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Newsletter 1-00 - Through 4 Dimensions

Release Date: 
07 - 2000
Authors: 
Alex Barth, Anatol Bogendorfer, Tim Boykett, Husbert H., Just Merit and the usual suspects

Newsletter 01-00 Through 4 Dimensions

1-00 Through 4 dimensions
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introduction
Real Virtuality. Losing ourselves in the miasma that makes up the crossover of virtual and real worlds. As the Spin Environments come together we are still not losing grip of reality - check out our new “inverted reality system” at this years Ars Electronica festival and by the way make your sex become the next!

Reale Virtualität. Wir gehen verloren im wirbelwind, den die üeberschneidung von realen und virtuellen welten in unseren koerpern erzeugen. Aber mit der realisierung von “body Spin” verlieren wir nicht den zugriff auf die rotierende realitaet. versuch unser system zur “invertierten realität” bei der diesjaehrigen Ars Electronica und schau auch gleich welcher sex der naechst(best)e wird !
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editorial
news letter - neues in briefform......und neuigkeiten gibt es genügend seit dem erscheinen der letzten ausgabe. wenn neue dinge im enstehen begriffen sind, werden andere aufgrund der herausforderung des neuen automatisch in den hintergrund gedrängt, wie zum beispiel die veranstaltungsreihe “obsolete” selbst.
die in österreich amtierende “februarkoalition” kann hingegen als mischform der oben genannten begriffe bezeichnet werden, da sie, obwohl sie eine relativ neue regierungsform darstellt, obsolete werte u.a. in der frauenpolitik vertritt. aber wer ist der feind aus welcher sichtweise ? nur die neuen kleider der alten werte ?
bitte jetzt zurückspulen, um “wesen und natur” zu begreifen.
...und plötzlich: Cut !!!
neu im time´s up headquarter steht das 3D-audio wohnzimmer der Anchortronic reihe, der Cube, der sich nun in der testphase befindet und am 4. september seinen ersten auftritt in der öffentlichkeit bestreiten wird. join us.
hus, aug 2000
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Body Spin
The current Time’s Up project “Body Spin” aims at researching behavourial patterns in a simulated environment that incorporates the user’s body rather than trying to overcome it. The research focus lies not only in the consequences of a VR-System on the user’s body, but moreover in the influence of our physical presence on the parameters of such a system and its feedback upon the body (loop).

The user is equipped with a small body pack to allow a real-time measurement of the necessary body functions. Thus fit for the transgression into his/her adventure the user enters the interface SPIN. SPIN, the Spherical Projection Interface, is a three metre diameter trackball that one walks inside of. As the trackball rotates beneath your feet, the motion is taken over to a virtual space and projections from that space are cast upon the translucent walls of the ball. The effect is one of taking a stroll inside a virtual space. There is no forward, there are no goggles or other impediments, freedom of movement in spite of the space restrictions sets SPIN apart from other interfaces.
Placing the body within the rotationally symmetric space of the SPIN, the public individual perforates the membrane and becomes singularly immersed. This degree of immersion allows us to investigate the behaviour of the public individual in ways that have been impossible to date.

Once inside the SPIN, it’s up to the users to become one with the program and change the course of their worlds and future history with their bodily functions. We developed three environments: One is “Breath Surf”, where the user’s breath frequency triggers a series of waves, the aim being to catch a wave and surf on it. Another Body Spin environment is “Brain Maze”, brain activity and skin resistancy decide upon the complexity of a maze that is being generated dynamically, an “alert but calm state” will make it the easiest to pass. In “Pulse Fall” the user has to try balancing on a platform that levels according to her pulse rate.

The Body Spin environments take up complexity according to the users capabilities and endurance up to a point where they are able to use all the functions at once to create a complex environment, that they probably will not be able to leave. It’s then a question of whether they will want to get out or are convinced that they have entered a state of a gnostic upload into themselves.

