Online World Building

Now there is tremendous artistic intent — within the software. But the software is not visible in the finished generative product. To me, it’s of great interest that these objects and designs and animations and so forth now exist among us. Because they are, in a strange way, divorced from any kind of historical ideology. They are just not human.

There are potential and new forms of collaborative art that have no single authors. Open source arts, multiplayer arts, multimedia collaboration. Online world building is of great interest. That was not physically possible before. It’s something we can do that nobody else can do. Bruce Sterling.

Within the context of Web 2.0, Bruce Sterling offers a piece of his mind on how ideas might work today, or, how you can solve a problem, any problem, using today’s social tools:

Step 1 – write problem in a search engine, see if somebody else has solved it already.

Step 2 – write problem in my blog; study the commentary cross-linked to other guys.

Step 3 – write my problem in Twitter in a hundred and forty characters. See if I can get it that small. See if it gets retweeted.

Step 4 – open source the problem; supply some instructables to get me as far as I’ve been able to get, see if the community takes it any further.

Step 5 – start a Ning social network about my problem, name the network after my problem, see if anybody accumulates around my problem.

Step 6 – make a video of my problem. Youtube my video, see if it spreads virally, see if any media convergence accumulates around my problem.

Step 7 – Create a design fiction that pretends that my problem has already been solved. Create some gadget or application or product that has some relevance to my problem and see if anybody builds it.

Step 8 – exacerbate or intensify my problem with a work of interventionist tactical media.

And step 9 – find some kind of pretty illustrations from the Flickr ‘Looking into the Past’ photo pool.” Sterling.

His speech at the Transmediale.10  can be found on WIRED, here.

Some interesting quotes:

“Atemporality is a philosophy of history with a built-in expiration date. It has a built in expiration date. It’s not going to last forever. It’s not a perfect explanation, it’s a contingent explanation for contingent times.

“Futurity was expected, futurity is here now, there goes futurity into the past, so long futurity, thank you for an exciting, fulfilling and worthwhile time.” – Sterling

The Atemporal approach asks us to cool things down, challenge the need and desire for a constant, linear future. Proposing not to rush ever onwards, remembering what we have now, reclaiming and rediscovering the qualities we possess rather than feverishly running forward all of the time.

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