sabato 13 ottobre 2012



Art is technology, as much as the human being.
Since the beginning, game has been the enactment of its own destinies (plural).
A glowing red wire links the choppers made by homo habilis to the mouse of our pc, fossil handprints to touch-screens, with the dream of a future breach of any divisor screen.
It is a discourse that starts as abruptly as a flash ("
αστράπτω", "astrapto", "lightning", abstract thought) and 75,000 years ago was translated into a series of lozenges on red ochre, in Blombos. Later on, once the agricultural civilization was established, lozenges became bricks and artfully built a new artificial reality made of those angles, squares and rectangles of which we still love surrounding ourselves with.
There is no square without brick.
There is no way of defining reality without playing the game (dice or chess?).
There is no technology that does not answer art's questioning.
Mythology gives eyes to statues, religion sits choirs in the theatre, the story of a squared chunk of wood gives birth to the picture (preferably rectangular). Paper reed rolls unfold and become codex, palimpsest, illuminated book, printed book. The square-angles door is now wide open, and from the darkroom to photograph, movies and the computer screen it is a short path.
For every step a new level: reality augmented by man's articulate intervention, by the indissoluble osmosis between science, technique and art which is culture. Every time the same search for what we think we are, our representation of what we think of as natural or substantial: are we that chunk of wood? That rock? That mixture of color, silver nitrate, celluloid, bits?
We are multi-level. Artists, philosophers and scientists have always known it.
We surf the Internet acknowledging the existence of a platonic second navigation, of an Aristotelic level jump from potentiality to actuality, to the different angelic hierarchies or Dante's Infernal circles, stricken both by Bruno's heroic frenzy and Leibniz's binary arithmetic. We tear up the veils of Maya with deep pleasure and no shame: we leave the same traces as Derrida. We are made of the same substance as a Flemish oil, and of the same powerful inconsistency as a film by Kulešov. Behind the ideal city of the Renaissance we see Daguerre's Paris appear into light, and the 1889 World's Fair, with the Eiffel Tower, photographed from bird's-eye view on Google Earth. Let's play SimCity.
We are also video-ludic, or rather NEO-LUDIC, because art comes into play.
For today the world is a video game, a total bet on our future, in which video game as a medium, knowingly sprung from its own fiction, may finally get out of the mirror, like Alice, in order to express its thought on a society that has never been so stratified and complex. The two realities -- which sum up to form one augmented reality -- are very much alike and cannot do without one another.
NEOLUDICA constitutes the first great attempt to define a coherent and strongly characterized perspective on this new, fundamental technological challenge art has embarked on.
Artists, creators, developers and players are then called upon to step up in class, and to accept a confrontation that will be aesthetic as well as ethic, and therefore will bring up more daydreams.
Today more than ever we are moved by Lewis Mumford's words from his 1934 essay Technics and Civilization: "Thanks to machines, we now have a chance to understand a world we contributed to create".

REMOTE CONNECTIONS  The walkable floor of the new digital art (cm 200x800)
NEOLUDICA Art is a Game 2011-1966Biennale of Venice 2011 (Guide)

From Prehistory to Neoludica


Neo-ludic Genealogy





1. Sapiens Sapiens lozenges carved on two fragments of red ochre in Blombos (Republic of South Africa)

2. Boards for the Royal Game of Ur <–> Soapstone seals from Harappa —> Mandala (“Video game is a Buddhist practice. It teaches you how to die ten, a hundred, a thousand times. How to accept your inevitable extinction. The game’s small death prefigures and exorcises the great death” Matteo Bittanti)

3. Linear B: Minoan-Mycenaean database —> Rosetta Stone: Greek-Egyptian interface (—> HCI: “Operations made with computers inherit the existing cultural norms” Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media)

