore (11:30hrs BST). Come grab us and have a chat with us! The following is an article published in the Business Times Singapore, following an interview with us – via Skype of course – on 16 September.


This article has been cropped  – and you CAN NO LONGER read the original here!! Unless you pay a subscription fee… How terribly interesting! Not. And, as usual, there are inaccuracies in the article at different levels, factual (for instance we are only 10 months old, not already 3 years old as reported) and otherwise (We are not Kaidie ‘because’ of the necessity of following our own footsteps of having generated a traveler persona; we run, and we are Kaidie, and we travel, and we have been travelling for twenty years, because we are against stagnancy, complacency, passivity and the status quo, including our own. We say this as we remove cobwebs from our hair, eyebrows, armpits, nostrils, legs and toes, having been sitting at the library combing our way slowly and painfully, over a Chapter that we are writing…). But as usual, let us not nitpick. See you soon. Not. Maybe.

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NONDON ON THE RUN: SUMMER 2010 #3: HYDRATED LINES OF DESIRE.

Water running in the city form their own lines of life, of thriving economic and cultural pasts and presence.  When we follow the water when we run, we superimpose yet other lines in the cityPrior to our roaring (sic) success (sic) at the Farnham Pilgrim’s Marathon in Surrey on Sunday, and prior to acquiring our ugly injuries in the final month of training, we were training hard. The map above documents our runs along the Regents Park canal (15km Kings Kross-Victoria Park and back; 20km Kings Kross to Harrow Road and back) and River Thames (30km on a Sunday morning). For the trans-dimensional runner, running is extended beyond Life 1.0, to other layers of lives, including the realms of imagination, as well as the Web 2.0 worlds. Here are a couple of maps showing our trans-dimensional desire lines. These desire lines are ours – unique and subjective. Changeable as they are, they register our marks, our presence, our existence and our being in our technologically-layered multiverse.


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IS A CIRCLE ALSO A LINE? CAN A LINE ALSO BE(COME) A CIRCLE? The Bras Basah Station permanent public art work post #5.

In our final post about our permanent public video installation at the award-winning Bras Basah Mass Rapid Transit station in Singapore, we share an external coverage of the work at Today newspaper by Mayo Martin, who has told us that this is his favourite of the art works commissioned by the Land Transport Authority of the Circle Line. Do let us take us for a ride on The Amazing Never-ending Underwater Adventures!

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Our Bras Basah Station permanent public art work post #4: 2 RE-PRESENTATIONS

Above: A trailer of the 29-minute video cycle; below: a re-presentation of Desyphus in-action on the site in Singapore, by wacky Singapore filmmaker Chew Tze Chuan. As we have not seen the work ourselves, do upload it if you run into it, and tag it ‘bbs’!

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CAN WE GET OUT OF THIS CIRCLE, OR ARE WE BACK TO SQUARE ONE? The Bras Basah Station permanent public art work post #3.

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WERE YOU RIDING THE TRAIN ON THE SAME CIRCLE LINE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION? The Bras Basah Station permanent public art work post #2.

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KAIDIE WILL BE INTERVIEWED BY AN AUDIENCE MEMBER AT THE DRHA CONFERENCE 7 SEPT- but will the confrontation come to blows?

On Tuesday, Kaidie will be at the DRHA 2010 conference at the Brunel University, Nondon. In this new 60-minute performance, Kaidie will be interviewed by a member of the audience, played by Kai Syng Tan, in Author Slash Actor Slash Audience: A Lecture Performance. Several illustrious names in the new media arts field are present – on the opening day of the conference, Stelarc – yes the legendary (hirsute) man with an (hirsute) arm onto which an (hirsute??) ear has been planted – will perform. As we speak, we are making our way to Uxbridge now. With the threats of tube strikes, we might have to run there. If we know where Uxbridge is. If it is even in Nondon. Please visit website for cost and programme details about attending the conference. See you around.

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IN ONE OF HER PREVIOUS LIVES, KAIDIE WAS DESYPHUS, SWIMMING ROUND AND ROUND THE CIRCLE LINE IN SINGAPORE. The Bras Basah Station permanent public art work post #1.

* Read about Bras Basah Station on Wikipedia.

* Read about the Circle Line on the Land Transport Authority site.

* Read about the Circle Line on Wikipedia.

* More information and images of the Circle Line  here and there.

* Read about award-winning station designed by critically-acclaimed WOHA.

* Look up images of Bras Basah Station on Flickr.

** LAST 2 DAYS OF THIS MONTH TO VOTE! Currently a top film in the War of Films contest: CLAUDIA TOMAZ’S film about KAIDIE AND HER MEANING OF LIFE 3.0. VOTE NOW!** Vote by clicking on + sign at the top of video player. ** Don’t forget to vote for Episode 2, Run Kaidie Run, too!**

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BLACKED OUT ENDS THIS SATURDAY! MISS AND LIVE TO REGRET.

Thank you for coming to the opening of Blacked Out last Thursday! NE7, a sound artist, performed for the evening. This is a group show that we are participating, curated by curator-educator-artist Jennifer Hankin, who is pictured here placing LED-lit balloons at the entrance with fellow exhibiting artist, Lisa Metherell. Thank you Jennifer, Mr Hankin, Faye, and all other artists for the exhibition!

To complement the ‘underground’ theme of the show – given that it takes place in an arch – we shared a work that features a character from a parallel life, ‘Desyphus’, underwater. Is she sinking? Is she afloat? Is she caught in a conundrum, as it were, in time and space in a 3-minute digital loop? This work is an edited extract of a chapter from a 29-chapter large-scale permanent projection in the Bras Basah subway station, located in the centre of the Arts and Heritage District in Singapore, commissioned by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore. We will be talking more about this work in the weeks to come.

Do come and catch this and works by 8 other artists at Blacked Out! Hurry, for it ends this Saturday.

** Currently one of the top competing films in the War of Films contest with 100 votes: CLAUDIA TOMAZ’S film about KAIDIE AND HER MEANING OF LIFE 3.0. VOTE NOW!** Vote by clicking on + sign at the top of video player. **Don’t forget to vote for Episode 2, Run Kaidie Run, too!**

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HITS & MISSES, FITS & KISSES: Let’s agree not to run into each other, but won’t you let us take us for a ride? GAME FOR A COLLABORATION WITH US ON OUR EPIC QUIXOTIC QUEST?

