11 November, 2012

Artifactual Playground

Filed under: abstractmachine,play,rant,theory — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 18:30 pm

In 1958, the American physicist William Higinbotham created what is one of the first instances of what we would today call a modern “video game”. The game, named Tennis For Two, was built at the Brookhaven National Laboratory for their yearly open-house presentations of the lab’s activities. The game was built using an oscilloscope and a programmable analog computer, the Donner Model 30. It simulated a simple tennis match between two players, with a sideways perspective of the net and a ball bouncing back and forth, controlled by two player-manipulated inputs.

Proteus Proteus /clouds/

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2 April, 2012

Exhausting gameplay

Filed under: abstractmachine,rant,theory — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 21:58 pm

A significant percentage of video games employ in one way or another the figure of death. The thanatological sub-species of video game representations are practically endless: dismemberment, infection, untreatable wounds, explosion, etc. Players can be eaten, crushed, sliced, diced, quartered, electrocuted, impaled, and so on. Many of these representations are more or less approximate: in Doom, for example, a player’s state of “health” is represented by an abstract percentage value where players do not die of any specific organ failure, but instead from some sort of provoked exhaustion. In role playing games, players kill their opponents in a similar manner, i.e. by reducing this all-encompassing numerical value of their enemies to zero. In other games, players simply keel over, or disappear in a puff of smoke when touched, as in Pacman. In Super Mario Bros. players can just run out of time. Death in gaming is more a question of symbol than of substance. While we are still in the realm of simulation, the simulation is so figurative as pull us into an wholly other realm of representation. In his 1972 article on transcendence, gaming and “computer bums”, Stewart Brand used the term “symbolic” to describe the flickering figurations of death slowly taking over university computer science research consoles: “Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums“.

Inume Pass In the Kai Provence, Hokusai Journey, That Game Company

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29 June, 2011

(char)playable podcast

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,interview,play,podcast,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 22:09 pm

Invaders! @ Leipzig

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3 May, 2009

Déclaration de guerre

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 22:54 pm

For all the English readers out there, I’m sorry, but this one’s going to be en français: the land of « Liberté Égalité Fraternité » is yet again dangerously close to passing what many have been calling a « liberticidal » law, but that might more aptly called a « future-art-killer ». Two days ago, a film opened in New York entitled RiP: A Remix Manifesto; the film has also been distributed under a CC-BY-NC licence and therefore can easily (and legally) be downloaded off of Pirate Bay and other sources; I suggest you see it, and donate to the cause. In it, the filmmakers describe the […]

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7 March, 2009

Invaders! video

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,exhibition,interview,play,rant,youtube — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 23:01 pm

Some time has passed since my Invaders! installation started something of a $#!¥storm back in August at the Leipzig Games Convention. I tried to give the piece some context and gave a few interviews to responsible journalists, but ultimately the whole thing just blew up as people lost all sense of scale and started taking for granted all sorts of assumptions about the work. Ok, so that’s the backstory, and you can think of all that what you will. But now that hipster pop acts such as Röyksopp are reportedly referencing the work (I have my doubts) and given that […]

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9 September, 2008

Internet, mon amour

Filed under: abstractmachine,atelier hypermedia,code,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 00:53 am

There is a new French law currently in preparation on the subject of (yet again) « Création et Internet ». I think you’ve already figured out the translation, but in case you haven’t, it is (yet again) about pitting « artistic creation » against « the Internet ». We’ve already gone through several cycles of this game and still haven’t made any progress on these issues. And yet, here we are, yet again, as if the opposition of art and Internet were somehow an inevitable slow motion head-on accident that only the State could possibly prevent. Some background. The French have always prided themselves — theoretically […]

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25 August, 2008

Some context…

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,exhibition,rant,youtube — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 11:08 am

I’ve been following the various forums commenting my Invaders! installation as much as my busy schedule allows me (I’ll be away for a residency all week, so the assassins will have to start looking elsewhere). At this point, it goes without saying that I am apparently responsible for the latest flash-in-the-pan in the world of video game controversies. It appears that controversy is easier to provoke than more significant forms of experience, and given the current reaction, I suppose the only conclusion I can come to is that the piece has failed in more ways than one. Whatever the case, […]

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31 May, 2008

Director[11] = #@§!

