[NetBehaviour] ELO seed talk outline - Second Life phenomenology

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Jun 1 18:24:51 CEST 2010

ELO seed talk outline - Second Life phenomenology

Second Life is a coherent system, based on mathesis, energy expenditure
dynamics; it is not a collocation of levels; Heisenberg does not apply
(except by crude analogy).

Second Life is theoretically a space of total control; control extends to
physics as well.

There are boundaries, but no differentiations in Second Life.

Physics and earths are afterthoughts at best. Permissions are equivalent
to cosmological constants under the sign of capital.

In Second Life, everything is inscribed, and inscription is everywhere
consistent. Its description is its fundamental ontology. It is split;
constants are by consensus. There are no basic forces at work; motion is
the result of redraw, rewrite.

The virtual world is chosen; it is also intended. The virtual world lies
within a potential well; it has both internal and external boundaries: it
_runs_ at a designated clock-tine; it is a construction within the social;
it is, in other words, a fabric.

Virtual worlds are split from the real (guided, protected, within the
literally circumscribed, circumprogrammed, potential well), and split in
terms of decision trees (this - and not that - gravitational constant
_chosen_ for example). And virtual worlds are always already as-if; there
is nothing else to them. As-if what? As if they're dynamic, as if the
illusions were real. Real how? As-if one might turn away from the screen,
unplug everything, and fly.

Leakages between real and virtual - neither polarities nor entirely
independent: the body, inscribed, is already virtual; the virtual world,
embodied, is already real. The bridge between them is the uncanny; both
reals are imaginary. Leakage is abject - as if there were leakage, as if
there were virtual/real polarities.

So we might say:

Real life - immersive, fundamentally dynamic (potential stases) - inter-
nal: operated _in._ Immersive: inhabited within the space-time manifold,
such that contradiction or contrary is always a process; in the real,
nothing contradicts anything. In real life, there is no server roll-back.

Second life - definable, fundamentally static (real mobility) - external
operators: operated _on._ How definable? Every element has been placed,
intentionally; every element carries permissions and attributes; every
element may be removed; every region, every thing, every world, may be

Think of a phenomenological horizon of entangled information, present but
readable only in very limited ways.

Within Second Life, there is only within; the safe-words for escape are
quit, abort, shutdown, delete.

Within, there are signs among universal inscription:


signs within (readable) scripts
signs above or connected to objects (think avatar names, other)
signs on object textures
universal signs as video on parcel according to privileged texture
universal signs as videos on parcels according to media textures
ad hoc:
chat, instant messaging < > indexical
voice < > ikonic


Dynamic inscriptive regimes (always involves the subject/viewer):

narratological styles with avatar and object movements, textures
diegesis, avatars moving or being moved (controlled-by)
indexical signs of violence, sexuality, and so forth:
  < > projections < introjections > jectivity < >


objects and part-objects: seductions, lures, impediments

Everyday Life:

indexical objects, models, simulacra, re-enactments:
  absolutely unnecessary

_every_ movement or object in a virtual world that close parallels
movement or objects in physical reality - is already a re-enactment

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