In the central control tower, they’re beaming out skulls. Have you noticed? From pole posters to surfboard covers, every second fashion boutique window and the walking one shouldered, Oxford st tee-shirt brigade, the skull seeps into our day. Even saw a little boy scrawling a skull onto the side ova stopping bus yesterday, but he didn’t watch the rearview mirror. Or the busdriver putting on his Mexican wrestling mask before stepping outside with his baseball bat to the cheers of the bus-folk.
Why so many skulls? Why do people really want blood so bad? Apocalypse = now? I mean where do you *really* want to go today? Possible paths for this week’s text include: ‘CNN’, ‘fashion’, ‘Hitler’, ‘fighting terror with terror’, ‘skateboarding’, ‘An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind’ and ‘bus-boy narrative’. All this and you choose a combo: ‘skater ollieing the skull of hitler preserved in a jar’. Ok, ok – let’s X-plore the relationship between entertainment technologies and the ways we use them.
Mark Pesce likes toys. Founder of Virtual Reality Mark-Up Language (VRML) which allows you to wander the web in 3D, Mark’s latest book, This Playful World, charted the emerging possibilities and implications of home-grade media technology, particularly gaming tech.
More recently, Mark produced a feature-length film about ‘the Impending End of Everything’, titled ‘Becoming Transhuman’, where appropriated sound and video images are used to create a new work which expresses Mark’s deeply-held beliefs on the future of humanity.
Who are we? Where are we going? What will we become? There are no easy answers to these questions, but they are enthusiastically debated on Mark’s mailing list, nurtured to keep track of cutting-edge trends in the sciences. The sites are well worth a visit, maybe a bit too fractal-techno for some, but with much worth chewin nonetheless. And here’s Mark text-Live:
What was the most useful feedback on your book This Playful World?
A pointer to an inaccuracy I got from the President of Tiger Toys.
What are your current projects / involvements?
Working on a small software application, perhaps will be patented. It’s a utility. (I like to get my hands dirty every once in a while.) Writing a few essays. Have been contemplating another book, but nothing looks very interesting right now.
How has Sep-11 affected your perspective on empowerment through technology?
It’s confirmed my suspicion that the history of the 21st century will be a constant struggle between our incredibly extended abilities and the fact that these abilities are available to an ever-increasing range of people.
What computer games have impressed u lately + why?
“Black & White” is very impressive. We’ll see that kind of tech in a next generation of Furbys, as I predicted in my book. “Majestic” is also incredible, because it confuses the line between reality and fantasy in very promising ways…
What are the interesting issues in VR today?
I don’t think there are any. VR is about as dull & boring as its ever been, and practically no one working in the field has a clue how to make it interesting, relevant, or important.
What do you think of extropians who want to upload their consciousness to a computer?
I think that they’re being overly religous and not particularly rigorous in their scientific thinking.
3 devices the world needs today?
Devices that don’t yet exist? Let me know.
3 urls for a desert island?
classics.mit.edu – Internet Archive of Classical Literature
promo.net/pg/ – Project Gutenberg
www.britannica.com – Encyclopedia Britannica (as long as someone else pays for the subscription!)
(( note from six years later : Reckon Jimmy Wales might’ve sorted that one out. ))
Outside the Light Cone is Mark’s homepage, or as he describes, his: ‘space within the Noosphere’. Within it you’ll find most of his written works, rituals, lectures, papers, video interviews and links.
‘This Playful World’ is a “web-enhanced” book, meaning you’ll find a depth of additional resources here, such as research materials, links, articles and additional essays by the author, and a short promotional film which gives some background on The Playful World.
Want to scrawl a skull on the side of a bus? You’ll need a fat texta, and texta art to guide you: try these portraits of emcees, deejays, performers, girls, ‘&’ texta scribblings by kids….