In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘tourist’

**2012 May 30: Recorded version of performance-lecture at the Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University**

This is a recorded version of a performance-lecture presented at the Lancaster University’s Sociology department’s for Centre for Mobilities Research Annual Research Day, 30 May 2012. Present at the session was the Distinguished Professor John Urry. Professor Monica Buscher made 3 inspiring presentations. The conference was hosted by the wonderful Professor Colin Pooley. Music, as usual, by the indefatigable longtime collaborator Philip Tan.

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KAIDIE TRANS-MIGRATING? 7

Has Kaidie abandoned her mission/vision/quest for A / The Meaning Of Life and re-incarnated / is re-incarnating into a guide for the Bloomsbury Festival on the topic of Art & Society in Bloomsbury, Nondon??????

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KAIDIE DIES: Variation 10.

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IN 2011 JANUARY 11, WE (Kaidie, Kai die, Kai live, Kai Syng Tan, dead Kai) POPPED UP AT ASIA TATLER (Singapore).

As you well know, we are highflying, highlycultured, highlycultivated, highbrowed and hightea-ed. At the same time, we are thick as a slice of 14-month-old Tesco’s nofrills white-sliced bread (made of highly-refined plain flour!!), and our humour, as you our dear Reader knows well by now, is lowbrow and scatological. Yeah baby. Nonetheless, at the very least we do have a sense of humour. We are uncertain if many other people can say the same. Our life as it is has been fluctuating high-and-low as usual, but a few weeks ago it was temporarily associated with the high society, as we (all of us Kai, Kaidie, Kai Syng, Kai Die, Kai Live, Kai Lives) were featured in the Tatler Asia (Singapore) magazine. Not our usual strasse shall we say, as our usual strasse is concrete (specifically on the pavements of lovely large cities) as well as ones-and-zeroes (on the information superhighway). Here is the lowdown (how could we possibly resist such a cheap pun??).



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So we have explained who ‘we’ are; now THIS IS YOU! … So there you are. Nice to meet you, too.

Just as running is an accessible undertaking, our tactic of trans-dimensional running can be utilised by anyone. Those who submit themselves to what William Gibson terms as the ‘consensual hallucination’ of Cyberspace, and those who cower in fear from the Digital Revolution alike, will find the tactic useful, too.

In our previous post, we have explained the use of the personal plural pronoun ‘we’ in our work. Now, the  question is, who on googleearth are you?

Reproduced above is a section of our weekly report  with regards to the audience-ship of this breathtaking running log /travel blog: So there are nearly 700 of unique you-s who read this blog daily; on some days there are only 821 pages viewed, while on others as many as double that (1552) pages get read. On average you read 1.66 pages each time, for a duration long enough for you to be registered as unique.

So there you are. That is as far as we are able to establish. We have no idea however with regards to your background, location, character, gender, height, weight, sense of humour (if any?), political view, world view, if you are passing by, or if you have run into this by mistake, or if you are a regular returnee running with us all this while, or if you are reading with disdain, spitting at your computer screen. You are probably a mixture of some of these.

Well, nice to meet you, too. We are Kaidie.

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BRIGHTON ON THE ROCKS: In July, we asked for your advice for a short trip outside of Nondon; here is our VERY LATE postmortem!

It is already Winter as we speak and we are already nearly ALL OF  12-MONTHS OLD as we speak, but so many things have been happening in our lives that we haven’t had time to follow up and/or update you. If you recall, we asked for your kind advice over Summer for a simple day-trip out of Nondon, our favourite city on earth and beyond, and many of you very kindly wrote in to offer tips. MUCH THANKS FOR THAT, AND THAT!!! In the end, we took up the advice of Susan Collins, and visited Brighton for a day (THANK YOU SUSAN!). The day before we left, we also memorised the melody and lyrics of Brighton Rock by Queen, who is our favourite (and to our mind only valid) royalty.

Unfortunately, Brighton didn’t rock on this day we visited Brighton. Not only did it not rock, it was downhill, worse than a pathetic pebble or a piece of booger-looking plasticine also shat upon by a stray dog. It rained. And not only did it rain, it rained like it was nobody’s business. On and on. Already wearing our swimsuit underneath our clothes, since 5am when we woke up that morning (for the less-than-cheap coach bus that runs on ungodly hours) we went absolutely ballistic when rain hit hard, full on, at 9am when we arrived. Not only did we feel betrayed, we felt frocking humiliated. As you well know, we have been working bloody hard and running/living harder, and have not had the chance to have any break since our birth on 12.12. 2009, and the one single day we went on one, on a day which was technically defined as belonging to the season of Summer, so-called ‘Mother Nature’ has to screw it up.  Mother my foot. We felt sad too, as this was meant to be a trip we take with you, our Dear Co-Runners. We hurled all the ‘your mother’ insults we ever knew at the sky, stone, rocks, everything else, while ogling extremely jealously at runners going up and down along the coast. The above image shows the GPS record of our infuriated, heavy and sulky tracks. In pink.

