klastrup AT it-c.dk

This is the research diary of Lisbeth Klastrup. Here I share some of my thoughts on life, universe, virtual worlds, interactive stories and internet oddities with you.

I'm a ph.d. scholar at DIAC at the IT University at Copenhagen (ITU). I also host & work in a world called StoryMOO. At this ITU homepage you can read more about my research project and miscellaneus activities. List of publications is here.

Current month

Fellow researchers
Jesper Juul
Susana Tosca
Troels Degn Johansson
Estrid Soerensen
Lars Konzack
Kenneth Hansen
Gabriel Hansen
Joergen Callesen
Soeren Pold

Jill Walker's blog
Torill Mortensen's blog
Ragnhild Tronstad
Hilde Corneliussen's blog
Carsten Jopp's blog
Anders Fagerjord's blog

Anna Gunder
Jenny Sunden
Mikael Jacobsson

Aki Jarvinen
Markku Eskelinen
Raine Koskimaa

-The World
Gonzalo Frasca's blog (URU, US)
Anja Rau's blog (DE)
Elin Sjursen's blog (NO, US)
Frank Schaap's blog (NL)
Adrian Miles' Vog blog (AUSTR.)
Mark Bernstein's blog (US.)

Related Reads
Dust from a Distant Sun (DK)
Cykelkokken (DK, in Danish)
Two Years in Denmark (DK,US)
Future Dr. Karlsbjerg (DK)
Laurel.blog (US)
Texturl (US)

©Lisbeth Klastrup 2002

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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.

Crossdisciplinary musings
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.