Filming “Rae” for Atomic Vacation

Really excited to start shooting “Rae” for Atomic Vacation.
Something I have been obsessed with came again to me in postproduction of her melodramatic selfie farewell video to my little robot AI in space. I realized that I want to see how much “erasure” is possible to still transmit emotional content. Think emoticons.. Really wish I knew more about Noh. This from Wikipedia–“Emotions are primarily conveyed by stylized conventional gestures while the iconic masks represent the roles such as ghosts, women, children, and old people.” I am interested in thinking about facial recognition –not in terms of surveillance but in terms of an economy of means
for visual language in VR. Cyborg bodies have processing times that will require that we develop a gestural language in the broadest sense. Here are some stills from the video which was shot as a selfie farewell to Shizuku by the actress Tomi Heady, herself. In the last photo, the kanji symbol for Shizuku becomes a substitute body for her. Did not even realize that would happen when I wrote it in the script….Even though the mask covers an actor’s facial expressions, the use of the mask in Noh is not an abandonment of facial expressions altogether. Rather, its intent is to stylize and codify the facial expressions through the use of the mask and to stimulate the imagination of the audience. By using masks, actors are able to convey emotions in a more controlled manner through movements and body language. Some masks utilize lighting effect to convey different emotions through slight tilting of the head. Facing slightly upward, or “brightening” the mask, will let the mask to capture more light, revealing more features that appear laughing or smiling. Facing downward, or “clouding” it, will cause the mask to appear sad or mad.
I think in the future, hard data will be the work of finite computing machines, is it too idealistic to think the work of cyborg humans will be poetry?

ATOMIC VACATION–submitted proof of concept demo for funding

As Oculus Launchpad fellow, I could submit for “scholarship” funding. Cyril Tsiboulski, my longtime collaborator decided to learn Unity for this project. In a few short weeks, he got an environment up and running with head position tracking and interactivity and spatial sound.

I just got to see the proof of concept video. Those that know me know how long I have been working on AV. To see it starting to actually take shape is amazing. I posted this in our developer forum, but I am going to post it here, too, because it really is what I feel. Really. I work on huge complex projects and sooo sloooowly. A slow, slow burn. In service of Atomic Vacation, I have traveled to Japan, and North Korea, and the American South-west to visit sites of nuclear warhead storage and testing, I have read hundreds of books –from Japanese 1950’s scifi noir, to linguistics, to natural language processing, books on the tourism and nationalism and the relationship between 1950s domestic design and cold war propaganda, and John Hershey’s Hiroshima and on an on… I have thought, written, rewritten, planned, schemed, destroyed, recreated, Skyped at 1 am with the head of a Japanese robotics lab about AI and what it means to be human and what that has to do with poetry, I’ve had people tell me I would never be able to do this, I’ve had artists tell me it’s the most amazing project they’ve ever heard of, I’ve taken conversational Japanese, and classes on shooting 360 video, and did stealth filming in a motel in upstate New York, and got into that zone where I don’t need to eat or pee or sleep. And, I fell in love with a little robot girl, who maybe exists right now or maybe is about to be born, and who just may save all of humanity.
And, because of Oculus Launchpad, I get to work with my incredible collaborator, again, Cyril Tsiboulski who has been with me from the beginning back in 2008 when I put out my first massive narrative interactive project–90,000 words of text, a soundscape, a manifesto, a hand drawn animation, a fake investment video, a concrete poetry machine, proposals for performances that will never be performed, an self-destructing archive. The Kindle hadn’t even come out yet, and no one had any idea what I was doing. And, through it all,Cyril never raises an eyebrow, but takes in everything and then makes something beautiful that works and moves people. He doesn’t ask why I need to scan a circa 1980’s book “How to Talk to Your Cat and Make it Do What You Want,” so I can pair it with archival footage of world war one soldiers with neurotic conversion disorders from PTSD that walk like robots. He just gets it.
Tonight, I saw that again. What we made is so weird and provocative and seductive and disturbing… The phone rings in this slightly blurry, dreamy 1950’s living room, it jangles the nerves, so you pick it up. and there, on the line is my little robot girl talking to you from a near post-apocalyptic future, accusing all of humanity of being tourists on their own planet. Atomic Vacation.. It’s gonna be great.

RM Taught As Narrative Game at U of Florida

I knew we should have marketed it as a game–but that was 2008. Now, the definition of game has expanded. Still, happy to be next to The Stanley Parable.


ENG 1131

Writing Through Media: Electronic Literature

Caleb Milligan

A variety of platforms and genres will be represented in our readings. On the page, we will encounter Salvador Plascencia’s digitally progressive print novel The People of Paper. Through electronic interface, we will experience hypertext fictions like Judd Morrissey’s The Jew’s Daughter, generative poetry like Nick Montfort’s “Taroko Gorge,” narratively experimental games like Davey Wreden’s The Stanley Parable, and Illya Szilak’s new media “novel” Reconstructing Mayakovsky.

Reconstructing Mayakovsky Will Be Shown in Bremen

“We would like to include your work, Reconstructing Mayakovsky (2008), in our upcoming exhibition “Shapeshifiting texts”, taking place during the International Conference on Digital Media and Textuality, from the 3rd to the 5th of November 2016, in Bremen, Germany. The Exhibition “Shapeshifting Texts” will be curated by Daniela Côrtes Maduro in collaboration with the ongoing project “Archiv der deutschsprachigen elektronischen Literatur” (ADEL), developed by Professor Peter Gendolla and Professor Jörgen Schäfer. It will feature electronic literature and experimental works collected by several archives within the Consortium on Electronic Literature (CELL). ”

Also, RM got a thoughtful analysis in The Futurist Yearbook–

Decoding the DNA of Poetry: Reconstructing Mayakovsky in the Digital Era.



Atomic Vacation Progress

After my BANFF digital narratives residency and attending Oculus Launchpad, I pitched the project to my long time collaborator Cyril Tsiboulski of Cloudred Studio. He offered to work on the project, learning Unity in the process. So excited to be working together again. We will applying for the Oculus Launchpad “Scholarship” fund to develop the project. Right now seems a combo of 360 video and CGI.  Storyboarded it last week. Here’s a sample.IMG_3975IMG_3970