Sensing, more than reading

Hallucinating sense in the era of infinity-content: great new article by Caroline Busta.

“But what if, for better or worse, this non-reading mode is a form of adaptation: an evolutionary step in which we’ve learned to scan, like machines, for keywords and other attributes that allow for data-chunking, quickly aligning a piece of content with this or that larger theme or political persuasion? What if, in a time of infinity-content, a meta reading of the shape and feel of content has become a survival skill? The ability to intuit a viable meaning via surface-level qualities—ones that are neither text nor image but a secret third thing—is now essential for negotiating our sprawling information space. Perhaps we’re tapping into a more primal human intelligence.”

The Grannies

The Grannies is a documentary short film created with/in Red Dead Redemption 2. A group of players — Marigold Bartlett, Andrew Brophy, Ian MacLarty, Kalonica Quigley & friends aka The Grannies — venture beyond the boundaries of the video game. Peeking behind the curtain of the game’s virtual world they discover a captivating and ethereal space that reveals the humanity and materiality of digital creations. Directed by Marie Foulston and edited by Luke Neher, the film was produced by Marie Foulston and Nick Murray.

[related reading: Ursula K. Le Guin, The Space Crone, 1976]


Cyclops, by Trevor Paglen, is a networked performance, collaborative narrative, and alternate-reality-game designed to be played by groups of people working together across the word.

Paglen’s interactive speculative reality artwork, titled CYCLOPS, takes the audience on a journey through the world of 1960s-era CIA mind control experiments, psychological operations, and unexplained historical anomalies. For this new work, the artist drew inspiration from Ed Ruscha’s Rocky II sculpture hidden in the Mojave Desert; collisions of facts and fictions in Benjamín Labatut’s book When We Cease to Understand the World; and Internet-era enigmas such as the “Cicada 3301” project.

Featuring documents, videos, and other archival materials produced between the 1950s and early 1970s, CYCLOPS requires active engagement and participation. Users are tasked with reconstructing events, deciphering codes, conducting open-source intelligence investigations, and analyzing music, literature, and poetry to move through a work that is part treasure-hunt, part historical unfiction, and part cybersecurity challenge. In this way, CYCLOPS teaches many of the skills behind Paglen’s own investigative practice, exploring how a clandestine history of research into psychological operations, mind control, and paranormal phenomena has shaped media and politics of the present moment. This networked, collaborative experience spanning the digital and physical worlds can be accessed online at”

Oh, Ballard

One of the dozens incredible predictions by J.G. Ballard. This comes from the 1977 essay “Future of the Future”, published on Vogue.


Found in Translation

Eric Drass, aka Shardcore, made this very interesting experiment with generative AI applications: “I arranged a form of Chinese-Whispers between AI systems. I first extracted the keyframes from a scene from American Psycho and asked a multimodal LLM (LLaVA) to describe what it saw. I then took these descriptions and used them as prompts for a Stable Diffusion image generator. Finally I passed these images on to Stable-Video-Diffusion to turn the stills into motion.”


“The main thing about the game is to look around and listen to the sounds. It’s not about winning or losing. One could say it’s like an art gallery where you walk around and feel the atmosphere. The game has no monsters chasing you or jumping suddenly towards you. There are very few things to solve, practically a few mazes. Sometimes the game can challenge your navigation skills. But mostly you’re just exploring.”

The scintillating scotoma

Hubert Airy’s 1870 illustration of his own scintillating scotoma, reproduced in P. W. Latham’s On Nervous or Sick-Headache (1873).

Claire L. Evans wrote a great article about the “scintillating scotoma”, a visual disturbance related to migraines. I had this a couple of times and it looks exactly as described. A terrifying but also extremely fascinating experience.

“Writing about these bizarre and horrifying perceptual phenomena, the late Oliver Sacks observed that migraines ‘show us how the brain-mind constructs ‘space’ and ‘time,’ by demonstrating what happens when space and time are broken, or unmade.”

Voice In My Head

Kyle McDonald & Lauren Lee McCarthy developed an AI system that can replace your internal monologue:

“With the proliferation of generated content, AI now seeps constantly into our consciousness. What happens when it begins to intervene directly into your thoughts? Where the people you interact with, the things you do, are guided by an AI enhanced voice that speaks to you the way you’d like to be spoken to.”

One World Moments

One World Moments is a new experiment in ambient media, which seeks to use the new possibilities enabled by AI image generation to create more specific, evocative, and artistic ambient visuals than have been previously possible on a mass scale.”


Life: a user’s manual

I was just reminded by a student of this powerful performance by Michelle Teran:

Moving through the city streets with a video scanner reveals a hidden layer of personal fragments and stories which are broadcast by the private owners of surveillance cameras. The accumulation of these autonomous yet synchronous acts contributes to an invisible ad-hoc network of media permeating the socially codified spaces of our urban environments: the café, the apartment building, the store, the parking lot, and the street. Life: a user’s manual is a shared experience in visualizing the invisible. Together with the participants, Michelle Teran walks through the streets with a wireless surveillance camera scanner and broadcasts the images on a TV monitor.

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