Updates from November, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Vanessa 05:42 on 15/11/2014 Permalink | Reply  

    My Boring So-Called Virtual Life 

    sepia-toned photo of Vanessa Blaylock sitting on a bench on a London terrace overlooking Trafalgar Square and with the superimposed typography: "My So-Called Life" and with inserts for "Boring" and "Virtual" indicated so it reads "My Boring So-Called Virtual Life"

    Activity No.11

    Activity No.11 – Vaneeesacam

    24 livestreamed virtual hours in the (boring) life of an avatar.
    Sat-Sun 15-16 November 2014
    Noon – Noon PST / 20:00 – 20:00 GMT


  • Christa Forster 20:49 on 06/09/2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Book Machine Houston 

    I’m gonna be taking “What’s on [My] Mind?” to Book Machine Houston tomorrow — Sunday, September 7, 2014. I’ve got 3.5 hours with a graphic designer to make an artist’s book. Drinking fake wine and getting my shit together!

    Trying to represent the breadth of what it was. We’ll see how I do.


    Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.47.38 PM

    • Ciara 00:06 on 07/09/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Christa, this sounds fantastic! Good luck and have fun working with the designer:-)

      • Vanessa Blaylock 05:52 on 07/09/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Oooh, this does sound fantastic! You’ll be staying for the discussion after?

        The Book will be a glorious tactile experience. I’m also interested in this new “World Wide Web” thing I’ve been hearing about. I wonder if they’d give you files so you could put some or all of your book online?

        I’ve been wondering a lot (without much progress) about how to create more immersive experiences in cyberspace: Books, Narrative Storytelling, yes, Cornel Boxes, etc.

        Cyberspace has more serendipity than just about anything in human history. Its unboundedness lets you create your own adventures, but it makes it hard to craft anything for others to experience. When you have a Book be it a book with words or images, on paper or eReader, it seems to be an agreement between artist and reader to spend some chunk of time, large or small, focused on a specific story or experience, narrative or game.

        See what a nice job I did of making your project about meeee! haha. Anyway, have a great time, I’m sure we’re all excited to see what results! 😀

    • Vanessa Blaylock 06:26 on 07/09/2014 Permalink | Reply

    • Christa Forster 08:01 on 07/09/2014 Permalink | Reply

      LOL. So true, Ikea!! Funny.

      Van, you say “Cyberspace has more serendipity than just about anything in human history. Its unboundedness lets you create your own adventures, but it makes it hard to craft anything for others to experience.”

      William Blake, also speaking of boundaries, says “The want of a determinate and bounding form evidences the want of idea in the artist’s mind.” I wonder how Blake’s idea speaks to the artists crafting in cyberspace?

      What intrigues me about performance is that while it does have a “determinate and bounding form,” that form is temporal, by nature diffused in the audience’s and the creator’s imaginations.

      Blake championed what he called Eternal Truth, which was visible through these determinate and bounding forms. Most of his contemporaries’ work appealed to the senses rather than the intellect, resulting in mere “blurs and blots,” as he said.

      I think your active searching to figure out how to “bound” something in the “unboundedness” of cyberspace, Van, is awesome, an odyssey toward what Blake would have called an Eternal Truth. The irony is that the serendipity that you mention is transitory, but it’s within this bizarre space where supposedly nothing every disappears (the www). How does this condition affect the imagination? individual and cultural?


  • Izzy 23:15 on 07/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

    Medici University: Alternative MFA Programs 

    logo for Medici University

    Hello Mr. Donnie,
    Please allow me to ask you a serious question if I may. Do you plan to spend the rest of your life waking up in yet another dank, urine reeking alley with no idea how you got there? Or would you like to seize this 2nd chance at life and do something more with it?

    I have decided to open Medici University and offer Alternative MFA programs. Would you consider being a faculty member? We will support the publication of your 1st book Ventriloquism for Dummies. I believe that on the success of this volume, you could write an entire series of books under the clever heading “For Dummies.”

    Here is the university prospectus, let me know of your interest.