Being tough (stale, even?) cookies that we are, in the face of setbacks, we can only be even more defiant. In the past week, when snow has made Nondon cold, miserable and ‘classic grey (or gray) Nondon’, we have continued our running, albeit all wrapped up as Michelin Man, along with his (defiant) smile. In reference to the ‘mountain’ of earth imprisoning them for nearly 70 days, one of the famed (ex-) ‘Chilean miners’ Edison Pena explains, ‘I could just lie down, but my fury has been channelled into a hatred towards this mountain. … I wanted the mountain to get bored, seeing me run … I am not defeated. I am fighting. I feel that by running, I am fighting to live’ [1]

1 year into our venture, we are so spent and pent-up that we MUST GET OUT OF OUR BELOVED NONDON AND HAVE A BLOODY BREAK. Yes we swear. So we will consult your list of advice. Perhaps we will (re-)visit Brighton, in the deep of Winter, and jump into the ocean for a dip, in utter defiance. Lubed and all wrapped up, like MM.

Oh yes.


[1] These are the words of the miner in one of many love letters he wrote to his girlfriend while he was trapped. Fiona Govan, ‘Chile Miners Attend Mass at San Jose Mine’, Telegraph.co.uk, 17 October 2010. [accessed 1 November 2010].


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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF KAIDIE IN A MINUTE: 7 September 2010 Nondon.

What did Kaidie do on 7 September 2010, Tuesday in Nondon? Or rather, what did we see when we were going about our business on 7 September 2010 Tuesday in Nondon, our favourite city on earth and beyond? Wearing a small camera on our chest (which has been lent to us by Urbantick of the Centre of Advanced Spatial Analysis of University College Nondon), this is a 1-minute time-lapse record of what happened that day, including: walking amongst large crowds in the streets as tube workers went on a strike in Nondon (as usual); attending a panel discussion – with Stelarc in-world in Second Life; presenting our 50-minute performance AUTHOR slash ACTOR slash AUDIENCE at the DRHA conference at the Brunel University; travelling to and from Uxbridge.

And, with all due respect to the dwellers and denizens of Uxbridge, no, we would not/never/ever want to live in Uxbridge in a house with a spouse/family/kids/pets/cars. No thanks very much.

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Kaidie shoots shooters shooting Gil Vicente shooting the queen and bush at the 29th Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil, October 2010. All very worthy killings indeed.

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No offence to all you lovely trans-dimensional running companions – virtual and real – of ours, but WE’VE DEVELOPED A FATAL ATTRACTION TO THOSE RUNNING BUDDIES WHO HAVE DROPPED DEAD, GORGEOUS.

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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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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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INTERMISSION: RUNNING AWAY FROM NONDON FOR A DAY OR TWO. WHERE TO? Part II.

In the previous post, Kaidie asked where she could go for a day or two, away from Nondon. As Chatwin says in his Anatomy of Restlessness, there exists an innate need in us to undertake ‘journeys of the mind and body’. Even while travelling, as we are, being on the journey from life to death, in Nondon. Reprinted here are some of the advice we have received so far. Thank you Susan, Miss Nim (a sponsor of Kaidie’s charity run in March 2010), Chuthatip aka Chutha Indigo aka The Good Pirate aka Fisherman, Aaron and Meena (who had previously helped to look for Kaidie when she was missing)! Kaidie’s running buddy, Claudia Tomaz, is also itching to have a little respite. So, do keep the advice coming in!

Reprinted from Facebook as of Sunday 25 July 2010.

* Walking around Woolwich and Greenwich for 3.5 hours this afternoon, Kaidie realised that Nondon is the one city she is not felt strange, or different, or is foreign (one of the reasons being simply that nearly every other person is strange, different and foreign, too), or out of place (what an evocative expression), or that she shouldn’t be. This is not necessarily the case of the 102 other cities in 32 countries that Kaidie has visited or lived in her previous lives, not even the one that she first arrived in. (All that said, one of the reasons why we are employing running as a navigational tactic for our 21st century reality is precisely because we do want to always feel foreign, strange, different and never settled down. We are never at home, but are out of our comfort zones at all times, and are instead invariably homesick, yearning for a ‘home’  – or an idea, or idealisation of a home. This ‘home’ is yet to be defined, and we resist and put off and postpone calling any place ‘home’, including Nondon).

** Do continue to watch and vote for CLAUDIA TOMAZ’s film, Kaidie and The Meaning of Life 3.0, Episode 1. Episode 2 coming up!

Some of Kaidie's desired next stops (in this or other lives): Iceland (where Marker filmed the '3 children on a road' in Sans Soleil), Norway (aha, a childish desire), Denmark (for Dreyer, and not for Von Trier), Brazil (this October?) (where Herzog crossed the Amazon with his impossible task), Morocco, Canada (for Gould), Algeria (for Camus), the Trans-Siberian (for ever and ever), the Taklimakan desert (ditto), Bhutan (the happiest place on earth), Dubai (one from one theme park to an other), Las Vegas (ditto) (and travels in hyperreality), Belfast (as a city of in-between), Bilbao, River Danube (bordering 10 countries - does it connect or separate them?), DMZ , Gaza (instead of viewing from the other side in Sderot), Xinjiang, Damascus (when Peter O'Toole took over her in Lean's epic that was watched 40 times in a previous life as a child), Mexico (for the amazing Tarahumara runners), Mount Hiei (for the mad marathon monks), Greenland (for Miss Smilla), the part of Russia where The Belovs was filmed, other parts of Finland (for the Leningrad cowboys and Lordi) and Suomenlinna again.

