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Reading Notes

Resisting The Virtual Life (The Culture and Polities of Information)
Edited by James Brook and Iain A. Boal

We do everything people do when people get together, but we do it with words on

computer screens, leaving our bodies behind.
A lot of communities resist the technological domination ex the Amish.
People are much concerned about their privacy.
People dont go to museums or libraries as much as they used to, its easy to gather
information on any subject now on the internet. Even though people still go to these
facilities, they are not as popular as they once were. Only people of interest of mostly
art and culture still take an interest.
As people look at more and more cultural objects on their screens. Its likely they will
begin to confuse the representations with original objects and what they represent.
As digital images can be altered, how can the viewer be sure the picture they are
seeing isnt manipulated. Ex Times June 24, 1994 darkened mug shot of O.J
Simpson. Images can be altered to the presses view of stories.
Internet information can be altered, ex Wikipedia, anyone can write anything and
many would believe their false truth. Can what we read on the internet really be
Technology is made beautiful with new designs every year, apps and animations.
Devices compete with the everyday world, as they appeal more and more. There is a
reason why we all want the new IPhone, even though its nearly the same as the one
we have already. But new and shiny beats rationality.
Now we have gone as far as fireplace apps and brow out your candles birthday cake
app. We are trying to replace these real life experiences with technology
Lava lamp screensavers have been around a long time too, technology wants to
create real life feelings and experiences.
However even though some humans are stereotyped as couch potatoes now,
technology does try to get you up and moving too, ex virtual reality and exercise
games. However, many people might resist the real life after the excitements of VR
You dont have to go out to the park anymore, you can just virtually play there, how
ever this does raise the question of, what real memories do we really have? Are they
However, technology can help us learn too, movies like Jurassic Park help us
understand a bit of our history we werent around for. Not accurate, but informative of
some kind.

- We wish to leave body, time, and place behind in search of electronic emulation of
community does not accidentally intensify at a time when the space and time of
everyday life have become so uncertain, unpleasant, and dangerous for so many-
even if it is the people best insulated from risk who show the greatest fear. (preface

- This talk about virtual reality and artificial life is at once interesting and silly and
weird. Lets start with the positive parts. I could imagine some interesting and fun
things to do with virtual reality, and some important ones- for example, ways of
guiding surgical operations via virtual reality- so I dont want to put it down. One the
other hand, the idea of virtual interactions replacing interactions with real humans or
things make of wood, of paper, of natural materials, plants, flowers, animals- that I do
find chilling. The more you interact not with something natural or alive, but with
something electronic, it takes the sense of the earth away from you, takes your
embodiment away from you, robs you of more and more of embodied experiences.
This is a deeps impoverishment of the human soul. Artificial life is a different kind of
issue. There is interesting work going on in complexity theory and in the study of
whats being called artificial life. But again, its being done under certain metaphors,
which, like the conduit metaphor, are not always understood as metaphors. Take the
idea, common in the study of artificial life, that life is just the organisation of matter,
and that the organization can be separated from the thing thats organized.
Therefore, if you can represent the organization in the machine, then life would be in
the machine. A weird idea. That form of reasoning is metaphorical reasoning,
extremely strange metaphorical reasoning, yet a form that seems natural given our
metaphorical conceptual system. (page 126)

Brook, J. and Boal, I. (1996). Resisting the virtual life. 1st ed. San Francisco: City
Lights, p. preface ix, page 126.

Virtual Geographies (bodies, space and relations)

Mike Crang, Phil Crang and Jon May

Whether within popular culture of the new virtual realities and digital special effects
that are even more real, or in academic culture of the computational geographies that
deliver an ever more exact portrait of reality on the ground. But also the criticisms of
the virtual as being a retreat from, and poor substitute for, real life.

The Panorama was a 360 painting, which, when viewed from the centre, offered a
sense of a simulated world that both surrounded the viewer and placed her on him at
the centre of its finite display. So art does have a big influence on our everyday
technology too.

From the viewpoint of a programmer, cyberspace is the interface between the

computer and the human, between virtual and actual. His job is to make that
interface as seamless and intuitively functional a space as possible do that humans
get the most productivity and entertainment as possible. The growth for making these
both world merge together increases everyday.

