Place Of Sense

Metamorphosis Of Dialogue In Art And Society
By Technological Virtual Reality

Artists have never been slow to exploit new tools and materials and this is no less true of the computer and its attendant devices.

The adoption of the computer for most artistic uses is simply as a sophisticated tool, a device that makes the processing of visual material quick and precise; whether for graphic design, time based media or the development and manufacture of three-dimensional objects from space vehicles to detergent bottles, the computer plays a role from the initial idea to the finished product. In these applied contexts the computer interprets the wishes of the user, allowing a high degree of experimentation and presenting the material for use in a variety of media.

There are some who have ambitions to create a future where electronic ‘virtual realities’, allowing our full participation, will merge literature, cinema and television as a means of self-absorption, enable discourse and interaction over vast distances or revolutionise aspects of society with techniques like remote ‘virtual surgery’. Computers are host to these virtual environments, interconnected by new ever widening digital data highways.

Art and the artist will evolve in this new technological environment, but the new virtual art will reflect and partake in the increasingly immaterial nature of contact within society. Ontological debate preoccupied with art as ‘object’ will have to concern itself with a new ethereal territory as elusive as thought itself.

Some observers see a crisis in fine art and its failure for society as the result of its apparent elitism and the debasement of its value to society as a whole by a de-mystification, the consequence of a determinist reductionist strategy of survival by an expanding technocracy. Their utopian demands for a restitution of spirituality in art, a “re-enchantment of art” (Gablik), may be in some way satisfied with an art medium which is less subject to inductive reasoning, the product of the forthcoming interconnectedness of individuals within an electronic community, sprouting simultaneously from high echelons of academic computer institutions and from simpler circuitry in homes and offices around the world. The person who considers themselves a poached egg may not be ‘mad’ [1], and the phrase, “here be dragons” may take on new astonishing significance in the expanding electronic virtual universe.

The development of computers can be seen as a significant step in an ‘intellectual’ evolutionary process of personal enhancement by the refinement of tools of communication and resolution that began thousands of years ago.

The rightness of natural form has inspired and enlightened human beings in their attitudes to structure and design for millennia. The evolutionary processes of Darwinian ‘selection’ have advanced debate on creative thought in both art and science. Amongst the many visual languages, depiction of scientific theory, always important, has undergone a recent revolution with such discoveries as fractal geometry and ‘chaos’ theory, made visible by the rapid iterations possible with computer technology. Artificial intelligence (Al) experiments with artists are informing the debate on cognitive psychology. Science and technology has provided many tools, techniques and materials for the artist to choose from and informed and stimulated their work. The interest now evidenced in the creative act by the scientific community as a way of exploring the processes of the brain with mathematical computer models, could be a re-merging of art, science and philosophy that ultimately may be more significant in shaping our cultural evolution than any since the Renaissance.

Dreams of creating true Al developed from the creation of ancient mechanical automata which merely mimicked the sound and movement of lifeforms, to the construction of artefacts whose capacity for computation allows the simulation of intelligence. The evolution of electronic computers can be traced from this development of calculating devices that performed or simulated tasks normally associated with the mind. This ancient desire to create, the belief in virtual or simulated life, to live partly in shadows, together with need for communication as a means to societal organisation are the prime motivations behind our presently emerging global electronic virtual community. The striving for effortless suspension of disbelief in both aural and visual ‘immersive’ technology could ultimately take us into a universe beyond the resolution of all our senses.

Whether we like it or not nearly all of us are now linked to a vast electronic information network. Databases store fragments of our lives, whether our birth- date, medical or school history, the sum of money in our bank account or accumulated data from our working lives. Daily, we are required to interact with this vast interlinked information network, expanding and developing in complexity.