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AS I TURN 6-MONTHS OLD, I REALISE THAT I QUITE ENJOY MY LIFE/LIVES NOW, HERE.

Unbeknownst to me at that time, my visit to Enjoy Cafe is to turn out to be profoundly life-changing. As I turn 6-months old on 12 June 2010, I wash down a dozen of the Aphrodisiac Sausages with Dettol. I am hit – not suddenly, but gradually, nicely, warmly, largo – with a realisation that I quite enjoy my life and lives now, here, in Nondon, in my Life 3.0. I think, and I know, that I enjoy where/when I am, difficult/diverting/frustrating/frivolous as it is. Society celebrates youth, in all its actual and mythological glory/beauty/recklessness/kawaii-ness/innocence (or so-called). I enjoyed being young when I was, but I also enjoy having travelled the journey (detours included) to get here, of being what(ever it is that) I am now, quite tremendously, in all its imperfections/wisdom (or lack thereof)/scars/histories/wear&tear/warts&all. And I enjoy knowing that I am enjoying it.

In all my lives, in Nondon and elsewheres, people have often judged me to be younger than I am. But never once had/have I a desire to deny/lie (although some times I evade, because I some times like to see where it leads me when I am perceived to be more naive than I am, which is not to say that I am with out mature folly). The look of shock (or disgust) by the asker invariably provides me with a (perverse) pleasure. (Allow me to share a couple of incidents with you, my Dear Readers. Incident #1: Last week at Cally Pool: Girl asks me when I step into pool, ‘How old are you?’ Me: ‘Make a guess?’ She: ’19’. I tell her. She looks offended. Keen to restore peace, I ask her: ‘How old are you?’ ’11’, she replies. She is quite a bit taller than me. She looks me up and down. Then, both unclear of how to carry on with the conversation, we swim off in separate directions, in shock. Incident #2: At my local Tesco’s, when asked for my ID, I tell cashier my age. She stares at me, and gets her Supervisor. The women begin staring at me. ‘Perhaps it is what I’m wearing?’, I offer. ‘No, it’s your skin’, supervisor says. ‘Well luckily you are not looking close enough’. So she comes close, barely inches away from me, eyes wide open, examining me. Keen to get my bottle, I endure this unexpected scrutiny for several seconds. ‘What do you eat to look like this?’, she asks, as the cashier beeps my bottle and Tesco’s-branded cheap and nasty cakes. ‘Tesco’s cheap and nasty cakes,’ I reply. Incident #3: He, 18, guessed that I was 22. I said, ‘We could have met when I first came to Nondon, but we might not have recognised each other as you must have been in a pram (and dozy from all that milky binge-drinking).’ I think this is a hilarious image, but he clearly did not.)*

Mind you, I am by no means old, old, but having lived 6 out of my prescribed 32.8-months allowance declares that I am no spring chicken, but a mature summer barbecued pork, sweating in lard. Dripped from the previous years’ roasts.

This image has as its source several text-tree diagrammes generated by Dr. Jamie O'Brien from a programme he designed.

