One, Another was an interactive audiovisual sculpture for Second Life by Adam Nash, 2009-2010, hosted by the Virtual Art Initiative at the New Carleaon art simulator.
"rhythms and rhythms alone become characters, become objects. Rhythms are the only character, the only Figures".
"bright colours and the power of song seem to replace each other"
"got to do our do, not separate, together"
The work consists of several elements, separate, together:
- Avatars interactivate the work by moving through it, triggering sounds and visuals.
- Nine of the nodes in the work will spawn little artificial lifeforms when activated by an avatar.
- Those same nine nodes will sometimes randomly spawn the artifical lifeforms independently of avatar interactivity.
- The artificial lifeforms will wander around purposelessly in a purposeful manner, seeking to connect with one another but always failing to do so, until they either hit Second Life's grey goo fence or die randomly with no warning.
- The colours are programatically determined by their spatial relationship to a centre, the 'heart'.
- The sounds, there are 103 of them, are produced according to my usual Ramona Scale, a harmonic system based on ratios of whole numbers to seven (ie, 8:7, 9:7, 10:7 and so on). I think this is the last time I'll use that scale.
- In some ways, the work is a tribute to an earlier work of mine, Ways To Wave, a RL/SL mixed reality interactive exhibited as part of ZERO1SJ at the San Jose Museum of Art. Ironically, the work was used by more people in RL than in SL. The sounds in this work come directly from that work, which is no longer available.
- Self-organisation. Transference. Lack. Desire. One, another.
In Plato's Symposium, Diotima tells Socrates that Love is the child of Poverty and Resourcefulness. She tells him that Love takes after his mother and is "always poor; far from being sensitive and beautiful, as is commonly supposed, he's tough, with hardened skin" and he "always lives in a state of need." On the other hand, taking after his father, "he schemes to get hold of beauftiful and good things. He's brave, impetuous and intense".
Diotima then goes on to explain to Socrates how love is essentially a lack, a desire that must be, but cannot be, filled by the other. Slavoj Zizek calls this "an excess in its very heart", and then quotes Jacques Lacan as saying "what the one lacks is not what is hidden in the other", and therefore love is based on an illusion that the encounter of these two lacks can successfully create a new harmony. It is part of the Lacanian idea of the big Other, which exists only as a subject's presupposition to help guarantee the consistency and meaning of the subject's experience.
On the other hand, Julia Kristeva writes in Tales Of Love, that "imagination is a discourse of transference - of love. Through and beyond desire that longs for immediate consummation, love is edged with emptiness and supported by taboos. The fact that today we have no love discourse reveals our inability to respond to narcissism. Indeed, amatory relationship is based on narcissistic satisfaction on the one hand, on idealization on the other.... For transference, like love, is a true process of self-organisation."
This work is one reflection of my lifelong attempt to understand Love, this process of self-organisation and transference, this lack and cruel but wanted expectation placed on the other. Like most everybody else, I love Love, but I don't understand it. As Anita Ekberg says in Fellini's La Dolce Vita, "I like lots of things, but there are three things I like most: love, love and love!"
Formally, the work continues my experimentation with the interdependency of sound and vision within the interactive realm of multi-user virtual environments, along with a formal methodology of investigating harmonic structures audibly independent of the well-tempered scale (a process also known as "just intonation") and visually exploiting the unique properties of the digital colour spectrum. As Elizbeth Grosz says, "Each of the arts is concerned with a transmutation of bodily organs as much as it is with the creation of new objects, new forms: each art resonates through the whole of the sensing body." In this, Grosz is following Deleuze, who says "In art... it is not a matter of reproducing or inventing forms, but of capturing forces. For this reason no art is figurative. The task of painting is defined as the attempt to render visible forces that are not themselves visible. Likewise, music attempts to render sonorous forces that are not themselves sonorous."
My thanks to Georg Janick for the use of the virtual space on New Caerleon.
Darwin, Charles. "The Descent of Man", Penguin Classics, London, 2004.
Deleuze, Gilles. "Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation", Continuum, London, 2008.
Fellini, Federico (dir.) "La Dolce Vita", Riama Film, 1961.
Grosz, Elizabeth. "Chaos, Territory, Art", Columbia University Press, New York, 2008.
Kristeva, Julia. "Amatory Discourses and Transferences", from "Tales of Love", in "The Portable Kristeva", ColumbiaUniversity Press, New York, 2002.
Plato. "The Symposium", Penguin Classics, London, 1999.
A Tribe Called Quest. "Separate, Together" (by Muhammad Ali Shaheed, John Fareed Ali Kamaal Ibn, Q-Tip, Malik Taylor, Phife) on "Beats, Rhymes and Life", Zomba Recording Corporation, USA, 1996.
Zizek, Slavoj. "Enjoy Your Symptom!", Routledge, New York, 2008.