4. From Achilles’ shield to Parmenides’ Sphere, and to the invention of the modern picture in Greece (Pliny the Elder: “There is no glory but for those who painted pictures”) —> Apollodorus of Athens, “skiagraphìa,” “drawing with shadows” // “Theatron”: “place for seeing,” “Skené” = “curtain,” “stage” —> Raised curtain: screen, scherma, writing Computers as Theatre (Brenda Laurel)

5. Euclides’ Elements from the “volumen” cylinder to the “codex” rectangular sheet

6. Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man / The women portrayed by Iaia of Cyzicus play chess with Sofonisba Anguissola

7. Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: interface/incunable by Aldo Manuzio // Trissino’s Greek-Italian alphabet and Palladio’s new architectural language

8. Van Eyck in the Arnolfini’s round mirror, the royal couple in Velazquez rectangular one: Darkrooms (Caravaggio versus Canaletto) x Ledoux’s eye wide open on David’s Tennis Court

9. Photography and cinema: technological innovation and mass art, different kinetic dynamics // arrogant underestimation by elitist cultures aristocratically bound to statics: the servant runs back and forth, the Master sits emotionlessly like Plutarch, even while he is having him scourged (“la fretta / che l’onestade ad ogn’atto dismaga,” even when it is Virgil who cuts and runs in Dante’s Purgatory) —> Picasso’s transparent canvases in Clouzot’s Mystère Picasso // Speed Painting

10. Nam June Paik: “Egyptian pyramids are the earliest example of a combination of high-profile art and high-tech” / “It is true that art is eternal, but it has always been bound to matter, while we want it to be free from it, and – through space – to last for one thousand years, even in a one-minute broadcast,” Lucio Fontana, Manifesto del movimento spaziale per la televisione


1. Oceanian mythology: the “mana” in the white coral eyes, in the obsidian pupil of the “Moai” of Easter Island —> Melville, Moby Dick: “Stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries”

2. Greek Myth: Dedalus, first man and first name to sculpt and paint eyes on statues —>Metaphysics, Aristotle: “For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else”

3. “Dynamis,” for Aristotle “principle of movement or mutation into something else” (Enrico Berti) —> “Virtus,” Latin from “vir,” “man,” and/or “vis” “strength” (Lorenzo Valla) —> “Virtualis, virtual” (since the 14th century)
CAUTION: “One Idea, compressing by force the nature of the Other, which one did not intend to mixed to that of the same, mingled them both with Essence,” Plato, Timaeus

4. “For many centuries the real image has been the highest prize in painting” (Pliny the Elder)

5. New Flemish painting with oil on canvas // New revolution in technique, new real image: new diversities behind a seeming homologation

6. Milan, Via Torino: to enter Santa Maria presso San Satiro, to walk down to the apse by Bramante, to touch, to turn around, to look up at the ceiling vault, to see it seemingly absent while admiring Pozzo’s Glory of St Ignatius and think “So I am also in the Church of the Jesus in Rome”

7. Telescope, Galileo: irruption into everyday’s reality of the tradition of a new real macrocosm + Microscope, Leeuwenhoek: irruption into everyday’s reality of the tradition of a new real microcosm =Heroic Enthusiasts, Giordano Bruno —> “realitas entitiva” (“That which is, to say, thirsty for realitas: the same structure appears again in Leibniz, when he individuates a existiturire referring to reality, meaning with that existence as something that is thirsty for existing,” Hans-Georg Gadamer)

8. La Mettrie’s Man a Machine listening to a conference held by Lavoisier on the nature of silicon in Boullée’s Library To FOLLOW Hegel while explaining everything rational is real to Friedrich von Knaus's Writing Hand and Thinking Head

9. Iron Bridge, Coalbrookdale (Crossed by Turner’s train) —> Seurat, “Tour Eiffel” (“pointilliste” bites) —> Max Ernst, “Zoomorphic Couple” —> Spores (“Il y avait une fois LA REALITE” Louis Aragon <— Kuleshov Effect)