The trans-dimensional runner of this quixotic life has at any one time one foot on the ground, pragmatic/rational/grounded in sturdily hardcore realism, and the other airborne, in cuckoo land and blue skies, with extra-terrestrial visionary eyes on each (swollen) toe, taken with skyscraper-tall mountains of heartattacky salt.

In this Web 2.0 Do-It-With-Others storytelling exercise, we have been privileged to have undertaken several collaborations with you, in our quest for the Meaning of Life 3.0. Here is an other idea for a collaboration (first conceived in early 2010):

As it is, we have not met 99.782 per cent of you, given that our interaction has been only in Life 2.0, ie, via the channels of this running blog, Facebook, Youtube, GPSies, Twitter and so on – and our imagination, of course. Also, given that we are partly an imaginary creation, meeting in real life is possibly an unimaginable task. (That said, we do not think that encounter in one dimension is of lesser or more significance than an other) In this idea of a project, to make the point that we want to maintain or create a critical distance between us, let us go out of our way to deliberately not meet in Life 1.0. The way to go about doing this is that one person shares her routine over a prescribed period of time. The other person – let us call them the/an ‘anti-stalker’ – will journey on the same route, but intentionally missing the previous person, by a few minutes/moments/metres/centimetres.

The thrill/beauty/cruelty/point of the game is to come so very close to have nearly met – but to just stop short of actually encountering the other. Afterwards, the pair could compare their GPS tracks and find out and plot, point by point, by exactly how much they have missed each other. (And of course, this sharing can be done remotely). As a consequence, one or both parties can derive (perverse / poetic) pleasure from the fact that they could theoretically have been in the same time and space, and could have had an encounter, but willfully and precisely do not. The deliberate orchestration of a denial of a run-in is the point of this project. Hence, we will never come face to face and whisper ‘Hi!’, ‘Nice to meet you!’, ‘Nice to meet you again!’, ‘And who are you?’; one may come close enough to catch a whiff of the other, or sneak a peek of the other’s shadow, or catch a dying footprint, but / and that is about it.

The game can be more fun if more participate. An orgy, not of presence, but absence, with participants who are missing – although we will hardly miss one another.

The great thing about this project is that it is of course hardly original, as many of us are already accomplished practitioners in some degree or an other, but, my Dear Conspirators of Pleasure, do you not think that it will be infinitely (more) enjoyable should we make this a studied and planned collaboration/game, with set parameters to play?

So, are you game? (Ah, the wonders of technology, to allow us to indulge, stretch and realise such fantasies…)

** Currently #5 in the War of Films contest: CLAUDIA TOMAZ’S film about KAIDIE AND HER MEANING OF LIFE 3.0. VOTE NOW!** Vote by clicking on + sign at the top of video player. ** Don’t forget to vote for Episode 2, Run Kaidie Run, too!**

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CLOUD 9’S AND KAIDIE’S (OVERLAPPING) TRAVELOGUES

CLAUDIA TOMAZ’S TRAVELOGUE

On 15 June, Kaidie walked to Great Eastern Street to attend Bring Your Own Shorts I, organised by Christopher Birdman Dent, and had the privilege of watching filmmaker/artist/activist/writer/DJ/performance artist Claudia Tomaz’s poetically-layered film Travelogue (2008) in its entirety – sitting right next to the filmmaker! Travelogue is a beautiful 12-minute film-poem. In the place of dialogue, this is an intricate conversation, a delicate dance, between sound and images. Filmed by the filmmaker on seductive Super 8 as she journeyed from Portugal to Morocco, the film is a spellbinding. One of the most enchanting passages of the film is that of a montage of faces; the camera -and us- come face to face with the people, sometimes lingering on, other times looking away. (At this point, we think of great filmic moments that haunt: Chris Marker’s opening and closing sequences of Sans Soleil with 3 children on a road in Iceland; when the tiger speaks to the soldier in Apichatpong’s Tropical Malady, the opening dream sequence of Wild Strawberries and when fire fights rain in Mirror.)

My Dear Readers, do read about the film and watch and vote for it!

Left: frame grab from Claudia Tomaz's Travelogue, 2008. Right: Kaidie's travelogue 15 June 2010 from Kings Kross to Old Street.

KAIDIE’S TRAVELOGUE

Although we had promised Claudia to reach there early for a chat, we ended up being quite rudely late! That was because we got rather lost at the Old Street roundabout. Kaidie has a love-hate relationship with roundabouts, as she never fails to get disoriented at one, but we do love their Sisyphian loopiness (as usual). It is not as if we have never been to Great Eastern Street – but perhaps it is that we like getting lost (at the expense of our manners). This GPS track is slightly distorted, as we switched it off before we reached the venue, mistakenly believing  that we had ‘arrived’. You can look at this map, and other GPS tracks of Kaidie’s Life 1.0 travels on GPSies.

THE OVERLAPPING TRAVELOGUES OF KAIDIE AND CLAUDIA

Kaidie and Claudia Tomaz first met 5 March 2010 at the Late at Tate Britain’s Game Play, at the Blast Theory booth, but have been meeting frequently in Life 2.0. Multi-hyphenate Claudia has a wide body of works that look at technology, landscape, the city and most of all the people in them, in a manner that is sensitive, spirited and never distancing. Her ‘mutant paintings’, Transient Forms are most tactile. The very giving artist has contributed many times to Kaidie’s running blog, and recently made not one but two films about Kaidie as part of her LONDON GROUND series. In spite of our individual paths/journeys, Claudia and Kaidie always have meeting points that are meaningful and striking. Claudia and Kaidie certainly have many common grounds of interests and have been keen running partners, and will most certainly continue to be. Run Claudia Run!

Do continue to watch and vote for the 2 films by Claudia Tomaz about Kaidie! Episode 1 (12 minutes): Kaidie talks about her endeavour. WATCH AND VOTE for KAIDIE AND THE MEANING OF LIFE 3.0 NOW! Episode 2 (10 minutes): focuses on Kaidie’s running. WATCH AND VOTE for RUN KAIDIE RUN NOW!

