Hello! Because I identify with physical experience so much, I find the exploration of tangible devices as interfaces a nice acknowledgement of [and ploy to] design for the human-centered physical experience. So I’m excited about Tangibles! This topic is also a nice way to segue discussions around awareness and acknowledgement of heritage to user’s own motivation to engage and explore heritage.
This week’s readings all revolve around Content and Interaction Design decisions by leveraging the direct experience of (or perception) of the place, space, mood, object and/ or social interaction. While the readings portray exciting situated experiences in the intended environment, I wonder how the tangibility aspects carried back into visitor’s everyday life (illustrating that an experience was meaningful). Here I just start to touch on how we can bridge the focus on experience design to the extensive content we have gathered through the course so far, and I plan on taking it a bit further in Tuesday’s class. Also, I’m afraid that my PDQ’s are concoctions of many questions, which can be escalated into much larger, overhanging questions on Tuesday.
RR #1: Ciolfi, L., and M. McLoughlin. Physical Keys to Digital Memories: Reflecting on the Role of Tangible Artefacts in Reminisce. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics.
This project designed a role for tangible artefacts to bridge the experience of exploring an open air museum environment with an additional layer of personal and social experience. Tangible artefacts were chosen and woven into a digital ‘layer’ to provide:
- A keepsake that connects to the experience
- A process of collecting personal stories that add a subtle ‘game’ experience to the visit
- A method for sharing the experience both during and beyond the visit (with both friends/ family and strangers)
The focus of the experience was on the affordances of the environment, physical components that could hold meaning and social interactions that both actually happened, and could be imagined in the museum experience. ‘Reminisce’ resulted in a combination of tangible artefacts embedded with RFID tags and QR codes placed throughout the exhibits to encourage visitors to gather information that tied their immediate experience to a tangible object that could travel home with them.
One logistical consideration that the project wanted to design for was to add a layer of personal content (characters, stories, objects) to enhance the natural experience when acting staff were not available. Fictional ‘memories’ were developed around a set of characters and objects that were woven continuously through the entire ‘Reminisce’ experience. These memories were designed as ‘clues’ to other memories, so a subtle game of collecting had to be played to hear them all. QR codes were placed in various locations (on buildings, places and objects) and would provide audio files with the memories that could be accessed by a mobile device. Visitors were also able to upload their own descriptions of their experience at that particular location. Tangible artefacts (or ‘tokens’) were designed to complement the memories relating to the museum experience, then could return home with the visitors (recipes, ball of wool, chunk of turf). Tokens were also embedded with RFID tags to interact with special memories at the end of the visit. At this time viewers were able to place their token in a basket with another provided object (a book, a photo) and would hear the uploaded descriptions of other visitor’s experiences attached to the location.
The results of the study on the design implementation showed that people felt connections to the memories, tokens and the tokens’s ties to the experience. Because objects could travel home with viewers, they tended to tell family and friends more about their experience, assuming that having the object gave a more ‘live’ feeling to the re-told experience. Viewers also had a social experience while visiting the museum when accessing and creating their own memory content, being provoked to discuss the content based on their situated experience in the museum so far.
I thought this project was a great example of really thoughtfully made design decisions. The authors obviously reflected on their experience well, and while the technical design of ‘Reminisce’ seems quite simple I assume that the design of the memories is much more complex. It would have been interesting to have more information on the design of the memories, because I imagine that it was the memories and the process of ‘collecting’ memories that enhanced the experience and stayed with the visitors more than the tokens or the act of using QR codes.
PDQ 1: Can we identify and discuss the affordances of tokens, situated memories, a motivated process for attaining memories and listening to other visitor’s experiences? How important is visitor’s passive or active engagement to the resonance of the experience?
RR #2: Tanenbaum, Joshua, Karen Tanenbaum, and Alissa Antle (2010) The Reading Glove: Designing Interactions for Object-Based Tangible Storytelling. Augmented Human Conference, Megeve, France, 2010. ACM Press.
