LPDT2 (all images and video in this post) is more than a reincarnation of Roy Ascottâ€™s 1983 work La Plissure du Texte (The Pleating of the Text), it is a reworking, a version 2, of said works ideas within the space of Second Life.
The full original title of the work La Plissure du Texte: A Planetary Fairy Tale:
alludes to Roland Barthesâ€™s book Le Plaisir du Texte, a famous discourse on authorship, semantic layering, and the creative role of the reader as the writer of the text. As was also the case in its first incarnation ‘distributed authorship’, a term coined by Ascott has been the primary subject of investigation of LPDT2. Whereas in 1983 the text was pleated by a number of human storytellers positioned around the globe; in the three dimensionally embodied metaverse the storytellers show novel and unexpected attributes: An emergent textual architecture/geography, as well as a number of autonomous ‘bot’ avatars which dwell inside this bizarre, literary landscape are pleating the text by acting as communication nodes between the narrators of this new version of the tale: The persistent distributed authorship is now accomplished by many writers throughout the ages: A text generator telling a non-linear, multi-faceted, often times poetic, story harvested from the famous online Gutenberg Project is now distributing its output amongst architecture and its inhabitants, generating dialogues and iterations taking their trajectories from masterworks of classical literature. The pleating resembles musical sampling, the connection between the sentences fades, text becomes noise, from which the audience generates meaning. The structure on the simulator adds yet another layer of pleating by visually mixing the different sources of text, while yet another layer of textual input will be provided through a contribution by i-DAT.org from the University of Plymouth, UK, by means of which Real Life visitors will be able to contact the LPDT2 by sending SMS messages. Thus all pleated text – the generated, the contributed, and the stored – is simultaneously visible as a massive, ever evolving literary conglomeration.
In La Plissure du Texte, version 1, the network allowed performers from distant locations to share a networked ‘space’ where they could collaborate. Authorship was live and originated from distributed locations. Within this new version, distributed authorship has undergone dramatic changes. The network itself becomes the principle performer. Authorship is distributed across both distant spaces/places and times as text for the space is retrieved from digitised copies of classic works from the whole of documented English language.
The work is open to the public from today, September 1st. It has been co-authored in Second Life by Selavy Oh (programming and architecture), MosMax Hax, aka. Max Moswitzer (architecture and terrain) and Alpha Auer, aka. Elif Ayiter (avatar design). Further associates are Frigg Ragu, aka. Heidi Dahlsveen (avatar animations) and i-DAT from the University of Plymouth, UK (Real Life SMS input).
More images of the installation can be seen here.