Part 1 – TOPOLOGIES OF THE VIRTUAL
PNL 1555 – DWR 295 – CRT 897 – ST 435 – INT 81 – PTN 231 – STATION 7841 – STATION 3492 – LT 471 – ST 355 – CRT 599 – STATION 1931 – TOWER 420 – TOWER 253 – COL 5237 – WIN 412 – BLDG 7173 – DR 3350 – STATION 6438 – DR 669 – LT 310 – CRT189 – TOWER 255 – BLDG 6490 – LT 12 – LT 328 – COL 2658 – BLK570 – PTN 956 – BLK 845 – BLK 985 –
INT 77 – AVE 133 – STATION 4429 – ST 55 – ST 256 – INT 321 – WIN 385 – CRT 894 – CRT 662 – AVE 188 – AVE 64 – WIN 147 – OPG 180 – INT 34 – TOWER 214 – PTN 820 – GATE 126 – AVE 88 – PTN 345 – OPG 487 – DR 6834 – STATION 3568 – TOWER 99 – GATE 170 – DR 997 – LT 196 – PTN 883 – DR 7858 – WIN 303 – STATION 8321 – PNL 8252 –
WIN 148 – GATE 866 – OPG 438 – EXT 870 – ST 102 – PNL 791 – ST 233 – COL 2880 – STATION 6960 – COL 2768 – TOWER 156 – PTN 700 – PTN 660 – WIN 140 – AVE 26 – OPG 62 – DR 3945 – ST 288 – EXT 483 – WIN 122 – STATION 4152 – STATION 2725 – BLDG 5902 – CRT 561 – GATE 420 – AVE 174 – PNL 8545 – BLDG6027 – ST 389 – TOWER 435 – GATE 381 –
DWR 256 – DR 5723 – INT 161 – GATE 324 – STATION 818 – WIN380 – PNL 563 – STATION 5628 – CRT 757 – WIN 426 – PTN 238 – ST 47 – GATE 434 – LT 65 – DWR 428 – BLK 234 – CRT 86 – PTN814 – DWR 65 – CRT 451 – STRCT 779 – PTN 748 – CRT 399 – WIN494 – CRT 768 – GATE 432 – WIN 252 – BLK 509 – AVE 168 – BLDG 7248 – LT 353 –
INT 458 – COL 7733 – CRT 79 – WIN 456 – COL 634 – OPG 282 – GATE 304 – CRT 546 – AVE 38 – STRCT 1082 – INT 222 – PTN 830- DR 8237 – TOWER 56 – DWR 178 – ST 363 – GATE 839 – BLK 449- TOWER 216 – BLDG 3953 – DWR 161 – INT 297 – BLDG 3235 – COL 6579 – STRCT 4802 – STATION 7997 – OPG 266 – ST 334 – CRT984 – BLK 946 – EXT 713 –
STATION 3790 – BLK 160 – EXT 332 – BLK 227 – PNL 1750 – STRCT1068 – DWR 413 – DWR 287 – DWR 257 – CRT 991 – EXT 588 – COL 3390 – BLDG 6828 – AVE 160 – WIN 50 – STRCT 2925 – DR128 – DR 5983 – BLDG 6737 – DWR 370 – INT 398 – DR 4474 – BLK 23 – GATE 204 – BLK 969 – DWR 193 – TOWER 220 – GATE110 – TOWER 446 – PNL 9103 – COL 6589 –
PTN 814 – STATION 6262 – CRT 806 – PNL 9436 – PTN 69 – LT164 – INT 39 – BLK 731 – LT 453 – COL 3641 – COL 8942 – OPG 63- DWR 159 – PTN 255 – LT 432 – WIN 292 – OPG 254 – GATE 720- EXT 462 – COL 419 – GATE 724 – BLDG 3123 – STRCT 3126 – STRCT4895 – WIN 324 – WIN 173 – BLK 442 – STRCT 4752 – COL 9832 – COL 5573 – STRCT 985 –
OPG 176 – CRT 218 – LT 490 – AVE 128 – EXT 168 – DR 8422 – EXT118 – WIN 133 – GATE 867 – STATION 8657 – STATION 6629 – ST269 – DWR 86 – CRT 674 – DWR 13 – AVE 13 – WIN 446 – PTN 561- DWR 202 – DR 2409 – STRCT 3067 – DWR 155 – COL 9520 – DWR364 – LT 137 – GATE 228 – STRCT 382 – CRT 506 – BLDG 9816 – ST239 – GATE 355 –
Zone A is the unconstructable city. What cannot be built because it was never intended to be. The potentialities of the machine-text allow for a procedurally-generated city, without rationale or guidance. A monument in the field of anarchitecture. In which the materials of construction are rooted in language. Untethered to the reality of their instruction.
