Px Cubed: a suggestion

 
 
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Last autumn, as part of Pixelache’s programme, six or seven of us undertook a Virtuality Grand Tour. Wconcerned themselves with E showed each other things that we had made or found, or were in the process of making or finding. These hung together because they all, in one way or another, dealt with the web as a “space”, and in particular as a space within which we could raise questions of authenticity, history and identity.

I was very happy to meet everyone in the group and to have opportunities to share ideas and information; and to come together to work and play. Since then I have been thinking about how we could take this forward, and this is what I have come up with. What I am proposing is a suggested starting point to get us up and running in the direction of the one day seminar in May. There we can all meet in person and spend some or all of our time at Camp Pixelache finding out what we loner term actions we can take.

I propose that we

1. give ourselves a name;
2. establish a social media site that will act as our open and public space on the web;
3. run VGT 2 in the Spring, starting in February; this time carefully documenting it so that the documentation forms our first online exhibition;
4. program a one-day seminar at Arcada the day before the official opening of Camp Pixelache. I have already booked the small auditorium for this, so we have the space with full media facilities available for us.

The name

I propose that we become Px Cubed (or Px3 with a raised three). The three stands for 3D, and also for triadic understanding (see the yoga of threeing or the outline at the Documenta site) which I have come to think is a necessary tool to research how people slide between the real and virtual.

The site

I have been building a site in Buddypress, which is the social media framework that has been built on top of WordPress. Both are open source, and will allow us to create a space that links wherever we want it to link. Personally I feel that we should be creating our own open spaces and not relying upon Facebook and G+ to communicate. I feel that we should be using those to make announcements that bring people to our site, where the actual discussion happens. I feel this particularly acutely in our case since we all share an interest in radical media-art.

If people think that this is a good idea then I can have the site ready to be launched on Valentine’s Day! I have hosting space, and I can easily register a domain name. I can justify spending time on this because it can also act as a site for my first year students at Arcada to look at to see Buddypress in action. I have to do a demo site, so I might as well make it something that will serve a purpose.

VGT2

After we had finished the first season of the Grand Tour we discussed doing it again with a view to making a set of documentation. Since time has passed I would like to suggest a modified version of this.

I suggest that we agree a second season along the same lines as the first. Everyone who joins leads an online workshop about an place or event or game online that is in one sense or another a “virtual world”. This can be the same place or event that you showed last time, since it may well have developed since the last session, or it can be something entirely different.

This time we will not do a live introduction. Instead everyone will make a pecha kucha slide show with a pre-recorded sound track that intrroduces the session. This will be posted on the site the week before the session, everyone will look at it, and then we will meet online to explore the topic.

If you need a refresher about the pecha kucha format you can find one here at pechakucha.org.

This will mean that VGT2 is self-documenting. At the end we will have a set of pecha kucha shows on the site as our first online show. I understand that we could document our activities in many, more exciting and mind-expanding ways. However I think that if we stick to one understood format that is both informative and inherently playful, we will produce a show that will serve as a good introduction to the possibilities in the spaces that we are exploring.

The Seminar

The seminar will hopefully serve as a place where we can all get to meet in person and spend some time together.

I am planning to create an alternate reality game with students at Arcada this Spring and I am thinking of seeing if we can tie it into the seminar as our contribution to the day. The game will be based on some of the principles that Jane McGonigal puts forth at realityisbroken.org.

As I said above I have booked a space in Arcada for the day that will house up to 98 people, and has full media playback facilities, including a functioning Connect Pro system. I also have students who could work with any of you that wanted to develop something for this space.

Final Thoughts by Criswell

I have written this with the hope that this will start a conversation, and that this conversation will lead us towards some interesting experiments. There is nothing I have written that cannot easily be undone or changed, and there is certainly nothing here that I am unwilling to change.

Please leave thoughts in the comments section below, and if it seems like a good idea to enough people we can get on and do it.

In the immortal words of Criswell (spoken in Plan 9 From Outer Space), “remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future”.

 
 
Posted on January 17, 2013