The Reading Glove project focused on the experience of ‘reading objects’ for their history, or psychometry. To do this, the Tanenbaums explored the connection objects have to personal narratives in order to experience the stories that emerge through the combination of particular personal objects. Twelve objects were embedded with RFID tags and connected to different components of a narrative, which ‘revealed’ the narrative to the user in the order the objects were handled. Compared to prior explorations in designing tangible narrative interactions, the Tanenbaums wanted to increase awareness of the objects themselves as meaningful (semantically present objects). Many prior systems used tangibles as placeholders or containers, connecting the object to the outcome. This process emphasized the function of the object rather than its meaning, and hence a deeper integration into the experience. The objects in the ‘Reading Glove’ were to become artifacts of ‘movable heritage’ through affordances to personal narratives. By exploring meaningful coupling of object to narrative, they were playing with the concept of ‘boundary objects’ as sites of negotiation between the perspectives of the viewer. These perspectives are situated in the immediacy of the experience with one’s own personal histories and perceptions of the object alongside the perspective of the object itself with its own personal history. This refers back to Clifford’s paper on Contact Zones as spaces that are only mediated by our own experience and perceptions (Clifford, 1997). These spaces provoke awareness of our own perspectives in order to broaden (or narrow?) our experiences of others. A later paper (Tanenbaum et al, 2011) discusses ‘boundary objects’ more in depth, by stating that the chosen objects implicitly present a narrative to the participant based on their own personal history and experience that challenges or extends the explicit narrative that is presented while handling the object.
Then, we have another aspect of Heidegger Time! (Yea Jeremy! But- I suppose the focus is not on time, but on awareness)
The project identifies the concepts of Present-at-Hand to Ready-at-Hand. Present-at-Hand refers to the experience of becoming aware of an object when it breaks (the hammer breaking while in use, therefore bringing awareness to it as an object because it is not longer performing the way it is intended). Ready-at-Hand refers to the experience of the object existing as an extension of the user (when the hammer works as intended, the awareness is on the task at hand, not the object performing the task). This is paralleled by a definition of transparent immediacy as present in the moment, focused on the task at hand alongside hypermediated as aware of the devices in place that you are experiencing the present moment through. The Tanenbaums go a step further to ‘create’ the term ‘present-at-mind’, referring to the process of becoming aware of the associated or embedded meanings of the object (their example that the worn handle of the hammer or the carved initials remind them of their father, the original owner of the hammer, and the related stories of the father building). While this is an interesting way to coin a term, I’m not sure I agree that becoming aware of the content of an object is within the scope of Heideggers’ concepts of awareness and ‘being’ in general. However, I do think that affording content to an object, and all the design decisions in this project, problematizes the experience in a way that brings awareness to objects and narrative in an unusual way.
This was by far my favorite paper this week, mainly because the authors really focused on all the design decisions of the entire experience. Objects were selected to be of similar era, style, look and feel. The form of interaction was based on encouraging the agency and motivation of the user. The content of the story was meticulously crafted to function as an engaging narrative that could be configured in any order to make a sense as a story (not an easy task…). The design for pitfalls of an emergent narrative was considered and the physical implementation of the electronics in the glove and the tags on the objects were assessed and considered in evaluations.
PDQ 2: How would this experience design scale up to a whole-museum experience? Would the experience change if objects were scattered through a large space and could travel and adjust their content based on their new location?
What other design considerations could be made to make this a more social activity?
Reference: James Clifford (1997) Museums as Contact Zones. In Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Pp. 188-219. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press.
RR #3: Wakkary, Ron, and Marek Hatala (2006) ec(h)o: Situated Play in a Tangible and Audio Museum Guide. DIS 2006, University Park, Pennsylvania, 2006. ACM Press.