Pedestrian routes and their attached towers, shopping centres, food fairs and cultural
complexes provide a filtered version of the experience of cities, a simulation of
urbanity. By eliminating the most fundamental of urban activities- people walking
along streets- the new pedestrian systems underground and overhead are changing
the nature of the cities.

Criticisms of a decline in architectural authenticity seem to romanticise the past in

making a distinction between the revivals of nineteenth- century architecture and
those of today. They draw the kind of high art/low art distinction that has been the
subject of much criticism.

Crang, M., Crang, P. and May, J. (1999). Virtual Geographies. 1st ed. London: Taylor
and Francis.
Book readings

Lights out for the territory- Iain Sinclair

The important fact about urban living: the continual stream of second attention
awareness. Every licence plate, street sign, passing strangers, are saying something
to you.
On his walk he sees the beauty in the things that pass him, there is something magical
about the way he describes a person he sees. What he smells, what he hears what
he sees he describes in a way so the reader is coming along with him on the walk.
He talks about different cultures, different people and stories triggered by
something in sight. The places he sees and visits he talks about in high detail,
assuming his research afterwards. At times he describes the sky too, and how
the fog represents the ghosts in his imagination.
He talks about places and the buildings more than the things around him for
example hidden beauties on the almost seems poetic
He talks about the signs or posters he sees along the way, ex missing person
posters, and street names
Talks about the history of there places
But also seeing auras and art in people.

Sinclair, I. (1997). Lights out for the territory. 1st ed. London, 8.
Internet Research

The Amish

The Amish, also known as the Plain people live away from the world that is created
now. They keep to themselves and mostly live on farms and country sides. People in
that society are very family- centred and hold very strong culture beliefs. They are also
very religious and keep to themselves. They reject the new lifestyle and work as their
forefathers did, their families and farms are top priorities, second only to God.
This is because they believe the Gods created world is the world they should live in
and they separate themselves from the new created world. They believe the
worldliness keeps them close to God.
Today there are over 25 different Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren church groups in
Lancaster County, all holding to slightly different traditions and their own
interpretations of the Bible. The more traditional groups are called old order. They do
not permit electricity or telephones in their homes. By restricting access to television,
radio, and telephones, the Amish are better able to keep the modern world from
intruding into their home life.
This means even rejecting cars, they instead use horses and buggies for transport.

The Amish are generally private people and often find all the attention and curiosity
about their lifestyle disturbing. They believe that the taking of photographs where
someone is recognizable is forbidden by the Biblical prohibition against making any
graven image. Please respect their desire for privacy when visiting here.
With our societys current interest in restoring family values, much can be learned
from studying the Amish way of life. Their devotion to family and community and their
strong work ethic are good examples for our society at large.

Blog, L. and Action Video, I. (2016). Amish & the Plain People. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec.
Mind Control, Subliminal Messages and the Brainwashing

There is a lot of arguments and conspiracy theorys about how media and the
government use techniques to brainwash their audiences.

Advertisers and television producers spend their days coming up with ways to
manipulate your behaviour to buy their products and keep you watching their
programs. They appeal to all of your senses to do this. They painstakingly select
images and scenes that will associate their products and programs to desired,
pleasurable, and optimum outcomes. Then they carefully select words that will
provoke your emotions and behaviour in the direction they want - toward buying their
product or staying tuned to their program. They meticulously select moving or well-
known songs to play along side the pictures and words so that your emotions are
stirred even further.

Brainwashed to Keep Watching a Particular TV Program

Film makers know the exact tactic to get people hooked on to TV, they convince us
that we dont need to outside world to have fun or adventure. They make us stay inside
all weekend with a TV series marathon. It all comes to dialog, editing and just knowing
what their viewers want. Reality shows are not realistic and scripted, in order of

Brainwashed to Believe that You Need a Certain Car

All cars can get the same job done, but what we see on advertisement is how confident
and cool we could look in that new Range Rover, how our lives would be better all of
the sudden. We might look better in that car but it certainty doesnt create miracles;
advertisements poke at your shopaholic needs.

Brainwashed to Believe You Must Have a Particular Product

Have you ever found yourself with an almost insatiable desire to buy a particular
product and you really couldnt logically explain why? You didnt really need the item,
but you found yourself with an almost uncontrollable craving to have it. In these
situations, your subconscious mind is delivering the messages created by the
advertisers to your conscious mind. The triggers they installed were the associations
of pleasure or fulfilment and/or the avoidance of pain or loss.