Extending Plato’s ‘cave’ allegory, Karl Popper describes three worlds. [2]

The ‘first world’ consists of, “physical objects and physical states” material things – energy and weight; the ‘second world’ of, “states of consciousness… behavioural dispositions to act”, the feelings, dreams, memories and so on of individual minds; the ‘third world’ of, “objective contents of thought, especially of scientific and poetic thoughts and of works of art” some of which are structures of communication, purely informational. We have developed the faculty of abstraction, philosophies evolved from a need to explain or rationalise the universe and our place in it, manifested in our artefacts. Language, mysticism, philosophy, theosophy, theatre, literature, cinema, television and much else have evolved this interaction, these ‘configurations’.

We put a card into a cash-machine to withdraw money or select services, standing at an interface with a world-wide electronic network, the machine a simple input/output device, perhaps composed of a miniature VDU and small numeric keypad but nevertheless part of a vast interaction.

Our earnings up until that moment are likely, now, never to have existed as real tokens, they have been virtual merely pulses in the data stream and are likely to remain so far longer as additional machines are installed at points-of-sale or as more of us buy at home by means of television.

More and more of those physical activities that are connected to original reality, of the ‘first world’ are slipping into the ‘third world’ the virtual space beyond the electronic interface.

As we use these ever overlapping data systems our purchases and withdrawals are recorded, our spending habits monitored and studied, the information disseminated and consequently we receive incentives from manufacturers and suppliers offering goods and services related to our spending habits, or the cable companies modify the list of products offered to us on screen. It has become common practise as part of a modern marketing strategy to ask ‘when and where’ we saw, or ‘how and why’ we like.

The television interface is a passive one-way communication, an imagined interaction with reality, a sense of something seen to be done.

The television set, a camp-fire for the late twentieth century, comforting us in disbelief; a technological crucifix, warding off spirits, generating a “someone else’s problem field”, (Douglas Adams); keeping the wild unknown safely beyond a ring of light.

Sometimes perhaps still, we see things in the flames, but less and less; a comforting glow to gather around in constructed caves of brick and wood and plastic.

Language, mythic ritual, literature, theatre, cinema, radio and now, television.

“Communion not necessarily communication – [then] networked communion, of life not really lived anywhere.” [3]

Through this medium we are safely exposed to the world, the original reality, both re-presented and simulated; jumbled-together expectation, gain and loss, depredation and violence, but somehow without a real sense of involvement.

All pervasive is advertising, feeding our expectations, encouraging our sometimes wanton desire for self-improvement, explaining why we need things; how we could be better at this or that; how much time we could save in drudgery for more time spent doing the things we really want to do; why and how we should modify our appearance, change the way others perceive us and improve our longevity or chances for promotion. Series, repeats and repeats of series, parallel worlds, contemplated longer and longer. Perhaps somewhere in these worlds James Stewart is forever poised to leap from a bridge, “lt’s a Wonderful Life”; and somewhere, always, Elvis is singing “Love Me Tender”.

Twenty-four hours a day, a constant merry-go-round of emotion; anger, hate, fear, love, jealousy, sorrow, triumph and despair, explaining for us that this is the way we are; this is the way we live our lives, how we judge for want of real experience, real debate, absorbing and applying its clipped morality, produce of the ‘second world’ ignoring the ‘third’; perhaps living mostly in this simulated world with those who appear to excel; to succeed, to achieve security, peace and fulfilment or suffering and loss. Unable to cleanly filter that which is inside, that which is outside and what is virtual and what is actual, short-circuiting common sense.

Sometimes beyond the screen, when life is disappointing and mundane, or rather wishing what is beyond the screen outside, willing it out by our belief or our suspension of disbelief; willing visitors from other planets, willing tropical moon-lit beaches or walks on other moons, visiting far-off lands in other times before Paradise lost – the world unspoilt. Seeking solitude alone or in crowds, wishing fulfilment, the delicious pleasure of creativity, to fly, to kill or be killed, to live a hundred life-times in one, millennia of abstracted thought up to this present, perhaps no more in a ‘first world’ than ever.