The ec(h)o project focused on designing playfulness and liveness into the museum experience. By focusing on the different cultural ecologies created through the space of the museum (many exhibits that emerge alongside and through each other) this project aimed to explore liminality and engagement. Liminality is the experience of being somewhere that is separated from everyday life (discussed as a spiritual or transformative experience, I wonder if this also applies to engagement in spectacle?), which facilitates engagement. Engagement is described as a state that facilitates both learning and play (I think they mean simultaneously?). Wakkary and Hatala explore the balance between content and physical/ embodied play in a museum context by creating a tangible device to act as a trigger for content in focused exhibits. The visitor also wears an RFID tag to trigger sound files that correspond to the ambient environment at large as the visitor walks between exhibits.
Design decisions hinged on Dewey’s Constructivist Theory: that the visitor’s own construction of knowledge is a primary component to their own experience, engagement and agency in a given scenario. By focusing on the visitor’s own agency and the ‘aesthetics of interaction’ a tactile, motivating and humorous experience was designed to ‘perform’ content in a way that leveraged the visitor’s experience of the museum. The product of this inquiry was a fun colored, ergonomic cube object to use as a pointer to choose stories and the content of the stories themselves (which were designed to be colloquial and humorous for engagement). The stories were designed to sound very different from the Unassailable Voice in presentation (Walsh, 1997), yet the information is still a sort of wolf-in-sheep’s clothing. The content is still a single perspective that is recalled from a database with a one-to-one connection to the exhibit (each selection connects to one story, no content is developing or emerging). The feeling that ec(h)o was going for was that of a ‘virtual cocktail party’. The criticism to this is that the experience seemed to be oriented towards a single person’s experience – while a cocktail party experience would be a social one. This issue is addressed in Wakkary’s later project, Kurio (Wakkary et al, 2009).
The paper on ec(h)o also had extensive documentation on the different ways that visitors held the tangible device, illustrating the playfulness of the device design. It would have been interesting to explore this phenomena more deeply: why was the handling of the device considered a method for making the experience playful? Did certain gestures feel more playful than others? How did playful gestures support the engagement with the audio content?
PDQ 3: How important is the visitor’s own ‘construction of knowledge’ in the museum experience? How can this be designed for? How does ‘playfulness’ feel in a museum context? Is the meaning of playfulness, fun, and engagement different in the context of the traditional museum? (Is the Unassailable Voice ever playful? (Walsh, 1997))
Reference: Peter Walsh (1997) The Web and the Unassailable Voice. In Parry, Ross (ed.) (2010) Museums in a Digital Age. London and New York: Routledge.
RR #4: Cafaro, Francesco et al. (2010) RFID Localization for Tangible and Embodied Multi-User Interaction with Museum Exhibits. Proceedings of UbiComp’10, Copenhagen, Denmark. Pp. 397-398.
This project briefly describes a system for collaborative interaction (?) with an ambient (?) display. This system looks at the use of RFID tags either on a handheld device (a picture in a frame) or on a person (hence embodied interaction?) to control an already-existing interactive display of historical immigration patterns in the United States. To throw out some caveats right away, I don’t see what is proactively collaborative or social about this experience beyond the system being able to have multiple inputs at a time (this was designed into the GIS project already). I also would not call an interactive media display ambient, since it is actively drawing attention to its content (and is not passively blending into its surroundings like a wallflower). Personally, I’m also hesitant to call any form of position tracking ‘embodied’, since the user does not actually have any interactive control of the system besides the inputs they have chosen for themselves prior to the interaction. It is unclear if the user can control the content they are viewing by their location in the space and the need to know how tall a user is or how they carry their tag is odd (there doesn’t seem to be any reason for that information).
Issues aside, this project is an interactive information-visualization display that existed prior to the addition of RFID interaction. There seems to be minimal consideration of design decisions given the affordances of the content (patterns of immigration to the US by ethnicity), the tangible object (a picture of an Italian/ Swede/ Persian in a frame) or the embodied experience (either the person themselves or their interactions). One action will trigger the resulting information, which doesn’t warrant the design of explicit user interaction. By working on top of complex, interesting data (immigration patterns separated by time, location and ethnicities) there is a lot of potential for exploring user’s agency, personal connections to the data or interactions for emergent information.
