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Welcome to the Virtual Entity Journal.
Personal notes of a journey between philosophy and informatics, practice and theory, immaterial prolification and material dispersion. When reality encountered the virtual, a new form of commodity was born. Whereas consumption becomes immaterial, the object is imaginary. And if property was out of date? Another inversion is possible.
Here you will find traces amount of animism, and detachment, objectification, and dispossession, multiplicity, originality and other more ephemeral concepts. Enjoy this theater of culture, take a sit between the shadows.


Things go in the Internet but the Internet goes into things

London, November 2nd 2012

The shape of current technological panorama resembles a vicious fractal: the Internet is there, in the outer sphere of existence, potentially becoming, one day, the unifying layer of interplanetary communication. But how is the ontological movement from materiality to immateriality informed in our little planet? Objects, physical entities, can traverse the membrane of digitality so as to become virtual entities. At the same time, but in the opposite direction, the Internet starts penetrating the material, as a pervasive Chi or vital energy able to animate the most inert objects. The question whether those objects are not yet animated is of a different kind, as on the one end technology and electronics seem to make things alive anyway, without any Internet injection, yet magical thinking attributes potential animism to anything into which spiritual energy may be inserted. But the issue is another… Let’s look at the spiral: my toaster is online, it has Internet connection, I can ssh into it and tell it not to burn my slice of bread. I make a picture of my toaster, I put it online. The same toaster, the connected one, becomes a virtuality, not a simulacrum, but a new entity ‘image’ that depicts the toaster. There is a superficial similarity between the two entities, the material and the immaterial one. Now I decide to insert in my toaster the picture of itself, then make another picture. The toaster looks just the same, but it contains an instance of itself. Is this double penetration, fair intrusion, or just a demonstration of the ontological inner fractal-ism - as in viral self-similarity - of the Real?


Internet Protocol for Assets Management

London, August 2012

Eskil Steenberg today, at BBC’s Tuesday lunch lectures, gave a presentation about his work. He is working on amazing video games that are completely procedural, lots of OpenGL? and 3D modelling. Then he presented a quite amazing video editing software application he developed (he is a ‘solo’ artist, so to say the opposite of agile development ;)) At the end of the lecture he mentioned the most interesting idea, at least to me: something he calls unravel.org that is a sort of internet protocol for assets management. This is still an idea, as far as I understand the real development didn’t start as yet. He is also connecting it to the idea of large data sharing and de-centralization, but the interesting bit is that he proposed a Metadata system that resembles very closely that of our Virtual Entity prototype: hash extraction would ensure the connection/link between data and metadata… Sounds familiar no?


Databases without Index

London, November 2nd 2010

During the last New Media Meeting held by Graham Harwood and Masa Kusogi and dedicated to databases, Databases Unhinged, to be precise, the shape of a public record was analyzed and decomposed into ‘external view’, ‘conceptual view’ and ‘internal view’. Contemporary databases are implementing a system of privileges which defines the external view of each user, recalling a sort of trobar clus of public data, whereas the capability of seeing and understanding is layered on different strata. Logical propositions are composed by fields and the unity of the file is unfold into relationships. The abstract machine is the underlayer which structures the way data is organized, what is considered data, what sentences can be composed within the linguistic and semantic systems hidden and shaped by the fields. Thus the machine can only speak and enunciate certain discourses, and an empty record represents missing data which signifies in itself. But the mapping of relations exists outside the database, and there is no singular geography. Not only everything can be interlinked, a record can even contain code pointing to other code, as an embedded_intelligence. On the one hand there is permutation, on the other hand prediction, in any case a discourse is modeling its entities. During the 60ies and 70ies there was a great debate aimed at defining and inventing the best database structure: the first generation databases was that of Bachman, CODASYL, also called navigational or network model: navigational techniques use “pointers” and “paths” to navigate among data records (also known as “nodes”), and objects (or records, sometimes structured in sets) are found primarily by following references from other objects following 1:n relations. This is in contrast with the relational model developed by Ted Codd at IBM, which uses “declarative” or logic programming techniques to ask the system for specific information rather than searching for the method to navigate to it. The third generation database combines the entity and the relational models with the object oriented model.


