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Patrick Tierney (M, 30)
Princeton, US
Immortal since Oct 7, 2007
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    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

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    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.

    1. Tor hidden services

    The concept of Tor is simple: complete anonymity on the Internet. Tor users can surf the Web, chat, and shop knowing that their identity is hidden behind 7 Tor servers obscuring their path. Tor hidden services takes this concept from the person (avatar) and applies it to a permanent location (space). People can visit these spaces, linger, shop, and talk, but no one (including the authorities) can know where the space is. It is space without a place, without a location, without a boundary or a context.

    At the moment Tor hidden services specialize in selling things you can find nowhere else: everything that is illegal in the Western world. There are of course stores to buy child pornography, drugs, prostitutes and even sex slaves. Even more extreme are markets frequented by hit-men, where auctions are held to find the cheapest price for a murder. Detached from a face, humanity shows itself quite shockingly.

    2. Forums, IRC

    Internet forms and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) both are unique in the temporal record they keep of all the actions that take place in a space. "Being" in a conversation doesn't apply in the temporal sense, as anyone can join in or drop off in an entirely fluid process. Indeed, the sense of a singular, collective moment looses meaning. It's hard to say "I was there for this" on a forum.



    3. Second Life Fringe

    While Second Life has become both tamed and irrelevant since its creation, several years ago there was a robust fringe in Second Life, devoted to pushing the experience of Digital Space to its furthest. The Patriotic Negras, 4 Chan, and Woodberry groups would push all cultural, racial, sexual, and technological barriers of the space, creating many enemies within the community and the Linden Lab Corporation. My first experience visiting their outpost was seeing a house, shaped like a swastika, made entirely of penises; it was raining Marios. Around me flew flocks of penises and robots. The ground was animated with a gif of Bill Cosby. Periodically, the Marios would replicate beyond control, and the space would start glitching out. This would cause physics engine to malfunction, and gravity would stop working.

    As I talked to more people there, I soon learned that the best thing to do when you weren't contributing the general mayhem of the space was to fight with other people. Being injured, let alone dying, were completely meaningless in a place like this, so I soon figured out, as many others had, that the way to fight was with code. Projectiles embedded with code could, presumably through some bug, activate themselves on the object that they collided with. You could soon see weapons that would cause a person's avatar to glitch out, fly to the other side of the Second Life Universe, or just disappear all together.

    This fringe scene was eventually forced out of Second Life, though its members will surly return in whatever VR program comes next. This fringe hinted distinctly at a future sense of space, one based on nothing more than the values of a community and its ability to warp the very medium they inhabit.
    Tue, Nov 3, 2009  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    A post by Dharmishta Rood explores the idea of "networked reading," reading where User Generated Content / User Created Content is the primary text. It begins by defining what UGC/UCC is:

    - Generated in a public digital setting. (ie Email ≠ UCC)
    - Users input items of creative worth. (ie Google Image ≠ UCC)
    - "...content is created outside of professional routines and practices."

    Her question, then, is what is the effect on a generation that is raised learning through UCC/UGC? She seems to have more questions than leads, but hopefully her study will shed light on this question.
    Tue, Oct 20, 2009  Permanent link

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    Lebbeus Woods. Terrain 2.

    A little know, but incredibly influential and constricting aspect of the Internet (or any networked body of sufficient size), is the protocols used to transport information between nodes of the network. The protocols most people are familiar with are http and html (directly influencing css, javascript, etc). These two protocols completely determine what your experience on the web is like. In other words, if you're looking at a website, it is strictly conforming to http/html. The protocol of http/html, based around a grandmother's recipe catalog, is what forces 95% of the internet into looking like the world's largest magazine collection.

    Presumably we all see deficiencies in this protocol and believe that a Polytopian system is the solution. But, what, exactly, are the problems with the existing state of internet protocols? So far I have identified several deficiencies:

    • Lack of social presence on a "site". If 3000 people are all looking at a website at the same time, you are not aware of any of them.

    • A lack of perspective on the people using the Internet. If I want to see where clusters of people are, I am unable. If a crowd forms around an idea, if they're all listening to a particular feed of data, I am unaware.

    • Lack of a temporal dimension. Why can't I see these people as if it were an hour ago, why can't I visit a site as though it was a month ago, or a certain important date in the past.

    • A lack of communication. Besides a few hacks to http (Facebook, Gmail), I cannot communicate with any of the other viewers of a site.