PDQ 4a: Because we have a somewhat open-ended framework of a project here with minimal background information: How do visitors to an exhibit engage on a personal level to screen-based content? How could this experience be better designed to connect to the visitor’s personal history?
PDQ 4b: What are the affordances of a tangible object (other) vs. an embodied interaction (self)? How could these affordances have been used to better explore experience and exploration of content?
SR #1: McCarthy, J., & Ciolfi, L. (2008). Place as Dialogue: Understanding and Supporting the Museum Experience. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 14(3), 247-267.
This paper focuses on visitors’ active sense-making and interpretation in a museum environment by exploring the support interaction design can provide to the experience. The overall goal is to provoke critical reflection of the experience by creating a constant dialogue between the situated place, people and technology. McCarthy and Ciolfi discuss that technology often presents a substitute to a real experience, which promotes passive interaction through one-sided relationships. However, acknowledging every aspect of an experience can provoking active engagement (dialogical relationships) through the consideration of WHOLE experiences. They present a framework to consider when designing technology and interaction in a museum environment:
1. Experience is based on many relationships – exploring many perspectives of people, place, community, etc. can provide information for starting dialogue
2. Openness of museum allows for transfers between affordances of technology (new) and affordances of museums (old), creating new dialogues in established environments
3. Dialogue is situated in our perceptions, our direct experiences and the depth that we hold our experiences. ‘We interpret the situation in terms of our previous experiences and we reflect on our experience and our response to it. These processes give our experiences a narrative quality.’ (pg. 252)
4. Sense-making happens by projecting someone else’s interpretations of an object over our own interpretations
5. Dialogue is sensitive to time and place: other stories and perspectives shift our experience
A case study titled ‘Re-tracing the Past’ is presented to illustrate an exhibit design based on this framework. The exhibits were place in a museum that had an established sense of place: the building was an old customs house that held personal narratives of the original family that owned it and had a strong home/ family feeling to the design of the space and place. Interactive room installations with mysterious objects were designed to provoke dialogue between staff, volunteers and visitors. The mysterious objects in the ‘Study Room’ could be investigated via 3D models of the objects and what they would sound like when touched and a ‘radio’ was available to hear other visitor’s theories about what they are and were used for. When visitors moved to the ‘Room of Opinion’ they could physically handle replicas of the objects and leave their own recordings of personal theories. This project encouraged active exploration and discussion/ debate (social aspect) of the museum experience, resulting in collaborative discussion and reflection. One interesting point was that the docents, who spend regular time as volunteers in the museum, were able to continuously develop their own theories and do their own research. ‘It also showed how many different layers of content can be discussed around the handling of objects: participants commented not only on the material qualities of the artefacts but also on their possible use in the past, the feelings they triggered, and their similarities with present-day objects’ (pg. 261)
I think this is an interesting project because they utilize curiosity so well. By drawing on an environment, place, and space that is very specific, clashing with the histories and perspectives of visitors all in their immediate experience, the project built active interaction into the whole experience. The authors claimed that ‘Making place central draws attention to the sensations and feelings, thoughts and emotions, and the plurality of voices in situated interaction’ (pg. 265). This certainly seemed to be the case, requiring visitors to actively use their imagination first in the Study Room by exploring the 3D model (on a screen) and then later giving them tangible interaction to explore and reflect in two very different experiences of sensing and assessing.
PDQ #5: How important is the temporal order of experience as a device for provoking engagement?
Hi Kristen and the class…
I will be replying in two installments…Here is the first one.
I think you did a comprehensive overview on the material, Kristin.
I look forward to discussing your proposed questions in class.
