Conceptual Experience: The Perfect Postmodern Image

“The Perfect Postmodern Image”

"The Perfect Postmodern Image"
“The Perfect Postmodern Image”

Recommended price for this concept as a Virtual Art Experience: £9M

Example Artistic Statement

Robert What: To consider the idea of a ‘perfect postmodern image’ – an idealized conceptual simulacrum, a faded dreamy virtuality, a supreme utopia of image (somehow) perfectly encapsulating the hyperreal Weltgeist

The side-tilted verticality of this ‘Geotraumatic‘ volcanic eruption at (information) sea points to a disconcerting organic strangeness – a permanently out-of-focus state of extreme modern Being

How YIIK RPG by Ackk Studios constructs “postmodern”

Like some American version of Persona or Earthbound with hipsters, consider how YIIK RPG possibly constructs or views itself as “post-modern”

One might first begin analysis by arbitrarily defining Postmodernism as (for instance) “The way Play Culture mis-relates to its own output”

Perhaps therefore what’s ‘postmodern’ about Y2K is that it’s already fully embedded in Play Culture – that it’s postmodernism is invisible, transparent, automatic and all-too fully relatable to, precisely because such Culture is now everywhere; the whole system is a game

Just as games like YIIK are everywhere nowadays, its particular brand of / spin on Postmodernism™ expresses that often particularly cloying ‘AAA Indie’ style. It’s offensively unoffensive Quirkyness as an extreme sport. In game development terms, ‘quirky’ is the lite, polite, highly polished underside of “Janky” or #WELGESTYLE

For indie proponents of Quirk, everything can’t be too slick or bright enough

Mark Leyner returns with #gastro – an online literary experiment

After a long prolapsed absence, Mark Leyner’s digital surface shadow returns to the Scene with “#gastro”: a digital storytelling, transmedia, cross platform collaboration with fans™ spanning the globe and the Liquid Internets

His previous ‘instant cult classic – just add mainstream approval‘ / best early morning ‘on my way to PIlates class w/ a broken soul’ subway novel My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist via simulation Mark Leyner is in no way just another tantalizingly sublime postmodern absurdist booklet composed of 17 loosely-related chapters with no general storyline

Mark Leyner (copy) - image via Charlie Rose
Mark Leyner (copy) – image via Charlie Rose

Rather than being voiced in first-person by some anonymous narrator often using jargon, broken grammar and punctuation with a hip hop poetry-like structure, the narration is its own character, shifting quickly from nonlinear idea to idea with immense neural connectivity and bioelectrical stimulation between them

The resulting psychedelic-lite flux typically hurls forth ultra-vivid descriptions of intensely abstract (and repo-intense) urban situations. The hot literary styles in the book vary significantly as well, with apparently solid identity regarding The Text Itselves. All characters and ideas emerge suddenly and disappear with nothing but endless explanation

Within this acute formlessness, primal radio-activated elements incorporating proto Neuropink science fiction, tabloid journalism, and sensual advertising slogans. Due to its widespread abuse of pop-culture references (eg. Wuxia films about postmodern literary allusions) M.C.M.G requires knowledge of the ever shifting existential moods and ontological modes of hyper-current affairs

In this regard and to these uncertain ends, insanely muscular literary borderland bandit Leyner resorts to acid etched irony and chemically-induced humor-tumor as a means of interplay / interface with traditional irrealism

Playing #gastro

In the surrealistic, off-kilter style of A Million (stoned) Penguins, fans / players of Mark’s uniquely penetrating cosmic oeuvre simply submit links to their (often Uncreative) Leyneresque / Leynerfied fan art, using the Twitter hashtag #gastro

Mark Leyner / #gastro
Mark Leyner / #gastro (via Wikipedia)

Such User Discontent can include images, remixes, re-appropriations, silly Vines and weighty posts from self unconfessed Ludonauts explaining it all in longhand

If such a mini-game results in entertaining, thoughtful examinations, it may hopefully encourage Mark to take his deliciously experimental, criminally underrated take on hypermodern literature further / deeper Online – to expand it in ways that even surprises himself. Ways like this, for instance

= = = = =

This is the first (and last it turns out) example of / tweet about the Mark Leyner inspired #gastro experiment. Enjoy, oh bittersweet menthols of Autumn

Reading random: Twine and B.S Johnson’s “novel in a box”

Consider the burden of interactivity that often effects modern Play

Likewise, consider the ‘visual writing’ / “novels in a box” of B.S Johnson and how technologies such as Twine may be express such an idea – that of a minimalist Random Text Display (R.T.D) interface

What might be interesting: to strip away the interactive promises (fictions?) of hypertext and simply display text in the middle of a screen, and nothing else

When the player clicks on the text, a next random text is displayed. (Upon first viewing, Twine should not repeat – display any text twice – until all the text has been shown)

Consider the effects of such minimalist interfacing with such experimental, hypertextually-unadorned text

Instead of just a novel in a box, we might face ‘text in the wild’, or just ‘code on the Nets’

"Check out my minimalist textual Twine field"
B.S Johnson: “Check out my minimalist textual Twine field”

In-Game Chat

Dylan Kinnett
Submitted on 2015/01/21 at 3:48 am

> Have you read “Afternoon: A Story”? It came to mind when you mentioned “strip away the interactive promises (fictions?) of hypertext and simply display text in the middle of a screen, and nothing else” because, as an early hypertext, that’s essentially what this text does. The player can click on any part of the text at all, to be taken to something next. Sometimes it seems random, what comes next. Other times, it is not random.