More than ever before, I now enjoy many things physically, intellectually and psychologically. My Life 3.0 reality is an augmented one, but with neither sillycone nor sentimentalism. The best part is that I enjoy knowing how much I am able to enjoy what I am enjoying.  (A sign of smugness perhaps, or an other indication of a profound delusion. Not unike Quixote’s). And this is not a tautological statement (even though we enjoy tautologies and tautologies enjoy us). Though I have always been an introspective person, this seems an other stage of self-awareness and confidence that would have escaped me at an other age. More than ever before, I now know what I want, when I want it, and how to dispense/use/it, at the dosage that works – what specific phrase of a piece of music I wish to listen to, at what volume, for how many number of loops; what particular type of cheese I wish to savour at a particular moment, to be followed by what particular dessert at what dosage; what particular scene of a film I wish to replay in my head, to evoke or force about a particular emotion (and it is invariably a Herzog or Marker or Tarkovsky scene), at what point to wean myself off an obsession, to say ‘Enough!’ and move on; to know the exact demands of a task/race at hand, and pace myself, so that I do not burn out too quickly, so that I stay focused and clear, but allow myself refuelling and treats when the energy levels dip, and then go for a final push, a sprint, a dash, a be-all-end-all exertion, et al. I also enjoy not knowing, and enjoy knowing that I do not know, and enjoy that anticipation, anxiety, excitement, the waiting (Have you read Barthes’ elegant chapter ‘Waiting’, in A Lover’s Discourse?), the feeling silly, and curiosity. I enjoy doing what I am doing. I enjoy what I am being. I enjoy waking up every morning, excited about confronting my challenges. I enjoy a good challenge, as I always have had all my lives, as they give me a good kick, because I enjoy kicking back, hard. I enjoy wanting something and working hard for it. I enjoy achieving. I enjoy leaving. I enjoy arriving. Most of all I enjoy the process of getting there, even if the arrival is anticlimactic. In fact the arrival will invariably be. I enjoy putting in effort. I would have enjoyed not having to put in any effort, of course, but by now I know how I work, how I have to work, so I do, and I enjoy doing that. I enjoy going to bed at night, having fought the demons, windmills, and myselves and looking forward to the next set of challenges the next day. And the next. I enjoy raising the bar (including raising the Snicker bars into my mouth). I enjoy communicating with my friends in Life 2.0. I enjoy knowing you. I enjoy not knowing you. I enjoy that we may never, and/or may never desire to/need to, meet in Life 1.0. I enjoy that we might have met in Life 1.0, but do not out ourselves, because doing so would spoil everything, your idea of Kaidie, and hers, of you. I enjoy that we meet in Life 2.0. I enjoy that we meet at all. I enjoy that we meet, and share, and run together. I enjoy not knowing the fate/s of Kaidie (except that she must expire 09.09.2012). I enjoy that you play a part in Kaidie’s being. I enjoy being invited to unexpected diversions, as invented by my friends, including you, my Dear Readers, my Collaborators, my Co-creators. I enjoy being Kaidie. I enjoy that Kaidie  and Life 3.0 are public properties, and open source systems, and our collective and  subjective imagination. I enjoy trying and testing new things. I enjoy going where I hadn’t/ wouldn’t have. I enjoy running with you. I enjoy having virtual running companions on my 1000-day journey. I enjoy exploring new territories and unknown terrain. I enjoy not knowing. I enjoy being surprised. I enjoy that things are not written. I enjoy that Kaidie can be over written by you. I enjoy that Kaidie can be written off by you, and me, or in spite of me. I enjoy that Kaidie’s story in Life 3.0 cannot be facilitated with out your Web 2.0 assistance and good-old-fashioned imagination. I enjoy that Kaidie is not precious, that she will cease to exist, that she is me, but can be any one, any body, real or imagined, that she is fictive, but that she is me as well, that I am her, that you can be her too. I enjoy the smell of my cocoa-butter moisturiser because it smells like superrich vanilla icecream and I want to eat it but I don’t. I enjoy lying on the grass with B, G, S when the sun is shining. I enjoy walking home from Great Marlborough Street with C, and sighting a deflated football on the street and attempting to kick it, only to laugh at it, as if to mock it, but affectionately and not maliciously. I enjoy walking home with J & A from Smithfields when it is more than 20 degrees. I enjoy walking home with B from St Johns Street. I enjoy tension. I enjoy prolonging tension. I enjoy saying hello to the Hispanic cleaners. I enjoyed walking with B again, looking for food, starving, then stuffing my face with a sandwich that had hummous,  and something else, and asking B if there is anything on my face, but  unfortunately left with no more time to talk more. I enjoy taking time. I enjoy the luxury of time. I enjoy having a short attention span. I enjoy having the physical and mental stamina to endure long journeys/races/lives. I enjoy the sting of wasabi. I enjoy walking at 18 degrees. I enjoy running at 8-12 degrees. I enjoy running in the gym at 16 degrees, because that is the lowest you can go, but the air is still stale and stuffy. I enjoy my shower at 40 degrees. I enjoy swimming in chlorine at 25 degrees. I enjoy my foamy coffee piping hot. I enjoy walking along Commercial Road with G. I enjoyed walking with S along the canal late at night, when I slipped, because I was not