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 14:26 pm

Ok, so now I’m really pissed. So I’ve bought the damn upgrade, simply because I have so many old projects languishing on this dying platform. I’ve also been getting email from people because some of these projects are online, and no longer work; and instead of saying, “Macromedia, er Adobe, couldn’t move its sorry ass for over two years to get this software working on your platform,” the alert instead says, “please contact the author,” which in its tone suggests that somehow I’m the one who can’t manage my own projects. Okay, okay, so that’s the way software works, fine. […]

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8 May, 2008

Magic Marker versus Magic Screen

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 23:44 pm

Also known as: Perceptive Pixel‘s multi-touch marvel is no match against Tim Russert’s felt-tip pen. My favorite part is actually all the noise Russert makes as he drags out his chart ;-)

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11 November, 2007


Filed under: rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 16:13 pm

I’m not much for petitions. A pure formality, at best. I’m far more impressed by more creative forms of communication. But given the speed at which events are unfolding, all I’ve found to do concerning the actual crisis in Pakistan is to sign this petition my colleague Jean Biagini suggested to me yeasterday: End the Emergency. For I’ve just learned via Jean that the former director of the National College of Arts in Lahore has been arrested in connection with the crackdown on so-called extremists. While I, like many in the west probably, can easily imagine there is indeed some […]

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31 May, 2007

Beneath the Surface…

Filed under: abstractmachine,atelier hypermedia,code,design,physicalization,publication,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 22:13 pm

Ok people, you can stop sending me emails about Microsoft Surface. I’ve seen it already. And as I mentioned in this interview and this one the experimentation phase of interactive surfaces is over. Everyone knows that Microsoft is the pretty much the last cog in the technology wheel. When they’ve figured it out, well that means that just about everyone else has already figured it out some time ago. I love that historical timeline on the surface web page. NO REALLY EVERYONE, LOOK, WE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE THE IPHONE. NO, HEY, WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING? IT’S TRUE! The funny […]

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28 May, 2007

Flash in the pan

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,live,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 21:19 pm

Note to readers. Please observe that I am just about to condemn myself from all future speaking engagements by unabashedly biting the hand that feeds; even worse — coward that I am — from the comfort of my little countryside home, after-the-fact, far from stone’s throw. Whatever. Let the chips fall where they may. Some things just have to be said. I’ve just gotten back from a very strange festival, of the likes I’ve been avoiding for quite some time: Flash Festival, a very well-produced, well-intentioned festival + prix, but with an absolutely vaccuous artistic core. It suffered from being […]

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16 May, 2007

Shoot an Iraqi

Filed under: atelier hypermedia,rant,transatlab — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 23:22 pm

As you may or may not have noticed, I was teaching last month at the Chicago Art Institute. I met some pretty amazing people while there, but the person who really stood out for me was the very charming Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal (cf. http://www.crudeoils.us/) who was preparing an interesting online performance entitled Domestic Tension: all throughout the month he has been living at the Flatfile Galleries where — via a locally housed server — you can chat with him, watch a live video feed of his life in the gallery, and shoot at him with a collective remote controlled gun. Now, if you […]

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13 March, 2007


Filed under: abstractmachine,atelier hypermedia,code,curatorial,publication,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 18:20 pm

A few weeks back, the cool French journalist Marie Lechner asked me to collect a list of interesting YouTube videos. I was originally going to do something more interresting than what I came up with, but I was busy travelling and so I quickly scraped together this fairly traditional list along with a there-goes-the-professor-again accompanying verbiage. Even if you don’t read French, the videos are fairly explicit: there’s insolent stuff, code stuff, remix stuff, political stuff, etc. Here’s the link: Playlist #1 par Douglas Edric Stanley. If you want a translation, Google will do it for you here: link. My […]

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15 February, 2007

Stereoscopic Processing, Torque, zzzzzz…

Filed under: atelier hypermedia,code,rant,student — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 06:55 am

Vincent Cogne found some time (between evaluations and the whatnots of end-of-semester madness) to put up the source code to the solution he found for creating stereoscopic Processing sketches [link]. We tried a few different solutions before this one (well, to be honest, I just made teacherly suggestions with a lot of OpenGL theory and Vincent did all the work). This was all while Ben Chang was here teaching us his solution using Ygdrasil. I think Ben has done great work on making a viable solution, but I just cringed when I saw all the hackery-clickery that had to be […]