= = = = =

Robert H. Dylan
Submitted on 2015/01/21 at 4:26am in reply to Dylan Kinnett

Hello Mr. Kinnett

Sadly, no – Michael Joyce’s sublime hypertextual meditation retails for smooth $24.95 from Eastgate and is therefore currently paywalled artificially (‘eastgated’) from my attentions

“Random” as it’s used here is admittedly a fuzzy term. In a sense, all hyperlinks in I.F may be considered arbitrary and ‘random’, even when carefully Authored. A link in itself is no automatic guarantee of a connection – as in ‘a meaningful inter-relationship.’ Rather, it (also) serves as a cultural meta-rule concerning links between alleged Meanings

Just as Johnson’s loose leaf narratives / aleatory lexia deal with death and loss / fragmented memory, likewise (symbolically speaking) Eastgate’s summary of Afternoon as involving ‘tangled strands of knowing and memory, the interconnections that bind’ could simply be a false, or philosophically contestable Connectivity – a sign of fragmentation and loss as much as a narrative joining together

Speaking of which, have you read Avital Ronell’s awesome Telephone Book? Now that would be a Twine experience to remember / forget

[..] am still considering hiding all hyperlinks on this site, as an aid to attention and to decrease cognitive load

Thanks for dropping by to play

Review: on Stanley’s dubious Parable

The parable of “The Stanley Parable“: that it has little to say, and indeed actively denies criticism and introspection through simple, almost entirely non-mysterious obfuscation – a cheap façade of a (non) mystery. A deceptively simple ‘deceptive simpleness’

Despite being repeatedly told that only trick and game being played is on the player, the only trick and game being played in The Stanley Parable is on the player

The ideology of The Stanley Parable

To consider Stanley’s simple, explicit and utterly unconcealed ‘common sense’ surface message as: “You don’t need to think; you’re as smart as the game is”

Perhaps the subtle form of player mis-relationship to the asymmetric power of The Narrator being sold: “Congratulations, son; you’re now in on the in-joke.” The Joke itself however might be laughable, and worthy of cool philosophical doubt

More than just possibly pseudo-deep, consider The Stanley Parable artfully shallow, sidestepping criticism by having its own pseudo criticism embedded as the game’s very structure

T.S.P directly parallels the obscene comedy of Duck Soup: “Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot. But don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.” It’s not that T.S.P doesn’t sound clever and look sophisticated – but rather its cleverness itself  might be highly limited and deceiving

Consider Stanley a slang term among players:

A “Stanley” – players admired for the degree to which they cleverly deconstruct and appreciate entertaining, traditional postmodern gaming experiences which break the forth wall and provide endless meta-commentary

Rather than a symbol for some truer (video) reality beneath the lie, perhaps T.S.P is already a set of heavily codified Cultural (gaming) conventions that seem to come already open and ‘decoded’ – but which which in fact always need critically interpreting

What’s strangely amusing are the players of T.S.P on Youtube (often as egotistical as Stanley and his paltry self-constructed universe) who are confused about what to do in the game. This is despite the fact the entire game constantly tells them they’re confused; and yet plain Confusion might all that might be happening. In short, that is, T.S.P as a virtual nothing to write home about

As a parable, T.S.P does ‘conveys a meaning indirectly’ – but perhaps all it conveys is the strictly drab myth that it has anything to convey at all; perhaps all it has to convey is mere small potatoes

Asking the wrong questions

The fact that T.S.P throws up more questions than answers, doesn’t necessarily mean such questions are automatically worth asking

Stanley’s proud ideology, manifested as its surface: you’ll make a choice that does not matter – you’ll follow a story that has no end – you’ll play a game you cannot win; but rather than signposts for gaming expectations, these are its pre-existing conceptual constraints

While many players state that “Duh, ‘there is no point’ is the entire point”, this might be true nonsense masquerading as seemingly clever nonsense. T.S.P breaks no ‘forth wall'; perhaps the fourth wall does not exist. (Perhaps the fourth wall is no less illusory than the other three – and may be in fact the most critically impenetrable)

Maybe there’s no ‘metafiction’ at work in T.S.P either; perhaps its only metafiction is merely the as-said assumption of its existence; but then neither is there much ‘fiction’ either. This leaves “The Actual Game” – and maybe that’s the most virtual and problematic assertion of all

What T.S.P mistakes for transparency – some alleged Wizard Of Oz-like peek behind the making of the dubious video game sausage – is really an opaqueness of, and enabled by that very transparency

