Salvatore Iaconesi is an interaction designer, robotics engineer, artist, hacker. TED Fellow 2012 and Eisenhower Fellow since 2013.

He currently teaches Interaction Design and cross-media practices at the Faculty of Architecture of the “La Sapienza” University of Rome, at ISIA Design Florence, at the Rome University of Fine Arts and at the IED Design institute.

He produced videogames, artificial intelligences, expert systems dedicated to business and scientific research, entertainment systems, mobile ecosystems, interactive architectures, cross-medial publications, augmented reality systems, and experiences and applications dedicated to providing products, services and practices to human beings all over the world, enabled by technologies, networks and new metaphors of interactions, across cultures and languages.

His artworks and performances have been featured worldwide at festivals and conferences.

Salvatore actively participates to global discussions and actions on the themes of freedoms, new forms of expression and on the future scenarios of our planet from the points of view of energy, environment, multi-cultural societies, gender mutation, sustainability and innovation on both society and business, collaborating with institutions, enterprises and international research groups.
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Re: RHIZOME_RAW: cheesy SL

Jim, and you can also checkout me having a little fun at Ars Vrtua gallery and in other places in second life here


and the disputed action i did at odyssey's place here


at odyssey art you can also see some of the most interesting (for what i know) experiments over there

there's also this:



and, to see the stuff, you really have to be there. pictures and videos don't give the same experience. which is a mixture of excitement and deep boredom, at the same time, but you have to experiment for yourself.



Re: RHIZOME_RAW: cheesy SL

hello there!

let me give my 2 cents.

Eric said, quoting Domenico:

> " chimera becomes the truth when enough people believe in it: "
> no it doesn't.

well... actually it does.

but, as he pointed out, let's ask how significative (or, even, influent) this perception is, how much weight it has on overall society.

SL is totally irrelevant - that's if you step out of the hype cycles -.

Yet it is an experiment. As activeworlds was. As were jaron lanier's virtual reality gizmos. As lsd, in some ways.

I once had the opportunity to propose a really big communication project. I proposed what seemed to me like an interesting web based action, and a (let's call it) trick on second life. The manager i proposed it to just looked at me, smiling, and asked me how big was the audience i figured to reach through this initiative. I answered that something in the order of the million internet users could be reached, if everything went right. Still smiling, he replied something like

"one, or even two/three, millions? in the whole campaign?!? i can get ten times that, by placing single big advertisment on the side of a highway! and ten times that, *each day*, with an ad on television..."

i, on my side, stopped smiling immediately :)

technology offers new models, new possibilities, but we really should keep our feets on the ground when we speak over these issues.

maybe repeat to ourselves "it's just a niche, it's just a niche, it's just a niche" a couple of times before even opening up our mouths.

and Eric added that:

> It is chimera, it is a restrictive environment. It is a lie.
> It holds people back from exploring new rules and systems. It is a holding tank for the digi-iliteratii.

and that's exactly why i go around SL destroying everything in sight! :)))

seriously (just a bit): "digi-iliterati" is possibly too restrictive of a word. "iliterati" is much better.

becuse it's a general pattern connected to technlogy (not internet/computer/virtual_world technology, it happened with coal, with oil, with nukes, with hammers and scissors).

there is a trend. of ambition, on one side and of expectation, on the other. both leverage on frustrations and ignorance.

when i (sorrysorrysorry) took down odyssey's server i wanted to point out (notsorrynotsorrynotsorry) how ignorance plays a major role in SL activities.

(some) people believe that it is a reliable/effective platform, so much that they use real money (linden mediated, but real), real identities (don't tell me that the guy offending me for weeks for "flooding his SL lawn" doesn't have a real identity), real ambitions.

SL is a restrictive, unreliable, unstable, opportunistic, consumistic environment that lets you play some nice tricks. that's all.

how you use those tricks is up to you.

but you just cannot come and blame me if i, for example, "steal" some of your stuff over there, because you accepted that possibility the moment that you logged in.

(that stuff isn't really yours in the first place, too. if you understand computer architectures and terms of usage contracts you can understand this really well. but how many users know/understand this? not many, if you look at the number of people "pretending" to own something on second life)

and about the exploration of "new rules and systems", Domenico said an interesting thing:

> 1. (quite banal, indeed) that people "living" in Second Life, as well as in other
> simulated worlds (and in every networked community), have their own rules and laws;
> they can accept them or fight against them, but they have to respect them if they
> want to be part of the community;

this is perfectly true.

and it only has two small bugs: the platforms are open to anyone and the *real* rules are not defined by users.

the platforms are open to ayone, even to those not accepting the rules and laws. and users have no real way to apply their "democratic" decisions.
I can get banned infinite times on SL, and infinite times i can get back in.