wearing my glasses, and where I would not have walked alone at that hour, but together it was lovely, based on a decade of friendship. I enjoyed wandering around Moscow with I as it snowed  and we got lost in the circle line. I enjoyed exploring Perth with J, 2 foreigners and strangers looking for a place to go, with out a map, enjoying being lost, together. I enjoyed walking in Suomenlinna with P in a Summer midnight, when it was still bright, albeit chilly. I enjoyed being submerged in the outdoor onsen, in the mountains, when it was cold and raining, holding an umbrella, pitch black, seeing no thing, but comforted by my friends’ laughter, friends who had brought me here because I was flying off the next day. I enjoyed walking with F in Spore in my previous life, and Paris in my current, even though we have both moved on. I enjoy all my long distance flights. I enjoy not sleeping on my long distance flights. I enjoy flying across timezones, political excuses and economic selfishness.  I enjoyed my 7-hour bus ride with A, with out sleep, and the subsequent croissants for breakfast, during which exactly two thousand bits of pastry were busily flaking onto the dirty trashy subway station ground, so instead of eating all 2 croissants A had only 1.2, or thereabouts, I gathered. I enjoy running, flying, swimming and living alone. I still enjoy swimming because the chlorine endorphins kick in surely and quickly. I enjoyed running in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Beppu, Oxford, Spore and Winterthur. I enjoy getting jealous of Kaidie when B tells me that he might prefer to go out with the Life 2.0, virtual Kaidie than the Life 1.0 me. I enjoy the airconditioning in the British Library and Wellcome Institute. I enjoy sweating when working out. I enjoy being underestimated. I enjoy proving myself. I enjoy proving myself wrong. I enjoy learning. I enjoy perfect pitch and hearing. I enjoy being a little short-sighted, so I see things in a slight blur when too far away. I enjoy fuzzy logic. I enjoy ambiguity. I enjoy dry humour. I enjoyed  playing the piano for 11 years. I enjoy imagining an other life as a concert pianist. I enjoy walking in Regents Fark with A, not knowing where we were going, if any where, but even if no where, that was fine, as it was, as it is. I enjoyed the warmth of my filmmaker-activist friends in Sderot who were passionate about peace. I enjoyed their sincerity and kindness after I endured endless searches  in order to get onto el al opening my bags emptying my hand luggage removing my battery from my laptop showing them my files body searched many times  passports flipped endless questions asked. I enjoy imagining Y running in Hyde Park, although not with me. I enjoy the smell of fresh bread. I enjoy eating at least 1 banana daily. I enjoy salmon and brie. I enjoy champagne with pancakes. I enjoy olives and corn and niceness. I enjoy the smell of B’s hair. I enjoy smells. I enjoy smelling. I enjoy the smell of my coconut shampoo. I enjoyed last Thursday aplenty. I enjoyed Tuesday very much too. I enjoy enjoying the moments of enjoyment when they happen. I enjoy not trying to repeat such moments because of my insatiability. I enjoy training myself to not be nostalgic. I enjoy training myself not to be attached. I enjoy separating mind from matter. I enjoyed saying hello to the many little people at the museum, because they remind me of R, E, K, B, K, S, even though I have not met S and she, and K, and E would not recognise/remember me, that I have to start afresh with them when I next meet them, and I do not know when I will next meet them. I enjoy holding a baby or a toddler. I enjoy not being labelled as selfish for my choices, because I think the choice of reproduction is as selfish. I enjoy i-chatting with R, who knows all its functions by the age of 6. I enjoy silence when I am working. I enjoy working in silence, because I have memorised and mis-memorised how Gould does it and it swims in my head, never mind if it is a distortion of distortions of Beethoven and Bach. I enjoy the ability to be silent when with an other, because it says that we do not need to rubbish talk, even though I enjoy talking rubbish to amuse you, and me, but I enjoy being silent when we are together, because it is in silence that we are in an other space and time that we enclose for us, as and when I desire an enclosure/definition. I enjoy sleeping. I enjoy sleeping for 12 hours for a recharge. I enjoyed watching G’s eyeballs widen because I say rubbish. I always enjoy walking along Farrington Road because it is wide and gently sloped and when I walk there I am in a good mood or walking there puts me in a good mood. I enjoy walking at 6.5kmh when it is sunny. I enjoy wanting. I enjoy running the next morning. I enjoy being cooked for. I enjoy sitting at the back of a motorised bike. I think I will enjoy skydiving, bungee jumping, and deepsea diving. And freefalling. I enjoy doing things with no strings attached. I enjoy sleeping at 2200 and walking up at 0500.  