The myth of transmutation

Barcelona, February 5th 2010

The Influencers, one of the most exciting art festival in Europe nowadays, started yesterday: James Acord’s, the world’s first nuclear sculptor, told the story of the years he spent learning how to execute the most modern alchemy, the conversion of radioactive waste into inert material and subsequently into sculptures. Acord, the only person in the world licensed to work with radioactive material, through his 20 years long research digs into the hypocrisy of the nuclear era, whose policies, developed in war ages, are dipped into secrecy. The idea of transmutation goes back to its mythical root, that of the alchemic prodigious of the conversion of an element into another element. The idea that matter is interchangeable is still of incredible appeal, triggering actions and reactions. The sculptor made, among others, an interesting reflection around nuclear cemeteries and all those contaminated places where there should be non-verbal signs of danger to be be universally understandable for centuries: here is a struggle… it is predictable that the symbolism of danger will change in human culture so how to create a sculpture which serves its purpose long enough?


Viral Monster

Milan, February 1st 2010

When I think of Virtual Entity as a science fiction project, I imagine a sort of noisy humus, or blinking plancton, as if matter - that is immaterial matter, or information - would redistribute itself continuously, and shiny bonds would connect particles of fragmented pieces of predigested elements, forming the body of that monster whose unstable structure is made of textual souls, and of the space around them. Virtual Entity is, indeed, the formation of such processes of instantiation, and of the linking of those uber-structures that are above the file-body. If this is deeply connected to the mythical approach to this subject - the myth of digital birth and digital creation, isn’t it anyhow hard to deny that a creature, whose body is entirely made of pointers (to bodies which are not present), is a monstrous creature?
Thus, jumping out of this dreamy dimension, it is necessary to admit that the so called ‘viral archive’, the horizontal and uncontrollable one, is, indeed, peculiar. First of all, this information, as I said in advance, is not necessarily true, nor scientific or systematic; second, since we are talking about an archive of metadata, and considering the fact this database is not storing any copy of any file, because the software creates an online soul from a local file, then the mythical monster, and the viral archive (which are the same thing), are a meta-archive and a pseudo-monster, a monster without soul whose body is a collection of souls, and an archive of information which talks about information that is not present.

What is this implying exactly, I don’t know (yet): if metadata becomes ‘data’, and if this ‘body’ of information loses its reference, where soul and body become symbol of each other, but they never meet again, then, starting from the ‘song’ and the ‘shape’ of the monster, and from its suggestions, can we re-imagine digital world as new? If one day only souls will be left, so that only descriptions and metadata remain, the entire content of the internet, and the whole digital world, would become a shadow, and, like an ancient inscription, its real form will effectively become a matter of imagination.


Git me

Milan, January 12th 2010

Can you please… git me?

All this clever people think: git is just another tool for coders. No way, this is a sign in the development of human thought. This is revolution, but not many understood.
How many things can you just git? How many years have you been using silicium-back-ups? How many hours did you spend around a single, blessed ‘comma’? “Is this perfect Italian? Is this good English?” What do I mean exactly? What are symbols and signs implying? How many minutes, instants, seconds can be spent deciding: what error do I want to remember, erase, record? What should I delete, preserve, forget?

Git is an important achievement in literature, aha.

(Linus Torvalds is laughing, in the background!)