    Isabella Medici

    • Donnie 10:27 on 08/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Geez, Princess, I’d be honored, I guess. Every hallowed institution of learning needs at least one odd-ball professor, eh, Princess?
      (The book’s been written, though, kid. Redit).

      • Isabella Medici 15:45 on 08/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Already written? Redit? Please to explain kind sir. Apparently there are certain disadvantages to taking 438 year naps!

  • Vanessa 15:55 on 20/01/2014 Permalink | Reply

    10.2 Miles Done! 

    4 of us walked the whole way, 9 more joined in for part!


    (More …)

  • Vanessa 09:08 on 20/01/2014 Permalink | Reply
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    NH Rebellion LIVE! 

    0.55 miles down!
    total today 10.2 miles
    Canterbury NH to Concord NH

    4 avatars walk on treadmills

    Vanessa, Merriam, Izzy & Caitlyn during Mile 1 of NH Rebellion Canterbury to Concord walk!

    (More …)

  • Vanessa 18:02 on 19/01/2014 Permalink | Reply
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    ART + TECHNOLOGY LAB Hey all I just… 

    Hey all! I just discovered an exciting new project, and request for artist proposals, at Michael’s neighbor LACMA!

    Click to access LACMALabRFP.pdf

    (More …)

    • Christa Forster 20:12 on 19/01/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Van, I’m interested. Here are the bullet points that I feel most resonate with “us”:

      Connection and explorations of portable identities and pseudo-identities
      • Distributed experience and storytelling through multi-dimensional user
      experience design
      • Crowd-sourced information production and human-based computation

      And here are the questions that I think “we” can best answer.

      Is the project artist-led and does it have artistic merit? YES
      • Does it produce an interactive experience that can be presented in the
      public space of the museum (which may include virtual/online space)? YES
      • Does the project suggest models, methods, and/or data that may be of
      interest to other artists and technologists? YES
      • Does the process proposed by the artist include opportunities to present
      demos, prototypes or collaborative opportunities for the public during the
      development period? YES

      The directions are pretty straight forward. With whoever is interested, we can split up the sections and answer them, or we — whoever is interested — could each write responses, and then we could massage the responses into a single app.

      Hello! LOIS WEAVER–> 🙂

  • Vanessa 16:34 on 19/01/2014 Permalink | Reply
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    OMG the lovely delightful and generous @xtaforster has… 

    OMG, the lovely, delightful, and generous @xtaforster has donated a dollar a mile to my virtual NHRebellion.org walk tomorrow!

    Thank you so much!

    BTW, we’ll be walking in SL from 9-2 EZT if you want to drop by and say hi. We’ll have extra treadmills out!

  • Vanessa 03:54 on 15/01/2014 Permalink | Reply
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    On Monday 20 Jan Merriam Galaxy and I… 

    On Monday 20 Jan, Merriam Galaxy and I will be virtually joining the New Hampshire Rebellion walk from Canterbury, NH to Concord NH. Further details to come. You can visit our pages (and even donate to our walks!) here:
    NHRebellion.org / Merriam Galaxy
    NHRebellion.org / Vanessa Blaylock

  • Vanessa 06:56 on 01/01/2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Mars ScreenDance 

    ScreenCap of Christa Forster dancing at the planet Mars at Kimika Ying's Oceania Planetary Park

    Shooting Mars with Christa!

    • xtaforster 00:29 on 02/01/2014 Permalink | Reply

      That was so much fun, Vanessa! It’s been great working with you and learning something totally new at the same time. As I mentioned during our chat, I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration for the monologues that I’m creating from working on this project with you. Thank you, thank you.

  • Christa Forster 17:56 on 30/12/2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Building My Second Self 

    Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 8.09.57 PMI have been pursuing my second self for the better part of the past 24 hours.

    In my attempt to create my Second Life avatar, I have spent more than three hours getting my hair done, three hours trying to decide what to wear, and at least three more hours trying to figure out how to wear what I have decided to wear. It’s almost as confusing and frustrating and ridiculous as it sounds. I’m doing this because I hope to participate in Vanessa Blaylock’s Dance for Camera: The Planets. The deadline for making my avatar is, like, yesterday, because Oceania Planetary Park (LEA 27) CLOSES on 1 January 2014. Alas, we thought we had more time — story of our lives (our first AND second lives).