10. Yves Klein, Anthropométries: “In the past we worked with interfaces: Every interface is like an extension of touch. A funny thing is that we come from a civilization since the Renaissance of visual dominance. With the new environments of simulated sensory life we are coming back to a tactile culture and people don’t see that,” Derrick de Kerckhove


1. Homo habilis: “chopper,” the first mouse

2. Cueva de las manos (Argentina) —> Gallery: iPhone, iPad, iPod, I touchscreen

3. Fears and preconceptions, old rather than ancient, towards techne or art (both are based on a vegetable framing, and the root “tek”): aristocrats versus “free artisans who, around the end of the 5th century, came to dominate the Assembly in Athens” (Carlos Solìs Santos): “mechanic” <— “mechané,” “banal” <— “bànaustos,” “worker, artisan” ≠ NO “katharevousa” (“pure langage”: “pure” of what?) <— Ancient emargination: “The ancient world produced manuals similar to Computer Graphics, but it lacked the resources and the tools to popularize them, so condemning them to the seclusion in dispersive and disconnected areas of society” (Alessandra Gara, Progresso tecnico e mentalità classicista)… A sin always dreaded by snobs and mediocre people: “luxuria” of machines and mechanics

4. A still unwritten drama on the scientific use of writing – Main characters: Protagoras (in favor), Socrates (against) // Intermission: poems by Theognis // Act II: variations on excerpts from Euripides, “Palamedes”(the supposed inventor of letters, numbers and chess) // Finale withdeus ex machina: Demiurge-Programmer + Software-Conference on Plato’s Good + Hardware-Platonic solids composed by the School of Sicyon = Neo-Platonic use of Plotinus + Brahmagupta’s Zero: to be different, equal and binary

5. Antikythera Mechanism (in Lucio Russo, La rivoluzione dimenticata) / the West (Rome, “Roma-visaya”) fabled by the East as the land of “spirit-carrying machines” (Lokapannatti, Burmese cosmological treatise, in Uomini e spazi aperti by Andrea Giardina) // “Homo sum: nihil humani a me alienum puto,” “I am a human: I consider nothing that is human alien to me” (Terentius) – “Mens congesta iubet” (Claudianus): “The congested mind rules”

6. “Tabula cerata” (in Plato, memory: two goddesses Mnemosyne and Mneme, and the impression of a seal on a wax tablet) —> the Palinsesto Ambrosiano, with an original text by Plautus scraped off to make room for the biblic Book of Kings, and rediscovered thanks to chemistry and philologist Guilelmus Studemund’s visual loss à His Catullian annotation after the colossal effort: “Ni te plus oculis meis amarem,” “If I did not love you more than my own eyes” (emotion, deep gratitude from the author) ≠ lilias picta: drawings of battles on parchment from the 5th-6th century, part of a 13th century paper codex (—> An old game within a new game in a recent version of Metal Gear: “In the case of video games is fundamental to start an operation in the preservation, to avoid the mistakes made in other areas (cinema in particular). Considering the proliferation of different versions of the same games – I think about cracked versions, changed, ‘improved’ accessible on the network – even the very attempt to locate and recover the ‘true’ version becomes an arduous task,” Henry Lowood)

7. Polyptychs and Portables: Antonello da Messina’s Polyptych on a desktop —> Portable art by Marcel Duchamp

8. Long shot of Lake Como / Cut / Alessandro Volta’s Pile / Flashback: the scientist 25 years earlier, while he ignites tiny blue flames on the banks of Lake Maggiore (discovery of the organic nature of methane) / Dissolve / Benjamin Franklin, inventor of the lightning rod, signs the Declaration of Independence (actor, in both cases: George Clooney)

9. Babbage’s calculations + Notes of Menabrea + Translation and commentary by Ada Lovelace = the Analytic Machine in the parade ground of Forte di Bard (musical score: “Un bal” from Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique)