Surpassing an intrinsic dichotomy

Athens, September 25th 2009

The entire structure of the Virtual Entity project, and the entire structure of the digital world, and the whole system of oppositions, and the fancy PhD?-bubble, the entire whole world seems to be talking about a (fantastic) dualistic composition, that of this and that, as in Practice and Theory, or Software and Philosophy, or Content and Form, Junction and Dis-junction, including the semiotic attempt to learn from the process of connecting the act of making sense in itself to the symbol as a pre-determined array of strata -out of humanity. Following this ancestral structure, that of the zeros and ones which we nowadays find incredibly fulfilling - as if confusing an alphabet with the spell - this research on virtual life and immaterial consciousness, this quest on digital filaments and the naturality of manufactures, all that, which I named Virtual Entity, was nailed and confined to a narrow vision, that of a software developing itself silently, and compulsively, while a totally separated theory talks, phantasmatically walking on another sphere. Yet it was never the case: the development was in fact a continuous dialog between the two sides, a rhythmic triggering of doubts, questions and answers transduced from one vertex to the other. So how to declare definitely obsolete any distinction, entangling these two dimensions in such a way that, not differently from the Cartesian representation of x and y on a planar schema, this theoretical software can unfold its entire, 3dimensional constitution?
How do we wander through the marvellous garden of executable logic, if not singing a requiem* for human culture?

(Please read carefully the upcoming releases…)


The fake is not always a copy, sometimes the fake is the original.

Science Fiction is dead

Milan, June 25th 2009

These are fragments of my notes, translated to English, from Antonio Caronia’s presentation at the Italian Hackmeeting:

The relation between science and imaginary starts to produce narrative: science-fiction. This becomes commodity to be consumed, part of the culture industry. Edgard Allan Poe, Gilles Verne.

Solmi S.; Fruttero C. - Le meraviglie del possibile. Antologia della fantascienza. Einaudi. This introduces in Italy an intelligent science fiction. The development of science and technique in capitalism created the space for this imaginary.

During ‘900 the sense of ‘possible’ has large space, the idea of ‘future’. Future becomes something you can build through the possible. Ballard: science fiction is the most important and specific narrative form of ‘900.

Science Fiction is dead!

The last scream was cyber-punk: Gibson: first short stories in 1980/82. Neuromante is from 1984. “The difference engine” by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. It is a prime example of the steampunk sub-genre.

Science-fiction died because late ‘900 capitalism destroyed the idea of future. DILATED ETERNAL PRESENT! The conception of time has changed. Of science-fiction, only fragments of imaginary remained, and those became other genre: fantasy, techno-triller, etc.

Talking of the deads is important. Science-fiction fertilized imaginary but cannot do it anymore. Science-fiction cannot be alive again but a recombinant operation is possible.

Discussion:

tibi: science fiction as a form of critique, to be developed.

xname: narrative structures of this eternal dilated present.

science-fiction developed a series of stylistic experiments which can be continued and transformed, and can live within other genre.

new wave anticipates cyber-punk stylistic experiments – > following the line which passes from Mallarme’

‘the atrocity exhibition’ -→ fragmentation of space and capitalization of the earth. time is not yet terminally commercialised

internet achieved the commercialisation of time

teoria delle stringhe

Abbot: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Post Fordism => excludes future and projectuality

obaz => the apocalyptic future which we don’t have

this the story of the new science fiction.

processes of imagination, social processes cannibal capitalism the process is complete the capital absorbs everything, it predicts living processes and makes them dead things.

horror: the perfect metaphor of capitalism => digesting life and rendering it death, and spiting it as fictitious life.

Marx: overturning processes from within

art today is creating instruments and alternative ways of thinking inside social processes.

main political project and collective work = rebuild the imaginary, whose decay was engendered by capitalism!


The Beauty of Chaos

Amsterdam, May 3rd 2009

The festival Liwoli, happening in Linz between April 23rd and 25th, and named ’Hacklab for art and Open Source’, was a great gathering of very interesting people. Among other things, including a very crazy performance that culminated with the total erasure of the system while making real time video with Pure Data (without back up and in a totally unsafe fashion), the Virtual Entity ‘research software’ was presented during the Friday evening session.