    • A lack of social search. To use an analogy, when you visit a city for the first time, and are trying to find cafe, the first step is not to look through the yellow pages. Yet this is EXACTLY how the Internet is structured at the moment. Finding a cafe in a new city involves walking around, stumbling into new things, looking at the people cafes, listening to what they're talking about. Search has, and should continue to be, a social dance through space. The Internet must reflect this.

    • Strict hierarchy of media. Http/html favors text above all else (requiring no links, references, tags), followed by images (requiring slightly more work). Other media such as sound and video must be hacked on, and as such cannot be used as liberally as text and images. Vast numbers of other means of communication are ignored (3D models, gestures, collage [ie the links between items as a medium]).

    • Lack of change to the above media. It is impossible to change the contents of a website unless it is specifically hacked to allow it (forums, comment boxes, etc). Changes to video, audio, and images are impossible.



    I am curious what other people see as problems to the existing structure of the World Wide Web and the Internet.

    References:

    1. Galloway, Alexander R. Protocol: how control exists after decentralization. Leonardo Press, 2006.
    Mon, Oct 19, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: architecture, Virtual Reality, internet
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    As many have documented, the foundations of our current state of the Internet (namely the TCP/IP protocols) were developed by Leonard Kleinrock at UCLA in late 1969, with the first Internet connection formed between the UCLA and Stanford campuses. It's good to keep in mind this initial connection, as it summarizes the essence of the Internet: a number of computers connected to each other. People typically turn this simple network of computers into useful applications by establishing protocols based on metaphors. The first protocol was designed around metaphor of mail, generating email. Only a few years later, in the early 1970, protocols emerged that offered computer users the ability to enter "rooms" and meet other users. I would argue that this quick jump from the written, static mail metaphor, to a dynamic, social, room and conversation metaphor illustrates that this connection of computers, simple as it is, is destined to be used socially.

    It would be nearly 20 years before a metaphor emerged that challenged chat rooms and email, a protocol designed around a card catalog: Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). HTTP offered many advantages, such as the ability to view images, movies, and organize large, static bodies of text efficiently. Unfortunately, it lacked social meeting places, it lacked conversation, it lacked human to human interaction. It 10 years it had come to completely dominate the Internet, and is what most people think of when they use it. It is unfortunate that we call for a more social, dynamic, and communal version of the Internet, when it originally functioned just as that. All the Internet is is a collection of computers. How we use it is up to us.


    Sat, Sep 26, 2009  Permanent link

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    Paul Virilio

    "One of the major problems now facing political as well as military strategists is the phenomenon of immediacy, of instantaneity. For `real time' now takes precedence over real space, now dominates the planet. The primacy of real time, of immediacy, over space is an accomplished fact, and it is an inaugural one. A recent advert for cell phones expressed it well enough:`The earth has never been so small.' This development has the gravest consequences for our relation to the world, and for our vision of it.

    "There are three barriers: sound, heat and light. We have already crossed the first two - the sound barrier with supersonic and hypersonic aircraft, the heat barrier with rockets which can lift a man out of the earth's atmosphere and land him on the moon. We do not cross the third barrier, the light barrier; we collide with it. And it is this barrier of time that history now faces. The fact of having reached the light barrier, the speed of light, is a historic event, one which disorients history and also disorients the relation of human beings to the world. If that point is not stressed, then people are being disinformed, they are being lied to. For it has enormous importance. It poses a threat to geopolitics and geostrategy. It also poses a very clear threat to democracy, because democracy was tied to cities, to places.

    "Having attained this absolute speed, we face the prospect in the twenty-first century of the invention of a perspective based on real time, replacing the spatial perspective, the perspective based on real space, discovered by Italian artists of the quattrocento. Perhaps we forget how much the cities, politics, wars and economies of the medieval world were transformed by the invention of perspective.

    "Cyberspace is a new form of perspective. It is not simply the visual and auditory perspective that we know. It is a new perspective without a single precedent or reference: a tactile perspective. Seeing at a distance, hearing at a distance - such was the basis of visual and acoustic perspective. But touching at a distance, feeling at a distance, this shifts perspective into a field where it had never before applied: contact, electronic contact, tele-contact.

