NYU student shares his "virtual girlfriend" with the world

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86 Responses to “NYU student shares his "virtual girlfriend" with the world”

  1. Village Idiot says:

    My uncanny valley reflex is triggered every time I watch the news on TV, a place where many people’s 2D “Friends” have lived for decades.

    I think I’d prefer to project a high-resolution image on my bed of looking straight down into a huge cavern or volcano or the ground taken from high altitude, then animate it for a falling effect (except when I’m drunk).

  2. GregLondon says:

    It seems that the complaints boil down into two categories. (1) The project is misogynistic because it projects the image of a woman who can be seen but not heard (2) the project is creepy because it implies or might lead to an emotional relationship that isn’t human-to-human.

    as for (1), swap the genders of the players and check the response. Make the real person a woman and the projected image a man. Would charges of misandry be brought up? I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think it would.

    As for (2), well, there is an implied “and people shouldn’t do that” at the end of that statement. And that is a universal kind of “should” that applies to all people, all the time, in all circumstances. And the problem with absolute statements is that they often fail in the real world.

    I think about the only absolute statement anyone can say about this and would withstand the test of truthiness would be something like “this wouldn’t do it for me”, which is a whole lot different than something like “this should not do it for anyone else, either”.

  3. CopyrightMe says:

    Seems like a completely wasteful art project to me.

  4. Rick. says:

    Seems like a great way to further amplify a fella’s loneliness. “Can’t keep a girlfried, making one instead” = NEVER EVER getting a girlfriend.

  5. nanuq says:

    Which is sadder? That he’s done this or that he actually wants people to KNOW that he’s done this?

  6. madjo says:

    @Elysianartist #64,
    I’d say it’s a very smart piece of art. Look at the discussion it provokes. :)

    @David #63,
    I was under the (perhaps mistaken) assumption that you meant to get Meals on Wheels (for which I’m definitely too young for)
    Somehow, I doubt I could help them. When I get home from work it’s often already around 7PM, and then I have to make my own dinner.
    But I see your point. Will look into something like that. Thanks for the suggestions.

  7. Antinous says:

    Which is sadder? That he’s done this or that he actually wants people to KNOW that he’s done this?

    How much of human art and literature has been about loss and longing? Are they all just pathetic losers to you?

  8. GregLondon says:

    technogeek@66: he could have done a version in which cats settled around the human.

    Hm, probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the visceral response that the projected human got.

    I’m wondering if the reaction to the projected woman is driven by the same emotional response that creates the Uncanny Valley. (if such a thing exists.)

  9. stratosfyr says:

    This is somewhat less creepy to me than a body pillow with a moe-moe anime girl printed on it.

  10. JJ says:

    In 2003 I went to the Sonar Festival in Barcelona. There was an exhibit with the same scenario: woman being projected onto bed, interacted with people. I’ve searched the MACBA archives trying to figure out who the artist is, but I can only find Francisco López’s installation: Two Blank Spirits (http://www.macba.es/controller.php?p_action=show_page&pagina_id=34&inst_id=16755).???

  11. noen says:

    Actually, you could turn this around and say this only goes to emphasize and underline the utter despair and loneliness in his life. That puts a more positive spin on the project.

  12. drawingbreath says:

    I could see a very real use for this for someone who is experiencing a recent bereavement. The loss of a long-term life partner is a space that is almost impossible to fill and something like this could help someone get a little comfort during hard times. Especially at bedtime when you feel completely alone.

    It would of course require planning prior to the passing, but people do odder things when planning for their deaths.

  13. roboshobo says:

    Looks just like the Postal Service video for “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVB1UBSe7fY

  14. DeWynken says:

    ….at least she won’t complain about sleeping in the wet spot.

  15. geekazoid says:

    Re 47: “lathed each other into complementary shapes”

    That is the most romantic thing I’ve heard in a long while.

  16. David Carroll says:

    Ok I have calmed down a little.

    I re-read the linked story that Christine Lagorio wrote for Daily Intel. She was writing to the style of that blog and cherry picking the quotes a bit. A lot of paraphrasing is used too.

    So after reading Drew’s actual words from his blog:

    The aim of the piece was to speak on the feelings of loneliness, affection, and intimacy.

    What it boils down to this: Christine’s post is all about the technology and sex. Drew’s post is all about the art and the human condition.

    Of course like anything else it’s more nuanced than that.

    I still stand by what I wrote. I only had Christine’s viewpoint to work with at the time.

    My bad for not looking into it more, but it sucks when facts get in the way of a good rant.