I enjoy running at 0700. I enjoy a disciplined life. I enjoy letting go. I enjoy being focused. I enjoy being distracted. I enjoy having a sense of control. I enjoy having my routines interrupted. I enjoy drawing lists of things to do. I enjoy drawing lists to  remind me to look at my other lists. I enjoy being disrupted. I enjoy pushing myself physically and mentally as a dare to myself. I enjoy surprises. I enjoy being surprised. I enjoy smiling to fellow runners now, when I shied away from it before, but now I do it some times because it is nice when you do laps and encounter the same characters repeatedly, so you smile, and move on. I enjoy smiling and waving back when I run along Euston Road and school girls from the bus smile and wave at me this morning. I enjoyed the 7-second run the man wearing ‘Save The Children’ bright blue t-shirt did with me as I run past Kings Cross yesterday morning. I enjoy running because it calms me down and rids my anxieties, but when A asks, why are you anxious in the first place, I can not answer. I enjoy hearing my heavy breathing as I run, because it reminds me that I am breathing. I enjoy sweating as I run. I enjoy looking forward to food, drinks and not running, when I am running. I enjoy swinging my arms and propelling myself forward as I run. I enjoy running with the minimal things, without water, without ID, with no money, no baggage, no burden, just run. I enjoy running in a city, in any city, because I am no longer seen as an other,  no longer small and exotic,  but having some temporary ownership of the place I am running, and personalising the space I inhabit, and I gaze the city in a different manner, and I am gazed upon in a different manner, I am even taken to be a local and am asked for directions. I enjoy doing a little bouncy gait this morning, with out pain, with out aches, with some speed. I enjoy watching the blister grow on my toe. I enjoy the texture of chaffed skin from rubbing my arm against my running shirt. I enjoy my running clothes scratching my back, creating marks on my back that do not leave, where as I would have been disturbed by any mark or blemish or spot before, but now I accept some, because it comes with this activity. I enjoy taking time to warm up. I enjoy taking time to stretch. I enjoy fartleks when I feel stronger. I enjoy pounding on the treadmill when I am fully focused, because I have to be careful not to drift, because when I did I fell off. I enjoy hitting 14kmh on the treadmill. I enjoy counting when on the treadmill.  I enjoy not counting because I count everything in my life. I enjoy taking calculated risks. I enjoy slow, long-drawn runs when I work at distances. I enjoy running alone in real life. I enjoy testing my limits. I enjoy knowing my limits. I enjoy pushing my limits. I enjoy working with my limits and limitations. I enjoy the prospect of a big bowl of boiled cauliflower/parsnips/broccoli/cougettes after my run. I enjoy that my cheap pink nail polish comes off nearly as soon as I put them on. I always enjoy my 2nd round in the Fark because that is when I am no longer anxious, but simply running, when my head is full of thoughts, and at the same time not thinking of any thing in particular, when my body is most relaxed, and when my GPS will register my faster times, not because I am racing, but because it feels good, and I know now how to make myself feel good by calling upon my running endorphins. I enjoyed a very nice run on Wednesday morning, after a nice Tuesday where no thing and every thing and some thing else happened,  when I moved on the next morning, still tired and still light, but running, unthinkingly, and registered my most enjoyable and fastest 2nd round ever in a non-race condition, 10.2kmh, as opposed to my usual 9.4kmh, not terribly much better in real terms, but mentally, in unreal terms, trust me, it felt good, very good, feeling completely free from any pain, any bother, just relaxed, just 1 foot after the other, not minding the branches poking me, not minding other runners zapping past me, but bouncing on/off my shoes, not as if my shoes are super bouncy,  for, mind you, it was my old Brooks, 1 out of my 3 pairs of running shoes, but this with the sole /soul soon coming off, but still I felt a bounce, a new gait that I never had before Wednesday, and best of all, I was able to control that and bring it on when I felt ready, and I knew that I felt ready, so I ran,  almost bouncing sideways, arms swaying me forward, not minding how funny or ugly or clumsy I  must have appeared, but enjoying the lightness of being, momentarily, in perfect control, and complete-total-freaking-fully let go at the same time. I enjoy discipline. I enjoy being a disciplinarian. I enjoy the dictum of no pain no gain. I enjoy Nondon and cannot imagine doing this, whatever it is that I am doing, any where else. I enjoy long distance calls on Skype. I enjoy running across different dimensions. I enjoy being confused about which dimension I am in, and applying different sets of values, sometimes inappropriately. I enjoy forgetting if I should have been more assertive, or am not humble/polite/modest enough, or am too much of a go-getter. I enjoy forgetting if I am not serious enough, if I am too austere, or if I am too childish. I enjoy having a large repertoire of values to pick and mix, and learning new things in each new dimension that I travel to. I enjoy my life and lives now and do not stop me from enjoying myself. I enjoy this intensity, this being filled, this being fulfilled, being empty, a half full/half empty question, being anxious, being lucid, being heightened, having no excessive things in my life, being frivolous and enjoying silly indulgences. I enjoy being reconciled. I also enjoy not being reconciled, being confused, being consistently inconsistent, being torn between violent opposing thoughts, still struggling with the theory vs. practice problem, being exhausted and wrecked by Kaidie, being Kaidie, not being Kaidie, being besides myself, being shipwrecked, being afloat, not moving my arms or legs until the next swimmer comes along and hits me off the lane, tumbling, falling down, stepping on horse poo, huffing and puffing and neighing as I run, running out of breath, holding my breath underwater, being at one and at the same time many, having many conflicting values, and having many contradictory views, having absolutely no values. I will enjoy my Summer. I enjoy staying focused. I will enjoy the next 26.8 months of my life.