The Boundary is such that soon television companies will offer us all the subject choice we want, in an attempt to introduce interactivity, the medium shape-shifting in an attempt to survive, selectively categorised; Sport, Theatre, Movies, Music, Nature, Gardening, Cookery, Holidays, Art, Science, ‘Edutainment’, the list could be endless, ever divisible; smaller categories, War movies, Westerns, Musicals, Horror, Cult… The companies’ vision of a thousand channels, every subject imaginable and profitable; simulated freedom of choice, or a melange individually biased, our viewing habits scrutinised in an attempt to accommodate, for a small charge instantly deducted from our virtual bank accounts.

So the Interaction Begins? A debate which by the constant improvements in information technology and populist pressure is evolving towards a more truthful interactivity, away from the mute trance. Television is not the medium of true self-motivated interaction, the nearest it gets at present is with such as teleconferencing, which permits audio and visual communication at professional business levels of society, but certainly no service at all for the general public.

The television companies are presently committed to providing television software having invested heavily in the technology required, such as satellites; but as ‘multimedia’ technology producers compete for a larger share in what people spend on their leisure, linked more and more into the expanding optic cable network, subscriptions to television channels may dip, forcing investment in other forms of ‘on-line’ entertainment at present provided on BBS’ [5] by enthusiastic amateurs or at best by companies with much lower profiles than those involved in television broadcasting.

‘Compact disc’ home entertainment systems’ [6] are a new departure, for the first time, sound and vision reproduction, computers and the link to telecommunication systems will be merged in one package. There have been ‘on-line’ multiplayer simulations, entertainments and conferencing for some years but they have not been mainstream activities. An expectant new generation of computer literate individuals familiar with the procedures required to take part in such activities is already with us. Apart from facilities for music and visual reproduction and the ability to run vastly more complex interactive simulations and games environments than even the most recent equipment, the CD based technology will allow telephony and access to a large number of world-wide database systems.

Proposals by Professor Peter Cochrane, Head of research at British Telecom recently suggested that a communications revolution is being taken very seriously by major companies.

“The new environment will alter the course of society on a bigger scale than the Industrial Revolution of the last century [C19], creating an information world in which the artificial barriers between work and play, home and office are being broken down. The nature of commerce and society is already changing in revolutionary ways, with company, business, national and international boundaries disappearing. An example of how this might evolve commercially is the development partnership recently agreed between BT and News Corporation, to provide a new raft of on-demand video-based services direct to the home. The home is thus next.” [7]

It is the aim of such companies that in the near future wherever anyone is located within a communicable distance, by cable, satellite link, cellular phones, hand held computers or by other means they will be able to enter the digital network. The time has already past when we where able to switch-off, to disconnect. Like insects, networking, communicating, we are becoming a single organism, crawling and connecting; as Robinson Crusoe discovered it is not this place of infinite possibilities but what we take with us that will become our devils.

In addition to the connections for common peripheral input devices such as ‘mice’ and ‘joysticks’ provided on the forthcoming multimedia systems, it is already being discussed that interfaces be included for third-party manufacturers to attach VR headsets and other peripherals necessary for ‘immersive’, ‘interactive’ simulations, ‘real-time’ ‘on-line’ VR environments. There would become available an ‘immersive’ link with others, either simply to share simulations, to chat or hold conferences. it will be the electronic youth sub-culture that will spur the development of such populist interaction, emerging from behind their hand-held games as the cost of more advanced technology tumbles. [8] The difference in presentation between the present on-line networking services with their “CEEFAX” or ‘windows’ type interfaces and ‘immersive’ networking could be profound. The ability to explore three-dimensional information cities by means of a gestural interface. [9] The ability to enter familiar structuressuch as banks, libraries, supermarkets, conduct business, by means of the digital information network, perhaps an end to grand edification in the ‘first world’ Karl Popper’s ‘third World’ back where perhaps it always belonged. Reduced pollution and depletion of resources caused by merely the myriad pieces of paper physically moved from one location to another every hour. The familiar concept of a newspaper would become merely one media for presentation of information from the massed digital data-base, a simple matter of selecting from a constantly updated news-network and perhaps printing a ‘hard-copy’ of something of interest, collecting material on preselected subjects from a personalised ‘Vu-box’ if wished, or watching simulated FMV [10] screens or animations within the virtual environment together with 3D sound. All literature, all music, all pictures, all information absorbed, digitised, available at any time, surrounding us as we move through it; for the majority television may, within the next two decades along with other media, become a less useful means of information dissemination or communication. Like literature and cinema, delayed discourse, people at present resorting to other means of response. At some time in the future as someone takes a seat in the Albert Hall for a concert, a million other people may be occupying that same seat.