and the *real* laws are not created by users in the first place, as they are defined both in the contract you agree to when you register on the services, and also in some more "mysterious" ways, by technological platform control, by data structure manageent, and so on...

the terms of service contract: it is just obvious. service providers (be it SL, or google mail, whatever) produce these monsters that hardly anyone reads (or understand).
people mainly press "I Agree" one milllisecond after the webpage displays, to access the service.

technological platform control: is it significative to define a rule or even a law if the "world" can be shut down, completely changed, moved, turned to something else, maybe transformed into a pay service, by the infrastrcture owners? Because this is the situation: today you exist, tomorrow you don't, as i (the service provider) can transform, let's say, SL into something else whenever I want. Or even throw it out in the trash, if I care, or if it's not profitable anymore.

it already happened on mp3.com, for example. and it will, again. on the mp3.com websites, they even left an online forum open for public discusion, when they closed: it was full of people arguing that they shut down "their" community.

And then there are more esotheric things. Control through data structures.

why do i necessarily have to choose "male" or "female"?
why can't i write in my own language, especially if it requires a "strange" font?

life is not like that. control structures are.

There is a really interesting project funded by the european union.

It's called the DBE (Digital Business Ecosystem)

It started out really nice, just to turn into an incredible mess (represented by thousands of written documents, wasted funds, and no system whatsoever, except for really small implementations).

The base for the project was the creation of a collaborative platform allowing users to define their own data structures, including the ones used to define their identities.

And on the personal ownership of the infrastructure (through p2p mechanisms).

the aim was to define an environment (the ecosystem) in which users could freely define themselves (their existence and identity) and their lives/activities (culture, production, heritage ... ) and their interactions (buy, sell, communicate, move, invite...) in both structure, content and dimensions.

it was really interesting. especially if put in parallel to the centralized, standardized models offered by services such as second life.

which is not really more that a graphically advanced social network. it is nothing innovative.

the aim of not being limited by gravity or by weight/size or by the possibility to copy a piece of music infinite times is not so significative if compared to the possibility of *freely* defining and communicating one's self.

it may be interesting, but it isn't a focal point.

but then Domenico said:

> 2. that people living in simulated worlds perceive what they are doing there as REAL.
> They are not taking themselves TOO seriously, as Salvatore claims; they are simply
> taking themselves seriously. You can keep on thinking that they are just data on a
> server: but, this way, you will never be able to understand not only SL, but every
> digital environment. If SL is a chimera, Odyssey is not a real exhibition space, art
> in SL is not real and Sugar is taking herself too seriously, then Rhizome is a chimera,
> the Artbase is not a real exhibition space, net art is not real and, let's say, Mark
> Tribe is taking himself too seriuosly...

and i perfectly agree to that.

they are not data on a server. they are real people (behind data on a server :) ) making experiments on a virtual world, with varying levels of success and effectiveness, and with a lot of effort put behind what they do.

if they're fine with it: good for themselves. if someone likes it: great!

I am there too, experimenting and getting myself kicked out :)

and to offer points of view in which i believe, and that seem so lost in the hyped, ignorant chit chat sometimes.

(hyperformalism! (and the like) oh, come on.... :) of all the significative experiments that could be performed in a virtual world, that one is ridiculous: bypass real world limitations??!?! single copies of digital art products?!?!?! wow!
i could even accept that supposedly mystical approach to colour and polygons, if it wasn't sold for innovation... )

oh, well, i guess i'll never get an article on Second Life Herald :)))))

my best !


Re: second life dramas

Michael Szpakowski said:

> Hmm -sounds good but then there's a definite muddying
> of the waters in all this:

take many rows of text. select some of them that fit your point. quote those. write your point. trash the rest.

it's a shame i was addresing the inadequacy of technology (should i say it in more academic terms?) and the misplaced trust put in them, so that you actually believe you have something yours, over there.

and some other things on the side. but .. oh, well... puff.. you're all making me do overtime typing oday.. i've got stuff to do...

as for the supposedly better apology: i'll take the ban, thanks. much more honest and ends up a performance of this kind in a truly perfect way.

cheer up!


