Friday, February 6, 2009

Whitetrash plays Whitenoise, Opera 1 Automatica of the Trivial Mechanisms

Posted by Alpha Auer

Once upon a time there was a greenhorn newbie avatar named Alpha Auer, who through a series of bizarre coincidences found herself in Second Life®, with an inkling but no tangible leads as to what this place might be good for - until she encountered a clan of avatars...

Throughout my life I have had extraordinary luck when it came to my instructors, but in few more so than MosMax Hax. So, try as I might, I am going to find it very difficult to write on "Whitetrash plays Whitenoise, Opera 1 Automatica of the Trivial Mechanisms" without touching upon the personal: MosMax Hax and his cohorts have re-educated me in what has probably been the most fundamental lack in my creative makeup until quite recently: Play.

Max Wysznowitzer, one of the members of the entourage of MosMax Hax

The artist Max Moswitzer/MosMax Hax has been active in Second Life since early 2007, achieving the distinction of being one of the recipients of the award at the Ars Electronica 1st Annual Architecture & Design Competition in Second Life in 2007 with the first incarnation of "Whitenoise", a 2 storeyed construct which he then defined as "an experiment for non-human architecture in second life. This construct uses Freebee objects which are all set to white. The interesting views are when these objects affiliate with others. With a tool we use this build has just around 25 prims, normaly it would have 1000 prims. It is a ongoing project and will go into more "high res" detail. We call it "WHITE-NOISE". White Noise, a reference to a random pattern and "Bildrauschen", which we as builders see working on it for hours and you think you get snowblind."

Whitenoise Church. Teleport from here

Whitenoise evolved from this early construct, to what I consider to be one of the noteworthiest landmarks of virtual architecture both in and out of Second Life: The Whitenoise Church. Heaven knows, I have made enough references to this text, but I simply have to do so yet again, since what I wrote there goes straight to the heart of the matter of what I want to express here:

"The narrative space of Karnak. It reminded me of Second Life. Or rather of a structure that I am very familiar with in Second Life: The Whitenoise Church, by MosMax Hax. I am not sure what the pantheon that generated this circular cathedral is all about. A church for avatars. Is there a myth of creation already in place for Second Life? If so, is Ruth the mother goddess? Like Karnak, the church tells a story with its bottomless rowing boats, its chained in place cars, its columns constructed out of trucks and its teddy bear steeple. These are not about Ruth, or any kind of Second Life pantheon for that matter. Instead they are the projections of the psyche of a man who used to be a boy who played with trucks and cars and teddy bears and who has now managed to find his way back to that boyhood - and who has the guts to express it. And somehow, through an almost magical act of transformation, this conglomeration of boyhood objects winds up becoming more than the sum total of its parts, in fact winds up becoming the manifestation of a myth of creation for a yet to be named deity, for a yet to be defined ritual. The deity of Second Life would have to be childhood, and the ritual would have to be play. And its book of prayers would then be endowed with narrative".

(These days, floating over the ocean, the church is still there and it is amazing to me that it is not teeming with avatars, making the pilgrimage out there to see it - so little is it known in Second Life...)

Theater for Automatica of the Trivial Mechanisms at Ouvroir

But MosMax Hax has moved on from the church to the skies over Ouvroir, where he has created the theater for the "Automatic Trivial Mechanisms" - an undertaking still very closely related to the concept underlying the church. A concept the roots of which reside in an Avatar Religion, founded by Hardwarehacker Hoch. Thus the manifesto of the 3rd Life Church reads as follows:

"Excuse Me, But Are You Human?
We are "intellectual" avatars, to arrogate the same rights of privacy that flesh-and-blood humans have.
We don't believe in AI (Artificial Intelligence) because, - WE ARE! - Ready!
Our human operator is a spiritual machine which should be set on sedatives to derive more freedom in our schizophrenic relationship.
Antagonism and bondage to the dictatorship of our users!"
We are "Prosumers".


It is a twofold experience, this theater of MosMax's: The first is the actual space that you will find yourself in, as it slides around you and underneath your very feet as you move along. The illusion of infinity on both the vertical as well as the horizontal axes, created through a layering of black and white textures. Concealing and yet revealing. Never still and yet not moving? Am I moving or is "it" moving? Very likely not at all a scripted wonder, but simply the expertise of a skilled builder, who transports us into this illusory state of being immersed in a fluid space, which continually reconfigures and reshapes itself as we fly and walk inside it. Illusion accomplished through perfect craftsmanship. I would urge the visitor to don on his flight feather (obtainable here if you haven't got one already that is) and to fly fly fly, walk walk walk in this extraordinary space.

Fly to the peripheries where things are dark and quiet...

All the way outside where you will see the entire construct embedded into it's gigantic megaprim...

And back into the center where the whole thing is a-flutter with ripples...

And this center is where you will find the "actors": And no, these are not "bots" but avatars. Avatars who walk the gird. Have their own tales to tell. Fly helis. Make acquisitions, rez things, all of them creative entities in their own right. With opinions and relationships. After all, do I myself not live in constant dread of the anticipation of yet another visit from that sour faced old gentleman, Hegemon Maximus, chiding me as to the highly objectionable superficiality of my ways?

