Party Talk (novel) w/ Artbreeder Characters
Note: the following character images have been created using Artbreeder: a machine-learning based website that allows users to create art through the StyleGAN and BigGAN models. In the case of this particular project, I have used Artbreeder to generate and modify character images. Also, none of the chapters below are finished. They are simply drafts of portions of the first two chapters.
Honestly, everyone’s pretty bummed out about the pandemic. In-person human interaction has been super limited. We’ve been conducting school through Klase for about a month now. And don’t get me wrong, Klase seems a lot better than what they used to have way back in the day. I can’t imagine having to just stare at live streams of everyone for hours on end. That sounds like hell. I’m not in “class” class, but I can still walk through the semblance of a school hall and sit in a visual classroom and interact with my peers as though they’re right next to me. But it’s not the same as being in person. Granted, I kind of hate school regardless of how it’s done.
Honestly, my favorite part of the whole pandemic has to have been the first three weeks we got off school once it started. Being able to lock myself in my room, read a book, tune out to music, and not socially interact with other people was amazing. I feel like I […]
Construct the spaces in The Futurological Congress
The text I want to focus on is Stanisław Lem’s The Futurological Congress, a novel of about 80,000 words set in the 1970s in the fictional country of Costa Rica, which in its English translation has the same name as the real place, but in the original Polish it is Costarikana, different from Kostaryka, which refers to the real country Costa Rica. Starting with the setting, the novel is characterized by a mixture of reality and fantasy. The protagonist Ijon Tichy is sent to the Eighth World Futurological Congress at the Costa Rica Hilton in Nounas, which is 164 stories tall. The conference is set to focus on the world’s overpopulation crisis and ways of dealing with it. The novel only recounts the first day of the conference, and then the magnificent hotel is thrown into chaos by a series of physical explosions and even chemical releases from the government and protesters, turning the hotel into ruins, with people fleeing into the sewage tunnels on the ground floor, and experiencing all sorts of hallucinations and dreams. The protagonist thus arrives in 2039, a world whose population is close to 30 billion but is really a utopian world imagined by futurists, with beautiful landscapes everywhere and everyone living in peace and happiness. Tichy uses his diary to record what he sees until he realizes that it is all a fantasy created by the government’s use of drugs, and that the real world is already in shambles due to overpopulation. Ultimately, the […]
I, Robot, the game
Science Fiction: Humanity, Technology, the Present, and the Future
I, Robot, the game
I’ve been passionate about TTRPG since high school, and this is not my first attempt at making one (actually the first time I played a TTRPG, it was one of my own creations, I wanted to save myself the trouble of reading a whole D&D book, the irony). At first, I was drawn to RPGs as a way of increasing immersion and agency, letting the players and the DM make their own choices, and suffer the consequences. RPGs was a space of perfect freedom, a spaced freed from both the dullness of everyday life and the constraints of linear (or semi-linear/railroaded) medias.
And today it’s exactly the same. Though at the time, I just thought it was the coolest thing ever (and still do), I now have a much deeper appreciation of what roleplaying means to me. It’s about collectively building a narrative, making our own myths in our own little groups. It’s about experiencing momentous choices and heart-wrenching emotions, after loosing in a grand sacrifice a character to which we’ve all been growing attached to for months or even years.
In experimental psychology and moral philosophy, they love to take part in “thought experiments”. […]
Calls (2021) is a show adapted from a French series called Calls (2017), Calls (2021) is a much more detailed version, both in form and content. Contrary to the “forward iteration” revolution, this show chooses to do a “backward iteration”. It almost completely abandoned the pictures compared to normal tv series, the visual part only has some sonic patterns, curves and lines, diffuse color ripples, the narrative is only based on the dialogues through the calls. As for the genre, this show is somewhere between science fiction and fantasy, starting from the daily routine of intimate relationships, then suddenly expanding to the collapse of the universe and the juxtaposition of time. It explores topics about time travel, parallel worlds, wormhole cruising, and it keeps asking the audience the questions: Is there a master of the universe? Where is the boundary of our free will? What is the meaning of so-called fate? Are our actions that we think we are changing the world and our destiny merely following some higher will, but mistakenly thinking we can feel the lines of fate? Or, is time a fiction? Can we exist here and there at the same time?
Theoretical settings in Calls (2021):
-Parallel universes theory.
Different spaces with the same physical laws can have different consequences in the quantum theory, and all possible consequences form a universe. In Calls (2021), different parallel worlds experience the same events, only with errors in time.