Each structure participates in a series of outward-facing conversations. First with its neighboring materials (the relationship between gate and station / street and drawer). Then again in its block-paragraph. And again across the entirety of the predetermined zone.
Part 2 – RENDERING COSMOPOLIS
- What is the process of rendering the cosmopolis in a virtual setting?
- The virtual here might not strictly be a synonym with the digital. It is more compatible with the identity of the surface. How can the exterior of the geographical-object be rendered onto the face of a page / the interface?
- The interface is the screen that wraps around your eyes.
- The face of the page is the cream-colored paper that you have soaked in ink.
- The subject creates their own kind of virtual cosmopolis—an attempt—in which the facsimiles of the city are recreated in-text.
- What is the difference between a structural architect and a landscape architect?
- Does one source foreign materials into a natural locale, while the other integrates new structures from materials already present? This cannot be the case.
- The artificial landscape carries the same legitimacy as the natural. The topologies of the artificial are notable in the randomness of their construction.
- The telos of gaia spans outside of the subject’s FOV. The virtual is contained well within it.
- But it is rarely all visible at once. It fractalizes inwards. The subject’s view is obfuscated by distance—by the development of further surfaces.
- The eyes look at the interface which looks at the monitor which looks at the source which looks at a base-language.
- In the artificial landscape of the virtual, vision is a chain of metaphors.
- In a virtual city, does the relationship of architecture and body still exist? Does this remain an integral interaction within said space?
- How does the organism meld into an inorganic setting? Not only one that is made from foreign materials, but set in abstract coordinates.
- The digital is still rooted in the physical. The page is made of paper. The screen is made of various plastics. It connects the users to servers that sit in a room somewhere.
- The city remains a geographical-object. It is still
- What new mediums are evoked through this muse? The subject is resting in a field of questions. Or they are spelunking the procedural habitations of a monochrome monitor.
- Every iteration of the digital city feels like an act of science fiction.
- The navigation of the digital city can occur via two methods. The first is through engagement with the interface. Operating a keyboard and mouse, connecting one link to another. Browsing.
- The second is via the usage a digital facsimile of the body. The body-esque.
- The body-esque is the avatar the user inhabits while walking around in a videogame. Or the faux-body that they take on while using a V.R. headset.
- The body-esque creates a more direct bodily connection between the physical-city and the virtual-city. The visceral experiences of the former become replicable within the latter.
- Browsing mimics the act of sorting a filing cabinet or assembling a puzzle. Maneuvering the body-esque is more like standing in an escape room.
- Structures can be navigated and their tactility can be felt through the feedback of the hand and the foot.
- The body-esque can clench its teeth around a brick and press until they bend.
- When looking at contemporary examples of a virtual architecture, two examples come to mind. The first being a game called, Hypnospace Outlaw, in which the user acts as a moderator in an homage to web 2.0 era sites / forums.
- They travel by means of keywords and links. They use the search bar to reveal potential routes as well as more covert spaces, ones that might be hidden otherwise.
- Keywords are an economic tool. They moderate access to various structures / pages. The act of traversal often occurs in a kind of backroom. Simplistic tables lit on the monitor.
- The position of the user resembles that of the archivist. It is the sorting and managing of data.
- But at the same time, there is a clear structure to this landscape. There are sites, which house various pages and various users. Some share spaces others live and perform in isolation. Authoritarian agents monitor activity and censor non-conforming members. Political bodies manipulate traffic and correspondence.
- The forum is a navigable zone. It can be traversed and inhabited.
- It is an obfuscated labyrinth—an invisible maze solved by clicking ‘left’ or ‘right’ in order to move. Complex arrangements are hidden outside of view.
- The subject learns what combinations of ‘left’ and ‘right’ will lead to which door and records them. They archive this data and revisit it when these routes become necessary.
- In a more connected example of virtual architecture, there is a game like, Dusk, in which the player moves with incredible mobility through open, three-dimensional spaces.
- Here, there is a direct relationship between the virtual and the physical. The body-esque navigates these spaces in the likeness of a human body. Or so it would at least appear that way.