10. NOTA BENE An exemplary story of memory technique art: Ut Guido d’Arezzo —> Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier —> Mozart, fortepiano —>Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk —> Mahler’s titanic orchestra —> John Coltrane’s Ascension —> Hendrix & Fire & Fender Stratocaster (Wild Thing)


1. Sapiens Sapiens: crossing of the Lombok Strait (—> Caves of Lascaux reproduce in virtual reality by Benjamin Britton // Rabindranath Tagore: “The diver / has to go down to the seabed, / the ferryman / only has / to walk on the surface”)

2. Love and War in Hepaestus’ golden net (Sophocles, Antigone; “All leads captive, the man excellent in wit”) —> Martianus Capella, On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury, formerly Spring by Botticelli (Reale, Giovanni)

3. “Nostos,” “homecoming” <— Ulysses “polyméchanos” —> James Joyce, Finnegans Wake: “Three quarks for Muster Mark” —> Murray Gell-Mann, physicist: quark (subatomic particle)

4. Plato, Phaedo, “second navigation” —> Protogenes, painter of ships until he was 50: “You must think of the ship as the cosmos / And of yourself as one of its tools” (ship of words in Optatianus Porfirius’ Carmen XIX)

5. Lucian, A True Story // “Drunk,/ Each goes a separate way… / Meet again on the Milky Way / Always wander with no boundaries” (Li Po)

6. Medieval Guild: Hansa merchants —> Commerce Guild in Star Wars —> Guilds as synthetic universes: (“In everything that man pushes by his vital instinct, builds and raises, nothing is more beautiful or more precious than bridges. Bridges are more important than houses, more sacred because they are more useful than temples” Ivo Andric, The Bridges)

7. The Preparation of Nets, miniature from Manuscript 616 of Gaston Phoebus’ Livre de chasse // // Matthew of Vendome, Milo: “Hamus amoris edax et rete capacius orbe,” “Love’s hook is ravenous / His net, larger than the world” (—> Chat to find your soulmate)

8. Magellan: circumnavigation of the Earth —> Mercator: projection of it in the rectangular space of an atlas —> Matteo Ricci: East and West meeting on a map —> Odyssey Pong Little Big Planet

9. Shipwreck of the College of Berkeley at the Bermuda (musical score My Hope is Decayedby Captain Hume) / Arrival of 93 Viking chess pieces on the Hebrides in 1831 (Hebrides Overture by Mendelssohn)

10. Georges Perec: Le Grand Palindrome // Italo Calvino, Le città invisibili


1. Fossil footprints, Laetoli, Tanzania: memory interaction travel Australopithecus Afarensis, parched land, volcanic ashes, rain

2. Apollo and Patroclus: “Then with the flat of his hand, he struck Patroclus on his back, on his broad shoulders – that made his eyes lose focus. Next, Phoebus Apollo knocked the helmet from his head,”Iliad, Homer (?) // Apelles and Protogenes: sharp contest, lines on a white tablet (first abstract painting) // Apollo and Dionysus meet Buddha in Gandhara

3. Cento by Faltonia Betitia Proba (Latin) // anonymous, Christus patiens (Greek): Pagan verses collaged together forming Christian texts (“It is undeniable to us that the activities of poetic creativity lie by nature under the sphere of play,” Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens)

4. Book of Kells: connections (including the copyist’s slip – or is it?: after “Non veni pacem mittere,” the Vulgate adds “sed gladium,” while he writes “sed gaudium”)

5. Ramon Llull: Ars Combinatoria // Virgil’s codex with commentary by Servius, illuminated by Simone Martini, with Petrarch’s annotations

6. Incas “Quipu”

7. NO to hunting YES to Pisanello’s Vision of St Eustace / NO war YES geometrical poetry by Paolo Uccello —> Peace to Alexander, peace to Altdorfer’s St George in the Forest —> Extinguished is the fire, not the enchantment of Piero di Cosimo MUSICAL SCORE Missa Prolationum by Johannes Ockeghem