Different worlds cannot communicate with each other […]
Alchemy in the Body; A Somatic Experimentation & Non-Materiality of the “Feminine” in SF
One of the most seductive things about Science Fiction writing is that it is inherently political. Offering a speculative foil to the lived reality of the present/future, Science Fiction challenged cultural, technological, and political discourses. What’s more is Science Fiction’s ability to tease out the anxieties of the present moment, especially as it takes on a xenogenic bodily form. In creating an “other,” science fiction can hold up a mirror against the fears of a culture or group of people.
In our class discussions about xenogenic aliens, the body, and materiality, I’ve grown increasingly interested in the way in which the intersection of alien and othering presents problematic outcomes. I have also become increasingly interested in the way in which matter is transformed (seemingly into evil) through innately feminine actions (such as “birthing” and “hosting”), for example, in Bloodchild. It seems as if these literary moments point at innate anxieties about the female body, particularly the “othered” female body. I’ve also followed this discourse inwardly, thinking about ways my own body can be “alien.”
Throughout the class, I’ve reflected on texts and works in the arts that embody the ethos of Science Fiction. Specifically, in Williams’ Utopia and Science Fiction, in which the author unpacks various versions of utopia and dystopia in science fiction writing, I was reminded of Etel Adnan’s “the Arab Apocalypse.” The Arab Apocalypse, a poetry book written by the Palestinian/Lebanese artist, is a fantastical account of the Lebanese war. The seminal text, […]
For this project, I will be engaging with an episode from the original series of Star Trek. The episode in question is the twenty-eighth episode of the first season, entitled “The City of the Edge of Forever.” This episode is widely critically acclaimed and considered by many to be the strongest episode of the original series. I believe it’s themes of fate and the creation of utopia can be translated and adapted into a modern interactive storytelling format into a user controlled narrative that will retain much of the episode’s original messaging while further exploring themes of futility and the ambiguous nature of hope.
In this episode of the original series, Dr. McCoy, under the unintentionally consumed influence of a dangerous mind altering drug, enters a time portal and finds himself in 1930’s New York City. While lost in the past, he creates a deviation in the current timeline that causes the Enterprise and all of its crew to no longer exist. Kirk and Spock, somehow immune to this alteration of their present, follow Dr. McCoy back in time to reverse this new course of events. Once they arrive in the past, they encounter a mission worker named Edith Keeler, who provides them with clothes and jobs. Spock begins to work on discovering what McCoy did that altered the timeline, while Kirk begins to spend more time with Edit Keeler, leading to him falling in love with her. Unfortunately, Spock discovers that the […]
Inside or Outside the Veldt?
A: Description of the original text and its socio-cultural and historical contexts
The text which I will be using is “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury, which he wrote in 1950. The text was written during a period of technological, social, and economic changes, which feels like a pretty big blanket statement sense it feels like America is always going through one of these great periods of change. However, during this period in America’s history, we were entering what is now known as the golden age, as our economy was going through a rapid boom. This shift in economic growth led to paid education for veterans through the GI bill, workers were joining labor unions, and people who maybe weren’t used to having money in their pockets were spending on not just necessities but also things they desired. One such thing was the Television as it was released earlier in the 1920s but was only accessible to the affluent, but with more money in the pockets of the public, televisions became a hot commodity that reached the houses of families all over the U.S.
The excitement and possible obsession over the television is something that is the premise
of “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury, like the Hadley family within the story have two young children, Wendy and Peter, and in their house, they have a nursery, in the nursery, they have a screen that is “forty feet across, forty feet long and thirty feet high” (pg 2). On the screen, it reflects the jungle […]
Indian Myth Saves the Day
a. The Ramayana is an ancient Indian Sanskrit tale (a mythical poem that many believe to be true) about Prince Rama’s quest to rescue his wife Sita from Ravana, the king of Lanka. It is said to have been written by the sage Valmiki, and dates from roughly 500 BCE to 100 BCE (more than 2500 years ago).
Rama, prince of Ayodhya (present-day UP, North India), earns the hand of princess Sita, but is banished for 14 years with her and his brother Laksmana due to his stepmother’s machinations. Ravana kidnaps Sita in the forest, and Rama assembles an army of monkeys and bears (vanar: can be translated into ‘forest dwellers’) to track her down. The allies launch an invasion on Lanka (present-day Sri Lanka), killing Ravana and rescuing Sita. Sita enters fire to prove her chastity, and is vindicated by the gods and returned to her husband. Rama’s righteous rule begins a golden age for all mankind after the couple’s successful return to Ayodhya.