  17. David Carroll says:

    I just noticed that one of the editors has just disemvoweled the first line of my post (#1).

    I will take this to mean that the tip of my toes are touching the line. I will take note and govern myself accordingly…

  18. iamgeekusa says:

    It seems kind of a lonely idea

  19. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    IMO, the creepiness depends on who you sample and why. A lot of people who live alone leave the television running in the background to provide human noise. Is that bad? Where’s the line? What about keeping pets you can’t really touch or cuddle? Is having them around a bad thing if you experience it as a form of companionship, and a good thing if you don’t?

    Ever since Xeni posted this entry, I’ve been thinking about how this virtual companion would work if you had an extensive library of video footage and recorded sounds of someone close to you. There’s a period, after you lose someone close, when you keep absentmindedly thinking they must be in the next room, or they’ve stepped out for a moment, and any moment now they’re going to walk in the door. If you had a version of this virtual companion that was personalized to them, would keeping it running be creepy, or consoling, or just a very human thing to do?

  20. Takuan says:

    how much of my beloved is …. me?

  21. Antinous says:

    I kept Mister Fluffy Cheeks’ water bowl filled for six months after he died. I vote for “a very human thing to do.”

  22. Takuan says:

    if I could leave my recordings, what would I choose? I don’t know I would do it. We seek comfort for the inconsolable at those times, but the worlds are divided for a reason. If the pain of the grief is too much, we can always choose to follow.

  23. mikelotus says:

    given what he is getting his degree in,kind of makes sense as a project.

  24. minTphresh says:

    #73(copyrightme) they attacked manet’s reclining nude with umbrellas when it was first shown at the paris salon. the same with david’s portrait “death of marat”. was that wasteful? in order to make a ‘real’ statement, art must provoke a visceral, deep-down emotional response. it also must have something to say about the time in which the artist created it. ‘real’ art is something much more than what you can hang behind your sofa. the fact that this piece sparks so much debate and critique, only seems to add to its necessity.

  25. David Carroll says:

    I am coming at this with the point of view that people need social contact as much as they need food. The more isolated one becomes the higher the risk of drifting into a bad places like depression.

    Lots of people don’t have committed relationships and live alone. If they are wise (or just do it out of instinct) they are members of clubs, volunteer, get visited by a Meals on Wheels, go out after work with the gang, play second life, or comment on blogs like I am doing right now.

    We need to know that someone cares about us. And we need to communicate. Cats and dogs are no substitute, but way better than going for days without uttering a word.

    If technology is used as a pipe to connect one soul to another then great. If technology gets to the point that bi-coastal couples can get it on using life like proxys then great.

    If technology is used as a way to create a hollow simulation of contact then you’re just fooling yourself.

    Lastly, you brought up the case of replacing a lost loved one with a simulation. Trying to postpone grieving and acceptance of a loss is not a good idea. Looking at a photo or video of that person from time to time and briefly re-living a fond moment is highly recommended. Even the dead need to know that someone loves them…

  26. Lexica says:

    CopyrightMe @ 73:

    Out of curiosity, what kind of art project would you not consider completely wasteful? What about this project in particular makes it “wasteful”?

  27. berserker73 says:

    Wow, that fffffffreaks me out, man! Very entertaining. The last set of pics on the linked site made me think this thing might be great for kids having trouble sleeping alone, as long as their big brother didn’t convince them it was the bogeyman (big brother speaking here).

    #1, maybe Burrows meant a guy who works too hard to GET a girlfriend. There’s a lot higher work:benefit ratio in that phase of a relationship than afterwards. Well, for me at least.

  28. Antinous says:

    Because…?

  29. Takuan says:

    some of these comments make me think of the Auditors in Thief of Time “appreciating” art.

  30. GregLondon says:

    It’s weird. But the important question how do you apply the Turing Test to sleeping personaes? If all you’ve got is a remote feed, and a bad camera angle (straight above), could you tell?

    Also, at what point will the “Ferris Bueller” model be available? It snores, it reponds to opening doors, it mumbles incoherently at requests made by parents.

    Another sick day, and it’ll barf up a lung for you…

  31. GregLondon says:

    Teresa@32: What about keeping pets you can’t really touch or cuddle?

    That would be a fish tank. I have one. Can’t touch them. can’t cuddle them. Pretty much all I can do is look at them through a two-dimensional plane of glass and water.

    Would I call someone creepy for having a fish-tank screen saver? Probably not.

    So, she’s only 2-D. So what? Take the programming and combine it with the realsexdolls.com manequins, and some people will probably blow a moralistic gasket over it.