    The learning process has been tedious, riveting and downright funny. For example, it took me over two hours to go from this, to this, to this and FINALLY — after scouring forums — to this!
    (More …)

    • Christa Forster 18:32 on 30/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

      FYI — Vanessa has been a most accommodating and generous teacher. Thank you, Vanessa!

    • Vanessa 19:35 on 30/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

      Go Xta! The way you Dance, Walk, Stand, Pose, Fly, or anything else is by animating the 21 joints of your avatar’s body. You can create your own animations with a free, easy program like QAvimator (unfortunately it may not run (or will freeze) on current Macs) Fine on PCs.

      The “how to” tutorial:

      You could also use Poser or any other body modeling software.

      Besides making your own, there are also a zillion animations for sale in SL. “Dances” of every kind from Ballet to Hip Hop and even a few Ninja moves. And lots of “stands” “walks” etc. If you look at SL Marketplace, down the left column of categories, you’ll see animations:

      You could also search for any specific type of Dance or Walk you’d like. I’ll send you some In-World LM’s for shops where you can go stand on a base and try out lots of different animations.

      • Christa Forster 05:34 on 31/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

        Okay, so I went to a place:http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Thyris/254/60/24, and I created a dance, which I like! The dress works well with the moves. 🙂

        Before I could “take [the] dance,” the notecard told me that I needed to purchase a Dance HUD, so that I could attach the dance I made to it. So I did. Then I went back to my Dance Master Terminal and “took dance.”

        Now, I have no idea what to do. I went to LEA 27 to see if I could dance it (my dance:), but I remembered that I can’t unpack stuff there. So I went to a public sandbox, but when I clicked on the Dance HUD, there was no option to “wear” or “do” the dance.

        So now I’m stuck again.

        Let’s meet tomorrow…I’ll be up available around 9:30 am CST. I’ll check in with you then.

  • Vanessa 21:01 on 24/12/2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Xta I just learned that Oceania Planetary Park… 

    Xta! I just learned that Oceania Planetary Park CLOSES on 1 January 2014! I’m fine either way on this, so if you want to get something done there in a week, we can, or if it’s too much rush we can skip it.

    With either choice on the physical site… I know you’ve written / recorded some voice on that. We can still do something with that. Where is that BTW? I saw/heard it from a PBR post and meant to comment on it but never had the chance.

    LMK what your pleasure is.
    Ho ho ho, Merry Christ[a]mas!

    • xtaforster 04:16 on 25/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

      Well! The nerve. I haven’t even gone in there yet. Gotta get in there. I wanna get something done in there — YES!

      Here’s the link to the ccmixster snippet. There’s been one remix! So cool.

      Hugh McElveen mentioned that he might wanna remix it, so I will reach out to him to see if he’s still interested.

      I’m with my family right now in CA, but I could probably get in on the 27th or the 29th or the 31st. Around 7:30 PST. Any of those dates work for you?


      • Vanessa 19:39 on 25/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

        Great Xta! All 3 can probably work, but 7:30 PST… AM or PM?

        On the audio: so cool that you got remixed!

        Your recording has a lot of “plosives” in it, which is your breath hitting directly on the microphone diaphragm. On a tiny speaker you might not even hear this, but on speakers with any low end, it tends to be very loud and moves a lot of air mass. The first person to remix it seems to have cleaned that out a little bit, but I think a different mixer could do better…

        Perhaps you’d be up for trying another recording. Without the plosives we might inspire another remix or two. There are a few ways to cut the plosives out. Some microphones have a “low cut” switch which helps. Also, if you aim your breath to go OVER the microphone, and not AT it, that can help a lot. A tool that works great is a “pop filter” which is a hoop with fabric over it. This blocks the big air mass of your plosives, but lets the frequencies of your speech through. You can buy one at most music shops. You can also make one by stretching sheer tights (stockings, pantyhose) over an embroidery hoop and putting that between your mouth and the microphone. You can also try to control how you let your breath out generally and on consonants like “H” and “P”.