“Although man has been living and dying for a million years he has only been writing for six thousand” [11]

Art is key or code, a thought trigger, a physical manifestation of thought, like the simple algorithm for a complex fractal as we bear on the object it generates its own universe, its own being, from the knowledge we bring to it.

Since their earliest existence human beings have evolved methods of representation, means of recording information about the world around them.—The first inscriptions found on clay tablets at the great temple complex at the site of Uruk in Sumer [12] are pictographic of agricultural merchandise, mundane but practical beginnings for techniques that have subsequently allowed the dissemination of a vast accumulation of complex thought. Writing and the recording of information has contributed enormously in accelerating what Richard Dawkins calls “meme” evolution [13] in that it became unnecessary to verbalise ideas directly, the facility was evolved to translate symbols transparently into thought allowing complex concepts to evolve; and with such as ‘copying’ and the subsequent techniques of printing a text-based revolution took place in the processing of information. All visual representation of knowledge relies on this learned acceptance of symbolic codified thought; development of representation in arts and sciences have common abstract origins.

Classical Greek mathematicians preferred not to interact with physical objects in regard to mathematics and applied an abstract concept which they believed to be permanent and incorruptible, it was better to consider an abstract sphere than a stone sphere. Any theorem proved about an abstract sphere could be applied to a sphere in the real world. These mathematical abstractions led to other forms of physical abstraction.

Plato suggested that although there was the world of the senses, of the earth, there is also the world of the spirit, of abstract concepts like Beauty, Justice, Intelligence, Goodness, Perfection and the State. These idealisations were considered similar to the abstract concepts of mathematics and were central to Plato’s philosophy. With our senses we can grasp the physical world, but only with our minds can we contemplate beauty. In Plato’s words,

“…geometry will draw the soul towards truth, and create the spirit of philosophy…”

“To learn how to think about the one is to learn how to think about the other” [l4]

The Greek tendency to abstraction in the classical period was not confined just to philosophy and mathematics but also included art. Figurative sculpture of the period did not consider individual men and women, but idealised types. The passive faces of their sculpture reflect the abstract nature of their conception, for emotions are a manifestation of the real world, they are instances of time, and are therefore not to be included.

lt was such attempts to explain the universe that founded conceptual thinking which led ultimately to ‘logical thought’ considered necessary by such as Aristotle (384-322BC) pupil of Plato, thereby creating a foundation for modern logic as used in computer software.

Interest in Aristotelian logic survived into modern times with major contributions by Kant, Hamilton, Bolzano and Liebnitz (1646-1716). New formalisms developed, such as ‘Boolean algebra’, a system of symbolic logic devised by George Boole (1815-64) to codify non-mathematical logical operations.

Pythagoras (?580-?500BC) and many of the ancient thinkers were aware of the importance of numbers in describing how the universe worked, as did later thinkers such as Rene Descartes (1596-1650), French philosopher and mathematician.

The mathematical coordinate system devised by Descartes as a way of plotting curves is used universally by computers to store the descriptions of visual objects in numerical terms. A computer using a Visual Display Unit or VDU to describe a point on a two-dimensional plane using the Cartesian coordinate system of X and Y axes requires a minimum of two numbers, excluding other detail such as colour information, to suggest three dimensions by adding the Z axis (depth) as with simulations or virtual reality simulations, at least three numbers are required.