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7 February, 2007


Filed under: rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 02:36 am

So, Steve Jobs, being the kinda guy he is, has decided to post his personal thoughts on Digital Rights Management in an open letter. It’s an eye-opening read. As usual, he turns the whole thing ass-up, claiming that in fact he would rather just get rid of the DRM, while still maintaining that Apple’s DRM does not in practice tie users to their iPod since only 3% of users have DRM’d music on their machines (hmm, how to you say « bullshit » in Norwegian?). He also claims that there is healthy competition (here comes the smoke and mirrors) because other […]

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25 January, 2007


Filed under: interview,live,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 00:29 am

Program: Partage du savoir, privatisation des connaissances Radio Station: Radio Grenouille 88.8, Marseille Times & Dates: 18h, Monday January 29th; 18h, Tuesday January 30th; 18h, Wednesday January 31st Speakers: Jean Cristofol, Douglas Edric Stanley, Paul Devautour (Art et propriété intellectuelle); Emmanuel Vergès, Philippe Aigrain, François Deck (Société de l’information et économie de l’immatériel); Fabienne Orsi, Jean Cristofol, Bertrand Jordan (Appropriation du vivant) I already mentioned this back in December, but Radio Grenouille recorded several speakers from the series of conferences organized by Jean Cristofol entitled Partage du savoir, privatisation de la connaissance. Those recordings have now been edited and will […]

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15 November, 2006

2600 vs. Playstation 3

Filed under: play,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 02:50 am

I was just reading this interview with Nolan Bushnell (via fluctuat) and sure enough, the former head of Atari was talking smack about the Playstation 3. He’s out of the game console loop, so I suppose his opinion as the head of a former video game empire is worth something (although he is currently developing a new casual gaming restaurant franchise that seems to be missing that japanese touch, côté design). Of course, Bushnell will always have a warm place in my heart — no, not for Pong, I’m talking about all the hours spent on Crazy Climber thanks to […]

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4 November, 2006

Forced Labor

Filed under: design,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 19:30 pm

Ok, this is one of those things that only an engineer could think of — also known as how to shave off a minute here, a minute there, when you have perfectly better things to do… Take a look at this photo. It is my Epson R300 printer just after replacing the ink cartridge. It has just made all sorts of spugeeech, zhmurrrr, shpukwaaaaam, shazzaaaam noises. All this takes about a minute. There is a nice little screen on the right that first told me how to do things, and when I was ready it asked me to press OK. […]

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17 October, 2006


Filed under: abstractmachine,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 18:00 pm

Ok, just to let you know that although I personally think my ^3 instrument is pretty frikkin Airwolf, Andy Polaine of ex-Antirom fame caracterized it as « dull » along with everything else at ISEA2006. Actually he originally thought ISEA was dull, but when Karl D.D. Willis insisted, Andy was more than happy to throw me into the briar-patch too. If you’re saying « Karl who? », he’s made some cool stuff you should check out on his website, and nicely used some of my current theories in a recent paper entitled « Creative Interactive Experiences as Production » for the The First International Symposium on […]

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30 September, 2006

Boycott? BOYcott!

Filed under: rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 03:28 am

This is a complex and difficult post to begin, because the issue requires a certain precision, the context needs to be described in order to understand what’s at issue, a lot of false rhetorical traps need to be avoided, and yet meanwhile it is very late and I need to get some sleep before doing some more work tomorrow this morning on a work I’m presenting at Villette Emergences. As you can see, I’m already at my second sentence and I haven’t even told you what the debate is about. So it all started for me three days ago when […]

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5 June, 2006


Filed under: abstractmachine,code,exhibition,hypertable,interview,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 15:56 pm

This is just a quick post to thank the indefatigable Régine Débatty for giving me a chance to rant against the French and exploitive media art festivals over at we-make-money-not-art. I probably said a few things that will come back to haunt me, but what the hell. At least I was able to discuss a little where I’m going with my current research, and to make yet another plug for Processing and explain why it is good for art schools (as if you haven’t heard by now). [Link]

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17 May, 2006

Spam, spam, spam, spam, …

Filed under: abstractmachine,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 15:15 pm

I’m getting swamped with Spam, and the WordPress filters can’t seem to stop it anymore. So I’m changing the rules for posting comments. I don’t want to close comments, and I don’t want to moderate everything, so if you’ve already posted a comment, you’ll pass automatically. But if you haven’t, you’ll have to wait for moderation. Sorry, but as anyone who has a blog knows, there’s a lot of spam. It’s insane. One thing I have say about spam though, is that I’ve been reading it for years and I find it more and more poetic. Here are some recent […]

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20 April, 2006

Re: Feed me, Feed me!!!