    I think there’s a long history of science fiction stories about non-humans, and especially artificial life forms like AI and androids, not being recognized as human by folks. The logical response would be to devise a Turing Test and see if the thing passes. But people in these stories don’t say “It isn’t human” because it failed a test, they’re generally saying “it isn’t human” because something very deep and visceral is being triggered that identifies the thing as “other” as “not my tribe”, and that’s the end of it.

    I don’t know why, but I’m seeing some characters from SouthPark scream “They took ar’ jobs!” in my head right now.

  32. GregLondon says:

    Teresa@32: If you had a version of this virtual companion that was personalized to them, would keeping it running be creepy, or consoling, or just a very human thing to do?

    Well, the thing is, a person can use photographs, videotape, or even physical tokens that act as a reminder of someone who has died, to the point that they, the living person that is, don’t move on with their life. You don’t need machine intelligence posing as the dead person to do that.

    Is it creepy? Consoling?

    I think that’s a very personal question, actually. I’m not entirely convinced it has a single answer for everyone. But rather is something that everyone would have to ask themselves when the time comes.

    One of my cats recently died suddenly. I had dreams about him for a couple of nights where I was walking around the house looking for him, I’d see him, and then when I’d go to pick him up, he’d be gone. There were a couple of times where I swear I saw him out of the corner of my eye while I was awake. I’d have to say that for me, personally, I don’t think I would want a video projection of him. I do wish I had some photos of him, though, but that’s because I don’t have any of him at all. (well, a couple, but he was a solid black cat and I’m a lousy photographer and all the pictures of him came out as black shapeless blobs)

    Then there’s the end of Serenity the movie, with a headstone that has a holographic projection of the person buried underneath. So who’s to say what’s creepy for everyone else?

  33. Tenn says:

    If the pain of the grief is too much, we can always choose to follow.

    Most people do not consider this an acceptable alternative (though I have no protest to it.)

    Kind of worthless at this point, because the whole reason I like sleeping with someone (in a chaste manner!) is because it’s nice to feel someone’s heartbeat and breathing next to me. But, hey, things aren’t two d forever.

  34. minTphresh says:

    just, for god’s sake, use a 2-d, virtual condom. ya never know where these projections have been.

  35. technogeek says:

    Cats not getting the same reaction: Granted, but why not? It’s just a light beam either way. The gal’s decently (night)clothed and her actions aren’t anything more than friendly. The reaction says more about the people viewing the work than about the artist… and if that’s what he intended, it’s definitely successful as an artwork.

  36. Lexica says:

    Teresa @ 32: If you had a version of this virtual companion that was personalized to them, would keeping it running be creepy, or consoling, or just a very human thing to do?

    I think it would make it harder — it would be like ripping a scab off again and again and again. After my mother died, it was hard enough to deal with the abortive reach for the phone every day after work (I’ll just call Mom and tell her… oh, damn). When I think about what it would have been like to have a recording of her available… the image that comes to mind is of tightly hugging a doll that’s made of red-hot iron. The longer you hold on, the more it hurts, and the less opportunity you have to heal.

  37. jemanjam says:

    Good art, generates debate, criticism, and strong opinions. For a post thats fresh on the top of my feed to have pulled down so much in the way of articulate and well thought out comments so rapidly … well, I think this is good art.

  38. Jack says:

    “works too hard to keep a girlfriend”

    I think people put too much weight on this statement although I will admit it’s creepy. Basically these workaholic Wall Street guys pay through the nose for ANY fun or relaxation because they work themselves to the bone. And sometimes their pay ends up their nose; literally. So what I see in this project is an NYU student creating a modern product that attempts to target this market and not much else.

    As far as videos and holograms for personal memories go, I would much rather prefer a “moving picture”. An almost Andy Warhol-esque portrait of someone or something that hangs on your wall. FLICKR video is onto something with 90 second video. Combine that logic with cheap LCD photo frames and some imagination—and a tripod—and you have a perfect high tech memory.

  39. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    David Carroll: “Trying to postpone grieving and acceptance of a loss is not a good idea”? Forgive me, but that seems facile.

    My husband and I have been together for thirty years, and I don’t just mean we’ve come back to the same shared housing every night. We’ve worked together, shared stuff, constantly gotten entangled in each other’s projects, picked up each other’s tastes, and more or less lathed each other into complementary shapes. If one of us lost the other, the subsequent process wouldn’t really be describable as “healing” or “acceptance of loss”. It would be more like “Trying to function when half your shared universe is missing.” The static content would still be there, but the dynamic content would be gone.