- In actuality, the body-esque of Dusk is a half-formed object. It acts independent of the subject’s biological constraints. The body-esque does not need organs or muscle or fat. It only needs the capacity to interpret and decipher sensory information, and to locomote.
- The body-esque is a tool of the subject. It is a suit to adorn.
- But in the transference from body to body-esque, a certain dysmorphia can form. The motion sickness of moving in V.R. without moving the user-body. Because the body-esque is a tool of the body, which takes the place of the body, the subject is under the assumption that they have moved from one vessel to another. When in actuality, they have only switched sensory modes.
- In Dusk, the user is operating a durable and highly maneuverable avatar through low-poly landscapes. The body-esque here is capable of performing actions that the human anatomy could not.
- Not only this, but it is operating in an environment of artificial / heavily-manipulated physics. The acceleration of gravity slows. The weight of objects shifts. The walls flicker between present and not.
- The virtual cosmopolis is a place of non-euclidean geometries. Of overlapping projects. And pseudo-structures. Where behind the façade, there is nothing. There is more of the same, or a void of scattered assets.
- A tower might exist compressed into one floor of overlapping layouts. With fluctuating transparencies. Or a city might manifest in a moment of sudden procedural-generation.
- Or the city might fluctuate between existence and non-existence. Culling in the environment as the subject approaches it.
- The primary dilemma of the virtual city is its habitability. This is not to say that the virtual city is not habitable, but that it demands a new kind of habitation. In which the user is separated from their physical body.
- In the game-world, subjects can walk through complex spaces and interact in many ways with many objects, but they are still anchored to the bodily. They are still slouched in front of the monitor.
- Can the body-esque replace the body? Can the tool become the medium?
- How do we translate the body-esque into textual forms of representation? Do we take up the sensory modes of the cybernetic?
- Mimicking the vision of Vertov’s kino eye. In which the organic is replaced with its more adept and efficient facsimiles. Can the text take up the same position as the kino eye? Creating a new mode of vision / representation. Converting these vast digital zones into something decipherable.
- Here, the text is an object—an architectural artifact. It is an instrument to incite summoning. I don’t know of what. Golem or servant or maybe a throne. The text is a tool. Something that you must learn to use and eventually master. The mastering of a text does not come from the efficiency of the writer, but from the broad function of the user. The reader is set to conjure whatever allusions might rest in the potentialities of language. In the case of the virtual landscape, the text has taken on certain non-euclidean qualities. It is capable of doing / containing a kind of arcana that it did not previously have the space for.
- In certain spaces we see the text already beginning to mimic and utilize elements of the digital environment. Zone A using randomized data, Zone B using machine-written passages.
- In these moments, the cityscape is a readable architecture. It can be directly engaged with. The subject scans the structure with their eyes.
- But the surface remains. There is no depth to the text of the machine. Any meaning is the result of user-created narratives. Pulling prophecy from a grain of sand.
- The text is an occult object of the architectural. It creates an occultism from the randomness and unmotivations of the machine that drives it. The programs that puppet Zone B do not understand what body horrors they may depict / what rituals they might instruct.
- What kind of factions might spawn from the interpretations of the uninterpretable? Of a puzzle that can be assembled in nth different ways. A procedural-philosophy spawns from the materials of the text-structure.
- It is a city in which every building and roadway is constructed from highly metaphysical and sacred materials. It is the saturation of intense meaning. In which words like ‘corpse’ and ‘flesh’ begin to lose their original potency.
- Language fuses into the greater monument until its presence is barely noticeable. Only when the subject comes close to the surface, pressing their eyes close against the page, do the words become visible once again.
- Language must be mined from the white noise.
- Although this landscape is more advanced than its predecessors, it is no more interesting. It is still empty. It is still endless and made from a repetitive set of building blocks.
- The text engages with the interface. The interface responds and illuminates key passages.
BEHIND THE SURFACE MORE OF THE SAME
- The text is a catalogue of surfaces. The textual city is the translation of each of these surfaces into a navigable zone. The textual city is the interaction of body and paper. The relationship between vision and page-matter.
- In this case, the virtual architecture of the city is a space of simultaneously haptic and non-haptic feedback. The tactility of the page creates direct contact between landscape and subject. The abstract interpretations of its materials creates a non-haptic / neural correspondence.
THE MUSES ARE EVOKED AND THE SUBJECT VOMITS.
