klastrup AT it-c.dk

This is the research diary of Lisbeth Klastrup. Here I share some of my thoughts on life, universe, virtual worlds, interactive stories and internet oddities with you.

I'm a ph.d. scholar at DIAC at the IT University at Copenhagen (ITU). I also host & work in a world called StoryMOO. At this ITU homepage you can read more about my research project and miscellaneus activities. List of publications is here.

Current month

Fellow researchers
Jesper Juul
Susana Tosca
Troels Degn Johansson
Estrid Soerensen
Lars Konzack
Kenneth Hansen
Gabriel Hansen
Joergen Callesen
Soeren Pold

Jill Walker's blog
Torill Mortensen's blog
Ragnhild Tronstad
Hilde Corneliussen's blog
Carsten Jopp's blog
Anders Fagerjord's blog

Anna Gunder
Jenny Sunden
Mikael Jacobsson

Aki Jarvinen
Markku Eskelinen
Raine Koskimaa

-The World
Gonzalo Frasca's blog (URU, US)
Anja Rau's blog (DE)
Elin Sjursen's blog (NO, US)
Frank Schaap's blog (NL)
Adrian Miles' Vog blog (AUSTR.)
Mark Bernstein's blog (US.)

Related Reads
Dust from a Distant Sun (DK)
Cykelkokken (DK, in Danish)
Two Years in Denmark (DK,US)
Future Dr. Karlsbjerg (DK)
Laurel.blog (US)
Texturl (US)

©Lisbeth Klastrup 2002

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After easter holiday, I'm running around like a mad, making final preparations for up-coming conference trip to US. I will be presenting papers at 2 conferences - and have to bring my own laptop to make sure my slides will work. Sigh.
I will be gone from April 18th - April 28th. Please note, that meanwhile this blogg will not be up-dated.
I will be back on the 29th, hopefully full of experiences from the ACLA: Topos/Chronos - Aesthetics for a New Millennium and the DAC2001 conferences.

Oh, yes, I have now stepped into yet another character. I have just been born Aramilla in the text-MUD Castle Marrach . It's hosted by Skotos, a new compagny that tries to introduce text-MUDs to a larger audience - it's fee-based, but guarantees better service, more development etc. Also, they focus on story-telling, rather than quests, as stated several places on their site.
Unlike many other roleplaying games, Castle Marrach focuses on storytelling — creating and playing out stories in cooperation with other players. In many respects, Castle Marrach is more like improvisational theater than a game. There are no clear-cut goals that the players need to achieve in order to win. A story might have any number of outcomes, depending upon actions of the players who become involved. The challenge comes in creating a compelling drama that brings the Role you have created to life. Sometimes you will reach your goals and sometimes you won’t, but you will always feel like a winner when you’ve told a good story. .
So far, i like the feel of the place and their game-browser (which includes a miniature-map showing your own position in the castle). I found it via this article in Gamasutra.

Reality-TV is a big thing in Denmark currently, due to the ongoing broadcast of Big Brother and "Baren". A nice language thing (I haven't seen it before): it's been dubbed "SnageTV" in Danish. One of the more successful "Danishism's" , I think. There's a site on a number of SnageTV programmes at the Danish MSN.

More Bridget: it's the Finnish compagny Riot Entertainment which is the provider. They have an entire Bridget Jones section on their site already, however without any content yet. In their press release, it says:
."...Helen Fielding becomes the first best-selling author to develop a character for the mobile medium..."
"Bridget Jones has been described as a persona that resonates with the entire 20th century female population. The two books, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Edge of Reason, have been translated into 25 different languages and published in 33 countries. Over 6 million copies have been sold worldwide. The book’s ingenious trademark style: chatty, abbreviated with daily statistics charting Bridget’s weight, calories and alcohol units – make it perfect material for SMS and other mobile formats." -
Well, they're probably right that the "Bridget-style" is well suited for the mobile media. However, that the seriously frustrated, highly British and moderately alcoholic Bridget should resonate with every woman in this century, is perhaps just a little bit exaggerated...

Bridget Jones goes SMS
I saw in Politiken yesterday that paralel to the opening of the filmversion of "Bridget Jones Diary", it will be possible to subscribe to Bridget's sms-service - informing you of Bridget's thoughts and providing tips for the singles. I wonder if this is just a natural development in the merchandise business?? Will you in the future be able to subscribe to Agent 007 sms' - or Hamlet's (after the x'th film adaptation of the play starring Johnny Depp or some such?). I could easily envision a sms from Hamlet:
"To do or not to do? - what do you think, dear reader, I should do today? Please call me back at 800-247-189 (40p/min) and tell me whether I should dump Ophelia"
Well, will be interesting to see what they make of the Bridget-thing, anyway.

Finally, it's here, my new acquisition. A
Revo - a PDA that allows me to jot in notes wherever I go. Goodbye handwriting....?!?
And there's even a site for the devoted, Revoworld. Though Revoworld doesn't seem to have a clear answer to the question of how to download e-mail to the Revo from a non-IR phone neither - that is, apart from me buying a newer version of Nokia Phone (min.5110) + the Nokia Data Suite 3.0 (took me quite some research elsewhere to find that out - perhaps it is easier to buy an IR phone???).

I have now moved the bloggfile, so this page is the first people view, when they follow a Lisbeth Klastrup link. At least, I hope so!...

What I have done so far today, is to update my list of fellow researchers - see the left column. If you happen to read this and know of others, please let me know!

