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a Rc Hae-
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... mike ... corrao ...
The subject of my investigation is not the organism that you thought it was.
It is an enigmatic structure.
With rhizomatic qualities—like the mutating root of a stemless plant. The arrangement of low poly surfaces, each painted with pixelated textures. Facsimiles of stone or metal. The internal fibres of a cyborgean contraption. Dials and switches locked static.
Light resting in the air, without source or duration. Extensive visibility across interior spaces. Even what appears external remains internal. The sky a curved ceiling. Haphazardly laid overhead. Painted a light blue with hues of white and beige crawling in. Each new room a different iteration of the same three colors. Only shifting in dominance and saturation.
Movement through the structure is made difficult through the ubiquity of its surfaces. Each wall fluctuating between only three possible designs. The researcher—whatever kind of subject you have decided to be—asked to memorize the simplistic patterns they form when placed in succession. Navigating by foot through chains of corporealized data. What grows in the veins of the machinery. Server towers moan in the distance.
(it does not need to be this way. it is not
necessary that we experience space as it
asks us to. that we move through labyrinthine
trenches. acquiring certain keys and passcodes
a series of multi-colored dreams. landscape of
the body. as it is projected onto this abstract
we can refuse. stand further away. remove our-
selves. or disregard what we have been asked to
do. the constraints we have been asked to adhere
CERTAIN TOOLS ARE GATHERED AND TESTED / MADE USEFUL
MANIPULATIONS OF THE TEMPORAL / VISION SPANNING THE ARCHIVE
REPLICATED GLITCHES TO EVADE BOUNDARY WALLS
UN-CORPOREALIZATION / I CANNOT FEEL / I CANNOT BE FELT
COMPRESSION AND DECOMPRESSION OF THE IMAGE ARTIFACT
INTRUSION UPON HIDDEN CODE LANGUAGES / PROPHETIC SCRIPT
MODIFICATION OF THE VIRTUAL BODY / BECOMING-SPECTRE
It is not without reason that I suggest this new kind of excavation. Assisted by digital tools—a time machine only insofar as a glossary denotes what has passed. Where the researcher may examine each iteration of the subject through its duration.
Collaging the archive into its broader width. The entire body of the webpage. In its enigmatic youth and its plastic present. Where one becomes several. A multiplicity opening its coat to reveal the row of teeth / field of anuses.
This revealing gives potentiality to an archaeology of virtual space(s). Where the researcher may navigate these labyrinthine temporalities. Documenting the various and ever-changing perspectives of the user. Detailing the mutations in their interface and its complexity.
The events that have led to its current functionality and aestheticization. What is pretty and what is active. The disparity between what is decadent and what is utilitarian. Sites that began in primitive fashion. Text transposed onto screen. That have slowly mutated into extravagant gestures. Text obscured by its stationary.
I want you to know that this is not a search for the remnants of an organism. It is not the archaeology of your predecessors. It is the deciphering of dead and obscured text. The locales produced through the mutation of language into construction materials.
Where the text has been made navigable by geographical means. Only to then be neglected—for whatever legitimate or illegitimate reasons. It is the desire of the research to find and document these dilapidated sites / architectures / interfaces.
(in the enigmatic structure. which the researcher has
tasked themself with occupying. the labyrinth appears
impenetrable. with each nuanced pattern complexifying
but certain tools are utilized. tools which exploit
the shortcomings of the game's framerate. giving the
virtual body an inhuman speed
allowing them to move so fast as to render them
each surface reveals a becoming-membrane. the virtual
body passing through this matrix. and establishing
itself outside of the boundary.
in the non-space that encompasses the labyrinth.
landscapeof unfinished platforms and deceptive collision)
This perspective that you have taken up is incomplete. It is the first-hand vision of a half-formed avatar. Limited by the scope of its eyes—the lack of peripherals in any direction. When lunging through the boundary you briefly lose the ability to see. Your skeptical eye blinks and you are in another dimension.
And if this is the case, then what good did the intricacies of your movement do you? If your techniques are haphazard and sensitive. Your praxis is irreplicable. It demands labor and apprenticeship.