It was the last ‘shot’ of the day. The idea was to make a simple, text based, strong overview of the concept, and a small demonstration of the new version of the software I am about to publish. The last version is already online, and is usable: download it here. I am changing the naming and the structure of the application, merging the three commands in one single call, and making the matadata sets more minimal. The database will stay, so the Souls previously created will not become lost ‘spirits’.

The beauty of Chaos is in its structure”.

The presentation at Jan van Eyck during the Opening week had finished on a very sharp question: “Are you trying, with this project, to make order in the Net?”. I don’t think I recognized the person asking, but my answer was something like: “I believe in Chaos, the Net has to remain out of control and …” Katja moderated the question away, and the day continued its course. Few months later, I started the next presentation answering that question asked from a faceless person in the past. Another thing which came about is the memory of that day when, while observing a tree near the Balaton lake, I, all of a sudden, perceived its immanent, invisible structure. I perceived and I saw those constituting lines which determine any element to develop in space and time according to… “I understand now why trees are shaped like this”, I told a friend sitting next to me. He laughed. Knowledge was looking at me, and I felt smaller, while this very tall tree continued to disclose its secret to me. It was the end of the 90ies, and I was only 23 years old: I took a deep breath, moved my eyes, and the tree became a simple tree, and the invisible lines, and the DNA, and the projections of present and past on future, and of future on present and past, all this immanent pattern became invisible again: the world ceased revealing me its matter. It was no surprise to see something apparently hidden, and the day continued following its ‘normal’ path. Something persisted: the fascination for immanent structures, structures of necessity, and for the invisible patterns which render identity different and recognizable, and life general and particular.

The presentation continued with these words projected behind me:

Machines are a fruit of nature”.

The focal angle (and the distance between object observed and subject observing) is, in fact, fundamental in the definition of nature. The idea of ‘animality’, and animal behavior, which I did not explain but only suggest, and which I will develop in the future, is becoming central. The question, crossing my mind recently, the crucial question of animals nowadays in relation to humans and machines, is becoming essential. And the extended Virtual Entity starts behaving like an animal, a monster made of fragmentation, a Frankenstein of cultural bytes. And the question of Soul and intelligent behavior is to be explored and redefined in relation to animality, and here, again, I hope Spinoza can help spreading some clarity on the topic (research is in progress).

For the moment it is enough to think of fragmentation of cultural units and their proliferation through the Net and their constituting and re-constituting themselves and others, eating and digesting substances.

What I offered to the eyes of the spectators in Linz was the following:

Spinoza. Ethics.
First part. Concerning God.
From the Axioms:
I. All things which exist, exist either in themselves or in something else.
V. Things that have nothing in common reciprocally cannot be comprehended reciprocally trough each other, or, the conception of the one does not involve the conception of the other.
VII. The essence of that which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.

From the Propositions:
I. A substance is prior in nature to its modifications.
IV. Two or more distinct things are distinguished one from the other either by the difference of the attributes of substances or by the difference of their modifications.
V. There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
VI. One substance cannot be produced by another.
VII. Existence appertains to the nature of substance.
VIII. Every substance is necessarily infinite.

Obviously, those axioms are not valid in the Virtual world, so what I was trying to say is that the structure which constitutes the digital domain is intrinsically different from that of the real world.

Spinoza’s Ethics is becoming a sort of glass acting as an interface between me and the world I look at, and a key to interpret what is inner and what is external to me. Thus I read the book again and again from the beginning to the end, from the end to the beginning, or starting at a random page. Such a beautiful system, the world appears to be similar to a relational database! And what is good is that which is good for me.

Another definition, which can be relevant for our research on Imaginary Property, is the following:

Third Part
Concerning the nature and origin of the emotions.
Prop. XVIII
A man is affected with the same emotion of pleasure or pain from the image of a thing past or future as from the image of a thing present.