8. 18th century Capricci (Guardi, Piranesi): cut and paste your classics (musical score: M’ingannasti in verità
aria for soprano and basso continuo by Antonia Bembo)

9. “Aristotelic unities” ≠ Shakespearean diversities // Commedia dell’Arte ≠ Goldoni’s Comic Theatre // Monteverdi’s Orfeo ≠ Cesti’s Golden Apple —> Handel, Farinelli, Metastasio, Gluck (discordant quartet): the rule of pleasure in the norm, of pleasure in transgressing it, of pleasure in transgressing transgression (see also the difference between Game and Play in Umberto Eco’s introduction to Huizinga, Homo ludens)

10. V. Propp, Morphology of the Folk Tale // R. Queneau, de poèmes


1. Uluru: “Age of Dreams” —> E. Bloch, The Principle of Hope à “That this age, the half-millennial reign of skepticism and objectivity, is being brought to its end by the emerging Age of Wonder” (Edward Castronova, Synthetic Worlds)

2. Orphic Myth: the tragic toys given Dionysus by the Titans (the spinning top, the ball, the apples and the mirror in front of which he stands astonished, just before his benefactors tear him apart) + “Dea ex machina,” Demeter: Dionysus reassembled together for new transformations (“Frenzy must first have enhanced the excitability of the whole machine; else there is no art,” Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols) // Super Mario hopping on barrels in Donkey Kong reminded me of the archaic flying Gorgon in black-figure Greek vases

3. Metamorphoses, Ovid, Incipit: “Of bodies chang’d to various forms, I sing” + more and more Ovid,The Art of Love, “Let others belaud those ancient times; I am satisfied to be a child of today”

4. “Ludus,” “public game”: ludus civile (Cicero) —> Religious ludus: Ludus Danielis --> Erotic ludus: Jeu de Robin et Marion —> Philosophical ludus: Nicholas of Cusa, De ludo globi (//Football: Maradona’s binary number “10”) ---> Comenius, "Schola ludus"

5. International Gothic (<— Ancestral Gothic) —> Neo-Gothic // Romanticism: myth of the Genius and Free
Fantasy against “classicism” – Andersen’s Tales, the Grimm Brothers’ Tales – Exemplary tale of the architect Schinkel, who designed the Mausoleum of Queen Luise in neo-gothic shapes, as a reminder of “femininity, sentiment, spontaneity, passion” ≠ the widower King of Prussia rejected the project, and approved a change towards Doric shapes, instead: “virility, reason, severity, detachment” (see L. Schneider, Il classico nella cultura postmoderna) ≠ Mary Shelley back to the future (“Gothic novel”) --> Science-Fiction/Fantasy (“In Art-Game creations, science fiction and apocalypse are joined, restoring and in some way updating the dimension of the sublime which, in art history, is the territory of Romantic painting,” Elena Di Raddo)

6. CO-OWNERSHIP “Ideal City” / Palazzo Schifanoia —> De Chirico, Breton and Escher play SimCity in Brasilia

7. Stendhal Syndrome and Gijsbrechts Danger

8. Hokusai, Manga —> Art of Comics —> Art of Cartoons —> Art of Computer Animated Graphics (Voisins, Norman McLaren)

9. From the Church to the palace to the museum, to the Salon, to The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (W. Benjamin), to L’applicazione tecnologica nell’era della sua manua(bi)lità artistica (Debora Ferrari): new auras, new technologies (“Today many museums still struggle to understand the web is not just a place to advertise their business, but actually the place to share the extraordinary heritage of information they own. Only replacing protectionism with sharing and concealment with access, a museum can turn into the hub of an articulate web of information, and get through with the metamorphosis from museum to ‘network museum’,”
Domenico Quaranta, Curare l’immateriale)

10. Gehry’s inspirational trash-can ("Il cestino ispiratore di Gehry": italian hendecasyllable)

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