The means by which you project yourself are inadequate. This is what I mean to say. Your virtual body must be built from more robust materials. It cannot be derived from the same linguistic components as the text. You should not look like the space that you have chosen to inhabitat. It will reveal your biases.
In the construction of this new virtual form, certain questions must be raised. Primarily what differences exist between this avatar and your self. What shortcomings this uncovers in your corporeal form. How this new vessel can undermine these shortcomings and make you a better researcher than you are now. Than you otherwise could be.
The archaeology of virtual spaces demands a certain nostalgia—as I’m sure most historical professions do. In my excavation of the low poly labyrinth I am guided by faint memories of its original arrangement. My fondness for these patterns. My current love for how the surfaces have remained unchanged since our first encounter.
I DO REALIZE THE ESCHERIAN NATURE OF THESE ENIGMATIC STRUCTURES
THE WAYS IN WHICH I AM BEING MANIPULATED BY UNSEEN MECHANISMS
BUT I HAVE CERTAIN TOOLS / METHODS
IN MY ESCAPE FROM THE BOUNDARIES OF THIS VIRTUAL SPACE
/ I HAVE FOUND THE SWITCHES THAT ACTIVATE MY IMPRISONMENT
I HAVE TESTED THEIR VARIOUS OUTCOMES / REARRANGEMENTS
IN THE NON-SPACE WHICH SURROUNDS THE LABYRINTH I AM DEITY
THE RESEARCHER IS GIFTED AN UNCOMMON CONTROL OVER THEIR SUBJECT
AN OCCULT ACADEMIC IS ENCOURAGED BY THEIR SUCCESS
/ TO CONTINUE ENGAGING / WITH AN OTHERWORLDLY PRAXIS
The contents of this archaeology are vast and seemingly endless. Not only in the variety of its branches—game-based, web-based, of the interface, internal, etc—but in the multitudes which can potentially spawn from these broader entrances.
The virtual spaces of the game are not compatible with the non-spaces that surround it, or the webpages which exist themselves in a distinct channel of their own.
Each new iteration altering the medium into something beyond the limitations of its nomenclature. A return to the transition from one to several. The silhouette of a desirable body laid across the expanding field.
::archaeology of server-projected phantoms
::archaeology of impossible architectures
::archaeology of low poly surfaces
::archaeology of the digital rhizome
::archaeology of neglect and decay
::archaeology of what disappears from the internet
::archaeology of restored sludge and video
::archaeology of extramatrical anomalies
::archaeology of defunct forums and file links
::archaeology of primitive coding languages
::archaeology of virtual space
::archaeology of digital badlands
::archaeology of boundary glitches and mods
::archaeology of ominous non-spaces
::archaeology of falsified floor plans and concealed
::archaeology of in-game histories and artifacts
::archaeology of compression
::archaeology of the interface
Primitive archaeologists have already begun documenting the anomalies spawning in the non-space surrounding the virtual structure. With the use of simplistic tools—mods and glitch exploits. But their activities are touristic. A desire to visit enigmatic landmarks. The documentation itself only occurring as a means to monetize this vacation.
But it is a record nonetheless. It is findable. Its shortcomings lie elsewhere. In the project of the researcher. The user-tourist is not an investigator. They do not study and inspect the artifact / anomaly. And because of this, its documentation remains shallow. We are only given a record of its aesthetic qualities. Not of its purpose or context.
(but you think very highly of yourself. and you say that you will not do the same. after the construction of the improved virtual body
/ you will document these anomalies only to delay their obfuscation. to maintain their presence in history
but what importance does this have? with the ever-expanding depth of this field. of history itself. how do you expect to maintain records of each simulated dimension
do you think so highly of yourself? do you call yourself an archaeologist? an archivist? is this only a hobby? your reaching towards meaning
one with a history of archiving other histories. but even this will bring new questions to light. what will contain the history of this place? can you bring yourself to trust
/ these virtual spaces. enough at least to hand it all your findings and conclusions)
But this non-space is not only a zone of its own anomalies, but an opportunity to freely maneuver through the virtual structure it surrounds—it is here that we should say that the ‘virtual structure’ is not specific, but archetypal. In the void, certain qualities become visible.