Brainwashed to Believe You Must Join a Gym or Buy Some Contraption to Get
The commercial shows perfectly sculptured men and women feverishly working out
at a beautiful, luxurious, and pristine health club. The commercial implies that if you
join the gym, you too will look like the people shown in the commercial. The implication
is that the only path to this outcome it by joining their club.

Paul, B. (n.d.). How We Are Brainwashed by the Media - Guru Habits. [online] Guru
Habits. Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec.

We live in a virtual world inside our heads

Working mostly alone, almost single-handedly writing 250,000 lines of computer

code, Steve Grand Produced Creatures, a revolutionary computer game that allowed
players to create living beings complete with brains, genes, and hormonal systems
creatures that would live and breathe and breed in real time on an ordinary desktop
computer. Enormously successful, the game inevitably raises the question: What is
artificial life? And in this booka chance for the devoted fan and the simply curious
onlooker to see the world from the perspective of an original philosopher-engineer and
intellectual maverickSteve Grand proposes an answer.
From the composition of the brains and bodies of artificial life forms to the philosophical
guidelines and computational frameworks that define them, Creation plumbs the
practical, social, and ethical aspects and implications of the state of the art. But more
than that, the book gives readers access to the insights Grand acquired in writing
Creaturesinsights that yield a view of the world that is surprisingly antireductionist,
antimaterialist, and (to a degree) antimechanistic, a view that sees matter, life, mind,
and society as simply different levels of the same thing. Such a hierarchy, Grand
suggests, can be mirrored by an equivalent one that exists inside a parallel universe
called cyberspace. - Steve Grand, Author of Creation: Life and How to Make It (2015). We Live In A Virtual World Inside Our Heads - Says

Steve Grand, Author Of "Creation: Life And How To Make It" |
[online] Available at:
[Accessed 20 Dec. 2016].
How The Internet Is Dumbing Down the Next Generation?

Many conspiracy theories are out there about how the technology is dumbing us down
on purpose. One of the conspiracies is, is that all the technology was thrown at the
people at once because the generations were
getting too intelligent. The world went from a home
telephone to a phone that is basically a computer
in less than 20 years. This raises a lot of questions
for some people at how much advances
technology has risen. Was it really to help the
people or was it to distract them from the real
world? A friend once told me that when his dad
was in the army many many years ago they had
tablets and much advances technologies hidden
from the world.
So the question is, were there electronics planned
for a rainy day? For when the time comes when
the people of the world are getting too smart or
curious? So they could be distracted and
entertained by the technology around them they
will care less about everything else, like the
government, politics and corruption?
We are all guilty of being completely competed by
technology, especially the young generation who
grew up with it. Why is it so addicting that you will
stay all day in the darkness of your room to play a
video game? When you can be out in the world.
It is a difficult topic to conclude as it is a persons
free will on how they spend their time, and they can
resist the brainwashing of technology, but can it be
that we are brainwashed to believe we have free
will too anymore?

This depressing behaviour is summed up nicely in

the infographic below where we can see just how
young children are participating, or at least have
access to online activities. At the age of just five,
more than 50% of American children habitually use
a computer or tablet device, while 95% of those
aged 12 to 17 years regularly access the internet,
spending more time online than their parents or
teachers. 80% of American teens are active on
social media. (2015). We Live In A Virtual

World Inside Our Heads - Says Steve Grand, Author Of "Creation: Life And How To
Make It" | [online] Available at:
steve-grand-author-of-creation-life-and-how-to-make-it/ [Accessed 20 Dec. 2016].
How internet cafes can solve loneliness

With technology taking over the world by storm, everything we do is now on a

computer, whether is work or school work or university work. But not just work, being
at home and relaxing on the computer too. Being alone on a computer all the time can
be quite lonely. But it you dont have to be shut out from the world, you can use internet
cafes to still get your work done but be in the outside world.
You dont have to call them internet cafes anymore now it can be any caf, Starbucks
or Costa etc. Many people who work form home or just need to study go to their
nearest cafes to get work done, which is interesting because a house is more quiet
and peaceful so it makes you wonder why people go to a caf. Of course apart form
the caffeine, people like to be around people and in an environment where people are
productive. It takes you out from a lonely environment and surrounds you with people
who are going exactly what you are. Its encouraging and motivating.
Nature and technology comes together
Google images.