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Kaidie goes ON, and ON, and ON… for 12 minutes in CLAUDIA TOMAZ’S London Ground film ‘KAIDIE AND THE MEANING OF LIFE 3.0′ EPISODE 1. WATCH and VOTE NOW!

Claudia at work filming Kaidie at work. Other images are screenshots of related websites (see links below).

Multiple-award-winning filmmaker CLAUDIA TOMAZ (Locarno!! Venice!!!!!!!!!!!!) has made a film about Kaidie. This is Episode 1 of 2, in which Kaidie talks about her Rough Guide To The Meaning Of Life 3.0: Kaidie’s 1000-day Trans-dimensional Run 12.12.02009 – 09.09.2012.  And talks. And talks. AND talks. For ALL 12 minutes. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Episode 2 coming soon! (EVEN) More yakking!! Take a look at the film and do vote for it! The music that you can hear is composed by award-winning PHILIP TAN (Animal Farm, National Day Parade 2008, Football! Football! 2010). The film was shot 24 June 2010, at the Slade Centre of Research of the Slade School of Dine Art, Nondon, when Kaidie was installing her meta-map wall installation.

You, My Dear Reader, are not unfamiliar with Claudia, a filmmaker-artist-writer-performer-activist who also spins under the name Cloud 9. You have seen her contributions here, there, there too, there there too, as well as here, just to name a few! And there are many more in Life 2.0! Claudia is one of Kaidie’s most constant co-runners of this quest. Her thought-provoking feedback, insights and suggestions have pushed Kaidie  and her adventure in many exciting ways, making her otherwise silly journey worth travelling.

The Do It With Others (DIWO) ethos of this work also underlies Claudia’s LONDON GROUND series, of which the film on Kaidie is a part of. London Ground is a collection of films ‘made in collaboration with selected artists of different practices (music, film, art, activism) in London underGROUND 2010. The artists invited are not mainstream ones, but people with dreams and their feet on the ground,’ according to the artist.

Claudia’s methodology of (self-)distribution and exhibition also fully exploits the  Web 2.0 infrastructure. This is an exciting and new platform of ‘microfilmmaking’, in which filmmakers share their work online, in a sustainable system that bypasses middle bodies, and allows the artists to communicate directly with her audience. Every view and vote helps the filmmakers make their next films, and allow them to stay truly individual So please watch, and vote! (And please support [the good things about] Web 2.0!)

Have a peek into the multilayered world of Claudia! Read about the LONDON GROUND series! Take a look at the blog the Holon Film Lab! Take a look at notes related to the film on Kaidie! Have a look at the next chapters of cinema and see how you can contribute or make use of this system as well! Claudia tweets as well – follow her ‘live’! Check out Claudia’s work-in-progress (talk about multi-tasking)!! Look at notes about her previous book Mobile Narratives!

How did the 2 travellers meet? What does Kaidie make of some of Claudia’s work? Find out in the next posts!

Booked doublefaced: This week, Kaidie's Facebook profile picture is that shot by Claudia; guess who shot Claudia's picture?

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WHEN ONE IMAGINARY FIGURE (who is currently run down with gastric flu) RUNS INTO AN OTHER, WHAT SHOULD/COULD SHE SAY?

Left: 27 May 2010, Museum of Nondon. Right: 6 July 2010, BBC. Kaidie feels quite underdressed and under-made-up next to Claire, but takes comfort in the observation that we share the same hairstyle- in the front, at least (although her blunt fringe is more austere than Kaidie's DIY one).

In our epic quixotic quest for the Meaning Of Life 3.0, Kaidie encounters things/people  beautiful, brilliant, and downright bizzare (But of course – without all that drama, melodrama, hitting of supersensitivelysensational gspottingly-explosive landmines (ohhhh yesssssss), going on freefalls (ohhhh yesssssss) and hitting of no punchlines, how could we sustain this bloody story of our lives?!) Bizzare, even by Kaidie’s bizzare standards. Kaidie (Since this post name-drops to death, let’s go) (3rdlifekaidie) (kaidie3rdlife) (Kaidie Nondon) (Kaidie Absent) (Kai Syng Tan) first came face to face with Grayson Perry (Claire) at the opening party of the Museum of Nondon, Thursday 27 May 2010. As seen in these pictures taken by Guy Gormley (Louis Enchante), Kaidie was wearing one of Kaidie’s ‘ministerial dresses’ that has also met President Shimon Peres, President SR Nathan, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, and a few other Ministers and Ambassadors in the past couple of years in a previous life (Yes, it is time we get new costumes and not commit the faux pas of looking as if we are in the same spatio-temporal dimension with the same clothes across lives). Apart from Perry, Kaidie also ran into other larger-than-life figures such as the conservative Boris Johnson (the one nice thing about him is his huge mop of blonde hair), nasal-voiced Alfie (Michael Caine), Woman with Rather Large Hair (Babara Windsor) and Red Ken Livingston (ex-Nondon-mayor-but-to-be-Nondon-mayor again?).

Tomorrow evening, Kaidie will be running into the Turner Prize winner Perry again, in the BBC studios, in a TV programme. While Kaidie had been on TV programmes in some of her previous lives, Kaidie is quite terribly excited as this is her first as an audience member in this life in Nondon (BBC reminds us to ‘make a major contribution to the show. You may see yourself on screen and it’ll be your applause or laughter that you’ll hear’. But being quiet, well-mannered and modest people in Life 1.0, BBC may be disappointed to know that we will not be creating any ruckus, except maybe to throw some chocolate muffins at Ben Fogel when he speaks, but eat them when it is Perry’s turn to speak). When we first met Perry / Claire, we said: ‘We quite liked your maps at the Marvellous Magnificent Maps exhibition at the British Library!’, to which Perry managed a noncomittal ‘Thank you’.

If we were given the opportunity this evening, what should we say to Perry?  What should we say to Claire? What should we say to Claire-Perry? Do write in and let us know! (And watch this space for our post-show report!)

