Wetmachine Blog: meta-medium

virtual worlds as a medium containing other media

Crisis of Credit

The Crisis of Credit Visualized. Check out Jonathan Jarvis other work.

I can’t wait to see what such artists do with virtual worlds as a medium. As when moving pictures in various forms began by recreating concepts from the existing still pictures or stage theater, artists today are recreating other media in virtual worlds. In a way, my company is not helping things by making it increasingly easy to directly bring external media in-world: 2D static pictures and 3d static models, audio and movies, 1D text, documents, slide shows and spreadsheets, etc. Like some traditional ritualized art forms, it might be artistically more interesting to restrict the artist’s capabilities to whatever it is that is special about virtual worlds.

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Materially Objective

Our David is cute. While testing today that the material editor was working, he captured the display material of the Python timer application running on the display stand, and then applied the material to the floor. The floor, the running application, and the material editor’s texture card and teapot sampler are all counting down.
< %image(20090106-material.jpg|713|476|Editing the material of the floor, using the material of the running Python timer application. All are counting down.)%>

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Five for Talking

Travel for meetings is so last year. This management article in silicon.com describes five alternatives technologies to meetings: instant messaging, virtual worlds, telepresence, Wikis, and social networking. But do these really have to be separate? Let’s take a look at what each of these offers, and what it means for 3D virtual worlds to incorporate the other alternative meeting technologies.

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Sense of Place

I think we normally speak of work being done “in Powerpoint,” “in Word,” and so forth. This morning I looked at a transcript of people discussing virtual worlds while in one. The words “Qwaq” and “Forums” appear once each. The word “here” appears 49 times. We are finally getting to the point of having discussion about the results, not the technology. The program itself disappears, in just the same same way as we usually discuss being “at a Web-site” rather than “in Firefox” or “in Safari.” (Internet Explorer users may indeed reflect their tool’s relative intrusion by thinking of their activity as being “in IE” more often.)

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If 100 people watch a PowerPoint together on the Internet, is it still boring?

My last post referenced a movie of a “talk show” in Second Life, prompting John to ask about the relationship of avatar richness to the experience. I think there’s a simple trick that’s worth making explicit.

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Is Croquet a medium for individual interactions or group interactions? Both!

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“The Medium is the Message”

One of the arguments against sharing music was society will be diminished because no one will create music without a sufficient intellectual property incentive.

We now have a flourishing culture of sharing for video, in which people of diverse skill levels are creating huge amounts of content. No shortage there.

So I want to ask, “Is there a flourishing of digital music content today?” Surely it is easier to both create and enjoy music than it is for video. (Music requires lower bandwidth and less power, play-anywhere music devices are good and plentiful, and music creation software are quite fantastic.)

It feels like there is lot of free music available in video form. I wonder if the legal fight against music sharing — rather than sharing itself — has stifled the medium of sound-only recording, even as the more demanding but less legally bullied video medium has exploded. The music itself has just been switched to a new medium, and may ultimately be better for it.

Meanwhile, it seems that half the top 10 best selling printed novels in Japan were written on and for cell phone distribution. I’ve heard that the explosion in the genre coincides with the spread of flat-rate pricing on text messaging.

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Current projects, and movies vs interactive machinima

Check out the movies of U.Minnesota’s neato language lab. They’re leveraging Croquet’s open architecture to produce custom behavior, and the unique core model to make everything efficiently recordable. The third movie blows me away. (But watch ’em all.)

Greenbush Labs (edu software) has a couple of movies showing what you can do right out of the box. Some of the stuff they guy tries isn’t working quite right, but it’s still cool as snot. Must be the tunes.

No movies yet of the Krestianstvo installations being shown at the top Russian art museums. Nikolay has also combined Croquet and the Sophie/FutureOfTheBook projects – not quite as in this wonderful movie by Daniel Lanovaz, but heading that way, I suppose.

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Sophie-Croquet Trailer

Something went horribly right…

Daniel Lanovaz has sent a message to the squeak-dev mailing list. I’ve reproduced it verbatim below the fold. Fun stuff.

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Culture Jamming: Our Dominant Medium

< %image(20070523-z4896821.jpg|337|400|Ali - Liston)%>

When making music required a big, heavy and expensive piano and lots of lessons, music was good. Real good. But the electric guitar changed all that! Good thing!

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