Map 1.1. perception in virtual spaces + intro to cartography


This is the first part of the first map I am posting to this blog, and there are probably many others to come. At this moment, I approach cartography as the understanding of creation as a process to be followed, which means that it points towards directions. My work is to be aware of the potentials of the thing-in-creation, gathering the clues it gives me, and putting together an inexact puzzle to something that could be many things. The processes are motion themselves, so mapping is to discover, little by little, the paths we, as part of it, are taking.

This is very clear when dealing with larger groups, since there are complex relation systems to be dealt with, so many that we lose track of, and therefore they may decide things for us. But, when talking about a creative process led mainly by one person, how does that happen? That’s what I am planning to explore considering cartography in this project.

Perception in virtual spaces:

This discussion is huge, so I don’t think I have the time to go that deep into it right now, but this is something that has been influencing my work for the past two years, and probably will for many others.

When considering perception, a crossroad appears in front of me: am I talking about the physical way that our bodies receive information from the environment, or the way that we interpret this content? The more I think about it, the more I realize they are not separable, but whenever I try to map them together, I tend to see them as separate again.


In that sense, I have been working on some thoughts that emerged from this reflection:

* Considering that anyone who has experience in digital games has, at some level, embodied the common ways of controlling avatars in virtual spaces, these controls are part of our body memory, and therefore can be activated and played with in different manners.

[PROGRAM_1: Find a way to play with people’s embodied notions of controlling an avatar in a digital space.]

[CLUE_1_1: Chapter 2: Backwards in The Beginner’s Guide by Everything Unlimited Ltd]

[CLUE_1_2: Wasn’t there a game in which everyone controlled the same character? What is it? Maybe having many people controlling different functions of the same avatar?]

* My interaction with friends and family has been mostly online now, and it is clearer than even which part of my life I choose to show to each person. Instagram has been one of the greatest tools to interact with people wherever I am, and before being far from most people I know, I hardly posted anything on my stories. Right now, I spend a lot of time wondering what kind of content I want to share openly, and also which language it should be posted and/or if I can use less words on it. But, what changes if I widen the spectrum of things I post? What if they are not true? What if they are not me? What if I create a me that lives a certain life in New York, what changes in my relationship to friends in Brazil when the content I share doesn’t correspond to what happens to me outside of Instagram?

[PROGRAM_2: Ask friends to create a day in my life through Instagram stories. They should post things in a language / aesthetic that they think I would do, not being explicit about not being me, though it doesn’t have to be extremely credible. I will also be logged in, responding to direct messages and maybe even posting in dialog to what they post.]


* A few questions with no answers, but a few considerations:

How does the way we shape our perception of people through social media relates to the way we perceive the screens and buttons that mediate this interaction? [I believe this is only too abstract for people – such as me – that were taught to separate body and mind for too long. Maybe having something physical to relate too could help out. In the case of the programs proposed, a common ground could be the collective control of what a avatar does (my personal Instagram account X any 3D character). That is, if PROGRAM_1 could involve many people controlling one avatar, which is one of many ways to play with embodied notions of avatar control.]

How does the human body perceive the world while interacting in virtual spaces? [I don’t think we perceive it any differently, but we amplify even more the audiovisual aspects of our regular perception. How can we balance that?]

What is reality? [This obviously has no answer, but to me, reality relates to whatever happens to me – including any online activities, dreams, paranoia, feelings, thoughts, etc. In that way, these perceptions are also merged into my reality as a whole.]

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