(It is official, however, that we are currently struck with gastric flu, according to our local GP, which explains the dizziness during our worst-ever run last Sunday and this morning’s nausea even when only wimpishly pulling down 0.0010 minimilligrammes of weights at the wimpish gym. We just hope that we will not sneeze/puke/projectile-puke/burp/speak in tongues at our companion/Perry/Claire/Fogel, or, worse, do all at the same time [given the multitasker that we are], or fall asleep mid-show at 19:30hrs, which we have in the past 3 days, and still wake up 8/9/12 hours later and looking and feeling like a bloated pumpkinbumpkin that has been run over by a few cars at Regents Fark. ‘It will pass’, says the young female doctor, cheerfully. Yeah right, thankyousomuch – but what should I, the one who emobodies all the uncouthly syndromes – do at the mean time while ‘it’ ‘passes’? ‘Cut down on high-impact sports’, she advises. Indeed, because we swiftly get all topsyturvy. ‘What about swimming? That is a gentle sport’.  ‘So long as you don’t do lots of front crawl laps.’ But that’s what we do. ‘Oh, just sit back and vegetate then’. She did not say the latter but that was the decree I got. Not having green fingers, vegetating is not a forte of mine…What can we do with all that unspent restless energy??? [The little that is left, that is])

Nice Ken says: "I really liked Singapore! I was there for the London Olympics bid". But Kaidie forgets to tell him that Kaidie will die on the last day of the Nondon Olympics 09.09.2012. We ask Boris for a new bike so that we can rest our tired toes and knobbly knees. Failing to get any sympathy (look, he is not even smiling in the picture!!), we ask the Woman With The Big Hair standing next to Alfie. Failing that, we ask the Pearly Kings and Queens standing in front of Thomson & Craighead's London Wall. Failing that, we ask Ken: 'You'd better run for the next one! We're not getting good help here. '

As of 6 July Tuesday 09:20hrs: here are the comments I have received so far. Write in  (here, or on Facebook, or Twitter) if you have any more! I am writing them down on a piece of paper and will aim to raise them if the situation allows. Thank you!


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THE INVISIBLE (LAYERS OF THE) CITY: KAIDIE’S ROUGH GUIDE TO THE EXOTIC FAR EAST #3.

Erratum: ‘I was confident that I could …’ on the left hand corner here at the bottom should read ‘I was confident that I could outrun this person/any one, not because I run fast (Dear Readers, we have been there before, several times), but because I knew that if I kept going, stubbornly, silli-ly, I would, eventually. So I did.’ This sentence should alternatively say, ‘I was confident that I would not run ahead of my bloody sentences and would finish them the next time before I publish anything’. There you/I go.

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TRAVELLING IN THE WORLD-WITHIN-WORLD-WITHIN-WORLD OF THE METAVERSE

The following is an other one of several imaginary discussions between ‘Pro-First-Lifers’ (realists who value meatspace more than our virtual) and ‘Pro-Second-Lifers’ (Cyber-enthusiasts and those who celebrate the power of imagination), in a fictitious online academic forum. Entitled (How) Does Physics Function In Cyberspace? Metaphysical Enquiries For The 21st Century: An Online Peer-To-Peer Peer-Reviewed Forum, subscribers include very serious philosophers, psychologists, media theorists, writers, cyber-geographers, cyber-artists, cyber-anthropologists and cyber-anybody-else. And very, very serious PhD students. However, it is sometimes unclear which side they speak for. It is also suspected that some of the subscribers may have more than one account and speak from different sides. Like the real world, the online world is not black and white …

Since March 2, Kaidie has been running about in Second Life as Kaidie Absent, having been kidnapped by The Good Pirate, a.k.a. Chutha  Achavasmit, away from Life 1.0. The images we see here are screen grabs from Kaidie’s  Cyberspace Odyssey in the past 2 months.

Perhaps it is about time Kaidie runs out of the Metaverse, and come ‘back’ to run her Life 1.0, Life 2.0 and Life 3.0 by herself.

Bruce Damer: The surface area of virtual worlds (if an avatar’s height is taken as a unit of measure) will probably exceed the surface area of the Earth within a couple of years.[1]

Pro-Second-Lifer C: Thanks to the Internet, my world has expanded vastly. Cyberspace is a not only a great place to visit – within there, there are so many more worlds that I can inhabit. The attraction of the virtual worlds of MUDs and MMOGs is how nearly anything is possible, including things I cannot do in Life 1.0, and things that once only belonged to the realms of my imagination in Life 2.0. Thus is their attraction, as their popularity attest. China alone recorded 55.5 million online gamers by 2008, with the total market value for virtual transactions at RMB 10-13 billion[2]. What Damer said in late 1997 with respect to Alpha World is not far fetched (although hitherto unverified, to be sure). According to Edward Castronova, tens of thousands of people are logged on into virtual worlds at a time, 24 hours a day, all year round. And, for many, ‘life in the virtual reality spaces seemed preferable to life on Earth.’[3]

Wagner James Au: On an innovation scale, Second Life suggested the potential for MMOs to also be a development platform for commercial, educational, and research projects. […] In South Korea, an estimated one in twelve members of the entire population have played an MMO called Lineage; in China, a whole cottage industry is devoted to “gold harvesting”, the acquisition of gold coins and other fictional money in MMOs. […] As broadband and high end PCs saturate the international market, it’s time to consider MMOs as the likeliest candidate for the Internet’s next generation, supplanting the two dimensional, semi–interactive portal of the Web for an immersive, three–dimensional, fully interactive Metaverse of data. [4]

Pro-First-Lifer C: I am baffled about these statistics of the happenings in Life 2.0, since I can hardly feel a thing in Life 1.0! What is shocking is how pervasive, in all aspects of Life 1.0, this impact has been! What is even more disastrous to contemplate, is Au’s mad prediction is that this mad fictive world within the already-mad Internet world will become the norm of the Internet! What on earth are the conditions that are behind this exodus, where you, and all the millions of gamers ‘leave the real world behind’[5]?