    "The development of information superhighways confronts us with a new phenomenon: disorientation. A fundamental disorientation which completes and perfects the social and financial deregulation whose baleful consequences we already know. Perceived reality is being split into the real and the virtual, and we are getting a kind of stereo-reality, in which existence loses its reference points. To be is to be in situ, here and now, hic et nunc. But cyberspace and instantaneous, globalized information are throwing all that into total confusion. What is now underway is a disturbance of the perception of the real: a trauma. And we need to concentrate on this. Because no technology has ever been developed that has not had to struggle against its own specific negativity. The specific negativity of information superhighways is precisely this disorientation of alterity, of our relation to the other and to the world. It is quite clear that this disorientation, this `de-situation', will bring about a profound disturbance with consequences for society and, in turn, for democracy."
    Wed, Apr 1, 2009  Permanent link

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    City of Words by Vito Acconci, 1999
    Wed, Dec 31, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia, The Total Library
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    I think that notthisbody's post on the current state of a Polytopia shows how promising the notion of a Polytopia is Today. I would expect to see software embodying some of Wildcat's criteria in the next several years. This got me thinking about the relevance of discussing, researching, and brainstorming the details of what the Polytopian environment will be like. Since a Polytopia is an environment where millions of people live, it follows that it will need many of the same things we have in our non-virtual world. A Polytopia, in my mind, would still have content, and what follows are my notes and thoughts on what this content will be.






    Architecture and Structures
    — Will still be needed to maintain privacy, provide spatial focus, and to enhance an environment's utility.
    — How would we define the new architecture? Walls do not have to be constructed according to the to structural or economic rules.
    — I think that transparency into other people's thoughts, interests, and actions will be very crucial to this new architecture. Humans are social animals, and we learn tremendously from each other. I doubt these social desires will fade as we become enhanced or digital.

    Film and Television
    — Can the 2D media survive in a virtual realm. My intuition is that once we move to an immersive digital environment, any media that doesn't allow you to touch, rotate, zoom, push, pull, talk to, and otherwise interact with will seem quaint and frustrating.
    — At the same time, many people that TV provides them with a near meditative means of relaxation. The lack of obligation to interact with the Film and TV genres is often quite appealing. But, perhaps the very idea of a mood-altering media looses meaning in a Polytopia, when specific programs can program our brain into whatever mood one desires.

    The written narrative
    — What is the future need of sharing narratives if thoughts and experiences can be transmitted instantaneously. Will narratives still have a purpose?
    — Joseph Campbell wrote a lot of the persistence of myths and narratives throughout human history. In short, ever since the emergence of human consciousness, humans have been telling stories and creating myths. In The Singularity is Near, Ray Kurzweil frequently asserts that even as Polytopians move to a digital environment, we will maintain our "humanity," since our digital software/circuits will be based off of the same patters as the human brains. It seems logical that even Polytopians will still desire narratives, stories, myths, fantasies, and heroic characters.

    Traditional Media
    — In a Polytopia, will traditional media get pushed aside into the category of nostalgia, when we loose our biological bodies and may not even have a physical embodiment?


    SpaceCollective is in a good position to contribute to this field; it is filled with artists, designers, musicians, architects, programmers, writers, and above all creative futurists who each can offer insight into the shaping of this new world. With this in mind, I pose a question to the SpaceCollective Community:

    How do the members of SpaceCollective think that their respective medias and mediums will change as we move towards a Polytopia, in terms of content, construction, and importance?






    Sat, Sep 13, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    Part I

    The internet is not yours, it never was yours. I'm sorry, it just isn't. It is owned by large telecommunication companies that decide who does what with their infrastructure. Like any public infrastructure, users have to adhere to certain rules for the whole thing to function. The problem is it is easy to think that while spending time on the Internet you have the same rights as in a cafe or worse yet your home. After all, this is where all your massages are, your documents, you meet friends here and form communities. These are all actions that have traditionally been protected by free speech and privacy laws, laws held paramount in democratic societies.

    Let me show you a sample of your "Acceptable Use Policy". This is important because the AUP determines what you can and cannot do on the internet:

    1. AT&T respects freedom of expression and believes it is a foundation of our free society to express differing points of view. AT&T will not terminate, disconnect or suspend service because of the views you or we express on public policy matters, political issues or political campaigns.
    believes in

    Thank you for granting me that right — I didn't know it was ever in question. However...

    2. Customer is prohibited from engaging in any other activity, whether legal or not, that AT&T determines in its sole discretion, to be harmful to its subscribers, operations, network(s). (emphasis added)

    Well that's pretty vague. Additionally ...

    3. AT&T IP Services shall not be used to host, post, transmit, or re-transmit any content or material that is threatening, harassing, obscene, indecent, hateful, malicious, racist, fraudulent, deceptive, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, abusive, inflammatory, or otherwise harmful or offensive to third parties, treasonous, excessively violent or promotes the use of violence, or provides instruction, information or assistance in causing or carrying out violence against any government, organization, group or individual, or provides guidance, information or assistance with respect to causing damage or security breaches to AT&T's network or to the network of any other IP Service provider.

