This is the research diary of researcher Lisbeth
Klastrup, since february 2001 sharing her thoughts on life, universe, persistent online
worlds, games, interactive stories and internet oddities with you on the www.
Fellow research bloggers
Martin Sønderlev Christensen
Jonas Heide Smith
Terra Nova (misc, joint)
GrandTextAuto (US, joint)
Mirjam Paalosari-Eladhari (SE)
Jane McGonigal (US)
Patrik Svensson (SE)
Elin Sjursen (NO)
Adrian Miles' Vog blog (AUSTR.)
Other Related Blogs
Hovedet på Bloggen
Fellow Researchers, non-blog
Troels Degn Johansson
©Lisbeth Klastrup 2001-2007
kuro5shin has a reasonably precise list of Blogger Types, supplied by Frank's description of the Research Blogger (the reblogger), which is close to the point apart from the fact that that there are some of us rapidly moving away from the big 30 in the wrong direction! (But mostly a Scandinavian thing, I think, due to the fact that we can actually afford spending a lot of time studying before we get to the Ph.D. level...)
This news flash is the only one I can find which lists theFive Rules of Virtuality, Steve Woolgar et al discusses in the new book from OUP on "Virtual Society? - technology, cyberbole, reality".
Hmmh. Interesting development at the Crimescene.com site where you can solve imaginary murder mysteries. Now they are offering access (for the paid members) to surveillance videos - latest mail from them boasts a surveillance video showing suspects using victims credit card! They also offer (paid) access to telephone records, police interviews and so forth as part of the investigation. And of course there are prices to those who pinpoint the right "whodunit". Someone outthere must spend A LOT of time putting this show on!
A intro/leaflet to New Zealand Desk Top Theatre (live performance in Palace Chat environment?) - and related site here: http://www.abcexperiment.org/. And Adriane Jeniks site about Desk Top Theatre is here.
And there was the http://www.cyberopera.org/.
A little paper on Fun and Games from Sweden
And something completely different: today Lars von Trier publicly announces his new rules for Dogumentarism - the "dogme-way" of making a documentary. Rumour has it that six Danish documentary makers has accepted to try and make a documentary following the rules.
In the summer 2002 issue ofThe Journal of New Media and Culture, there is an article on Hypertext Rhetoric: Studies for an Online Literary Text Theory, which seems to dig seriously deep into traditional rhetorics in order to study the reading of hypertext. Might be worth a look.
The Keep - Ye Source for the Abandoned Ones a placeholder for old games, including computer version of board games, rpg, adventure etc.
I was in the Gogolchat (a netart project at Iterature.com) when Gogol suddenly linked to this blog(solipsis) //:phaneronoemikon. Here I found a link to an icelandic project called Looking for the new universal harmony", based on the user's universal IP number. The music is cool, even if interactivity in fact is low.
Some of the slides from a lecture series on
Via the Air-List a list of game pages, collected for "a class on game technology, policy and social issues". (Actually, wanted to post this several days ago, but Blogger wouldn't let me :()
The Danish newspaper Politiken is once again running a daily comic strip Strid (UK=to be a roughneck??), a personal favourite because of its anarchistic absurdity. You can read Strid too, one week at a time (but a few days later than in the print paper), if you go to the Politiken site, scroll down and click on the Strid-icon on the right side of the menu.
Lately, in the series, Strid has been trying to bomb the prime minister with the aid of the chief editor of Poltiken because Strid's dog is so depressed over our current prime minister...(sic!;))
By way of Distant Sun The Socrates Argument Clinic, the ideal Friday pastime.
Peace in a game world
dP - t i n y . s i g n s . o f . h o p e. On this website you can find small "Peace objects" to port into your Sims world so you can signal your "war resistance". Interesting initiative - wish the Sims online were online, so one could flaunt them there...
A worthy initiative! An entire bundle of articles on Internet Research Ethics, with Dag Elgesem and Amy Bruckman as some of the authors. I suspect that if you want to cover internet ethics in your teaching, making the students read these essays should pretty much cover the state of the discussion.
