New Year. Trying to entwingle many threads, some of which might end up here. It’s been a pleasure over the past couple of weeks talking MOO phenomenology and poetics with Katherine in Canada. No final conclusions or manifestos, but some nice thoughts, mostly about the activeness of being inMOO.
With a big nod to Bachelard, some questioning of what constitutes an inMOO reverie, or more accurately, a reverie of MOO. Seems to me that this would consist of a state of engaged, attentive inaction, both on the part of the player character and the player themselves, the state I think that Jason and the good people at ZenMOO (now seemingly offline) were aiming to create. The experience of inMOO involves (tritely) an act of the active imagining consciousness: at a tangent, I’m reminded of the early physics of Empedocles:
Early philosophers thought that light originated in the eyes, reaching out like the beam of a lighthouse, or like the stick of a blind person, to ‘feel’ the nature of the world at large. Empedocles, who lived in the fifth century BC … described how Aphrodite had fashioned the human eye out of the four elements, held together by love. She kindled the fire of the eye at the hearth fire of the Universe, so that it would act like a lantern, transmitting the fire of the eye out into the world and making sight possible.
A similar thread of course, runs through early Christian and later Gnostic theology [same reference].
With poetics of space thus in mind, I’ve also been thinking more about location-awareness, mobile presence and situated frameworks… I can’t help feeling that the poetics of the emerging pervasive computing space is actually a lot more interesting than that of the artificially limited space of classic VR (text-based or otherwise). MOO is most interesting to me at the moment as a limiting example of mediated environments: is MOO the smallest possible onierically charged, mediated ‘world’ that is experienced as a world? As opposed to say Jabber — yes the Jabber community has soul, but there’s no soul in Jabber itself…