Edward Castronova: [… ]the industries that produce shared virtual reality environments [are developing] rapidly. Advances in connectivity (bandwidth) and interfaces (haptic devices, heads-up displays) have been driven by technology. The amount of available content (narratives, folklores, backstories) has expanded; the video game industry has begun to surpass the motion picture industry in gross revenues. As the phenomenon continues to grow, the aggregate amount of time devoted to shared virtual reality spaces seems likely to rise from today’s tens of thousands of person-years into the hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions.[6]

Pro-Second-Lifer C: There are no lack of examples of large corporations expanding into Cyberspace and building virtual worlds, such as Sony and Microsoft, and Electronic Arts, which support Sims. [7]

Edward Castronova: The Earth is very nice, but there are experiences we can imagine in our minds that we cannot have here. [8]

Pro-Second-Lifer C: Preferring the term ‘synthetic world’, Castronova defines one as ‘persistent online 3D spaces that replicate many of the features of the real world’. Similar to a video game character, the user negotiates synthetic worlds using a virtual body, known as an avatar. That thousands of people can be in the world at the same time make the environments ‘much like a real place, socially speaking’. The worlds, according to Castronova, ‘have a sort of fantastical yet logical reality to them, such that people can fly, but only if they have wings or a flying spell or happen to be birds to begin with.’[9]

William Gibson: A square of cyberspace directly in front of him flipped sickeningly and he found himself in a pale blue graphic that seemed to represent a very spacious apartment, low shapes of furniture sketched in hair-fine lines of blue neon. A woman stood in front of him, a sort of glowing cartoon squiggle of a woman, the face a brown smudge. “I’m Slide,” the figure said, hands on its hips…[10]

Pro-First-Lifer C: Do you not see the problem? These are much like, as Castronova says, but are definitely not real places. You are looking through what Tim Guest labels an electronic looking glass[11], and everything is distorted! You are going the dark streets, the downward spirals, where you would not have dare even thought of venturing in RL.

Pro-Second-Lifer C: What might the problem be? Take pornography – being highly stylised with its own sets of conventions, no one takes them to be ‘the real thing’, but simulations and performances. No pun intended, but pornography slips in and out of ‘reality’ as we know in Life 1.0, to the extent that it does not even matter if they are real or not. This would be the fictive world that philosopher Daniel Dennett says we do not question in this way, because it is not set out to be approached as such.[12] Reality is not the question. Whether something is real or not, or, for that matter, if it is distortion or not, is not the point. This is no different from your illicit agreement with the rules of cinema, when you enter a movie theatre. While you are in there, within the magic circle, you suspend your disbelief, and for the next 90 minutes watch a similar-looking, albeit also significantly different, world unfold in front of you. And it’s even better in a virtual world, since you can participate in it, and direct it!

Sherry Turkle: MUD players are MUD authors, the creators as well as consumers of media content. In this, participating in a MUD has much in common with scriptwriting, performance art, street theater, improvisational theater, or even commedia dell’arte[13].

Wagner James Au: Unlike most MMOs, Second Life encourages its subscribers (the preferred terms is ‘Residents’) to literally build the world with the construction and programming tools provided for them.[14]

Edward Castronova: A not insignificant fraction of the players of these games reported that they felt themselves to be not game players, but citizens of a new world.[15]

Pro-Second-Lifer C: From a wild, untamed piece of virtual land, entire mansions, towns and cities and be architected, hence increasing my sense of ownership and belonging in these worlds. Like Hiro, I can imprint my virtual addresses on my namecard. With a place to call home, and one I have built (or paid Linden dollars for someone else to build) at that, who wouldn’t want to keep going back back?

Pro-Second-Lifer D: Following Pro-Second-Lifer C’s previous line of thought, Cyberporn is even more attractive than porn, being a simulation-within-simulation, a double-simulation. Similarly, a virtual world, being a world within the world of cyberspace, is a double attraction. Virtual worlds are even better than pornography, since I am not only watching it, but participating in it! Well, very nearly. (Sex within virtual worlds is a topic that warrants long discussions – let us do that in a separate thread.) Hard-core Second-Lifers, such as the Second Life resident journalist Au, even go to the extent of describing cyber-activities outside of virtual worlds, such as emailing and blogging, as belonging to ‘real life’![16]

Wagner James Au: […] the experience of one’s alter ego being in an immersive space is experientially different from any other kind of Net–mediated interface that has come before it. Different, and in several key ways, better, than the limited, distanced, largely asynchronous interactivity of the Web as it exists now. An MMO quite literally offers a direct pathway into data, and global collaboration with an international community through avatars that afford each individual a high degree of anonymity, and paradoxically, an equally high degree of self–representation. With so much potential, and the technical/commercial infrastructure in place to make it feasible, it’s difficult to imagine online worlds not becoming the next real leap in the Internet’s evolution. [17]

Pro-Second-Lifer-D: Au is referring to immersion, that which distinguishes being embedded in a virtual world from other kinds of net-mediated interfaces. There are 2 types of immersions that Computer Mediated Communications (CMC) researchers have identified: ‘perceptual immersion’ and ‘psychological immersion’ (the latter drawing us back to the how we derive pleasure from pornography, the art of simulated pleasure – it is all in the mind). Hard at work as well here is the concept of flow.

Richard Bartle: Virtual world designers view psychological immersion as paramount, considering perceptual immersion to be merely one of many possible means to achieve that end. Immersion is also connected with the psychological concept of flow. […] Flow is an exhilarating sense of control and mastery that can arise from pursuing a focused, goal-driven activity; it’s a deep involvement that transcends distractions and sense of time, leading to an ecstatic state of peak productivity.[18]

Pro-First-Lifer-D:  Call a rose by any name – flow and immersion are just fancy ways of saying the old, familiar dirty word: addiction.

Sherry Turkle: Stewart is logged on to one MUD or another for at least 40 hours a week. It seems misleading to call what he does there playing. He spends his time constructing a life that is more expansive than the one he lives in physical reality.[19]

Pro-Second-Lifer C: I do not mean to sound pedantic, but addiction has a physical component alongside the psychological one. The concept of flow, theorised by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a positive and creative one, which refers to theoptimal state of experience for the individual is one in which intentions are not in conflict with each other’. [20] This is the state of heightened energy and focus where one could lose track of time. This altered state of consciousness is the same state experienced by a runner on a runner’s high, a person taking drugs or an artist at the peak of creativity.[21] And, if you wish to talk about an old, familiar dirty word, the word, my friend, is not ‘addiction’ but ‘TV’. Dr. Turkle certainly does not think of being in-world as automatically a bad thing.