And another intriguing story:Lethal guinea pig kills virtual people - implementing realistic effects of a guinea pig bite apparently caused some Sims to die and made players rage against the compagny which eventually changed the pig code...
Epic wait ends for gaming heroes - a little article on how it is now somewhat easier to kill a dragon in EverQuest because its slow respawn was causing bottlenecks and very unsporting behaviour by player groups.
I hate Bugbear!
I was hit by the Bugbear aka Tanatos virus today. It managed to sneak by my virus monitor and send out dozens of mails to people in my mail address book containing bits and pieces of mails I sent months ago. As far as I know, people did not get any of the rather personal mails I store in my archives, but just the thought of people actually getting - and _reading_ stuff I never intended to send them is highly uncomfortable. Reminds you how vulnerable you are as soon as you go online :(. Am up and running again, but spent hours virus checking everything on my harddrive. Argh!
Sheep and The Politics of Publications
This morning an old friend visited me. Her life has taken a completely different direction from mine; she trained as a nursery school teacher, but have in recent years chosen to work at home on the farm she owns with her husband, raising two kids, several sheep and chickens while also growing a huge garden filled with berries, herbs and vegetables which she plants, waters, havest and sells from a stall at the wayside. This season, she confessed, she has been working from 7am till 12pm most days of the week, so if you have any romantic dreams about life as farming wife working at home, forget it.
She has known me for years and years and we have managed to stay in touch and stay friends, though our everyday lives have very little in common. She is sharp and perceptive, and has a very rationalistic and no nonsense approach to life which I value highly - I always feel better when having turned things over with her. However, today she really put me to the test when she asked me to explain what I was writing about:
"Ok, but what is the meaning with your ph.d.thesis?..I mean, it seems so narrow in its focus, will it really do anyone any good?", she asked across the coffeetable, making me shift uneasily on the chair. "Is it of use to anyone?"
I found myself struggling hard to justify my answer, as always. She is not the first, and most likely not the last, to ask this question. Trained as a literary scholar, in a trade which rarely produces anything else but theory and analyses which very few other people actually read, it is something hard to argue that what you do as a scholar will actually do any common good; that it will have any social impact or make a huge difference to a lot of people. Add to this the difficulty of explaining the usefullness of studying a very specific internet phenomena to a person who has never surfed on the internet and does not know what a link is (which is understandable, honestly, when should my friend ever find the time to do that - and playing or chatting just for fun? Forget it.).
However, this time, I did actually manage to persuade her that her old friend is not just a hopeless academic, waisting huge governmental resources on studying something so profoundly weird that no-one really wants to hear about it.
"Remember when we were taught how to analyse popular literature and commercials in secondary school?", I said. "Didn't you find that meaningful?". She nodded. "Don't you think your children should learn how to analyse and critisize also new media, like the internet and the computer? They need to be given tools in order to be able to evaluate what is good and bad in new media, what works, what doesn't and why it doesn't? I know they are never going to sit down and read my ph.d. thesis, but I will try to write articles which explains some of my findings to highschool teachers or even school teachers. In that way, maybe one day, what I discover and think about now, will actually be something your children can be taught." She acquiesced in this argument.
I was honest and perhaps I'm a little naive. But, most of the time, I really do hope that what I "produce" in terms of potential analytical tools etc, will find a use also outside of a very narrow circle of academic researchers. But it acquires that I actually sit down and write about it in a way which laymen can understand and teach in order for the tools to be put into work. I'll be happy to do that. But it really, really bugs me that this kind of writing is not giving me any academic credit. I can put it on my publication list, but when applying for an academic job, it will be disregarded, counted as too "light-weight" since it is (most likely) not going to be peer-reviewed prose. In many ways, I see "popular writing" as the most important part of being an academic; a way of stepping down from the ivory tower and engaging with people, who might actually ask you very clever questions about your work when confronted with it. But the politics of publications is making this difficult. Why spend your time writing "for the people" when it is not going to earn you any butter on the bread?
Perhaps one of my responsibilities as an academic should be to try and change this politics. To make popular publications count, also in the academic world. What do you think?