During the second, beautiful intervention, the one by Eyal Sival, Florian redefined the main research question from: “What does it mean to own an image?”
to
What does it mean to be owned by an image?

One answer could be: An image is possessing us whereas it can produce a certain emotion which can affect us surpassing time and space.

Going back to the presentation, after the collective instantiation of the Soul of the festival’s logo, and a quick display of the code, I closed with the following words, dedicating the presentation to the memory of Ted Nelson:

Most people are fools, authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong”.

I received only one question, which was almost like the following: “You say that God does not exist, and then you create a Soul, but you cannot give a Soul, because God…”
I ask whether this person had been talking to God, someone else said God is a female, and the session was wrapped.

The day after I held a workshop with students (and teachers) of the university. Installing on macosx is still quite complicated and most people are afraid of command line applications. But most are also afraid of theory, and it is really difficult to find any person who can be comfortable both in front of code and in front of philosophy. Still I think philosophy is a sort of programming language, and theory is made of lines of code you can use and re-use, and that any conceptual achievement is like a routine, or a library, a class, or an algorithm, and writing new theory you use what you find, what others wrote, but you need to understand it, intersect it, and you have to compile it or get it to run within an environment. And, even if you don’t understand or if you are not interested in the whole system, you can always hack it!

Can a theoretical hack change the system established?


The noise margin

Amsterdam, March 21st 2009

We all use to be enthusiastic about this possibility of copying and copying and copying. So we all think the copy is just the same as the original. Maybe the copy is in fact the ‘original’, but how many originals are there? I stopped writing for a while: code was written, hardware crashed. I still did not release the software, but, if you cannot wait for my sloth, drop me an email, I’ll paste you a dark-net link. So you can already start making Souls, if that’s what you want. I am thinking… Any entity can have more than one Soul, and any Soul is connected to ‘n’ amount of copies existing. Every copy is original. So, how many originals do we have? Answer: we have ‘n’ originals. Well, then: are those original all the ‘same’? A definition of ‘sameness’ would help. Let’s see what is at hand: 1_The quality or condition of being the same. and same·ness (sām′nis)

noun

1. the state or quality of being the same; identity or uniformity 2. lack of change or variety; monotony

We don’t know much more yet. The question is, can we really consider all those copies as something identical? Probably not. Compression, re-compression, singularity, noise, instantiation, difference, error, bandwidth, accident, player, screen, monitor, glasses, psychoactive substances, operating systems, servers, hard-drives, time, space. Everything is singular, the experience, the system performing it (hardware), the meat-ware receiving it, the copy in itself, which is indeed, SINGULAR. Every copy is a ‘original’ on its own. There is no ‘original’, originality is a status a-priori, it is never actual in the virtual world. There are only copies in the virtual world, and every copy is unique, every instance includes differentiation. The whole concept of identity is to be re-described. In philosophy, identity (also called sameness) is whatever makes an entity definable and recognizable, in terms of possessing a set of qualities or characteristics that distinguish it from entities of a different type, states wikipedia. But are those sets of qualities relevant and distributed to the extent that makes and renders indiscernibility? If this is not the case, identity can, thus, be performed as difference, not repetition but progressive differentiation. The noise margin baptizes any copy a new, unique, original.


Spirits, vampires, ghosts

Maastricht, February 11th 2009

Moment has come to talk about the Undead. Entities exist and live when they are perceived: existing because the Other is there, depending on it. If an Entity is copied, it exists. If it is played it exists. Reproduction contains various levels of actualization.

Esisto quando sono altro da me, esisto in quanto riflesso o semplicemente perche’ qualcuno mi vede o mi pensa. Oppure non esisto affatto. Posso esistere senza neanche accorgeremene, esistenza latente laterale. Non esisto piu’, ma se qualcuno crede alla mia esistenza allora la mia non-presenza acquista un’essenza materiale nella dimensione della memoria. L’immagine come memoria, sovrapposizione del pensiero.