Sherry Turkle: If the computer is replacing time with peers and parents, that’s not good. But if the computer is replacing television, then that may well be an upgrade.[22]

Pro-First-Lifer D: But Dr Turkle, you do not realise that the computer is the new TV! In 1895, the audience ran away at the sight of the approaching train in the Lumiere Brothers’ projection. And although the premise of Orson Welles’s radio prank was obviously improbable (invasion of aliens – or, for that matter, pancakes), listeners were sent into a panic. TV entered our living rooms and became our windows to the world; now the entire earth is brought to you on your laptop. We were enchanted then by the capability of these shrewd mimetic machines; today, we are still at the stage of enchantment by the Internet and its dark streets. Even better than photography and cinema, we are now able to not only mimic reality, but be more real than real. We need to unpack this simulacra, and like Barthes, track down, in the ‘decorative display of what-goes-without-saying’, the ‘ideological abuse’ hidden there[23] Break the fourth wall, step out of the magic circle and wake up from the evil dream!

Pro-Second-Lifer D: It is clear that not being of this (virtual) world, you cannot understand what we have said about the rules of the game, the ‘laws of nature’ in-world, if you like. Or, you are one of the spoilsports, what we term ‘griefers’ in-world.

Wagner James Au: Griefing is at heart an attempt to violate the implicit social contract needed to sufficiently maintain the consensus reality necessary for an online world to function. By looking for flaws in that implicit agreement, griefers often force the company and the community to examine basic assumptions in its structure — something potentially valuable in itself. […] [But, more] fundamentally, their behavior breaks the world itself, in a way that’s inexplicable from within the context of a world. Again, a shattering of the consensual reality not intended by the owners or the inhabitants, often through external, artificial means. [24]

Pro-First-Lifer D: ‘Consensual reality’? Mr Au, you have been in-world for so long that you are unable to spell properly. ‘Consensual unreality’, more like! How deluded are you! Are you all cultists, dimwits in denial, or simply mad? Or are you all failures of the real world, and hence escape and create alternative realities? Are you all blind wo/men with the elephant, and in Plato’s cave, or rather, Dungeon, as it were?! Nearly half of your lot – 43%  – actually believe that what you do in-world is as important as RL, according to a new study. Unbelievable![25]

Pro-Second-Lifer D: What you said about artifice is extremely rich coming from your world as well – so many of your so-called rules are artificial constructs as well. Pick any – gender, sexuality, race, the list goes on. Surely we do not have to go into all that discussion again, for we have moved on. That is why we are here, in-world. And contrary to what you say, we are very much ‘awake’ and sober here, as everyone comes in knowing well that this is an artificial, constructed world, the ultimate Brechtian truth. I also argue that this is a more deliberate life, one that you enter willingly, than the one you are simply thrown into. Hence it is a life of a higher quality than Life 1.0, because you have come in of your own will, and you construct yourself as you like, and live as you wish.

Pro-Second-Lifer C: Pro-First-Lifer D, once again, recall what we said earlier about how much the real world is realising the importance of our Second Lives, by joining in. Au rightly points out the importance of positioning online worlds as a part of the real, echoing Dr Turkle’s reminder for us to take them as more than just games, but to pay attention to what they reveal about us[26]. The director of the USC Annenberg School Centre for the Digital Future, Jeffrey I. Cole, also remind us to pay attention to the Internet as a powerful medium.

Wagner James Au:[ …] [I]t’s time to approach these worlds with the seriousness they deserve — to treat online worlds as an essential, inseparable part of our contemporary experience.[27]

Sherry Turkle: Some are tempted to think of life in cyberspace as insignificant, as escape or meaningless diversion. It is not. Our experiences there are serious play. [28]

Jeffrey I Cole: More than a decade after the portals of the worldwide web opened to the public, we are now witnessing the true emergence of the internet as the powerful personal and social phenomenon we knew it would become The internet has been a source of entertainment, information, and communication since the web became available to the American public in 1994. However, we are now beginning to measure real growth and discover new directions for the Internet as a comprehensive tool that Americans are using to touch the world. [29]

Pro-Second-Lifer D: I shiver at bit at Cole’s last statement though – is he implying an American online invasion?!

Pro-Second-Lifer C: Let’s just ignore his bragging. Pro-First-Lifer D, I have yet more examples of interesting First Life presence in Second Life, which reminds us of the point raised by Dr Dodge about how ideology comes into play in cybergeography. In 2007, news website Islam Online created a virtual Mecca in SL, and in the first Hajj, 7,000 people ‘made the journey without even moving’. Not only does this help to provide some relief to the some annual congestion of two million pilgrims, Island developer Walid Wahba says that this aids to ‘educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about the journey. It shows people what the Hajj is and what we do when we’re there.’[30] And, in somewhat amusingly light parlance, he continues: ‘They can check out the worship of God.’[31]However, as common in RL, conflict and discrimination abound in SL. In this case, griefers plastered up pornography on the building, shouting: “We will not leave this place unless this island is shut and Muslims are out.” [32] In 2006, an Israeli built the first synagogue in SL, which grew into a full Jewish neighbourhood with more than 600 members[33]. This expanded into an Israel Island in the following year. Today, users can visit the Old City, Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock, or ‘float’ in the Dead Sea [34]sans humiliating manhandling by the ill-mannered Mossads for no less than 5 times during immigration checkpoints. One cannot help but attempt to draw parallels about the Israel’s contemporary presence and expansion online, with its troubled endeavours offline, today and historically. Indeed, when interviewed in 2007, the creator of Israel Island had remarked – in hindsight or with foresight, or perhaps innocently – that ‘Second Life is a combination of the real and the imaginary. This came true in December 2008: when Israel launched its brutal attack on Gaza, people, offline and on, reacted furiously. Au reports first hand, in-world.