A test phase in the garage of the ARS Electronica Center (Linz) in June gave us more experience with SPIN users and the interface. At the time we are about to finish the last steps... come and visit our presentation of Body Spin from September 3rd to September 7th 2000 at the ARS Electronica Festival. If you are interested in more details about the ongoing project, visit http://www.timesup.org/spin.
jam/ab
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transient - dust
Getting back to it - opening the sterile chambers, dusting down the lab coats, washing out the test tubes. Time for another round of experiments, public and otherwise. Ooh the excitement, oh the adrenalin rush.
Never let a good thing go. We carry on with Closing the Loop 2000, a series of experiments in things new and old, exciting and banal. The new thread we string in our bows this year is the network collaboration. Starting with the Laboratory in Adelaide in February of this year, it’s an exploration in “creative collaboration” over the web. Bouncing off the bundle of effort expended in the network radio / streaming media thought enclaves the past few years, we use the basis of audio streaming as a collaborative process and develop thereupon. But here the problems start. As we know, setting up a streaming station is problematic, not only in terms of required hardware, but also the bandwidth required. Add to this the non realtime nature of the encoding process (sixty second delays have at times been observed) and we get a breakdown in access and collaborative potential.
So we have been getting into the midi-over-IP realm. Encoding midi data for streaming, on the thought that a stream of manipulative data, a flow of parameter changes, is of vastly less size than the resulting sound stream. And moreover it is not restricted to sound. We have been using midi as our machine control method for several years now and we, as well as people like Matt Heckert have been having quite some success with it.
Add to this the potential for visual control using the various now existent packages such as Gem, Nato or Image/ine and the intelligent use of such tools as midi as a control environment makes the construction of online collaborative spaces more than just a vague possibility. Such developments are working their way into various products, whether the ongoing incorporation of network data transfer into midi/sound programming environments (e.g. PD, jMax and Max) or the collaborative distributed sound studio of Rocket (which evolved from a Max patch, apparently).
Public experiments remain a place in which our “amazing flying machines” can plummet from bridges. The first public experiment remained a nononline one - the flying machine glided somewhat before crumpling into the ground. A rogue group of protoscientists assembled the Tran’sient night/morning (dependent upon receiver location) and the Dust party demonstrated midi-over-IP as a way to baffle the users as to the origin of any particular sound.
Further experiments are planned - this is a long yet intermittent laboratory, and remains online and thus universally accessible, requiring that nearly ubiquitous humming machine and online access. Requiring experimental subjects, as all experiments do, we hope to hear from prospective guinea pigs for our future experiments.
tb, linz, june 2000
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Wild Rice
“I’m an evolution jockey, I run ecosystems,” she’s drawling and slurring into a latte. She’s losing it a bit, she’s trying to get me to grok this, she’s frustrated.
“I tweak parameters, like it’s Simcity but I’m surfing harder, I’m on it, and I show a special window in my world.” She snaps her head up, suddenly awake.
We’re sitting in a chillout room in a club somewhere, there’s too many rooms here anyway, I’m really not sure where we have been, where the sound’s coming from. At the moment we’re surrounded by washes of hissing off-white noise, but the beat in Derek’s head seems to emanate from his forehead above his closed eyes.
“I dunno, I mean I sometimes think that it’s moving along really nicely, but then I think it’s crap. I mean, the whole thing was popularised by a bunch of hard-tech engineering weenies looking for easy ways to write parallel software or solve problems they couldn’t even begin to decently formulate. Then it goes all weird, and I’m locked in this room pulling out something you like to call life. I don’t know what to call it, though I know I can’t just pull the plug on the poor buggers, I can’t let what now amounts to about sixteen months of highly controlled evolutionary pressure pass me by. Hold on...”
She’s constantly twiddling a small remote in her hand, the fine wire running to her ear is almost vibrating with the pulses in it.
“Derek, hey! Wakey-wakey!” she calls.
She twiddles again, and Derek jumps.
“Derek, you have to check this out, Mesopotamia is going ballistic.”
He’s still rolling a little, I really think that some ball of compressed polyrhythm is about to emanate from his head like Juno from Jupiter’s.
“He’s fucked, but you,” her eyes boring mine, “you should come with me.”
She grabs my jacket and drags me through the door, leaving the latte hardly touched. She’s been conscious for 47 hours straight on some kind of instant coffee injoke, she seems to find anything approaching decent coffee offensive. I think she only drank what she did because Derek’s after my bod.
We’re bumping along yet another corridor, some new range of hairstyles passing us by, up another staircase and another soundscape roars past. She’s trying to explain something to me as we scamper along, small notes, something about a blind god, an idiot, or was that the same thing, I couldn’t tell. How she knew it would be Mesopotamia, that’s why she named it that way, but how she was expecting longer. She stopped.
“Hear that?” she asks, “that resonance, that almost rhythm? That’s the sort of thing that’s always attracting my attention, but I reckon this might be the real thing. It’s like, no, wait.”
We are in the second floor, she takes my hand again and leads me on, I can’t help but think she’s leading me on though I know she’s never had anything to do with the likes of me. I hope she’s leading me on because if she’s not I think my soul will fall on the floor and I won’t know what else to live for.
“This is Meso, well, it’s the listening room adjunct to Meso that I’ve started to let some of the new things through to. I reckon Meso has hit the jackpot, I think this might be it.”
If this is it, then I used to know this fella who was it too. He used to pull of riffs like this, only a tad faster, but I’m not one to argue. Of course he couldn’t get the surround thing going, he was using a battered half-blown bank of Mono slaves into a dinosaur era bass box, but he had a sound going in that old freezer compartment that rivaled this on many, many levels.
She’s got this 115% grin going, she’s fiddling things and I can hear the doors of heaven opening. Remember that final scene from “Raiders”, the first one, where the angels fuck with the bad guys? Well, it was a bit like that, only they had no bad guys to fuck with. So they fucked with us, but in a really cool way, like wow. A friend of mine said something similar had happened to him at one of her shows about four months ago, but I presumed he was just completely out of it. Maybe he wasn’t. Then again, he probably was, but maybe he heard the time reversed echoes of something like this. I’ve heard you can do that with the right type of head, and he’s had many a head in the past year or three.