@gender me:
ConnectionsMOO presents me with the following options for "genderisation" - by far the most political correct and advanced, I've seen recently:

Spivak -- e, em, eir, eirs, emself.
male -- he, him, his, himself.
female -- she, her, hers, herself.
either -- s/he, him/her, his/her, his/hers, (him/her)self.
splat -- *e, h*, h*s, h*self.
none -- No pronouns; your name is always used.

The above are all singular, third person genders. Here are the other genders:

egotistical -- First person singular: I, me, my, mine, myself.
royal -- First person plural: we, us, our, ours, ourself.
second -- Second person singular: you, your, yours, yourself.
second_plural -- Second person plural: you, your, yours, yourself.
neuter -- Third person singular: it, its, itself.
plural -- Third person, plural: they, them, their, theirs, themselves.

I'm currently preparing a paper for the ACLA conference Topos/Chronos and for that am researching into the aspect of the importance of "being in place" in a virtual digital world. Here's some of todays URLs so far:
Mark Pesce: Proximal and Distal Unity
Florian Roetzer: "Outer Space or Virtual Space? Space Utopias of the Digital Age"
NOOsphere - here's a page with a short description of Teillhard's concept
Peter Anders: "Envisioning Cyberspace: The Design of OnLine Communities"

A summary of a keynote by Sim's designer Will Wright at Gamasutra - nothing about space, but I like this paragraph:
Wright went on to say that he thought that the failures were the most interesting aspect of the game, and responsible for the mutation of gameplay that has appeared. There was originally a bug in the game that caused characters to burst into flames - and people loved the fact that spontaneous human combustion existed in the game. Wright called the beginning of the modifications to The Sims environment the "Calvin factor," referring to the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" where Calvin has created hundreds of tiny snowmen, only to imagine himself as a large dinosaur devouring them all. "Put in a bulldozer, and people started attacking the town with it," Wright said. "Subversion is a big part of the game's success. That's why we put in the natural disasters."

The just passed Friday and Saturday, I spent at the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Art, attending a conference/seminar on "The Internet as a Medium of Cultural Globalization", arranged by the Danish Research Project "Global Media Cultures". Although, at a first glance, somewhat at a remove from my own project, it turned out that the conference presenters more or less all had some interesting points and "thoughts to think with". Especially Jenny Sunden from Linkoeping University, who also works with MOOs and textuality, though with focus on embodiment and sociological perspectives. She and I met for coffee Sunday and had a nice exchange of book- and article titles - and of RL impressions of mutual aquaintances - quite an interesting phenomena: one starts out knowing a colleague be e-mail and then one day, finally, at some conference meets this person in RL. So it's always quite interesting to hear other's impression of this person, if she/he has meet the person in RL before one self. "What does he look like?", "how is she...?" Strictly speaking of academics, they sometimes seem so cool, calm and collected in their e-mails and then they turn out to be as chaotic as oneself when acting and speaking in the physical world, which is quite reassuring somehow.
This leads me back to one of the points of discussion on the Saturday seminar - the importance of space or place, "locality", and of making a distinction btw the virtual world and the RL (real life) world - which is, we agreed, not necessarily more "real" than the virtual world, so perhaps it makes most sense to make a distinction between virtual space and physical space and forget the talk of real life (RL)?!? So above I should actually have written that we exhanged impressions of the physical impressions of colleagues, not the RL impressions...hmmh, but that's not very descriptive, either, is it? I mean, it is not just a question of how a person moves hirs body in physical space or how it looks, but also of patterns of behaviour, that might deviate some from the on-line, in-mail behaviour. Not that this aspect of a person's personality is more "true", just different or - let's face it - often more "inhibited" when people act in physical space.

Talking of space or place, what emerged from several presentations was the point, that even seemingly "global cultures" needs to act within and share an either imaginary or "real" space online, a "locality" that is theirs and defined either solely by using norms of behaviour to draw the boundary btw this locality and other localities or by both the use of normative behaviour and the sharing of an actual on-line place, for instance a MOO or MUD. Hence it seems, that if there is such a thing as a global culture - or international culture, it is always tied to a local place. Gitte Stald, a phd-candidate who has been examining young Danish teenagers use of the media, pointed out that they preferred to talk to other Danes and to do it in places whey they felt "safe" in the sense that they knew who they were talking to. Meeting people "in English" when you're just learning to speak English, is understandbly not easy and visits to random chatrooms with unknown people just results in very superfically talk or massive disappointments (when people's "physical" identity is revealed), so young Danes stick to young Danes in "proximate" and local virtual rooms when and if online.
Hence, globality is a relative thing - in practice, it seems that local norms (such as stereotype Americanism in Jenny's WaterMOO)or a basic human need for a safe place from which to speak pretty much makes global culture more an utopian ideal than a practised fact.

Also, as long as most of the internet culture(s) comes into being by means of the English language, we still have a long way to go. Some stat to prove this: Yvonne Værn showed a statistic claiming (on reasonable grounds) that in a survey 75% of the websites examined was English language sites. In comparison, f.i. 2, 53% was Spanish, which - compared to the actual spread of the language spoken - means a diffence in score of 0,4 for Spain and 7,14 for England (ie 7 times more online presence of language than should be, when 1 represents the scope of the respective language in the physical world). Thoughtprovoking.

Titles to examine, taken from my napkin with Jenny's scriblings :) :
David Trend: Reading Digital Culture
Chris Mann/Fiona Stewart: Internet Communication and Qualititative Research
Edward S. Casey: The Fate of Place
Rob Kitchin: Cyberspace - a world of wires
Kennedy et al: "Cyberreader"
- also she talked of Bachelards "Poetics of Space".