A German Site "Spielkultur" (Game Culture) spiel* plattform für computer- und videospielkultur which I never come across before, includes me on their link list :)
The Resources site on the Blogroots site (accompagnying site to the book We Blog: Publishing Online With Weblogs ) looks pretty useful. Found it via Torill, who mentions that she and Jill is in it!
Communication and community in digital entertainment services a prestudy research report by Aki Järvinen and Frans Mäyrä. The report studies gameplay and playability, casestudies are Botfighters, Castle Wolfenstein and Dark Ages of Camelot.
"Have a save journey home" - a conference reports of sorts
Yesterday I returned home after a little week in Maastricht, attending the Association of Internet Researcher's Third Conference: Net/Work/Theory. It was a quite densely packed, and at times somewhat stressful, conference, but in general I had a good time, listened to several interesting paper and met both old and new friends. For me, one of the things I had looked most forward to was going from an online to an offline relation to the A.o.I.R executive committee, most of which I only knew through the several hundreds of mail exhanged in the exec committee during the period I have been a grad stud representative on it. Everyone on the commitee was, in RL, as least as friendly as online, and quite often also somewhat younger than I had imagined ;) (I guess you imagine senior staff members also being seniors agewise, which actually I should know is not always the case; also here at ITU many senior staff members are quite young - it is quite natural in a field which is young itself).
//actually it should say a lot more here but Im having problems porting my conference notes from my Revo to the my portable pc...:() - more will be coming up when that is fixed//.
Btw, title is taking from a slide presented during the conference closing. Though it was a mispelling, I like the thought of having a "save journey" home .... does that imply a journey in which you have time to "save" all your memories and impressions of the conference? Or perhaps a journey in an ideal world in which, you like in a game, can start the journey all over, if it goes wrong the first time...?!?
The homeless blogger - an interesting article at Salon.com on what you can also use a blog for. Homeless US blogger is becoming famous for writing about his life as homeless in his blog (which he updates from public libraries). A mental disorder and problems with functioning socially is one reason why he doesnt settle down - and now his blog is getting him a lot of internet attention, which is not exactly easy to deal with for a person in his condition. All comes together in the last, extremely quirky paragraph of the article:
"All this attention is really stressful. And when I feel stressed, it brings on a kind of depression," he said.
But Barbieux hasn't given in to despair quite yet. In fact, he said, he's trying to figure out a way to leverage the stature he's gained from his blog, and turn it into a book deal.
He writes, "If it means I'll have to go on the Oprah show, I'll have to be sedated."
Videogames history Leuven Uni
AFK for a while. Maastricht ahead.
I'm going to the Association of Internet Researchers conference 3.0: Net/Work/Theory at the end of this week and I am busy preparing my paper (which will be presented next Tuesday in session 7D) and sorting out other stuff.
Will be back in this space after October 17th.
For various reasons, I have moved my blog to this place (something I have planned to do for a long time). I will continue posting here as per usual, mostly URLs and thoughts related to my work as researcher at the IT University. However, the blog will no longer URL-wise be directly linked with the IT University.
Please note, that the archives are online both here and at the old site, so no need to change your perma-links, in case you have some references to old posts on your site.
American Game Warriors
From an article in Salon.com on the US Military Recruitment game "America's Army":
"As it turns out, the priority placed on America's Army is due to its integral place in "transformation," a new American military doctrine that aims to fully upgrade the Army into an information-driven force. "Mr. Rumsfeld talks about it a lot," says Wardynski. Starting next year, they'll begin to implement helmet-mounted, heads-up displays [HUDS] that will provide the next iteration of infantrymen with real-time data on terrain, enemy concentrations and so on -- "and it looks a lot like a game," according to Wardynski." ....
The article also tries to make a point out of the fact that playing first-person tactical shooters did actually help the Americans fight the Taliban better...And Henry Jenkins is called upon a few times as the scientific games expert. The tide indeed seems to be turning.
I had an interesting lunch meeting today, with a media sociologist and a philosopher who are both writing a ph.d.project related to aesthetics. We discussed the history of communication models, recent interpretations of what aesthetics are, race games, redudancy and other wyrd stuff. I got a bunch of interesting litt links to check out:
Richard Shusterman has written an article on "Somaesthetics" trying to bring the sensory and bodily experiences of art into the understanding of aesthetics, emphasising "pleasure" in itself as something important. (Shusterman: Richard Shusterman "Somaesthetics: A Disciplinary Proposal" in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 57, No 3, Summer 1999). See related interview here.