Malfunctions and dilapidations in the walls and floor reveal themselves. Each pocket of empty space is denoted by flickering light and texture. The back end of surfaces are exposed to the vacuum / atmosphere. The sloppy ways in which the invisible is assembled.
Walls that intersect and stretch beyond the connecting floors and ceilings. The apparatus as a whole floating in this voidal dimension. Outside of the boundaries, the user is not subject to the facades of the developer. The aesthetic prominence of the interior is subverted by the ugliness of its assembly.
In an archaeology of virtual spaces, the user must move beyond the interior. Utilizing non-space to more fully understand what it envelopes / what it is hiding. This is not a field of surface studies—although they are contained within it.
What is then required is a vessel capable of more reliably moving between interior and exterior / space and non-space. But there are difficulties in this. Similar to those experienced by the corporeal engineer. The builder of the space suit.
But here our dilemma is not the shift between atmosphere and the lack thereof, it is the jump from facade to reality. In non-space, the fraudulent physics of the virtual is enhanced. Viewing the interior as a place of carefully regulated conditions, the exterior is a zone of neglect. It is not treated with the same polish as its counterpart.
(this new body must be more complete than your
own. it cannot merely be a projection of your
flesh is poor building materials. even in a
dimension without organic decay you are still
fragile. and quick to fall apart
instead there need be a utilization of the
medium. exploiting the uncorporealized body
and its spectral tendencies
not body but body-esque. kind to your physical
inclinations but transparent nonetheless. in
the expanded field i fall through)
IN THE EXPANDED FIELD I FALL THROUGH / AND REORIENT MYSELF
TO THE UN-CORPOREALIZED VESSEL
DRESSED IN LOW POLY SURFACES / FACSIMILE OF SOMEONE
WHAT ARE YOU ACCELERATING TOWARDS?
THE DEATH OF THIS PHYSICAL PLACE / THE BIRTH OF
/ AN ARCHITECTURAL LANGUAGE / ROOM OF TEXT
DO YOU RECOGNIZE ME? IN THIS UNFAMILIAR ZONE?
AT THE DAWN OF THIS REWORKING / SHIFT IN LOCOMOTION
I CRAWL FORWARD / INTO THE NON-SPACE OF MY DISCOVERY
It is in this body-esque position that we are exposed to the erotic qualities of the virtual space. Not only in its relationship to the directly pornographic—the millions of videos and images poorly stored on various platforms—but in the disparities between the user and their representation. This representation, as we have spoken of already, not a direct copy, but instead an improvement of its original. So said original may fully utilize its mobility in the virtual.
In these differences a certain othering is bound to happen. The user bears witness to their lack. The details of their shortcomings are subverted by a better body. Which they are then given the power to occupy.
The body-esque seduces the subject by subverting the lack that they see within themselves. The physicality of the subject loses its fleshy qualities. It becomes plastic and unreal. Liken to the fantasies of cinematic and pornographic art. The user a participant of this masturbatory simulation.
In our movement towards a refined praxis, a new dilemma arises. That of preoccupation.
::defunct root of the rhizome
::river of filtered data
The subject of my investigation is not the organism that you thought it was. It is an enigmatic structure. With the qualities of an organism. In so much as it is bound to sentient change. To mutation and cyclical rebirths.
At the base of the interface I witness a cinematic series of dreams. The shift from sitemap to labyrinthine floor plans. The excavation of the digital badlands performed simultaneously as reader and actor. Eyes scrolling across chains of text. Words highlighted as the entrances to other chains—other sets of data.
The user performs a summary of their existence. Creating shorthand variations of their identity. Turning one to several. The shift then is from user to arbor. These performances becoming the origin point of infinite branches.
Each made with the intent of invigorating the arbor, but with the outcome of severing from its trunk. Growing their own branches and rootways. Which will then—in a manner evolutionary to the shortcomings of the arbor—disguise their origin point. Turning arbor into rhizome. Constructing their own labyrinthine interiors.
The user becoming host to a primitive virtual space of their own unintentional design.