Wagner James Au: As the airstrikes pounded Gaza, so did protesters, teleporting into SL Israel, waving flags.[…] [T]he protesters kept coming, and eventually [the creator] felt forced to close all of SL Israel to outsiders.[35]

Pro-Second-Lifer D: To continue with Pro-Second-Lifer C’s point about geopolitics: The government of Singapore, the tiny nation with more than 100% broadband penetration, has even bought land in SL. Given that the island has reached her geopolitical (land reclamation) and safety (aerial) limits for expansion, virtual expansion provides the next best ego boost. The young country may also try to lure new (virtual) immigrants from SL, which boasts a population more than double that of Singapore.[36]

Pro-First-Lifer D: You have presented some stark information here. But I am not convinced that SL and the likes are filled with decadent hairy hippie idealists – that is the foundation after all, is it not? Second Life itself says that it is an attempt at a realization of Stephenson’s Metaverse[37]. Also, Au himself states that ‘[m]uch of the Internet’s development in the ’90s was fueled by the cyberpunk–tinged, Bay Area techno–utopianism of Wired.’[38]

Pro-Second-Lifer C: I have to admit defeat with regards to your point about hippies. They have shaved, put on clothes, tuned in and wired up too. I have to admit that we do have them here. One just can’t shake them off, even in SL… Actually I may even be one of them, but you may never find out. Anyways, do not let a few cultural glitches turn you off.  Just like RL, SL has a large diversity of people, and non-people. Just like RL as well, SL has different landscapes and sceneries for every taste and experiment. You could have sex with a horse[39], take part in an anti-Bush protest[40] or become an octopus and rape another octopus, or more radically for an octopus, have sex with, or rape a human being[41]. Au himself boasts of the myriad of pixelated beings that he has interviewed,

Wagner James Au: I’ve interviewed strippers and Catholic priests, combat veterans and peace activists, socialist utopians and midget warmongers. I’ve profiled entrepreneurs who own whole continents and earn six figure incomes from the buying and selling of virtual land, and a homeless hacker who built a virtual mansion while squatting in an abandoned building. [… ]I am talking about seeing the citizens of online worlds as a cross–section of the world itself. […[ And even though none of these events or persons really exist, except as data bits in a San Francisco server farm, they’re part of the best story I’ve ever been lucky enough to cover as a journalist. Because I’ve come to believe that it’s an inadvertent advance report on the future of the Internet, and how we’ll interact in it in decades to come. [42]

Pro-First-Lifer D: You need a reality check. In fact, I am going to leave this forum right now and return to Life 1.0. Get a Life 1.0, you.

Moderator: Discussion closed.

This was sketched in January 2010. Obviously, some things, including Kaidie’s grasp of things and her own position, have moved on. We are just uncertain if the ‘moving on’ is a progression, regression, or an other loopy trip).




[1] Bruce Damer, author of Avatars! Exploring and Building Virtual Worlds on the Internet in late 1997, quoted in  ‘To Thine Own Selves Be True: Review of Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen’, Introduction to Computers and Technology: Electronic Resources Center [accessed 25 December 2009].

[2] ‘JLM Pacific Epoch – CNNIC: China Has 55.5M Online Gamers’, JLM Pacific Epoch, 2009 [accessed 5 January 2010].

[3] Edward Castronova, ‘Theory of the Avatar’, SSRN eLibrary, 2003  [accessed 4 January 2010].

[4] Au, Taking New World Notes. [accessed 30 December 2009]

[5] Tim Guest, Second Lives, Arrow Books, 2007, p. 9.

[6] Castronova, ‘Theory of the Avatar’.

[7] Castronova, ‘Theory of the Avatar’.

[8] 2005, p. 25, quoted in Freund.

[9] Edward Castronova, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games (University Of Chicago Press, 2006), p. 1.

[10] William Gibson, ‘Count Zero’, Voidspace, 1986 [accessed 5 January 2010].

[11] Guest, p. 1.

[12] Daniel Dennett, ‘The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity’, in Self and Consciousness, ed. by F. Kessel and D. Johnson (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1986), pp. 275-88 [accessed 5 January 2010].

[13] Turkle, ‘Who Am We?’ [accessed 30 December 2009]

[14] Au, ‘Taking New World Notes’.

[15] Castronova, Theory of the Avatar.

[16] Au.

[17] Au.

[18] Quoted in Michael Hohl, ‘A Glossary for Interactive Technologies’, Hohlwelt, 2009  [accessed 5 January 2010].

[19] Turkle.

[20] Quoted in Hohl.

[21] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, ‘Flow’, TED talks, 2004 [accessed 22 November 2009].

[22] Technology Review, ‘Life On Line – S. Turkle Interview’, Pol.it: The Italian on line psychiatric magazine, 1996 [accessed 22 December 2009].

[23] Roland Barthes, Mythologies, Later Printing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1972).

[24] Au.

[25] ElectricNews.net, ‘Second Life equal with First Life •’, The Register, 2006 [accessed 5 January 2010].

[26] Turkle, ‘Who Am We’.

[27] Au.

[28] Turkle, ‘Who Am We’.

[29] ElectricNews.net.

[30]Second Life Visit To Mecca For The Hajj’, Sky News: Technology, 2007  [accessed 22 December 2009].

[31] ‘Second Life Visit To Mecca For The Hajj’. Italics mine.

[32] ‘Second Life Visit To Mecca For The Hajj’.

[33] Megan Jacobs, ‘Second life Israel | Internet and Technology | Jerusalem Post’, Jerusalem Post, 2008 [accessed 22 December 2009].

[34] Jacobs.

[35] Wagner James Au, ‘New World Notes: Disputed Territory: War in Gaza Provokes Protest (And Conversation) In Second Life Israel’, 2009 [accessed 22 December 2009].

[36] Nicholas Aaron Khoo, ‘Come to Singapore in your Second Life! – CNET Asia Blogs: Geekonomics’, CNET Asia, 2007 [accessed 5 January 2010].

[37] Au, Taking New World Notes.

[38] Au, Taking New World Notes.