On the same lines a book by Thomas Demasio called "Descartes Error" should be worthwhile looking at.
It was Stuart Hall of the Birmingham school who wrote an article simply named "Encoding/decoding" (see good intro with models here)
McQuail and Windahl has written an article simply called "Communication Models" which is better than McQuails "Mass Communication Theory" if you want a brief introduction to the history of communication models.(McQuail, D. & Windahl, S. (1993). Communication Models for the Study of Mass Communications (2nd Ed.). New York: Longman)
And the piece in which Gardamer writes about art as symbol, game and celebration and also defines what it is to play (or game??) is called "Die Aktualitet des Schönen" or in the English translation "The Relevance of Beaty". It is available as a seperate book in the German Reclam series and can also be found in book 8 of his collected works. /note that one well-read philosopher can beat Google anytime!/
We also briefly discussed Turkle and the relationship between virtual experiences and the mapping of this onto real life. To which degree can you actually map what you learn through play onto real life? I dont think there is a direct relationship as Turkle seem to indicate: that if you are socially inapt, you will become socially succesfull in real life by "playing" someone else online and being socially succesful in the virtual world. However, I do think that practising social situations through play might make you less afraid of entering into social games in real life. It struck me that here a distinction between simulation and play comes in handy. You can "play" a flight simulator and actually learn to fly by doing this, because an exact mapping of real life rules onto the virtual scenario is possible. However, "playing" socially succesful in a game, is exactly just to "play" in the way kittens play without using their claws as a way of practising grown-up behaviour. Social interaction in a virtual world always takes place through the representation of real people in the form of an avatar and you cannot, for instance, be physically hurt by engaging in physical action with avatars. The point of social interaction in virtual worlds most often is NOT to adhere to real life rules (though, obviously, one definitely adhere to both the explicit game rules and implicit social rules of the specific game world) - mock killing and the easiness by which this is done is something you definitely cannnot and do not want to map onto real life and is a good example of how exact mapping real world to virtual world and back to real world is not possible.
An interesting fact also to pay attention to, as the philosopher pointed out, is that English is a real bad language to talk about reality in. You cannot find the distinction between "virkelighed" (the experience of reality) og "realiteter" (reality as that which is bound to "real" objects and perceptions) as you have in Danish or German - there is a much closer connection to the material aspects of "reality" in the English word "reality" than in the words "virkelighed" or "wirklichheit". Neither does one in English have a distinction between "erfaring" (experience as in learnt or lived experience) and "oplevelse" (as that you experience here and now). That these distinctions do not inherently exist in the English language but needs to be explained by adjectives and definitions is a huge problem when you are dealing with a subject matter where these distinctions matter. As they do to me. So they should be properly defined (as well...)
An annoying mail virus called Bugbear or Tanatos is ravaging my mailbox these days.
Read more about it here or get a removal tool at Symantec (it is hidden somewhere on the middle of the page).
Laugh Lab -a scientific experiment (it's true!) which have now resulted in the announcement of the funniest joke in the world (approximately ;))...according to the votes of almost 2 mill. internet voters.
Win2PDF is a free-ish tool to convert windows applications files into pdf, for instance word documents. But runs on newer operating systems only and generates an extra page with each document. But it works!
I am currently participating in a ph.d.course with Marie-Laure Ryan on Narrativity, Ludology and Digital Media. Jill is here and Lars will be joining us tomorrow, so a small gathering of some of the Scandinavian Research Bloggers...Long days, some preparation and nice social events, so wont be writing in this space before end of week.
My Other Places
Death Stories project
DK forskerblogs (DK)
klast at del.icio.us
Site feed Link (Atom)
Buy our book
Mobile Media 2007
Perth DAC 2007
My Ph.D. thesis website:
Towards a Poetics of Virtual Worlds
I also used to host & work in a world called StoryMOO.