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Posts from the ‘Dissertation’ Category


Uncanny Valley graph

I am continuing to organize (and also re-write) the projects which are going to become a part of the practice portfolio of the PhD. The Uncanny Valley/Avatar was the first big self-observational thing which I did in SL, almost 4 years ago. For this I applied Masahiro Mori’s robotics theory from 1970 to avatar appearance. So, the graph above is an adaptation of Mori’s original graph. At the bottom are his examples and at the top are the corresponding ones which I came up with.


alpha.tribe tales

When I submit my dissertation I will also have to show creative output since mine is a practice based PhD. (And yes – unfortunately I blew the December 31 deadline, so the new one is now March 30…).

For the default documentation I will be handing in straightforward DVDs with images/videos inside folders so that the examiners can find the stuff easily. However I also want to make some other stuff – that I will actually enjoy putting together. One idea that I have is to make real, that is laser printed and bound, books out of material that goes together. I am thinking that I will make 3 of them and here is the first one:

Obviously alpha.tribe is a very large portion of the final chapter in which I talk about the actual stuff that I made for the practice part of the thesis. The first part of what I say about alpha.tribe concerns the actual “business” itself, how it all came about, the 5 alternative selves as independent fashion designers and so forth. And then a second part however are what (for lack of a better word) I am calling the alpha.tribe tales, which I concocted out of the outfits which were made for alpha.tribe. So, this book holds 4 of these tales – ‘the abject’, ‘the encounter’, ‘text’, and ‘uranometria’.

Aside from the fact that I like making them anyway, in this case I made the flipbook on issuu also to see how the whole thing works when it is actually put into a book format. This is the reason why there are page numbers on this, normally I would not be putting them into something like a virtual flipbook. And issuu is really great for testing purposes, I am sure editorial designers must be using it to no end to proof their publications. Used to be such a hassle before all this, basically the only way to do it back then was to construct a whole dummy book. Which was expensive and time consuming, of course.


“entre loup et chien”


This paper attempts to examine the workings of the unconscious, specifically in the sense in which it was defined by Sigmund Freud as the dream-work, the joke-work and the image-work. Freud’s findings and theories related to the unconscious image-work were put into practice by the surrealist artists of the early 20th century and may also come into play in contemporary computer based image creation, not only through the associative processes which are inherently embedded into the medium of hypertextuality, but also through the non-linear nature of the digital work environment itself, which provides the ability to traverse the creative journey backwards and forwards through commands such as undo, redo, copy, cut and paste which are brought about by the seeming indestructibility embedded into the very essence of its building blocks, the bits.

entre loup et chien

Words were originally magic, and the word retains much of its old magical power even to-day. With words one man can make another blessed, or drive him to despair; by words the teacher transfers his knowledge to the pupil; by words the speaker sweeps his audience with him and determines its judgments and decisions. Words call forth effects and are the universal means of influencing human beings. Therefore let us not underestimate the use of words… [1]
Sigmund Freud

1.1 Flashback: entre loup et chien

… Within clouds reminiscent of ancient seas

floated rocks, gnawed down with your blood.
What a pity! You vanished in great numbers as if coexistent with a time that never was. I bent and picked up the sky from the ground, the sky you had carelessly dropped.
Oktay Rifat [2]

He is my ageing uncle. We are sitting in the garden of his house by the Aegean sea. I am 19 years old, and as ever mesmerised by him. It is twilight hour in late August. We are surrounded by wide open, darkening summer skies, the blurring outlines of trees and shrubs and the far off sounds of encroaching night. And then he says: entre loup et chien… That is all he says and in that one sentence I know what I must do. I have just been given a mission: I must seek that creature, the one that stands between the day and night; neither wolf nor dog. I must seek it with images and not words, although maybe words as well, or words that transform into images, narrative condensed into image: The transformation of the dream thought by way of the dream work into the image work.

Read the full paper here >>>


Donald Kuspit

Quotes from an interview which he gave in 2004 and which I may use later: Read moreRead more


my life…

I have locked myself up until I finish this, namely my PhD thesis. I have to hand it in by December 15th, reason being that I have delayed it to the point where I am no longer eligible for a reduced write-up fee and have to pay the full tuition. Which is of course very high. And hence the rush.

The weird thing is that I am actually really enjoying doing this. At one point last week I had close to 50000 words, then this weekend I went back in and did a brutal reduction. So, I am currently around 36000. The final word count I expect to be around 60000, so this means that I am halfway through. Except that I am now dealing with the tough part which is writing a narrative that links everything together. Like introductory and concluding paragraphs to chapters and so on.

I am using the first person singular for a lot of the text. This is not really standard academic convention, however I am justifying myself by quoting Ranulph Glanville who says that “second order Cybernetics must primarily be considered through the first person and with active verbs. The observer’s inevitable presence should be acknowledged, and should be written about in the first person, not the third, giving us an insight into who these observers are.” And second-order Cybernetics is what this thesis is turning out to be all about in the end. Funny this, given that 5 years ago I couldn’t understand any of it. To the point where I once broke down and cried out of sheer frustration in front of the Principia Cybernetica website.

The tough job with this thesis is not the write up however. This is a project based thesis which means that once I am done with all the writing (which should take roughly another month I think) I have to sort out the visual material. Which means I have to sit and watch hours and hours and hours of video footage which I have shot over the past few years. Then clean up, then edit, then render, then…