- R. is capable of inducing an immediate nausea in the way that a text cannot. In Zone B this nausea is instigated by the visceral and fleshed nature of language.
- Although the base-terms of each surface are often veiled by the mass of their surroundings, certain terms have a habit of catching the eye, and as a result defining the surface that they are part of—although they likely share almost identical composition with the surrounding surfaces and operate with the same bank of base-terms.
BEHIND THE SURFACE MORE OF THE SAME.
The text operates within the constraints of a terminal architecture, in which each structure is unidentifiable from the outside. A bank no longer looks like a temple to money.
- There is a boldness that can be admired in the random gestures of the machine’s procedure. Phrases can be isolated and worshipped. The text speaks in a droning whisper. You must hold your ear to the ground if you intend to find what you are looking for. A single thread identical to those suspended around it.
- What relationship do the textual and digital have to one another? What connects them under this guise of the virtual?
- Beyond the expanse of surfaces, and the compartmentalizing of these surfaces into distinct zones (text::page, digital::window). The virtual is a means of projection.
- The real as it appears obfuscated through the lens of human perception. Where earlier techniques of the city symphony portrayed their subject through the means of a mechanical reproduction, the virtual abstracts the city into its distinct features.
- The city symphony is a means of editing images that the eye has long grown used to. Facsimiles of the physical plane. Reflections that are not manipulated through their presentation, but their arrangement.
- Avant-garde examples like Burroughs’ Cut-Ups or Henri Chomette’s Reflections of Light and Speed still utilize recognizable images. They conjure that which the eye is already capable of forming on its own.
- The virtual summons its visuality from another source. It is rooted in the subject’s interpretation of the landscape. It is the haphazard collection of data and the recreation of faint memories.
- In this way, the virtual takes on certain occult qualities. It acts with enigmatic magick. Conjured through the whims of the machine. In the digital, it is the program that randomizes / organizes language. In the text, it is the printer—a now predominantly automated system.
BEHIND THE SURFACE MORE OF THE SAME.
- The text is a structure that must be built. It does not replicate or capture the phantoms of the other. It does not absorb the textures of the physical plane. It must be created. Beginning with the luminous blankness of the monitor or the page. It begins as nothing.
THE TEXT IS A GEOGRAPHICAL-OBJECT. IT IS A MICROLITH.
- The subject must pull meaning out of the machine’s random nothingness. Not to prove that there is a sentient string maneuvering behind its facade, but that the mathematical operations it performs are occult in and of themselves.
- The machine is a hardworking creature always on the verge of collapse. Always with the potential to collapse. But when it does, the user does not mourn. They simply resurrect. They perform the role of birthing-doctor and mortician. Receiving the newborn as they perform an autopsy on its previous corpse.
- Materials here lack scarcity. There are always more words that can be added to the page. There are always more pages to add to the book, more books to add to the series.
- The text operates within the confines of a small space. It is limited by the capacity of the bound book. But it can fractalize inwards. Its interior is vast and complex. Capable of endless arrangements. Operating with the same base-tools.
- Alphanumeric elements are set on the page. First digitally, then practically.
- The scarcity of the textual structure is null. Through the use of print-on-demand, neural networks, machine writing, R.N.G. writers, etc.
- From the maw of the machine spawn endless structures / endless texts / endless landscapes.
BEHIND THE SURFACE MORE OF THE SAME.
- Whatever is deleted can be resurrected. A new offspring can emerge from its parent executable.
- The virtual cosmopolis is a cube of regenerative tissue. When it is cut or damaged, it quickly comes back together. It recovers as if nothing had touched it to begin with.
- Abrasions, demolitions, disasters are integrated into the nature of the machine. Operating through the feedback loop of construction and destruction. Just as the city is completed, its oldest structures begin to crumble, they are restored / replaced. So on. So on.
WE TAKE ON THE AESTHETIC OF DEGRADATION
THE TELEOLOGICAL CHIC OF RESTORATION
BEHIND THE SURFACE MORE OF THE SAME
- The subject presses their face against the monitor until it begins to fuse with the screen. They slide through the threshold of the in/organic. Every groove of the face is coated in a liquified static.
- The subject presses their face against the surface of the page until they begin to fuse together. Sliding through the threshold of the in/organic. Every groove of the face is coated in black ink.
- Every symbol rests on the surface. Behind the surface, more of the same. Behind the symbol, a series of compatible symbols.
- The subject projects their being onto the virtual cosmopolis.