Julian Bleecker on WMMNA

There is a very dense and relevant interview of Julian Bleecker on WMMNA. The range of topics described there is amazing, some excerpts I like and can be taken as "seed content" of the near future laboratory:

"If the project of the digital age is to make everything that we have in "1st life" available in 2nd life, then I think we're on the wrong path. Laminating 1st life and 2nd life isn't about creating digital analogs. It's about elevating human experience in simple and profound ways. (...) Finding compelling ways to make 1st life legible and meaningful in 2nd life is probably one of the most fascinating, provocative experiments of the digital networked era. (...) to find experimental vectors that move towards a set of experiences and provocations that link 1st life and 2nd life so that there is a kind of effortless divide, so that it is possible to occupy both simultaneously. Not by having a connected phone so that you're wandering down a gorgeous, baroque alley in Vienna while staring at your mobile screen, trying to get Google Maps to figure out where you are — I imagine something much more translucent and less literal. (...) The kinds of experiments that will help us imagine and create a more habitable, playful world are far more provocative than what anyone trying to make their quarterly numbers will offer. These experiments must question conventional assumptions, find ways to encourage and appreciate whimsy, and recognize that pragmatism got us the world we have now. (...) The kinds of experiments I do are ones that tell stories about worlds that may be, or world's I wouldn't mind occupying myself, or cautionary stories about possible near futures that make me nervous."

And this leads Julian to describe a current project we have (Julian and I):

"turn critters — specifically, in this case, a pet dog — into interaction partners in digital worlds. We're imagining what a near-future would be like if the partners with whom we interacted were the other occupants of our world, such as pets. We're making a dog toy for a friend's one-eyed dog that will manipulate the actions of a Dwarf in World of Warcraft. So there you would have a somewhat playful provocation — pets playing in World of Warcraft. The experiment is less about actually creating a pet playable version of that very complex online game — we don't suppose for a minute that a dog can play World of Warcraft in the sense of pursuing the goals of the game or comprehending the through-line. But certainly a dog can control a WoW character to the same degree that they can control and manipulate a favorite rag-doll chew toy. This is a test balloon, floated to begin imagining-through-construction a context of participation between pets and humans in the new networked age."

Why do I blog this? well this not surprising I totally agree with Julian's criticisms and discourse about the hybridation of material/digital environment, 2nd lives and stuff like that; this is essentially things we discussed and we feel as important to push further. The pet dog in World of Warcraft is one of these experiments that might timely lead to presentations (and eventually a report). But, what is important before is maybe to make it more articulate, so let's wait a bit.