Euclid, a third century BC Greek mathematician of Alexandria and author of ‘Elements’ sets out the principles of geometry. Euclidean geometry is tactile because it‘s conclusions correspond with our sense of touch but not with our sense of sight, in abstract Euclidean geometry parallel lines never meet. We never see parallel lines since they always converge.

Renaissance artists by their development of systems of ‘focused’ perspective have contributed to the development of geometry used for visual representation by computers, the investigation arising because of the notion that a distinction can be made between the world we touch and the world we see. It was proposed that there should be two geometries, that of the ‘tactile’ world and that of the ‘visual’ world.

The theory of ‘focused’ perspective was established by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) who had formed a system of perspective by 1425. The first written account of a system is the ‘Della Pitura’ published in 1436 by Leon Baptista Alberti (1404-72) architect, painter, writer and musician. Alberti declares in this work that the first requirement of an artist is to know geometry. The development of this optical approach to perspective developed over several hundred years and gained popularity over ‘conceptual’ perspective by which a painting is organised in accordance with a principle or ideology that has very little to do with the real scene. [15]

The fusion of Art and technology and the increasing cyberneticism of society is producing a new culture. The impact of immersive technologies will be such that the boundaries that have separated those aspects of our social structure that have polarised around ‘work’ and ‘play’ will disappear together with greater dematerialisation of that sense of self, separateness or self-sufficiency, the “screens” as Baudrillard describes us as having become may fade as more communication becomes discourse…

“We used to live in the imaginary world of the mirror, of the divided self and of the stage, of otherness and alienation. Today we live in the imaginary world of the screen, of the interface and the reduplication of contiguity and networks. All our machines are screens. We too have become screens. Nothing that appears on the screen is meant to be deciphered in depth, but actually to be explored instantaneously, in an abreaction immediate to meaning – or an immediate convolution of the poles of representation.”

The populist demand for the ‘biologising’ of technology is taking Richard Dawkins theory of cultural “meme” evolution from the body to the machine as the electronic interface becomes prosthetic, transparent and the software becomes self-organising, symbiotic, the technological body evolving to keep pace; beyond the passive communications of television, the ‘hard-wired’ messages of page-flipping ‘hypermedia’. The democratisation of the new interactivity must be more than just the availability of information, it must be interaction beyond ‘images’, with their subversive capacity, beyond ideological, political and economic considerations. lts power for subversion and surveillance under the auspices of supplying to the consumer is a constant threat to what should be a natural and democratic process.

The art that now emerges from this medium must be more than celebration of technology, the presentation of technical novelties or illustrations of scientific theory. The technology must not become a justification in itself for the label of art. The difficulty with new materials and media is that mere novelty is sometimes confused with aesthesis, the important issue is that the architecture of the new medium should not be judged in the sense of a traditionally experiential object, it is the vessel for a transient and ethereal form of representation and expression not concerned with re-contextualisation of the machine as art object.

The language of art is in constant evolution regardless of taste, fashion or elitism.

“Modernist art seems to be art that honours the past because tradition is a protection against excess, in contrast to modern art, which is always on the point of declaring history is a burden” [16]

What can be judged acceptable as art is a matter for self-discrimination and what is perceived as dangerous is that to accept every sensorially perceivable manifestation, transformed, re-contextualised or not as art would result in a subversion of aesthetic judgement to the point of making any definition of art meaningless. The difficulty of accepting computer-based technology as an art medium partly arises out of this seemingly necessary discrimination, but if we accept re-contextualisation and transformation as valid means to expression and a part condition for acceptance, it follows that the experiences of an immersive interactive technology are no less valid than the transfiguration of a painted landscape. The technology is not merely a frame but more than a frame, we are through the “looking glass”, beyond ourselves. What is important is that the processes of transformation and discourse take place and not the materials or the media.