Re: Second life tabloid scandals.

patrick lichty wrote:
> Salvatore, I really don't think you're a no-no, it's just that you're
> reiterating something that's been done many times, and a lot of us have
> seen it before.
> You're asking the boilerplate questions, doing the boilerplate
> interventions. It's solid stuff, but subjects we fought over in grad
> school.
> This stuff's at least 2-5 years old, and at least 18 mos. in Second
> Life.

what is this, a race?

you did it in the past? so what? have you come up with any answer? anything significant?

you suppose too much, I guess.

well, anyone can suppose with ease, so here i suppose, too: i see no attention given to several issues, including identity, the trust put into technological platforms that are not-safe, not-suitable, not-effective, not-enough. And to accessibility to performances, to the consideration of the fact that we're talking about niches, not mass-anything, not interesting, boring, far_from_sensorial, media-pumped, general ignorance and fascination pumped, hyped actions and performances. And i could go on filling up rhizome's database with text.

i work on several levels that mix real life, second life, business, technology, sex, consumism... and not necessarily in art alone.

if you want to know: i really don't even value second life so much. want to know wht i find interesting in it? the social-niche mindfucker that it became, and the way that it has been exploited from mass media, and the mechanisms behind mediocre people using it to gain attention, and a badly-recycled form of human nature struggling to come out over there, too.

and i am here to explain myself just because i think it's useful, your "it's old" and "we did it in grad school" is not really interesting.

>Now, questioning why virtual history isn't more common knowledge might be a good one.

you know what? this is probabily among the most useless things i ever reported in this mailing list.

Yet it's the one that got more attention.

Maybe a couple of interesting questions could arise from this consideration, as well.

my best!


Re: second life dramas

Patrick Lichty said:

> He's protesting for pro-choice at Planned Parenthood...

wow.. you found out.. the internet is so powerful.

i actually enjoy watching some of you pretending i'm a no-no, and making statements.
some of which i even agree with (as i said, i would have kicked myself out of odyssey, too.. it's part of the game), some of which i don't. but that's (first/second)life isn't it.

> First of all, I feel that it's great that Odyssey has its first troll.

:) just let me get my cave's texture right, and we're set.

and the: getting to the point

> Secondly, I ask what the function of the intervention was. Obviously, it
> has gained some attantion, which is a core principle of tactical media. But
> then, what is the sociocultural function?

raise questions on how real-world schemes transfer to virtuality, on the way that our flesh-and-bones forms of perception and of social interaction try to occupy spaces in which they make no sense, on the way in which the collaborative digital spaces (not only SL, but also blogs, for example) turn out to be spaces for ego, for closed-mutual-recursive interaction.

On how globality is sometimes just another neighborhood, with houses that are just a little farther apart.

And on the possibilities offered by accessible spaces ( but this is an old issue. It sounds like "everyone is a musician, everyone is an artist, everyone is a critic, everyone is a curator, everyone is a journalist... " etcetera, and the obvious arising critique... don't take this one too seriously..).

now: don't jump to conclusions too fast, as my position on these issues 1) doesn't matter that much and 2) it could be very different from what you might guess by inspecting my actions, which are not declarative, but investigative

> In my opinion, bombing Odyssey for perpetuating the banal
> mimetic recreation of boring traditional art is like striking Greenpeace for
> not protecting the environment well enough.

and, about my actions: i did the same things all over second life.
I even posted a couple of them to rhizome, and a couple to odyssey, too!
the fact that i didn't look for coverage (on media, newsletters, whatever) is just another story.
i posted this whole thing here because i thought it was both funny and interesting, at the same time, and because i love rhizome as a platofrm for discussion.
and i am quite enjoying the responses, too. If any of you want, i will post a guy's 3 weeks of offenses he sent me for flooding his lawn on SL: they're interesting, amusing and grotesque, at the same time.

but that's not the point, is it?

the point is being able to discern.

it's a recurring question that doesnt actually have a real answer.

it's, partly, about new media.
sometimes the question transforms into "how do i sell new media art"".
sometimes it transforms itself into "what *is* new media art?".
sometimes it transforms into "who are new media artists? who can say 'i'm a new media artist, and not a programmer?'"
sometimes even into "what do critics and curators want? they want to be artists, too?"
sometimes also in "you infringed my copyright/work/activity/fame/whatever. don't you know?"

and it's, partly, on virtual/digital environments. first part of this question: are they really democratic? second part of the qustion: is the fact that many try to put their analog_life schemes (part of them, at least: studying the various cases is an interesting topic itself) into digital spaces an evolution or a form of exhaust valve for real_life frustrations?

these questions are, in a way, missing a part of the global perspective: digital objects and spaces are different, in terms of immateriality, of free replicability, of ubiquity, of the sources used to create them, of the instruments used to experience them, and a whole lot more.

> If Salvatore wanted to question commercial mimetic practice, he could
> certainly go to the decor art island Artropolis which is marketing itself
> similiarly to a Kinkaide-esque approach for Second Life, or any of the other
> kitsch galleries. That is, aiming at mass marketing art using SL-based
> memetics. Or look at half the artists covered in SLArt blog and have at it.

well.. as a matter of fact, i did already :)

polygonal hugs!