Filed under: abstractmachine,code,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 11:42 am

I’m participating in a minor debate with some friends over at Metazimut (great name by the way). There are several points we’re debating, all surrounding the political, artistic and ontological nature of blogs. It started with one of the best French web-theoreticians, Etienne Cliquet (an even better name ;-) reacting to some militant positions I had recently taken with respect to standards and web aggregators over at CEDAR. Here is his original post with our comments: Feed me, feed me!!!. Since Etienne and I are quite clearly squaring off around the role of pingbacks, I thought I would give him […]

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11 April, 2006

The Great Schism

Filed under: atelier hypermedia,live,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 00:17 am

Ok, let it hearby be known that if one more person cites Picasso’s “Je ne cherche pas, je trouve”, they will be shot. So I ended up speaking last Thursday at the Assises Nationales des Écoles d’Art. If you don’t know what that is, here is a post from a few days back (Assises Nationales des Écoles d’Art). Ohmygod, who the f##k came up with the idea of locking into a large conference hall a couple hundred french artists and intellectuals!@#¡¿? Actually, I found the whole experience pretty comical, and in the end damn cool to see how firey the […]

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5 April, 2006

Assises nationales des écoles d’art

Filed under: live,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 02:35 am

Conference: Assises Nationales des écoles d’art Location: Rennes, France Date: 6-7 April, 2006 Schedule: Programme (in french) Oops, it happened again. I open my big mouth and end up getting dragged yet again into a conference where I probably won’t have anything to say. I was politely debating with a collegue from another art school on the subject of research, art schools, and the university system, when it turns out that he is one of the organizers of the big art-politics-education shindig in Rennes. I’m still not to sure what to think of this issue, it’s still pretty obscure for […]

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16 January, 2006


Filed under: atelier hypermedia,code,play,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 17:22 pm

Antonin Fourneau has just published the DOGMeNIAROF over at the ENIAROF blog. It is of course inspired by Lars von Trier & Thomas Vinterberg’s Domge95 Vow of Chastity (that said, our vow is more a vow of lasciviousness). The idea is to create an associative movement countering various unfortunate tendencies in digital art, and more importantly digital art festivals. And as an affront to the big daddy of all digital arts festival, we’re sending it into the Prix Ars Electronica’s Digital Communities category to see what they’ll do with it (we don’t expect much on that front, but who knows). […]

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8 January, 2006

Internet2 & the accident

Filed under: abstractmachine,internet,rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 17:28 pm

I’ve been offline from the Abstract Machine project for over two weeks, thanks to my Internet connection which is constantly on the brink. Often not enough to even get an email off. It’s been spotty for the past three months, but never enough to keep me from working. Until the Christmas period, that is, where it out-and-out died. Suddenly it’s back up, without explanation, leading me to a quick post before it dies again. It’s enough to drive you insane. My provider has changed hands an infinite number of times (five and counting) and has currently caught me up in […]

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24 December, 2005

Liberté, égalité, fraternité (et DRM)

Filed under: rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 13:42 pm

Ok, so everything has officially gone haywire here in France. First, our Minister of Culture, the succinctly named Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, decides to legalize DRM’d content, and more importantly to propose a law more or less forcing DRM as the standard media exchange model, effectively making various open-source peer-to-peer solutions illegal. The law is called DADVSI (Droits d’auteurs et droits voisins dans la société de l’information). You can consider it an offshoot of Clinton’s DMCA. For example, in the law, it stipulates that trying to bypass a copy-protection system can land you in jail for three years with a […]

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7 December, 2005

Director anyone?

Filed under: rant — Douglas Edric Stanley @ 03:20 am

Thanks to Marius Watz‘s post over at Generator.x (The Company Formerly Known as Macromedia), I noticed that Macromedia has finally been swallowed whole by Adobe. That I didn’t get to this information about 30 seconds afer-the-fact, but rather several days afterwards, is testimony to how far I’ve travelled on this subject. The first time I had wandered off like this was during the terror and agony of waiting for Director to be ported to Mac OS X. It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, as I learned several languages and environments in the hiatus. But […]

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