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Thread: Dematerialisation.

  1. #736
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    I just read an old Sight & Sound piece on Cronenberg's eXistenZ which touches on a bunch of this stuff - http://old.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/149

    Removing Blade Runner

    eXistenZ 's near-future vision is set in a countryside littered with old buildings now being used for something other than their original function. This move away from the city comes out of a decision made by Cronenberg with regular collaborators Carol Spier (production designer) and Peter Suschitsky (director of photography) to remove from this world everything people would expect from a sci-fi movie about game playing. There are no computers, computer screens, televisions, sneakers, watches, clocks, jewellery or suits. The result of this multiplication of minor subtractions is perfectly subliminal: you can feel the operation of a 'look', but its exact nature is elusive.

    "I removed Blade Runner, basically," admits Cronenberg. "The production design of that movie has a weird life of its own. It's almost as if that world exists. It's a very interesting phenomenon. Instead, we were replicating some of the style of some video games. If you want a character to wear a plaid shirt, it takes up a lot of memory, so it's much easier if he has a solid beige shirt. So I was trying to replicate the blandness or blockiness of the polygon structure of some games."


    Death to Realism, Long live Realism

    Everywhere in the eXistenZ world there are game players, game inventors, game doctors and game manufacturers. As Gas declares, he's a garage mechanic, "only on the most pathetic level of reality". But the countryside is also home to fundamentalist fanatics opposed to the "radical deforming of reality" caused by such games. Around this conflict is where Rushdie, the game, the movie, cinema and the metaphor that is eXistenZ itself fuse so effortlessly. eXistenZ's supporters proclaim "Death to realism!" and describe its wounded and weary as "victims of realism". When Allegra's MetaFlesh Game Pod, at one point hopelessly diseased, explodes in a shower of black spores, they are the smothering black spores of "reality". This play-off of perceptions is what makes eXistenZ such an unexpected meditation on cinema. The characters yelling "Long live realism!" are not only, on a purely narrative level, the enemy of eXistenZ the game; they are literally enemies of eXistenZ the movie - which continually toys with reality precisely for our visceral and intellectual pleasure.

    It's a Game Everyone's Already Playing

    Humorous as eXistenZ is, there's a small scene at the centre that slyly represents the underlying seriousness of the project. Wandering around in a disused virtual-reality trout farm where components for Game Pods are now being bred from mutated amphibians, Ted confesses to Allegra: "I don't want to be here. We're stumbling around in the unformed world, not knowing what the rules are, or if there are any rules. We're under attack from forces that want to destroy us but that we don't understand". The game goddess replies: "Yeah, that's my game." Ted can only observe sarcastically, "It's a game that's going to be difficult to market." But Allegra has the last word: "It's a game everyone's already playing."

    Cronenberg: "I'm talking about the existentialists, i.e. the game players, versus the realists. The deforming of reality is a criticism that has been levelled against all art, even religious icons, which has to do with man being made in God's image, so you can't make images of either. Art is a scary thing to a lot of people because it shakes your understanding of reality, or shapes it in ways that are socially unacceptable. As a card-carrying existentialist I think all reality is virtual. It's all invented. It's collaborative, so you need friends to help you create a reality. But it's not about what is real and what isn't.

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  3. #737
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    I was rereading mark k punks review of that a few days ago funnily enough

  4. #738
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    "The causes of our estrangement from our “local habitation” may run even deeper than our runaway mobility. There’s something in the leveling tsunami of commodity individualism that works hard to make all places interchangeable. At the same time, we are migrating farther and farther into digital, virtual place. The stories we tell about ourselves are becoming increasingly place-independent. (The next time you read a piece of literary fiction, ask yourself how important it is to know where the story takes place.)"

  5. #739

    Default ah boy ah fuck here goes nothin

    i'll finish reading the thread soon but i just wanted to interject because it's killing me
    josh burke in all his aliases feels, to me, the epitome of dematerialisation. the resonant synthesizer noises folding over themselves through a looper, the texture is very much that of the screen and its color is very much lcd blue at night. inspired school of astral music as well and ofc 0pn's RIFTS.

    the emotional content of this specific strain of music reminds me of something stupidly specific in my life
    when i was very young (i'm 20 now, of course i came here through the intro to k-punk's collected writings) the social world of primary and middle school felt inhospitable, alienating. like everyone hated me. i retreated into shit like gaiaonline, newgrounds, nationstates, and hubs for the occult/esoteric on the internet, wikipedia holes without exploring the cited sources [someone much earlier in the thread, maybe blissblog, mentioned not retaining any of the information sought out on the internet?].
    this later turned into music phpboards, and rateyourmusic. this, of course, turned into /mu/ [vomits].
    soon after, i've been totally captured by facebook, by social media. time away from the internet is now the retreat from the inhospitable, from the alienating, from the vicious. i have nightmares about logging back into my (now 'deactivated', ofc) facebook account and finding it hijacked by someone playing a caricature of everything i hate about myself looking back ages 14-18. and/or my inbox overflowing with spam, and/or with threatening visuals.