I said earlier Zombies are Souls of Entities no longer embodied, whose instantiation is lost. That was not proper. Zombies are all those files that are dead. Defining this death is, yet, to be accomplished. Spirit is the capability of an Entity to exist, the external gift of believing in life which makes life. A spectrum can be a better definition of a Soul without body. A zombie is a reanimated corpse, and those have relations with the fact of being remotely controlled, like robots. A ghost is the disembodied spirit or soul of a deceased person.

I do not know yet what a Zombie is in Virtual Entity’s world.

Schema:

var int n, file, anima;
body(file)+soul(anima);
entity(liberated.life,exist);
animation, animate++;
entity(soul,body);


if file>0, file++ {
anima=0;
* what is life? *
* give me another life *
life=donate;
liberate.soul(entity);
mortifer=(nosoul,nolife);
mortifer.entity=death;
darwinfy=bestentity;
(spectrality);
* no love but procreation *
prot(play ;; copy);
sukion, suko++;
play.entity(prot,1);
copy.entity(prot,2);
suko=suko++;
sukion;
* i can have more than one Soul *
entity[(soul+soul)+body];
body.soul.soul;
body++;
}


Close Souls, Open Source

Maastricht, January 10th 2009

This is the second last day of the coding sprint, the week of the first prototype drafted by Megabug and me, sponsored by the Design department of Jan van Eyck Academie (many thanks!). The sun is shining and we would really love some walking in the bush, since the whole landscape is white and silver, and the snow has covered the country.
Where are we now? A first draft of the code is written, the first Meta Data set for the four substances are ready, Git is up and running, the database is now working in local and it will be online soon. A zip folder containing the pilot files I selected to start populating the database can be downloaded here. In http://virtualentity.org/docu#toc3 you can find the current version of the Meta Data sets! This software will be divided in two small applications: soul, to check files and display existing souls, and ve, that will allow soul’s editing, which includes essence and aura.

In fact I decided to name the core part of the Soul, that is the Meta Data i initially named Kernel (which is, in informatics, a over used term), Essence.

Here is a definition of essence from Wikipedia:

In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity.

Another important decision concerns the following: when a Soul is initiated by the file creator, he can set a password to protect the Metadata, to be the only person able to edit such part of the Soul. The Aura, on the other side, is by definition editable by anyone, because it is in fact generated by the interaction between body, spirit/essence, and world/others. This version of the software will feature the possibility to leave a Soul open, without any password. This can be handy, if, for example, the initiator of the Soul is not its creator, and if he does not have enough information around the file (for example when initiating a Soul just to create a DNA connection).

This alpha application is in Python, a dialoging command line utility :)

Future plans include the following steps: a stand alone (GUI) application (integrating ftp uploads and visual DNA mapping) and/or a Firefox add-on. Last but not least, and more complex, a web application.

Thus future is what, if not a projection?


SQL

Amsterdam, January 5th 2009

I am studying SQL, it is now 2009. In a few days the first coding week will start! My head is all over the places, I am changing house, moving stuff around. Thanks to the support of Jan van Eyck, Megabug will come to help me in Kanne, the new home for Ubik and me. Here you can see our development plan:


- data analysis (metadata fields)
- database structure
- pilot database pool
- python application (command line) to make operations on the database (Souls inserting, metadata management, genetic relations and inheritance)
- debugging (code freeze)
- download-able package
- users community
- population of the database

It will be a very intense working week. Before he comes, which means tomorrow, I would like to state the final metadata field, and the minimal pilot. Our first meeting will be about the ‘database structure’. After that, we will start with the python application.

I am looking forward to some coding :)


Execute

I tend to think of software as open source software, so that the source of the software is basically text. But i might be wrong, there is windows and .exe files, and .jar and more and more. What can I do with them? Is software Polumetis like Ulysses? Is software requiring metadata? The question whether considering software text or not is becoming every minute more controversial in my mind.