The SF elements in the epic are the powerful weapons––weapons as powerful and advanced, if not more, as today’s nuclear weapons, that Rama consistently uses throughout his journey, and the infamous pushpak vimana (airplane), not just a machine or palace that can fly into space or navigate underwater, but it also has the power to destroy entire cities, that Ravana possess but uses only for transportation. Such weapons and airplanes were imagined 2500+ years ago, but no one seems to be surprised by […]
Project Plan: 1984. Before. During. Beyond.
1984 – Before. During. Beyond.
On June 8th, 1949 – author Eric Arthur Blair published what is now considered to be a dystopian, science fiction novel. The title was Nineteen Eighty-Four, or 1984 as it’s now mostly known. He published it under his pen name, George Orwell – a name he took to not embarrass his family when he published his first book Down and Out in Paris and London, chronicling his abject poverty. He published nine books in his lifetime;1984 was his last publication. The book is set in the far future – 35 years in the future, and the picture it painted was bleak. We are – today – 38 years PAST 1984.
What I propose is to explore Orwell’s prognosis through the lens of three moments in time. 1949, 1984, and 2022. What was the world like as he looked forward, what was the world like when his prognosis was aligned with the date of his future vision, and how does his view of the future look today – 73 years since his prophetic publication.
The phrase Orwellian has become part of popular culture. It is used as a pointed criticism, and indictment, but digging deep – how have these 73 years mirrored Orwell’s warnings, or have we actually moved beyond his dire warnings into a new territory that makes the Orwellian pale in comparison to what lies ahead?
In order to make this journey compelling and impactful, I’ll […]
Sci-Fi Project Proposal (March 8th)
Sci-Fi Project Proposal (March 8th)
Alien and the Materiality of the Future
1. description of the original text and its socio-cultural and historical contexts;
Alien, written by Dan O’Bannon and directed by Ridley Scott, is a 1979 Science Fiction film and the first of the Alien Franchise. It was one of the first films to blend Sci-Fi and horror, showing the dark side of technology, science, and human nature. The Swiss artist, H.R Geiger is responsible for the biomechanical aesthetic (a blench of organic and technological/ mechanical) of the Alien and the surrounding artifacts on set that merged the ubiquitous futurist design with a darker, extraterrestrial ingenuity. O’Bannon stated that the imagery ‘exhausts the genre’ and subsequently set the tone for every following Sci-Fi/ horror film. The narrative is full of socio-cultural through lines- human greed and capitalism, the exploitation of ‘other’, sexual violence, and morality- to name a few. The use of money as motivation- as depicted by the crew who continue an ambiguous/ dangerous mission in hopes of receiving their share- and the disposability of the worker- revealed when the crew realizes they are just a means to an end to bring the Alien back alive- permeate the film as a critique on capitalism. The references to sexual violence are evident in Geiger’s imagery, as well as the ways in which the women on board are killed or attempted to be killed. Additionally, the crew is constantly faced with decisions that challenge their collectivism- Are the needs of the individual always […]
Proposal – Awaken Avatar
a. description of the original text and its socio-cultural and historical contexts;
Set in the future, Neuromancer by Willam Gibson follows Henry Case speculates a washed-up hacker hired for one last job, which brings him in contact with powerful artificial intelligence. It is one of the earliest and best-known works in the cyberpunk genre, which dates back to the new wave science fiction in 1960-70s.
The relationship between human and machine has been the crucial point in cyberpunk literature and posthumanism. While machines are benefiting humans, the superiority and subjectivity of humans have been challenged, the flaws of the natural human body have been exposed. In Neuromance, the image of a special cyborg crew features a body-machine complex which depicts the deconstruction of the human body by Gilles Deleuze. “During the self production of the body, the parts involved are not unified.” Under the context of posthumanism, the body is no longer about a unified natural entity, but a hybrid of multiple selves.
Cyberspace becomes the stage for this critical insight on mind-body dualism. When consciousness is independently existing outside the body, technology offers the possibility for the deprivation of consciousness. Meanwhile, the existence of humans and machines has been mutually dependent and shared. The creation of humans dissmilates themselves and pushes them towards the dependency of technology as Case’s desire for the connection of cyberspace. Machines have been integrated into human itself, cyborgs implicate the spectrum of the conceptual body.
Proposal: Central Multiverse Archives Museum for Humans
A: Description of the original text and its socio-cultural and historical contexts.