    Wow, that's so vague I might as well not post anything here... So while AT&T asserts (1), it can use any combination the items in (2) and (3) to overturn (1) at any time. Better yet, an ISP can just remove clause (1) if they so please. Hey, that's not right you say. OK, go make your own internet.

    See, the internet as a cafe or home simply doesn't hold true. This new digital space of the internet has no bill of rights — you are not guaranteed anything. This shouldn't be surprising: the data infrastructure is privately owned. You're living on Main Street, Disneyland, not Main Street, USA. What's that? you can just encrypt your data or use Tor? Sorry, the telecoms can ban that too under (2) or (3). You signed away all your rights the moment you turned on your modem. Didn't you notice?

    Part II

    Case Study 1: ARPANet
    It's commonly believed that the ARPANet in the genesis of our modern day internet. It was the testing ground of a large-scale, packet switched network. It was however a closed network leased from BBN and Raytheon (they tried several times to give AT&T a monopoly, but AT&T turned them down and continued developing its own tools and services for its rival ARPANet). While the ARPANet was the first example of a network that resembles our current internet, it wasn't the the only computer network that emerged. Telenet, Usenet, ClarkNet, RCCNet, SATNet, etc (Compuserve even had their own network you could buy into). The Internet, by definition, was the coming together of these many networks, united by a single protocol. One thing also remained true during the rise of the internet: TCP/IP had to go through the networks of big companies who were stringing copper long before Len Kleinrock was born.

    Case Study 2: BBS's
    The TCP/IP networks mentioned above were primarily used for file transfer and email. Alternate networks emerged which allowed for a more communal environment. BBS's were one of these. A BBS was a computer server that an individual set up allowing other computers to connect over a phone based modem and leave a message. In essence it allowed anyone to create their own worldwide message board system without going through an ISP or large scale network. While most BBS's were used for benign massaging, some BBS's had a instructions for overthrowing the government, hacking, bomb making, theft, and hand to hand combat. These BBS's, examples of freedom of speech unbound by time or location, would be illegal on today's internet. Why? Because the ISPs say so.

    Case Study 3: Burning man
    Yes, it's that time of year again, and say what you will about the event in it's current state, Burning Man started out as an experiment with a fascinating goal: what happens when a couple thousand people try to create their own city in the middle of the desert? Conclusion: it's fun until people sleeping in tents get run over by inebriated drivers, when the careless start destroying the natural environment, when "liability" becomes a major concern. At that point communal, bottom up organization gives way to a top down structure. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, per say, but who decides the rules?

    Part III

    There is hope. Net neutrality is trying to take back control of the internet from the telecoms, though they are fighting this very hard.

    Most of you should be aware that all the old television frequencies will soon be up for auction. Verizon has already won a large chunk, publicly stating that they planned on reaming the American people with their new toy. Luckily a federal court and the FCC said that wasn't cool (Gooo team!).

    There's still a lot more spectrum left, and no one knows who will get it.

    The point though is that unless we the internet users start looking up from ceiling cat, (insert name here)-tube, and social networks to fight the big picture, the internet might have the same fate as the TV spectrum, owned by a few corporations who decide what belongs on their network. The wireless Internet spectrum cannot suffer the same fate, because there will be no going back.

    We have a chance to make that second digital space we all want, one that's in the public domain (GNU internet?), with a bill of rights that we, the Internet users decided. Remember, this is our space, because we live here.
    Sat, Jul 19, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: computers, internet
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    While other space collective members have called for interactive performances, as of yet nothing yet has materialized. I'm writing this post because I have a tested plan that will do just that.

    Check it out: http://www.media.mit.edu/resenv/GiveawaySensors/index.html

    In case the hand-drawn block diagram and circuit schematics didn't make it clear to you, this is how it works:

    1. Before a show, a group of dashing individuals makes a couple thousand electronic instruments. Each one costs about a dollar, and is capable of picking up changes in acceleration (swinging it, hitting it, etc. ), and can broadcast this information wirelessly to a central computer. (Glow stick not required )

    2. Hand out a sensor device to everyone who attends the event.

    3. As people swing, hit, and play with their instruments, the information is transmitted to a DJ, who can turn this information into sounds. The system distinguishes where the signals are coming from, so different groups of dancers will make different sounds.

    Cost: $1 per person attending (cheap) !

    So, does anyone have a couple thousand dollars and a warehouse they can spare?
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    Videos of the space. In the background you can see smaller bots forming clusters around spaces of data with high frequencies of their search string. In the lower left hand corner several bots continuously search through web pages. Each time one finds relevant information, it creates a node.









    Wed, Mar 19, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space
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