Seymour Papert, director of the Epistemology and Learning Group at the MIT

Media Lab, sees,

“… no technical obstacle to creating a “knowledge machine” that allows navigation through a virtual space”

That the artist will develop within this new technological environment is certain, but what form will expression now adopt? Early uses of computer technology by artists as an interactive medium began as a progression from the use of electronic and integrated circuitry and have included its use simply as an input translator/processor, reacting to movement in a space (gallery) and signalling or responding with an output in a predetermined or quasi-random fashion.

Juan Downey’s “Against Shadows” (1968) is a kinetic sculpture activated by shadows. The piece comprises a wall mounted matrix of lamps. Each lamp’s state, either on or off, is controlled by connection to a corresponding matrix of photoelectric cells mounted in the top surface of a box placed on the floor nearby.

The observer interacts by casting shadows across the surface of the cells thereby causing the corresponding lamps to light. The sculptures sometimes produce a reversal of phenomena.

He considers that with this piece and others mentioned, that the “Art [was] more concerned with thinking about what people experience than with producing objects” His “A Machine with Three Conditions” he describes as,

“A sculpture that demands certain conditions from the surroundings before it is activated. The machine, somewhat like the brain, selects and receives input, adds it up and then produces an output. For example, Condition 1 – If touched, the machine repeats over and over: “Somebody is touching me.””

By todays standards, early experiments suffered as a result of poor output devices, the artist had to be content with vector displays and simple plotters.

Computers were not readily available. Access to computers, such as it was, was only available at colleges and research establishments and had to be booked in advance.

Sophisticated graphics, robots, and high resolution printers are relatively new facilities. Now artists have a variety of devices by which to output their work, many of which are adaptations of industrial equipment and with the emerging immersive technologies the potential for the fine artist would be great.

Virtual worlds as infinite as the imagination. There may be the plinth – the great divider, or there may be no ground whatsoever, no gravity. There may be a canvas plane, a window, or there maybe infinite surfaces.

The artist who interprets landscape could create three-dimensionable virtual landscape, interactive abstract landscape of the mind such as with Myron Kruegers contemporary work “Small Planet” which he describes thus,

“A shared telecommunication space and of unencumbered full-body participation with a graphic world through video projection of computer graphics – a format that so far is more attractive to artists than head-mounted displays. In this exhibit, several Videoplace installations will be networked together to allow participants to interact in a single graphic world. This installation is a departure from previous work in that the world portrayed is 3D… Participants will stand in front of a large projection screen depicting a realistic 3D terrain. The projection screen will be a portal into that world. Participants will be able to fly through that terrain.” [17]

Krueger suggests that the world would be explorable and that a variety of interactions would be possible. Participants will be able to change the planet as they move around. For example, defoliating or refoliating as they pass.

“Since abstract forms come from the spirit rather than nature, abstract art is deeply and uniquely human, a vehicle for what Kandinsky appropriately called “the spiritual” in art.” [18]

Like sowing seeds the planting of fractal-generating algorithms would create a multitude of variations on a theme. Evoking a ‘seed’ number would cause a landscape to grow. The sense of placing the object within the landscape could seem unnecessary. God and creator within one’s own universe. One universe may flow into another, networked together. There could be landmarks or fluid architecture adapting to the volume of use and stored information. The art would be interactive, responsive, provocative, demanding, questioning, drawing on all knowledge, a melange for all the senses. The notion of the terminable art object may cease to have significance in these worlds, modifying the notion of reinterpretation through historical re-contextualisation. Art-works that are fluid, three-dimensional expressions of thought, solitary or multi-participatory, evolving and mutating over time. Growing, splitting, borrowing or devouring, found floating lost in the information matrix.

It is possible to compare the methodology of sculptors such as William Latham with the computer bio-morph processes described by Richard Dawkins, [19] which John Lansdown describes thus,

“The logic and consistency of Latham’s possible worlds arises from, as much as anything else, his concept of an evolutionary approach to the making of sculpture. The complexity and vitality of the forms he devises come about from the step by step accretion of “operations on simple initial shapes such as cones, spheres or tori – a process which is illustrated in the large line drawing of the evolutionary tree of forms which he completed in 1984 at the Royal College Of Art.”” [20]

Latham discovered a kind of mutation in the printing and animation processes he was using.