I have a little eye-to-eye with Falsche Hoffnung. Visible in the background is Erdbeermund Schnute...

Adolf Svoboda

So, why does MosMax Hax call his entourage "Trivial Mechanisms" then? If anything it would be to elevate them from their simulative "humanity" to a state of purity implied within a mechanical system, following sociologist/systems theorist Niklas Luhmann, who proclaims "Human Likenesses... What objects of horror. If I may be so heartless in expressing this, "man" really does not interest me at all".

Adolf Svoboda, the valiant pilot of the Search & Rescue Organization of Second Life, half brother of Hardwarehacker Hoch. A quiet country lad, a clean innocent face - however, dressed today in Whitenoise. Trust me, in his everyday existence he is not scary at all... Cinzia Zanzibar, the dark exotic beauty in her dance silks and her nemesis Erdbeermund Schnute, also clad in the very same apparel - and oh what a difference... Falsche Hoffnung, very much the girl next door with her cute little freckled nose. Somehow it seems to me that the dance silks do not look quite right on her... Schwanzlurch Salamander, in all of his Whitenose regalia... Hegemon Maximus, an elderly sage whose passion and mission are one and the same: Cardboard... Inworld Zapatero, who has spent an entire autumn hanging out outside his little hut in the sun, on his tiny island... His brother (?) Inworld Placebo, on whom I cannot say much, having only become aware of his existence quite recently. The same of which would also apply to Hirnhaut Suppenkraut, although Cosima Snook I do know. I even took her shopping once a long time ago...

Cinzia Zanzibar

Schwanzlurch Salamander

Avatar art: I do believe I want to coin a phrase here. This is avatar art. The virtual instantiation of the splitting of the human self into many many selves. The acknowledgment of the many facets residing within our labyrinthine psyche. And giving them all their day in the sun. How did Hardwarehacker phrase it again? "Our human operator is a spiritual machine which should be set on sedatives to derive more freedom in our schizophrenic relationship". Playing ourselves against ourselves. MosMax Hax is an undoubted master of the craft.

They all love to fly helis. Every last man, woman, child and furry...

This fluid space is not just there to amaze you in its intricacy. It is a complex theater building housing a complex drama - the one of the "many selves". And if there is a riddle here, for me it is not one of technology. I am not concerned with how this was built. And you know what? I am not even so wrapped up in how beautiful it is. And yes! It is, in fact, very beautiful this space. The sense of depth and breadth alone... But ultimately, when the chips are down, there are oh so many breathtakingly beautiful constructs to be seen in our virtual world here. So, the riddle for me is the transmission of a psychological state into actuality: The creation of identities out of the one identity. Creating a fluid, wide, deep, transparent and yet opaque stage whereon these identities can find a suitable platform of expression. One which is capable of doing the entire convoluted drama justice. And then the acknowledgment of the male and the female; the beautiful and the trashy; the timid and the adventurous and the elderly and the lazy - all present and accounted for in this entourage of persona conglomerating around the one central figure of MosMax Hax.

MosMax Hax is not a man of many words. I have written this text based solely upon what I have learned about him through my close association with him, with its many ups and downs, in its good days and not so good ones over the past (almost) two years. So, whatever errors of judgment there may be, they are all flights of my imaginative fancy and in no way attributable to him.

So, is this a "finished" work? Signed, sealed and delivered to it's audience in its neat little box with a neat little label? I's dotted and T's crossed? All explanations in place? No, most definitely not. Instead it is v.01 of an evolving, emergent artistic process wherein MosMax Hax explores and then projects the workings of the many facets that make up his (non)holistic "human" self. A lifetime's occupation it would seem to me.

I would urge you to visit the skies of Ouvroir by teleporting directly from here to see this "work in progress". There you will find the "stage" all set for the performance of the opera of the "Trivial Mechanisms". And, you will be more than likely to encounter some of the actors of this drama while you are there as well. If they are not all out and about wandering the grid that is...

If however, you make a point of going to Ouvroir at the hours below, over the next 3 days, you will be able to encounter the cast in full bloom, all together, performing for you:

6.feb 2009 1pm SLTime (Opening)
7.feb 2009 1pm SLTime
8.feb 2009 1pm SLTime


You can also view more and larger sized images on Flickr here.

Update on ARENA, Uqbar: OK folks, here is the story: Although MosMax was added to the Arena Artists group, in order to be able to rez the theater at Uqbar, when he attempted to do so yesterday morning, he found that he did not have the necessary permissions. His designated location did not give his group status rez rights, in other words.

He has been trying to contact the administrators at Uqbar, to fix the problem since yesterday morning however to this hour has been unable to do so, either in-world or through email.

Thankfully the original location at Ouvroir is up and running and thus the opening will be held there today at 1PM SLT, instead of at Uqbar. When the rez problem at Uqbar eventually gets addressed, you will be updated on whether the theater will in fact also get rezed there in the days to come or not.