[39] Xah Lee, ‘Animal Love in Second Life’, A Tour In Second Life, 2007 [accessed 29 December 2009].

[40] Au, Taking New World Notes.

[41] Xah Lee, ‘Forced Play in Second Life’, A Tour In Second Life, 2007 [accessed 29 December 2009].

[42] Au, Taking New World Notes.

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ON 19 APRIL, KAIDIE ABSENT AND HER KIDNAPPER, CHUTHA INDIGO, HAD A VISITOR, MONO FUGUE, IN PHUKET 2.0.

Since March 2, Kaidie has been running about in Second Life as Kaidie Absent, having been kidnapped by The Good Pirate, a.k.a. Chutha  Indigo, away from Life 1.0. On 19 April 2010, they had a visitor Mono Fugue a.k.a. Monologues, in Virtual Phuket, which is built by Chutha Indigo. And what fertile ground for getting disoriented: Phuket, a beach resort in Thailand vs. Phuket 2.0; Gavle, Sweden vs. Nondon, UK; GMT 14:30-19:30 vs. GMT+1 in Sweden vs. SLT 06:30-11:30; experience vs. imagination; memory of actual visit to Phuket 1.0 vs. (re)visit of Phuket 2.0; online vs. being disconnected; immersion vs. distance; tropical sunset  vs. still-frigid Gavle; catching a bus in Life 1.0 vs. flying, gravity-free, in Life 2.0; panting in RL vs. coffee-sipping in SL. The following is a reflection written by Mono on his experience.

Nausea (or how I learned to love getting lost and finding myself in a pattern again)

Fourteen years ago I had my first encounter with a high speed internet connection. People in my surrounding rarely used internet and barely had any meaningful use of computers. Five megabytes was a very big file and digital camera photos were stored on 1.44 Mb floppy disks. At this time I was determined to become a future space cowboy, found rocket science a dream but language studies a hell. Little did I know that my perception of this would shortly flip and pretty much lay out a road that I’ve been following ever since.

Text-based chat room, from which I was wired to the world extended my known borders from the small village I was living in to some form of metaphysical realm I could only see but not touch. Yet, like an addict my hunger grew for this super-speeded (back then) information overload, and oh what a fascination that was! Just the knowledge I was sharing the same space with an interesting girl from Tasmania to a shaman somewhere in the U.S. blew my mind. In contrast my village shrunk and I pretty much lost any interest in what it had to offer.

One day I heard of an online project, or yet more, like a community in a virtual world, called Alphaworld caught my attention in an instant. It offered a graphical landscape in which you could move around, build houses and interact with the other habitants (sounds familiar?). Now, my school back then disallowed the students to install any programs (as alpaworld required) and to tell you the truth, computer power was not exactly magnificent back then. I didn’t even own a computer back in 1996, and when I later got one it had a 16 greyscale screen, began coding websites in black and white and doing Photoshop work in.. eh.. greyscale. So what happened with Alphaworld then? The closest I got was connecting to this promised land with a 28.8K dial-up modem from my friends house (in the same village) who’s parents just spend one months salary on getting the latest 66 MHz PC. Alphaworld turned very distant as my presence in this virtual world was limited to a 1 frame per minute refresh rate. My only memory from this world became a printed map, a Mondrian-type pattern which  completely drenched the paper with bubble-jet ink.

Fourteen years, some hundred hardcoded websites, programming and complex video editing skills, two new languages, a college degree and thousands of hours in front of flickering screens and a lifetime later I’m sitting on a bus to the same village. In my lap I have enough computer power to make Sputnik literally a blip in space, radiated by 16.8 million colors in my face and a mobile broadband connection through an iPhone I have never ever been as wired as I was that day. Despite the fact that I’m in eternal love with landscapes speeding by, have a fetish for airplane take-offs and living with a constant urge to get geographically lost there are moments I rather just make my trip from a to b in an instant. This day I would however spend my time in a different way, being invited to a meeting in Second Life seemed a rather pleasing experience and a way to make my journey a bit closer to that sensation of instant teleportation. Taking into account I had no greater interest in what this virtual community had to offer I was still surprised of the resemblance to my nostalgic Alphaworld. Except, this time I was physically moving my body, yet largely unaware of what was actually going on around me. My eyes and ears were wired to another space. While I was traveling down the highway between two Swedish cities I was mentally visiting the Thai island of Phuket. Emotions were sparked as I recognized places I have physically been in or had some sort of memories connected to it. While hovering above the virtual soil of Phuket in spherical photo realistic representations, jumping from one gallery to another, one virtual space to antother, while sipping from my virtual coffee cup, the bus driver drove me some 25 kilometers. The time-space continuum seemed to have broken apart as it only exists as a hiatus in my mind. Instead, my physical bus-ride in Sweden now only carries the memory of a visit to Phuket with a pleasant coffee/gallery/chat-session with Kaidie Absent and Chutha Indigo.

Projecting myself to Second Life while letting my body stay in First Life was however not a painless experience. Having the sensation of a nearly related astral projection; traveling without moving (or in reverse) triggered a weird kind of nausea… being there, but being here, but being there. I was not entirely physically disconnected, yet completely wired, and absolutely mentally in another space, floating in a liminal realm of inbetween-ness. At some point I thought to myself, is this how it feels to be born into a new world, you panic at first, have no idea what it is that you see nor how far away the walls or borders of the world are… and slowly vectorized graphics build up a world around you and you get a sensation of a relation to it, which is a slow progress in itself getting acquainted with what there is. The difference here, getting born for the second time, is that the prerequisites for living a second life, in one way or another, forces you to abandon the life you came from. A moment later you switch back and ask yourself, where does my first life end and where does my second life continue? Where do I start, where do I begin in my journey 3.0?

Guest post by Michael Larsson. Michael Larsson is a visual composer who experiments with photography, video, motion graphics or any other (non) electronic method to manipulate light and visuals. Michael’s presence in Life 2.0 can be found on his Website, as well as his Twitter and Vimeo pages. The image on top is created by Michael, while the images below have been captured by The Good Pirate, a.k.a. urban planner Chuthatip Achavasmit.


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