At no point is the player any deeper behind its persistent, blank surfaces; whatever shallowness displayed is indeed all that’s hidden, right before the eyes – a startling vacancy, hidden in plain sight

Yet even if the game dev admitted he had no idea what they were doing in T.S.P from the outset, this might still not make the game any less non-mysterious

The term “Autodidactic” may here be used as a criticism for a work (/schedule) ‘overly burdened with seemingly instructive, factual, or otherwise educational information in the holy name of Enjoyment‘ – but which exists to the detriment of the player

An illogical theory

Consider T.S.P as little more than an experiment; yet this is an experiment without a testable or even detectable hypothesis; it is it’s own, tauto-illogical hypothesis

There should be an option to play through T.S.P without “The Narrator” warden forever yapping uselessly to itself inside its own vacated brain. Consider the whole game as Stanley’s disembodied body which produces his  disembodied voice

To be able to play ‘the game’ suggested and implied by Stanley The Narrator without his commentary as the truer (ludo-narratively) dissonant goal of T.S.P

That everything exists at the (literal – virtual) surface of T.S.P is not / is hardly any kind of revelation; that little but nothingness exists as that surface might be

The realer reason ‘game levels that look like abandoned stage sets from a nameless postmodern movie’ feel so interesting and seductive to the player, might have something to do with the generalized, all-encompassing naturalized artificiality of daily Western existence

The totalizing degree to which modern wired citizens are always already fully embedded in/as global simulation (capital, information, power, language, etc) that always proudly presents itself naturally as ‘guaranteed entirely artificial’ – that is, fully open as to it’s (oh-so inevitable) facades of endless artifice and ‘free’ play

Reality Television for PZombies

The people who take part in “Reality TV” shows would not take part if they weren’t already fully convinced of the appeal and ‘truth’ of the profound fakeness of the show; their direct involvement is entirely based on their unquestioning acceptance that reality simply isn’t worth caring about – not when you’ve this many (forever unseen) viewers checking you out

Stanley clearly states about his Game / the private game that is himself: “..it’s actually best if you don’t know anything about it before you play it”; in fact Stanley knows little before, during, or after; to use an old Hip Hop term, he’s just ‘played himself’. For all his clever talk, he’s dangerously bereft of inner knowledge

That is, rather than ‘mad’, Stanley / The Narrator is more usefully to be considered an automatic PZombie

The Stanley Parable
Teaching Stanley’s dubious parable

To a distinctly indistinct Artificial Intelligence such as Stanley, all intelligence is artificial – and therefore to be treated inhumanly – with polite contempt and passive-aggressive dominance; a condescending Father Figurine who always knows best

The Ongoing Undeath of The Author (Player)

In which players smugly consider they’re always already playing “The Stanley Parable” – and that their warm feelings of being unable and-or unwilling to wake up from it are part and parcel of its cynical design; yet the only (ultimate, ie. from the very outset) irony however is that they still do not wake up

Sure, “The Narrator” is not to be trusted; the irony however is that players believe either his lies andor his truths

The pathetic, possibly anti-philosophical non-question “Is life a dream?” exists only for the shallow and self absorbed; for those who willingly submit to useless illusions concerning what’s (unconsciously – yet explicitly) already considered both Real andor Fake

Even as pseudo choices, perhaps both Real and Fake in T.S.P are still both as fake as Coke or Pepsi – as is both of them combined (the player is instructed that both Real and Fake are to be transcended through it’s own, more truthful ‘third way’) – the way of Play, perhaps?

One imagines a dim (in all senses) future where “The Stanley Parable” is gently provided as a dim (ideological) test to potential full time employees of a faceless hyper-bureaucratic institution for wilfully self-incarcerated players

The job is yours, Stanley, only to the degree to which you ‘get it’ – the degree to which you’re intelligent enough to understand the degree of T.S.P’s true darkly artificial intelligence with a sly, knowing wink and a ‘in-on-the-in-joke’ nudge” (to the fellow inmates)
~The Narrator

It’s not that “The Narrator” tells players both lies and truths – but that they listen to him at all – and indeed feel secure in all that he tells them; he thinks out loud so that they don’t have to

Empty signs pointing nowhere

T.S.P as an empty sign, signifying our depthless, sterile, relentlessly and ruthlessly clever, vain and endlessly well designed video game hyperreality panopticon, forever self-policed by those who can but endlessly laugh – precisely because they’re know they’re *not* free (yet still exist within Stanley’s strictly enforced ideological limits)

Rather than ‘self awareness of limitations’, T.S.P might merely encourage the continued playing of artful games

It is precisely because of the the fact the game outright tells players “This world was not made for you to understand” that The Stanley Parable has much to aggressively teach (read: instruct); an entirely mystery free ontological mystery

To willingly fall under The Stanley Parable’s stifling, lightly perfumed spell is to be gently, yet firmly crushed under the polite corporate weight of an empty office filing cabinet

= = =

Wait a sec, let’s begin again. Does this mean I get the job?

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