Sometime the next week, I finally managed to pry myself from Derek’s clutches long enough to have a muesli with her. She was back to sleeping, but I had never found out how she dealt with the few hours that followed. She showed me some stuff, stuck my head in several boxes and fiddled some parameters, sometimes I think I understood it for a few minutes.
“It’s like, well, there was an evolutionary peak somewhere there, somehow the energy flows, the excesses and the restrictions resonated the population up to a higher level, we didn’t just see a Eukarytic explosion, but a proper large scale differentiated multicelled body, a nervous system of sorts, a symbiosis. It was a prod in the right direction, Tomyy said he watched a viewport and reckoned he saw a view that took on some pseudopodal aspects. I’ve found some remnants, but there seems to be a missing element, I can chuck in the genotype that led to the body but some certain parameter or environmental constraint or something is missing.”
She’s nibbling at muesli, I’m drinking something murky from Derek’s misused coffee machine and I’m beginning to understand why she drinks instant. But this isn’t quite all she wants to say.
“We’ve seen this before, of course, but there was something special here. Since that night I’ve seen a spread of something strange. There’s a new variety of a genotype that I like to call a vegetable, it’s immobile and seems to do something that one could call photosynthesise. So there seems to be a difference in the general environment since then. It sounds good though, so I’m letting it stay. It seems to be slowly spreading.”
Sometimes she just wanders off in her thoughts. Her voice disappears into a trail. Derek’s coming in, looking more than a little worse for wear.
“‘Nabend,” he croaks, “Kaffee?”
I presume this means that he would like some of this septic nonsense I’m slowly poisoning myself with. I pour him a cup, he stumbles off with it towards the lab. Some slurpish noises, some taps and scratchings.
“Yo,” he calls, “check this.”
We follow him in, he’s got the big old standard view up, and pointing to some area on the mid left of the big window.
“That’s what I meant, that’s the vegetal stuff I was telling you about. I wish I wouldn’t always anthropomorphise everything, it’s not like every evolutionary trajectory had to follow our own, have to learn that, have to...” She’s off again, voice fading to a murmur. She wanders off, heading back to the kitchen.
“What’s up with her?”
“I reckon that there’s something about what happened in Meso, she was just telling me that she’s seen some very strange stuff that she likes to call ‘vegetal’.”
“That’s this.” He points to the screen. “I like that phrase, by using it we remind ourselves that the names we use for forms of life out here are also rather arbitrary. So all the mess in here helps us see that the mess out here is also quite unnamable.”
For some reason I am greeted by visions of subaquatic pulpy ferns near volcanic vents several leagues below the sea. My mother tried to get me to go there on some weirdo ecotourism trip. I think about telling Derek about it, but he goes on.
“I really liked what I heard the other night. I was on some M, so I was a little quiet,” to say the least, thinks I, “but I was floating around Meso most of the time, in fact I was there when whatever it was started happening. I’m glad she let them through, they sounded fucking unreal and I was talking to some punters who reckon that the word I out on the streets and we’re going to be overrun next weekend, if not sooner. But anyway, there was several of them coming and going for a fair while beforehand, a proper population, the evolution was going on once they were multicelled, well, they seemed to do some changing in the basking area, and once they got their day in the sun they foockin’ loved it.”
It’s strange, but Derek’s accent will change, chameleon-like, from one moment to the next. I don’t mind, he talks Spanish to woo me and my goodness gracious me it hits the spot. And he can make no sense at all some times. I mean talking punters and multicelled pseudo lifeforms in one breath. But hey, that’s attractive too, somehow.
“But she reckons that she can’t pull ‘em back out again. Fucking EJ. She reckons she can just roll with the punches, fling mutations, rub the pressures over a meek and mild population, get great sounds. Well, she does, but the genius bit of it is not hers to control. If they are going to go for it, she probably can’t stop them.”
This is something she told me last week. We were down on the beach, watching the sun slowly set. I felt like those old folk who always gather there to sun their tanned skin gone all saggy. She turned to me and started to tell me about some weird, totally technical problem. Then she stopped short.
“The problem is, I don’t feel like I should be getting the credit. It’s like getting credit because a student of your student turns out to be a genius. I’m like Saclas, you know, Yahweh in the Gnostic tradition. I built the planet by accident, in arrogance. Now there’s no Sophia jumping in and saving my arse behind my back, or maybe there is, Derek or Sven or someone, but anyway the situation seems to be that there is genius coming out of this machine and I am not responsible for it. But I tape everything, put out 3 twelve inches a week and I can live like royalty.”
I started to protest.
“Yeah, I know, people say that my thing is to filter, that I have created this mess and I filter out the cool stuff, that it is not necessarily my act of creation but my act of filtering that entitles me to this reward. That this makes me creative. I dunno. Say I’m a historian and I find a new Bach melody scrawled on a page that happened to get glued between two other sheets. I’m not entitled to claim that work as my own. I might have searched low and high, I might have spent years collecting the books, traveling libraries the world over. It’s still not mine. That’s how I feel.”
She laughs.
“I make a bad goddess.”