    i understand this is somewhat different from the way trap/drill/bop production, someone like young thug reflects dematerialisation. i used to be really psyched about that style of production but i now find the youth culture [or empty 'youth culture'-shaped space?] alienating, frankly fucking scary. i can't quite put my finger on what changed. seeing my nieces, 4 and 6, fixated on their tablets is also scary to me in a way that makes me feel my obsession w the internet must have been, might still be frightening to my folks. i also understand that this post is an embarrassing confession of my personal experience with dematerialisation and not really any kind of attempt at Materialist Analysis, please excuse this. i really will try harder at that tomorrow.

    my brain has kind of been rotting since i graduated high school. please send help. or at least just talk ab sky limousine ISAM 0pn skaters etc. w me?

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  7. #740

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    but the root of it is porosity and the shared space and this is why paranoia is the the one overriding danger for all schizophrenics. we are the object of hostility and scorn. we are sneered at and looked down upon. we are feared. we are mocked. we are surveilled and spied on. none of this is imaginary and to be exposed to that, really feeling the density and the ubiquity of that can be overwhelming.

    i learned this from being a young skunk addict. in my late teens i realised that every conversation has a subtext comprised of insult and mockery and attack. that because language is artfully ambiguous (and this is the whole point of finnegans wake) it can embed multiple meanings in the same phrase.
    and if you develop an ear for it you will know that friends and family as well as strangers, are tearing shreds off one another all the time. which is why i like the hashtags here because it's a kind of literalisation of that... the composed superego and ego above the line and the snarling, thrashing (and very funny and truthful) id beneath it.

    where you can run into serious problems is when you take that hidden id of any conversation, that hostility and scorn, for the only true reading of the text, or even just as more real, than the love and camaraderie and support which is also present and also very real and true.
    this resonated intensely and i just wanted to thank u for posting it. tying back to dematerialisation it also feels like this ambiguity, at a certain point of exhaustion with the internet, is amplified/intensified by the internet. when i am/have been at my worst as far as Schizotypicality goes, it's precisely searching out the subtext, the inverse reading, and latching on to that.

    that the ambiguous tail, trail of every statement is what the entire conversation pivots on. that every interaction is some kind of intelligence test i'm constantly failing. and when i've been like this, the way we've come to communicate online makes this just hellish. finding myself only capable of producing these very same ambiguities in disconnected fragments, too fucking scared to commit to anything.

    really glad i'm not in that place anymore. mostly came down to reading this subtext not necessarily as 'insult mockery and attack', but as play. not as 'an intelligence test i'm constantly failing', but as a game to which i'm always invited, which is always ongoing, in which there is advance and retreat but never really either victory or loss. this reading of the Game of Language has also given a kick in the pants to my art (music), which (thanks to the "it's impossible to make a dent" aspect of this phenomenon) after almost a decade really started feeling thankless. [EDIT: oh and not smoking so much SKUNK! ]

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  9. #741
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    That's good to hear. Thank you. I'm not as intelligent now as I was when I was busy with this thread. It's a high tide marker. I have to work my way back gradually. Hopefully you lot can help me.

  10. #742
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    That's good to hear. Thank you. I'm not as intelligent now as I was when I was busy with this thread. It's a high tide marker. I have to work my way back gradually. Hopefully you lot can help me.
    This was your 'hauntology'

  11. #743
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    *So I’m thinking the aesthetics is the key here. Because if “the
    hidden beauty will rematerialize,” which is a lovely rallying slogan
    that I like quite a lot, what would that beauty look like? When it
    came out of hiding, how would we know it was beautiful? We don’t
    exactly need a “new aesthetic” to know that, because wrinkled old
    Dorian Gray Facebook isn’t all that new any more, but we do need an
    aesthetic, because an aesthetic is how you convince other people
    that the beauty has arrived. "

    https://people.well.com/conf/inkwell...02.html#post34
    Look sharp Bruce Sterling is lurking?

  12. #744
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    i just remembered that whole period on here when luka and barty were at war with everyone else, how queer

  13. #745
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    I guess Barty lost his wifi too, huh?

  14. #746

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    Quote Originally Posted by sufi View Post
    Because if “the hidden beauty will rematerialize,” which is a lovely rallying slogan that I like quite a lot, what would that beauty look like?
    idk ab y'all but this one slapped me in the face


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