I think for the Wakkary, Hatala et al paper, it would be good to also briefly look at the technical side of this project…I had to review the AI-side of their ec(h)o project for my AI class with Marek Hatala…
I am posting (recycling) my 500-word summary about that paper now and then after the pasted summary I will post some quick questions that I think would relate the two papers…
The parallel paper title is…
Hatala, M., Wakkary, R., Kalantari, L. 2005. Rules and Ontologies in Support of Real-time Ubiquitous Application. Journal of Web Semantics, Special Issue on “Rules and Ontologies for Semantic Web” 3(1), Elsevier Publishers, 2005, pp. 5-22
This paper focuses on recommender-systems (19) containing rules and ontologies. Ec(h)o’s case study (2004) (12) comprised a physical installation, 3D virtual soundscapes and mapped museum display. This system can also be generalized as an application for eLearning (9). The case study utilized audio-visual and location tracking components (2-3,6) to make guided museum audio-tours more semantically coherent for visitors and docents (1). The ontology’s inference rules drew from an “ecologically” themed (6) corpus of psychoacoustics, cognitive domains and interaction models. This case study was qualitatively evaluated by end-users from scientific and museological domains using a likert rating scale (19-21).
For Ec(h)o, audio-tours without rule-based ontologies are “pre-planned” and respond immediately to pointed objects with its scripted output (2). Alternately, ec(h)o developed a user-enabled interface that recognizes gesture and object-manipulation through a vision-recognition system (2). Audio-domains are sub-divided into discrete ambient “zones” and “soundmarks” (4,6). These waveforms possess spectral density (6) and are activated when users are near an artifact (3). The audio-content (ranging from biological to inorganic sounds, 6) matches user-position in relation to the museum’s collection (3). Audio-content relates to the artifact, user-interests, exploratory potential, user-intention (4), and psychoacoustic affordances of the museum space (10). Personalized user interests (3-4) directly retrieve ontological descriptions within the museum-tour without requiring a mediation device to experience these artifacts (2). Ec(h)o endorses Ontology Web Language (OWL) and Semantic Web Rule Language (SWRL) for ontological parsing through logical inference (2). The interaction model can be applied across various museums and was built on a Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) (4) connected to a Dewey Decimal Classification system – common in library databases (4).
The user-model acts as the reasoning module (19). Using Jess Facts, one transforms the ontology into a forward-chaining (16) instance-based reasoning engine (13-14) where the system recommends new artifacts that may increase or sustain the user-interest through a saliency score (19). Factual reasoning for instance-representations was dependent on the number of property slots entered for each event (14). Besides top-down reasoning, the users’ relative velocity, gestural homogeneity and proximity – determines the reasoning context in realtime by navigating through the sound-enhanced artifacts. This model features a short-term memory of the user’s interaction history that gauges which soundmarks will next be of interest to him/her (6-7, 11). This ontology considers a user’s attention-span as a stochastic state-sequence when contemplating museum artifacts. Concepts themselves have weight values – updated in realtime- to match the user’s fickle attention span (7-8) until reaching a “maximum interest value” (19). Once this maximum is reached; the user-model “springs” back to a lower weighted-value range and re-guides a user’s attention along a new path. Ultimately, ec(h)o realized that with multi-user environments, a competition for saliency evaluation would also lag the system’s computational capabilities (17-18).
Ec(h)o employed Miller’s and Funk’s validation criteria which determines whether the system accomplished its functions and goals appropriately (18). Results revealed the system’s ease-of-use and navigation but most users were not satisfied with the overall experience (21).
-How does an evaluation scheme like a Likert scale really define “fun” – and “personalized user interests” – when dealing with the utility of “play” in a museum? I would like to know more about why “most users were not satisfied with the overall experience” (21).
-Tying vision-recognition to sound certainly will inject a kind of animism into the museal experience…Potentially, tying any kind of percept recognition to a directed and geo-located aesthetic response will transcend artifacts from being mere content-repositories or data-base inventory items to having more of a performative function.