A polumetis spirit

London, November 26th 2008

Every second Wednesday of the month, at Goldsmiths college in New Cross, London, some people are meeting to discuss, around a table, different projects and researches concerning media art and related fields of inspection. On November 12th Gabriel Menotti presented a very interesting text entitled ‘Computation as dynamic topography’, part of his research at University of Sao Paulo. His approach is presenting computation as a specif process that cannot be described as simple text, because, in short, computation is a dynamic event happening inside a machine, thus it is not text in itself, and probably software should not be defined as text at all. On November 26th the project Virtual Entity will be presented and discussed. The door is open and any interested person is welcome to come in and participate, we are gathering at 18:00 at Whitehead Building, room 117.

Digital artificial world is structured by specific rules that are somewhat different from those expressed and manifested in the physical world we normally experience. One relevant difference is the definition of identity … If software, as source code, is considered text, an executable is something more malicious, composed, an ‘organon’ activating a different functioning. Be software a daemon, or a polumetis spirit, it is not a simple entity.


Reflections around substances

Milan, November 23rd 2008

During the presentation at Haip festival Virtual Entity’s digital world division into four substances was put under question. Basically the whole lecture was divided in two segments: from a general presentation of the project and its current state, the focus went on substances as relevant categories, including relative problems and possible solutions to those. These four substances are, in the specific, Text, Audio, Video, and Image. These are somewhat echoing Aristotle’s four elements constituting earth, and the celestial globe. An interesting discussion started, here is a recording of the stream in mp3 or ogg.

Some people argued that text is nothing else than a sub category of image, because in fact any letter is a symbol, an a symbol is for sure an image. Others declared anything to be open with vi (nerd text editor, lovely application) is text. The problem of steganography came about as an example of ambiguity. If I inject text data inside an image, what is the substance of such image? If an image is representing a piece of text, lets say the name ‘xname’, is this an image or a text? What is the Soul of such digital entity, that is to say the picture of a name? And further, what about the Midi protocol? Isn’t this text to describe sound? If the basic distinction between ‘natural born analog’ and ‘natural born digital’ was commonly accepted, the ‘assembly’ stated the following: “not every single file is to belong to a single substance”, although it is true that the entire digital world can be described as audio, video, text, image. This division implies a certain approach from the technical back-end that was basically triggering the whole philosophical discussion, although this mean was not explicit for the most. The problem is, shall we ignore the substances, while building the first Souls’ pool, or shall we declare these substances as concomitant possibilities? The right words to answer this question came about tonight: all substances are immanent in Virtual Entities. This is the basic conceptual achieve of my Haip experience (other than this, I will not say). Thanks to all workshop participants and many thanks to Megabug, who does not share my opinion on non randomizing the approach to Metadata. The achievement, that was collectively generated during an intense afternoon of a not yet cold Autumn in the South East, appears at the end almost obvious: should an immaterial entity have a single substance? Off course not. The substance depends (especially in such cases) on the specific approach to content, rather than on a supposed unique matter. More problems are arising, and I decided there must be a limit to complexity to render this project actual: theory can lead until a certain extent. The margin where theory dissipates practice, and ideas become impossible to grasp, and elusive, and fragile such as leaves under the wind of the same, now cold, season, this step towards dispersion, we will not walk. And Virtual Entity stays a practical project, without crossing the border addressing the void, but developing of theory an actual demonstration, or zoo.


The war on Symbols

Milan, November 21st 2008

I used to think that humans understand symbols (in the sense of visual representations) before and in a more instinctive and effective way than they actually reach to comprehend their meaning. Teenagers embrace style before politics. They choose the A inside a circle, or do they choose anarchism? Do they like long hair and running to political demonstrations, or are they really interested in the working classes rights? This very superficial approach and argumentation I am drafting here is just a simplistic way to depict a deeper intuition I have had about intrinsic relations between images and the human entity, be this entity intended as a complexity which includes spirit, brain and body (and these are not to be interpreted as necessarily separated ‘properties’). How far can we go injecting ideas inside a picture? What is a logo? I like the idea of structuring powerful relations between simplicity and complexity, induction and deduction, intuition, and argumentation.