The final project is inspired by two SF works:
1) Adrian Hon’s book: A New History of the Future in 100 Objects (2020). In this book, a curator living in 2082 introduces the invention stories and underlying science of 100 objects designed from 2020 to 2079 that involve numerous aspects of daily life, including transportation, medicine, entertainment, tourism, etc. By describing these objects, Hon presents his imagination of the future, predictions of society changes, and understandings of humanities.
2) “Tales of the Citadel,” the seventh episode of the third season of the Adult Swim series Rick and Morty (2017). This episode shows how the Citadel, or The Citadel of Ricks, was destroyed. In the world of Rick and Morty, The Citadel is set as a megacity along the Central Finite Curve, which is a defined portion of the multiverse; hence numerous Ricks and Mortys from different universes can live together. Moreover, since each universe has unique environments and storylines, Ricks and Mortys in the Citadel can have various appearances and personalities.
B: Justification for the alternate version that explains the new socio-cultural/historical contexts.
The final project will be a website for the audience to have an interactive experience as an alien visitor at the fictional Central Multiverse Archives Museum for Humans (CMAMH), which combines the Citadel’s setting that creatures and items from multiple universes can appear there together, and Hon’s book’s idea of viewing future objects as […]
Party Talk: A Novel
- description of the original piece and its socio-cultural and historical contexts
I first watched floatland by vewn about 3 years ago, when it first came out. The video, just under three minutes long, follows an unnamed girl who is playing a video game called floatland. As the levels increase while she plays the game, she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into it. In the game she meets a boy named Aubury and slowly falls in love with him. As the game progresses she finds that she is spending nearly all her time invested in the game. She slowly cannot distinguish between reality and the game. Her friends in the outside world check in on her because they’re worried and haven’t heard from her. As the video progresses, it gets more and more existential until she has finally reached her full potential in the game and is forced to stop playing. The video ends with her finally putting her video game controller down, opening her window, and staring at the outside world.
I find this piece to be extremely relevant as it speaks volumes about both today’s issues with technological balance and the problems that the future holds with regards to balance of time and technology — particularly youth.
- alternate version justification + new socio-cultural/historical contexts
The basic concept of vewn’s […]
A. Bee and PuppyCat is a web cartoon released in 2013 by Cartoon Hangover and Frederator studios. The series features a twenty-somethings temp worker, Bee, and her intergalactic vocaloid-voiced looks-like-a-cat smells-like-a-puppy bestie, PuppyCat. This web series garnered in $200,000 over their initial Kickstarter funding goals. Written by Natasha Allegri and directed by Larry Leichliter, Bee and PuppyCat season 2 is set to air on Netflix in 2022.
Bee and PuppyCat are both ailed by their financial burdens and are looking for quick temp work (regardless of planet). Their temp work takes them on all sorts of intergalactic adventures, and while the show maintains its pink and glittery exterior, it grapples with questions of maturity, posthumanity, and the millennial experience in the anthropocene. Both similar and different to its accompanied 2010s wave of “kidult” cartoons like Adventure Time, Over the Garden Wall, Gravity Falls, and Steven Universe, Bee and PuppyCat caters directly to the audience’s twenty-somethings age range.
B. For my final project, I will be translating Bee and PuppyCat into a two-player board game. The game will follow the aesthetic design of the original cartoon and will turn the temp-work space adventures into the main objectives of the game. By translating only the temp-jobs into the playable parts of the game, it forms a mimetic structure with the reality of the show. On earth, […]
The Crash of the History and the Future: Visualized History — A Collaboration Plan for WOWS x Azur Lane
A Game of the Past, and A Game of the Future
World of Warships (WOWS) is a game published by Wargaming.net in September 2015. Combined with World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, which are also published by the same corporation, the three games are known as “War Trilogy” with their fame of accurate modeling, beautiful visual effects, and special efforts of preserving histories of battles from late 19th century to early 20th century. (approximately from WWI to WWII) As a massively multiplayer online first player shooting (MMOFPS) game, its players are role-playing as a commander of a warship who commanded his ship on naval warfare and fight against an enemy fleet with other players together. The game provided three modes at first — random battle, a 12 vs 12 PVP battle mode; coop, a 9 vs 9 PVE battle mode; and a rank mode with an adjustable number of players, from 6 vs 6 to 8 vs 8 in different ranked seasons. From the game version 0.6.6 in July 2017, a major adjustment of battle mode was made with the adding of a new battle mode, scenarios. This type of battle mode was based on true historical battles, such as the Battle of Dunkirk. There are many operations within the scenarios mode which are opened week by week that restrict players’ choices on ship type, ship tier, or the nation of the ship’s belonging. (For most of them, […]