I think that they both know that something’s brewing, that there’s something beyond their power to control. They’ve been running this world for several years now, and it’s about eighteen months since the last act of flagrant creation. The world has been transferred between several machines, it’s happiest sitting between about three heavy duty workstations at once. The basic code came from a system that was used several years ago to make three fortunes and lose four in a stock market scheme that was hoped to make a few more. Derek ended up with the machines in exchange for getting the team leader a new passport and a ticket to somewhere in South America. He thought that was a fair deal, he hadn’t reckoned with the main programmer ending up on his doorstep at the same time. She never left, but as she seemed to be independently wealthy, a reliable flatmate and the best programmer Sven had ever seen, Derek didn’t mind.
Sven was Derek’s son, apparently, though Derek must’ve been a damn young dad. Sven had made a small fortune as a teenager by selling two pieces of software to Sony, and was now carrying on a completely undecadent ludic lifestyle. He’d once scanned the machines on Derek’s request.
“There’s stuff in here I’ve never heard of. She’s pulled some weird tricks here with prime decompositions and then turn the whole thing over and treats things all wrong. Like some kind of Hausdorff/Banach thing, only you’d need to be a major space cadet to pull it off. My geek mate tell me it’s all fine, really, only he has no idea how anyone would get there. It works, you can prove it works, but how the hell would anyone think about doing it that way? It’s like some kind of constructivist Goedel’s Theorem.”
I presume this meant something intelligent.

The thing that we’re all waiting for is, to put it in her terms, “emergent tribalism.” She once told me how she would recognise it, but noone could remember that. She doesn’t. Once she coded a scheme to recognise it, then 24 hours later tried to explain it to someone else, got it wrong and coded a new version based upon the new explanation. Neither recogniser has ever peeped. The system evolves, it’s a massive ecosystem, it has little more to do that follow its own rules so as to maximise survivability. Life for life’s sake. Sven tried to explain it to me like letting the world go, then looking at something and deciding it might be rice. Given this planet’s physics, chemistry, geophysical constraints, who would foresee rice? The thing was to let it go and then try to domesticate whatever was found to be living in the wild.
Sven has pulled a few things out, domesticated them and sold them off to Mitsubishi. They’re probably controlling my fuel consumption. She hasn’t pulled anything out, so far as we know.
The world is based upon some kind of pseudo-physical model. There are a bunch of special spaces in the world, corresponding to certain rooms in the club. On working nights, the energy flowing into a room is correlated to the number of people in the room and how much they’re getting into it. Certain people get to carry little pushers to up the flow in certain rooms when they are there if they reckon it needs a certain push. The energy also flows around the rooms, or rather the spaces around the rooms in the world. The E.J.s hang around these rooms and watch what happens, listening to the things going on. If there’s something interesting, they let it into the real room, some people call it the soundroom. Competition for resources goes up, evolutionary pressures change, the music alters and away it all goes.
In the beginning they used to work like demons to keep the pressure up, to move the populations around, to make sure something was happening. It wasn’t even a club then, it was their flat, then a rented room for a weekend. Around the time that they decided to really do a club, a few weeks after the first D.J.s started demanding copies of the tracks, the work got lighter. After a massive New Year’s party that went for something like 100 hours straight, I don’t think the E.J.s have done anything except twiddle, opening doors for special cases.
Sometimes I feel like we’re all some kind of border guards or old KGB technicians, listening in with imperfect bugs for conversations about something we are not even sure we could recognise as insurrection. Trying to catch smugglers carrying something that doesn’t smell, has indeterminate shape and volume and is never really defined. I have this fantasy that there are tribe in there, they hang out, plant narcotic crops for their own parties and hang out in the wilderness doing their own thing. Only their shamen crawl out to hassle us, to play us their favourite tunes, to bring back visions to the tribe. I wonder what they make of us. Probably not much, but then, we can’t make much of them.
I got an E.J. rig last weekend. I hung out with a shaman for three hours, we drummed a lot. He showed me a cool trick with a 42 unit polyrhythm. Maybe I’ll see them next week, maybe not. I’m independently wealthy now, too. Don’t tell her.