* 13 July 2010: After this post was published, I read of a nice story that captures perfectly the essence of the word serendipity– of a couple who lived in seperate continents, but who were photographed 30 years earlier, in the same picture, but one of them in a pram, in the background, and a complete stranger, of course. They met 15 years ago, and only made the discovery 8 years ago just before their wedding. This sounds like a classic Kaidie scenario (of some hits and plenty of misses that we have with one another, as we traverse across lifetimes) albeit one that has a happy ending (in so far as a unification is read as a positive thing, and if endings are desirable).

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EVERYDAY ENJOYMENT WITH SPECIAL SAUSAGES in Little Britain in 25 steps: KAIDIE’S ROUGH GUIDE TO THE EXOTIC FAR EAST #4.

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DALSTON-KINGSLAND: KAIDIE’S ROUGH GUIDE TO THE EXOTIC FAR EAST #1

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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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I LIKE NONDON, BUT IT IS NICE IN HERE TOO. (Kaidie’s Virtual Tourist Notes from Second Life #2)

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IN THE METAVERSE, NO ICARUS WILL CRASH. Even if/when I crash, I will be reborn and life goes on. And on. Infinitely. Ad nauseum.

A generation cushioned from the cold by central heating, from the heat by airconditioning, carted in aseptic transports from one identical house or hotel to the another, should feel the need for journeys of mind and body, for pep pills or tranquillisers, or for the cathartic journeys of sex, music and dance. We spend far too much time in shuttered rooms.

–  Bruce Chatwin, Anatomy of Restlessness: Selected Writings 1969 – 1989 [1]


Travelling is the act of getting from one place to another[2]. There has been a long history of human movement. Motivations vary – people travel out of pleasure, or reasons political , economical and poetic, or out of necessity, for short or long term, due to push or pull factors, and in various modes of transportation as technologies improve and ambitions engorge. Think climate changes, agricultural practices, trade, migration, famines. Think nomads, gypsies, sailors, stateless people and their diasporas. Think political conquests, search for new, virgin territories, untapped resources, ‘discoveries’ of ‘new’ continents like your Americas and Temasek-s[3]. Think of the revolutionary heroes, as writer, romantic and compulsive traveller Chatwin urges, who are ‘not worth a thing until he has been on a good walk. Che Guevara spoke of the “nomadic phase” of the Cuban Revolution. Look what the Long March did for Mao TseTung, or Exodus for Moses.’[4] Think escape and the search for Paradise, by Thelma, Louise, and Gauguin, and the middle-aged European/Australian woman in Bali with the Kuta cowboys, and the modestly-sized Oriental man with the towering platinum-blonde escort. Think religious pilgrimages, rites of passage and existential quests for the meaning of life. Think Romantic, heroic and punishing quests by madmen Fitzcarraldo/Klaus Kinski in the Amazon, and the solo walks from Kiev to Madrid by Werner Herzog himself, as if the very act of a strenuous trek exorcises their demons. Think trade shows, World Expos, and the travelling circus in town. Think Grand Tours to see the world for those with the leisure time (for it did take a bit longer than it would today) and spending power. For those with even more spending power, think travels to outer space, as the guy appropriately named Laliberte did in 2009 – something technologically impossible only years ago, but haunted those rich in imagination for centuries, like George Melies and Arthur C. Clark. Think poetic search for inspirations and new ways of seeing, by Barthes in Japan, and Basho the poet who cured himself of his loneliness by islandhopping in Japan. As Chatwin observes,

travel does not merely broaden the mind. It makes the mind, The raw materials of Proust’s imagination were two walks round the town of Illiers where he spent his family holidays. These walks later became Méséglise and Guermantes Ways in À la Recherche du Temps Perdu. [5]

Chatwin notes also that ‘(m)an walked and swam long before he rode or flew. Our human possibilities are best fulfilled on land or sea. Poor Icarus crashed.’[6]. Think Maldives, Goa, Ibiza. Entire cities and towns perform. Today, globalisation and 1-pence early-bird gimmicks from budget airlines gives everyone the opportunity to fly, making travelling a part of contemporary life. We become tourists, take breaks, have getaways, go for vacations, perform public sex on the beach with strangers [7] in the city constructed for public show-and-tell. Think casino-city Macau, Documenta in Kassel once every 5 years, Olympics in London in 2012. Then, there are also those who travel simply because the act of travelling is pleasurable in itself, like ‘the indefatigable Arab wanderer who strolled from Tangier to China and back for the sake of it’ [8].

Some American brain specialists took encephalograh reading of travellers. They found that changes of scenery and awareness of the passage of seasons trough the year stimulated the rhythms of the brain, contributing to a sense of wellbeing and an active purpose in life. Monotonous surroundings and tedious regular activities wove patterns which produce fatigue, nervous disorders, apathy, self-disgust and violent reactions.

– Chatwin[9]



[1] Bruce Chatwin, Anatomy of Restlessness: Uncollected Writings, New edition (Picador, 1997). (pp 100-106)

[2] ‘Travel – Definition of travel noun’, in  (Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus, 2009) [accessed 30 December 2009].

[3] Temasek was the ancient name of Singapore before its ‘founding’ by the British.

[4] Chatwin.

[5] Chatwin.

[6] Chatwin.

[7] John Bingham and Laura Clout, ‘British couple arrested in Dubai over ‘sex on the beach’’, Telegraph.co.uk, 9 July 2008 [accessed 31 December 2009].

[8] Chatwin.

[9] Chatwin.

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LOCATED: KAIDIE AS TOURIST RUNNING ABOUT IN SECOND LIFE, as we mark Kaidie’s 100th days of existence. WHAT’S SHE UP TO?

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Where has Kaidie been all this while? After the run, where did Kaidie go? Latest conspiracy theory: LUCY SUSPECTS THAT KAIDIE HAS TRANS-MIGRATED (or hitchhiked) TO AN ONLINE NAPLES AND OTHER GREENER PASTURES.

Guest post by Lucy Natarajan

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IN THE PINK OF HEALTH: DAY 55: (ONE OF) KAIDIE’S MAPPINGS OF HER LIFE 3.0: NOT A WORLD OF BLACKS AND WHITES, BUT OSCILLATIONS OF IN BETWEENS.