        Even though you’d like to eliminate plosives, you still want to be as close to the microphone as you can be. If you back off the mic, you’ll get more and more room tone (it will sound like you’re speaking in a trash can) And a more “dead” room is better. So lots of furniture, sofas, books, fabric, etc will make you sound clearer. A room with lots of hard surfaces, bare walls, etc, will make you sound worse.

        A clean, flat voice track is a gift to a remixer who then has the maximum creative options for their mix. Yay!

    • xtaforster 04:02 on 27/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

      All good ideas. I totally know what you mean by the plosives. It’s a miracle anything got up there at all. That was built for deadline, baby! I’m probably not going to get it rerecorded before the 1st (I can try, but I don’t have a mic out here in California, which is where I am until the 28). So how about we try to meet in SL tomorrow? Let’s shoot for 7:30 a.m. if that works for you.

    • Rebecca 15:11 on 29/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

      What a great topic to be discussing! Never having been much of an online girl, the power and opportunities available through the online medium is something I have come to realize more and more within the past couple years. In realizing this I have attempted to make more of an effort to be present online and connect via the web but I have personally found it very difficult to feel connected when only communicating online, and struggle to get myself committed to such mediums when I find myself more drawn to the physical world in front of me–and I’m of the younger generation.

      I would argue some of it is because, as you both spoke to, many communication sites on the internet can seem so surface level with nothing that enriching coming out of them. But as you both speak about other websites with more intellectual and substantial material I am left to think it is not that the web itself is that banal but the sites that are most known, most frequented and for this reason tend to be the sites people (including myself) gravitate towards unconsciously and easily when online–making people intern want to delete their FB as they don’t want to gravitate towards these cites. The internet has such a wide array of possibilities, and people use it for mindless past-time as well as a way to develop their ideas but it’s all a matter of choice.

      But perhaps one of the benefits, and also the disadvantages, is when online you have the choice of what “watering holes” you will enter. Depending on what you read and where you voice your opinions you are choosing the people you most influence and are influenced by. This can be beneficial because you can be selective to what your needs or desires are, but can’t it also be somewhat dangerous by turning a blind eye to other parts of society that you may not identify with, but are still very much present. Of course this can be done in real life as well but when facing what’s directly in front of you, you don’t have as much of a choice for what comes at you or what “sites”, opinions, or visual imagery you get. The online world seems like a good reactionary and processing place to the real world for me. But I still find it somewhat limited on what you can really learn here and think perhaps your less likely to be surprised as you would in real life experiences. I think. Like you mentioned Michael, people need to be reached off-line as well as online but I think it extends beyond the friends who find such social media websites boring. The thing that makes me, perhaps the best word here is, nervous about this online movement is the amount that it has moved people away from direct contact and interaction. Which I think takes away a lot of little things to be learned, experienced, etc.

      • Vanessa 20:50 on 29/12/2013 Permalink | Reply

        Great Rebecca! On the Physical::Virtual mix, I think that varies a lot by personal taste. I think the wide distribution of preferences on what that mix is, is great. One way that people try to do both, is with Mobile Apps and Augmented Reality. Like an AR app to hold up your phone and see Yelp ratings superimposed on all the food places down the street. That’s definitely useful, but in a way also banal for me. With something like SnapChat, it likely isn’t high-value intellectual content, but it is a personal connection. In a way the radical idea of SnapChat is that it’s a lot about being an “old fashioned” phone conversation.

        I think you’re right about where to go for whatever part of your time you’re going to spend gazing into a flat-screen. Be that a little or a lot of time. Facebook does serve a purpose, but I think a lot of us seem to feel the less FB the better. My real hope is that we can interact here on .Re/act, .Re/search, etc, and build a Conversational Community. I think having a self-selected group who read/react to each other in a space like this can be the best. Our feedback will sometimes be insightful, but even if it isn’t, we’re getting go know a “place” and a group of people and I hope over time that can come to be substantive.

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