Día de los Muertos

Milan, November 3nd 2008

This log is about a coincidence: the first Souls database was created on November 2nd, one day after the day of the dead. Sounds like a perfect timing for Souls’ collectors. A special date that occurred by chance, a day charged of specific significance by different cultural traditions. Voila’. The game has started!


The Sun and the Moon

Amsterdam, October 27th 2008

First of all it is very important to admit that the claim ’personal notes’ implies the delineation of a person, or an identity. As a physical entity, writing this Journal which is a research diary, I might want to introduce myself in the first log. A way to describe ‘me’ is setting up positive adjectives, another system is listing a series of negation. I will identify myself following the second method. Since I am not only virtual, I differ from the entities I am describing in the course of this research, because infact, although I can proliferate, there is no copy to be identical to the original. There is, infact, no original, neither an authentic version of the Self, my Self. Any minute I change again, and there is no hope to arrest this metamorphosis. What helps me recognizing who am I, along the process, are the characteristic marks that in Semiotics are said, in layman words, rendering the sense of things. This way, I apparently find myself in fragments, and throughout these pieces, I recognize the properties which are constant within my personal deforming id-entity. Piece after piece, I search my person in this negation. A piece is standing for another piece off course, it is presuming there is another piece to be matching. So I build an idea of myself as a succession of absence, negation, fragmentation.

Virtual Entities are, on the other side (I am referring here to the vast field of mirror art, mirror science, and the genealogy of life, just that), ready to be fragmented, to lose their identity, to create new entities, to be something else. But they don’t exist only in fragments, like us, wretched (?) humans. And they are not unique. Also, they can be the same over time.

All this is just to admit that, although i have multiple identities, we, me, are… I am not a digital file. At least, that’s what i was told.

So this is a story of a human, another Alice, an Alice watching the digital world, encountering a different substance. And there will be a lot of talking about substances here, and we all know from school that substance has something to do with ontology, and ontology is a philosophical word that many people would be afraid of using because of the embarrassing possibility of making a non-sense, a mistake. Ontology is about the essence of things, rather than about their manifestation. It is somehow related to language, because language is everywhere, and because we experience and understand essence through language.

The Sun and the Moon…

I (me.. oh me!) am currently splitting my self, my time, and my own brain between two far away projects. I tend to think about them as two separated domains, two Outer worlds, and I tactically separated the framework of each in two different countries. If one is about humans making decisions, and relations within the Self(ish) inhabitants of post-industrial decadent urban conglomerates, the other is not focusing on humans at all, and is considering language as an interface to let them (these humans) be a bit more machine understandable. If one is about society, and this society is describing itself in Alien colors, the other project is about a post social-communism of immaterial creations, but without any mean to control from above either the creations or the creators, nor to transform any of them into commodity. Although one project is about alienation, the alien is the symbol of the other, where alienity, alientity, alien entities are finally acting as the creatures they are.

But this is not the only cross over. During very deep, almost ecstatic sessions of concentration and study, I can foresee there is a common point between the Sun and the Moon, I see there can be commutation between the two projects I am giving my life for. I am not there yet, this is intuition, there is not a clear explanation of such logic at this moment in time.

I can think of Oracles talking to Entities, maybe, but this is rather puerile. There is more behind this readers digest, and i can already see the point of non-return, the point for me, oscillating on the abyss of pure theory, completely excited. I will jump, yes, I jumped!

In short, the sun and the moon can commute (did you know that?).

((And, off course, i am not referring to the well known argument you cannot fart without changing the balance of the Universe.))