Ahh – so they are constantly re-assessing camera data and shifting the weightings of different options, to tailor to the individual in the space. Neat! Way neater than just choosing another option. However – I still wonder how much the chosen criteria (the users’ relative velocity, gestural homogeneity and proximity) really quantifies the visitor’s experience with the content choice. This might also connect to why “most users were not satisfied with the overall experience” (because the chosen criteria didn’t reflect the experience as well as perceived?).
And nice comment about giving objects a sort of performative function – I wonder if it actually felt more like an ambient soundscape or like visiting the Rainforest Cafe?
Correction… 3 installments 😉
Ok, I will quickly mention the Tanenbaum project.
I was actually part of their user-study. I am not sure which participant number I was but I guess it is best if I remain anonymous anyway 😉
The issues I recall with their project dealt with the idea that some participants might not share the same level of story-world or plot-based immersion as others.
For me, I tend to resonate with story-world and characterization more than I do with plot.
I recall only being partially immersed in their project but very immersed with my personal fictionalized story for each object – apart from each other. Perhaps for my experience with their project, the tools really became “present-at-hand” to the point where the story as a gestalt seemed extraneous to my experience. They were correct in noting how such a project would make for a hypermediated experience. I did not want to solve anything but just create my own stories from my own imagination with their evocative objects as catalysts/anchors for my personal/private fictions. The tools and the RFID tracking made me hyper-aware of the tools as devices for interaction…I could not concentrate on the story elements. Perhaps in museums, this is a good thing unless the Curatorial team really wants to convey historical details rather than simply the theatrical “essence” of the objects themselves. I should add that the Tanenbaums put Heidegger’s otherwise convoluted statements to good use 😉
On another note, I was fascinated by the Tananbaum’s interpretation of objects being
“moveable heritage”. Considering the context of their project, I am unclear if they meant that this heritage would be portable enough not confined to the game-space and chosen story-world…How moveable are these objects without this narrative context? I am reminded of my AI class and the idea that an agent has an “ontological commitment” to a particular task-domain. I guess because I made associations outside of their story-world when contemplating these objects, my ontological commitment was not constrained by their game-space so perhaps these objects could still have meaning and resonance that was initially activated by the game-space…was this what they meant?
Just about to head out of the door here…
I guess we will find out from Ron exactly what the ec(h)o project was like and how they qualified the user-preferences/agency etc.
It was certainly a cool project from an AI perspective.
I miss the Rainforest Cafe…I loved the one at Metrotown…sigh!
What we need in this town is an animatronics museum 😉
Time to meet some friends in Victoria at the pub..more later 😉
Kristin, thanks for this posting which constitutes an excellent “prompting” tool for Tuesdays class. Thanks also Jeremy for adding valuable data for two of the articles. I am particularly interested in your first-hand experience as a participant in the Tanenbaum study, Jeremy.
There are a few issues that come to my mind. I will discuss two and try to keep this short.
The first is in response to your PD1, “Can we identify and discuss the affordances of tokens, situated memories, a motivated process for attaining memories and listening to other visitor’s experiences?”
I have this pet peeve with how scholars use the term of “collective memory” or “sharing memories” or “situated memories”. It’s an issue I addressed in my Master’s thesis.
Memories are the product of remembering, a cognitive process. So memories refers to the perceptions that we have experienced first-hand. We remember something we have ourself experienced in the past which of course can include what someone once told us.
For some weird reason, scholars talk of memories when they are describing what a museum visitor can imagine during their visit. But the visitor did not experience this imagining first-hand in the past. So it is not a memory at all. It is an imagining that occurs in the present of someone’s else memory (or narrative) that (supposedly) occurred in the past (to this other person or group).
I think this is a very important issue to discuss in the context of our IAT 888 course because VR, AR and digital media in general enhance imaginings. And it is not unusual to hear or read writings that suggest that they are CREATING memories. I would argue that they are not creating memories but IMAGININGS.