2009oct12map

If you can read between the lines and gaze between the greys and grays, why don't you test out this mapping in YOUR life?

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THANK YOU TO ALL AT VILLA STRAEULI IN WINTERTHUR!


Music by Philip Tan.

Thank you to all at the Villa Straeuli: Ms Annelise Schmid, Ms Gabriele Huggenburg, Mr Roger Girod and Rosemaria! Though short, it was a fruitful residency.

I enjoyed my first Kaidie outing. On the 26 January I gave a 1 hour lecture-performance about my Life 3.0, talked a little about my previous life, and also shared a new short film entitled Kaidie In Heidiland / Heidi In Kaidieland. A teaser is uploaded here for your viewing ‘pleasure’. It’s the opening scene of the 11 minute film that I made of my visit to Heidi in Maienfeld on 24 January. With sheer doggedness of my M&M plugin, and snorting up some 1000g of pure superstrength Arabian coffee beans – my nostrils are huge now, but it is worth the price to pay – I edited the film in the matter of a day.

As I had to travel light, I was carrying only an old NTSC CDR-PC115 SONY handycam (Even in Life 3.0, metallic electronic/digital things do not quite turn me on, but I am inclined to namedrop some of these details every now and then, to please the techno-geeky populace of my readers – yes, I’m talking about YOU, yes you!), but surprisingly it was able to capture the early morning Swiss mist at 00:00:29:00 – 00:00:40:00, which I hadn’t noticed while filming, and only noticed it when reading the images on my Final Cut Pro. Being a diehard city dweller, I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what that floaty bit was, and even though (as you know very well) I am a highly rational being with incredibly superior intellectual capabilities, for a moment I was inclined to wonder if it was some my dead mummy was trying to speak to me from the nether lands (not that she is/was Dutch). I wonder how a HD camera would have captured the same image. IF YOU HAVE CAPTURED IMAGES OF SUCH NATURAL PHENOMENA, OF NONDON OR ELSEWHERE, PLEASE SHARE! LINK YOUR MOVIES TO KAIDIE’S ON YOUTUBE.

There are 3-4 presentations coming up in Nondon in March, and I plan to show the entire film in some of these talks. WHAT DID HEIDI SAY TO KAIDIE WHEN THEY MET?  WHAT DID KAIDIE SAY TO HEIDI WHEN THEY MET? IF YOU WISH TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO KAIDIE IN HEIDILAND, DO COME FOR MY PRESENTATIONS IN MARCH! COME TOO IF YOU ARE TEASED ENOUGH BY THE TEASER, and to hear my croaking ‘live’. I will update you, my Dear Readers, in my itinerary.

Tourist

A souvenir (1.70 CHF) for Kaidie from the Zurich airport: eat this if you are a tourist; eat this and you will become a tourist; this is a tourist; this is not a tourist.

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WHILE FLYING ACROSS NONDON, I DECIDE TO BE A CATFISH IN MY NEXT LIFE

Flying across Nondon with my friends from one of my previous lives.

Flying across Nondon with my friends from one of my previous lives.

Today is a fabulous day. At 24km, I experience a runner’s high. I feel happy, calm, relaxed, smiling to myself, other runners, cops carrying large toy guns at Binfield House, babies visiting the zoo and having their other experience of animals apart from supermarkets, ducks and ants. Before I know it, a large pair of plastic wings is stapled onto my shoulders and I begin to fly. It is quite a lovely, crisp day, given December. I sight my friends from my one of my previous lives, who inform me that this has not been the case, as Nondon has been hazy lately. Hovering above Bee Tee Tower, I peer over at the Blade School of Dine Art – gosh, people certainly look different from a bird’s eye view. Being so high make me delightfully queasy, which surprises me, as one would imagine that the gift of flight automatically comes with anti-vertigo traits as well. Being a visitor in Nondon, Yengland, the land famed for its people of impeccable manners, I decide that, although recipients-to-be may not see me, it is best not to retch while in mid-air. I begin to make a slow descent. With vomit climbing up my eyes, my body begin  violent convulsions, and I see visions of myself as a catfish in my next life. Though I had been a fish and a cat in my previous lives, I had not been a combination of them – the prospect of becoming both at the same time at one go cannot sound more splendid. I suspect that the more I do this, the more efficient I become.

Finally, I reach the ground and find myself, as well as the other version of myself, in East Nondon. I begin to surreptitiously follow the other version of me, who is in the middle of a Janet Cardiff audio tour.

DO YOU THINK KAIDIE SHOULD CONFRONT HER OTHER SELF (WALKING KAIDIE IN EAST NONDON), OR SHOULD SHE (FLYING-BUT-SOON-TO-BE-ALSO-WALKING KAIDIE) JUST SECRETLY FOLLOW HER (WALKING KAIDIE) AND SEE WHAT SHE’S UP TO UNTIL SHE NOTICES? HOW DO YOU THINK SHE (FLYING KAIDIE, WALKING KAIDIE) WOULD REACT IF SHE SEES THE OTHER? WHAT SHOULD SHE SAY TO THE OTHER? SHOULD SHE SMILE?

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