tb,aug 00
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zeittotschläger
stilettos, spaghettiträger & stoffhosen, die uniform der mädchen.
nylonshirt, plastikhose und eingegeelter mittelscheitel, die uniform der knaben.
derart justiert ziehen sie los, die armeen der nachtschwärmer, um sich zu treffen in einem der zahlreichen erlebnistempel im zentrum und an der peripherie.
in jeder stadt das selbe bild, derselbe geruch. in den grosskinos der vorstadt, booten auf der donau und schnuckeligen szene-lokalen der innenstadt.
spass haben, party feiern. alles perfekt koordiniert und gestylt, es kann aus der dose genossen werden und du bist consumer.

no partizipation.

kreativ ist, wer eine ibiza-schaumparty in einem kühn verchromten technotempel veranstaltet.
hus, aug 2000
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goodbye stereo
anchortronic 3-D audio laboratory

Goodbye Stereo? War das Aufbrechen des Stereo-Spektrums im Audio Bereich bisher nur in einmaligen Installationen möglich,ergibt sich durch die hohe Speicherkapazität von DVD nun erstmals die Möglichkeit, längerfristig und auf ein Produkt in Form eines Tonträgers abzielend, mit Surround-Sound zu experimentieren. Interessant und “neu” nicht nur für Musikschaffende, sondern vor allem für den Home-User/Konsumenten/Musik-Fan/Wohnzimmer-Sitzer.
welcome...
Den Rahmen für die Testreihe schufen wir uns mit dem Bau einer 25m2 umfassenden Holzkonstruktion, den CUBE, definiert als “das mobile Wohnzimmer zur Erforschung des Klangs in drei Dimensionen”.
Die vierte Dimension beanspruchen wir derzeit noch für uns.
5 x 4 x 2,6 Meter gilt es nun einzurichten, auszumalen und mit geeigneter Technik, also mit “gängigen” Home-User Surround System (5+1 Kanäle) zu bestücken und die nötige Struktur zur Erzeugung von surround-kompatiblen Klängen und für den Transfer dieser in den Cube, aufzubauen..
Bis September wird der Cube einer ersten (internen) Testreihe unterzogen und anschliessend erstmals präsentiert, wobei im Probebetrieb vor allem Experimente zur Betriebsoptimierung stattfinden werden. Das heißt,wir machen Krch .. und Mr.Software und Mrs.Hardware sehen einer gemütlich ungemütlichen Zeit entgegen. Summer starts now. Wir freuen uns.

a.b & hus, aug 2000
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I’ bin dagegen
Ottensheim OpenAir Bloedelei: Bier drinken - dagegen, Rock Musik - dagegen, Yada-yada-blah-blah - alles dagegen, Dagegensein - bin dagegen. Es stellt sich daraus, dass mein Mitbloedeler am heutigen Nachmittag mit seinem Vater ueber den Erfolg Stefen Raabs geplaudert hat. Ein Paradebeispiel fuer: Hauptsache - Dagegensein. Wann man fuer nichts ist und alles verneint, hat man keine Angriffsflaeche, kann man nicht attackiert werden. Es gibt immer Personen, die mit Dir lachen in Besonderen mit Dir ueber Anderen lachen. Dass diese Dagegensein nicht nur im herkoemmlichem Unterhaltungsprogramm des deutchsprachigen Raumes zu Erfolg fuehrt, kann man anhand des oesterreichischen Wahlergebnisses ‘99 erkennen. Dass aus so einem Erfolg nicht notwendigerweise ein (erwartetes) fuer-etwas-sein resultiert zeigen diverse Ruecktrittsmanouever.
tb, juli 00

References: 
Anchortronic
References: 
Body SPIN
Appearances: 
BodySPIN 09-2000