If the role of the museum is to teach us about our heritage from the past, then it is important to make this distinction, and reflect on what technology is enabling or enhancing when it is used to represent cultural heritage. Why? Because it raises the question of whether the representation of cultural heritage should be understood as fiction or fact? And this in turn, ties in to the Unassailable Voice argument. Are multiple narratives (imaginings) preferable to the monolithic voice of “memory” (whose memory?)? Can memory even be in question when it comes to the cultural heritage of humanity?
I was intrigued, Jeremy, by that 9-minute video by the BBC on your facebook page this week-end which totally speaks to my point tangentially:
The second point I would like to make is a remark on a quote from the penultimate page of the Tanenbaum (2010) article on parag. 7: “One goal of this system was to author an object-based story where the objects were loci of narrative meaning.”
Maybe metaphorically, this idea makes sense, but it still makes me uncomfortable. Narrative meaning is produced by cognition. It’s a cognitive process. I find it difficult to understand how meaning can occur anywhere else than in cognitive processes. But maybe someone in the class could persuade me of how this can happen and how it works. If so, please do. My brain loves to be stretched…
Thanks again guys for the great posts…
Thanks for the elaboration, Claude…
I still have not watched that video I posted yet but I will do that after I have commented on one more reading (comments coming shortly)…
I also agree how what is being presented is more like “imaginings” than memory unless certain experiences/imaginings are indeed cached into memory…however, I think this process would be difficult to measure/evaluate.
Ok, here is my last little tidbit for tomorrow…This comment relates to the Ciolfi et al paper.
What immediately came to mind with tokens was those objects used in the dream sequences of the movie, “Inception” (2010)…Tokens in the dreams were used as “tangible” and yet “fictional” catalysts for the characters to become more lucidly aware that they are in fact, in a dream…Here is a clip showing Leonardo DiCaprio using his “spinning top” token…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhavsmsi_5M
Since this paper came out a year after the movie, I think it would be fair to say that this project was directly influenced by the movie.
The tokens in Inception were more about stirring imaginings than triggering memories per se, so I think Claude is onto something here.
In general, I like the idea of take-home tokens (I know my Son would) and also can warm up to fictional characters – depending on how amateurish the characters and actors are 😉
STOP! TANGENT TIME! 😉
Ok, so I watched that BBC video finally (the one that Claude posted)..I see it is about Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis.
The only issue I had with his idea is that simulations are supposedly based on an ancestor simulation by descendants – assuming there was one time in the past that was real and not simulated…and yet, the Vedas from thousands of years ago point to how there is no ultimate referent to a true reality…it is all an infinite simulation (“Maya”), isn’t it?
Perhaps this is closer to what scientists are really discovering…everything is virtual – all time, all space, all place in all dimensions etc.
Ok, enough for now..see you tomorrow, my fellow simulated friends 😉
Wow! Jeremy, I love your clip from Inception as an entry point to discussing “tokens”! What a great way to stir our brains!
This is exactly the kind of direction that I think can bring us into deeper issues around tangible and intangible culture and its representations. I am now way too excited about tomorrow…
Re: the Veda’s. Yup, it’s all an illusion anyway. There is nothing really that we are taking with us except our ability to love which hopefully has evolved by the time we die (that was the hippie in me speaking).
Another theory of the Veda’s is even quirkier and had me in an existential spin for a whole summer. It is the theory that when we die, we are immediately reborn and we live the exact same life that we had in our last iteration. And we can’t change it. In other words, we relive the same damn thing over and over again for eternity, millions and billions of times…
In a different spin on eternal life, Milan Kundera once wrote a hilarious passage on how his male protagonist decided to leave his wife when he realized, after 30 years of marriage, that if he stayed married to her he would be reunited with her after death in the afterlife…for eternity…
I remember ending a relationship after reading that passage…it really struck me that no moment in life must go wasted…
Hmmm…why only one incarnation over and over again? Why not reincarnate gradually as EVERYONE ELSE in space-time for eternity? How about THAT for a karmic loop?
Ok, I guess this thread is getting off-topic now..sorry about that 😉
I had to make at least one “token” comment on this blog…heheheheh…