“I had found that an image would gradually change as I printed an edition of prints until the final print was completely different from the first.”

Similarities can be seen between the computer-biomorph evolutionary trees of Richard Dawkins and William Latham’s 1984 drawing. Latham came to the use of computers and the resultant virtual sculpture as the result of a dissatisfaction with his attempts to produce forms from his evolutionary tree by traditional methods.

He discovered that by using the computer he could work in a “three-dimensional volume of synthetic space” which allowed him to work freely using a series of program instructions to describe the sequence of mutation. He describes this space as a “world free from physical constraints such as gravity, material resistance and time.”  Working in this way he found he could also allow random mutation to contribute to the creative process. Latham’s virtual sculpture exists only in Cibachrome prints or in animations like his “Conquest of form”, in reality they consist simply of data.

Erkki Huhtamo points out a distinction must be made between the creative computer scientist whose artwork may be the by-product of scientific research and that of the artist with different motives.

“The nature of art in the SIGGRAPH art show becomes really visible when contrasted with the trade show, the main commercial and technological focus on the conference. Art in the art show represents something which is not immediately functional. It is a kind of creative pastime, which is, however, close enough to the hard-core research to enjoy a certain respectability.” [21]

Computer systems have since their beginning been developed for political and military purposes and it is for this that financial support has been made available.

Companies have discovered this kind of creative improvisation can and certainly has contributed to development, although little of the art produced by research establishments could be said to criticise the ethical and political motives of the respective companies.

The interfacing with virtual environments as demand increases will become more transparent, as familiar as possible, in the way that a painter loses consciousness of the brush in his hand, the interface for the user must be intuitive.

Cartesian Determinism maybe of little use here, yet it is precisely this reductionist vision that has enabled this technology to occur. These worlds where inductive reasoning will be ineffectual, where the familiar diurnal rhythms of day following night, of gravitational certainties may need to be re-assessed. There may be no right way up.

This will be a universe of re-mystification, of infinite improbabilities and of demons.

Steven Cockrill 1993


[1] Karl Popper – “Objective Knowledge – An Evolutionary Approach” 1975, p5
after Russell – “A History of Western Philosophy”

[2] Karl Popper – “Objective Knowledge – An Evolutionary Approach” 1975, p106

[3] Benedict – “Cyberspace” p10 after Newcomb 1976

[4] INTERNET Video communications are expanding their video-conferencing network and improving the system with data compression systems lCLl) Compression Labs Incorporated (CDVTM) Compressed Digital Video. They claim 15,000 installed systems at present. Source – INTERNET

[5] Companies like Compuserve and CIX in Britain provide services and access for many different formats of computer to a world-wide communication network using the national and international telephone networks. Provided a modem and suitable ‘comms’ software is run it is possible to join millions of other users in ‘on-line’ debates, leave messages, request information, access databases on many diverse subjects; take part in real-time multi-player simulations, collect messages, for a monthly subscription and the cost of a local telephone call

[6] Source ~ “Amiga Computing” Sept 1993

[7] The Sunday Times supplement – “Live 93” p3, published 12th September 1993. A guide to Britain’s biggest ever consumer electronics show held at Olympia in September 1993

[8] According to recent surveys video games are now out-selling popular music, 10% of the American trade deficit with Japan is due to the sale of video games

[9] “Point-to-fly” and menu selection possible by hand gestures within a virtual environment by means of a “data glove”

[10] “Full Motion Video” made possible over digital networks by means of “data compression”

[11] René Etiemble from “Writing, Alphabets and Scripts” p11, Thames and Hudson

[12] The earliest evidence yet discovered suggests that the process of writing began in ancient Mesopotamia approximately three thousand years BC

[13] “Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves I the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process that in the broad sense can be called imitation.” – Richard Dawkins “The Selfish Gene” p192