    I’d never mistake the sound of someone in the next room messing around with a computer for the real live thing; but the sound would make the world less lonely.

    How much actual experience do you have with bereavement? Antinous could easily have gotten another animal after he lost Mr. Fluffy Cheeks. Instead, he kept his water bowl filled for six months, because he missed that specific animal. A personalized version of Drew Burrows’ walking shadow wouldn’t be occupying an emotional space a real person should fill. It would be occupying a space no one can fill.

    Don’t be so quick to lay down the law about what’s healthy or allowable. The world is full of people whose primary emotional connections are with loved ones who for one reason or another aren’t physically present. I would never automatically devalue those relationships on the the assumption that they’re insufficiently real.

    I know long-term long-distance couples who maintain a profound sense of connectedness and intimacy via letters and phone calls. I’ve also known plenty of people can’t relate to other human beings even when they’re present. What’s at issue isn’t the technology. It’s the uses to which we put it.

  40. A New Challenger says:

    I can see a sequel to a certain movie in the works: “Lars And The Fake Girl.”

  41. David Carroll says:

    gnrng th bvs bjctfctn, msgyny nd scknng crpnss f ths whl thng, the one line (emphasis mine):

    Burrows suggests his new alternative to a full-body pillow … could provide late-night comfort for traders, lawyers, or any other single guy in Manhattan who simply works too hard to keep a girlfriend.

    Hey bud! The reason you are working hard is because to don’t have a life partner!

    Homo sapiens figured out hundreds of thousands of yeas ago that hooking up with a long term mate divides the domestic workload, provides an essential emotional reality check and another dozen obvious benefits. Including picking nits out of your hair if need be.

    Ok I have rambled on long enough… “Honey! I think I might have blown a blood vessel over this. Can you call 911 please? Ya see? Handy no?

    P.S. Lower apes do not mate for long periods like we do. Look where they are now Mr. Burrows…

  42. A New Challenger says:

    Oh, and I enjoyed his final comment in the article, good dark humor.

  43. DontSpeakRobots says:

    I think this actually lessens human contact with other humans. If its that easy to “snuggle” with a digital image then it get hard for us to improve on our skills of social and physical contact. Something who gets this and actually talks with it and lay down with it, its going to be hard for that person to actually do something like that with a real human if its that easy. There not building any social behaviors.

  44. GregLondon says:

    Cats not getting the same reaction: Granted, but why not?

    Why does the “uncanny valley” exist? If I had to guess it’s because it triggers some very deep sub-subconscious stuff that was meant to identify “tribe” versus “not tribe”. And something that is simultaneously trigging both “tribe” and “not tribe” alarms is going to freak a lot of people out.

    A projection of a woman on a bed might trigger some “tribe” alarms while also triggering some “not tribe” alarms. And that would happen on a subconscious, visceral, level and ripple up into the consciousness as all sorts of anger and other emotional outbursts.

    A cat, on the other hand, wouldn’t trigger the “tribe” response, so it wouldn’t generate nearly the same visceral response.

  45. License Farm says:

    The first thing I thought of was Tom Cruise in Minority Report, watching holographic home movies of his dead son and his estranged wife, pretending they were there. There may be a thin line between proper grieving and fetishizing the past or non-existent. Between these and the “reality reskinning goggles” of a couple days back we have to be careful we’re not simply shirking the world around us in favor of a pretty fantasy; better to try to reshape reality to conform with our wishes than to deny it.

  46. David Carroll says:

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator (#47):

    David Carroll: “Trying to postpone grieving and acceptance of a loss is not a good idea”? Forgive me, but that seems facile.

    I did not mean postpone the completion of grieving, but rather the starting of it. Completion is the wrong word because the pain of loss diminishes slowly over time but never completes. Closing in on four years ago, I was keenly and personally made aware that this process is not facile. The slope of that curve is of course completely different for each individual person and relationship with the departed and no one has the right to dictate your pace.

    I also can personally contrast the difference between a sudden unexpected loss and one there the prognosis is known for months. In the latter case I was able to a degree work through the acceptance of a loss with the help of the person I was loosing.

    Don’t be so quick to lay down the law about what’s healthy or allowable

    I totally agree that my posts can have a preachy fundamentalist tone to them. That’s in the lower case general meaning of the word. This especially the case in this thread. I will work on moderating that, pun intended.

  47. Gainclone says:

    Jeez, Dave. That’s rough. I get the feeling it’s supposed to be, hmm… art. Cause, ‘yknow… he’s from a school of ARTS.

  48. Alex Mingoia says:

    Yeah the “works too hard to keep a girlfriend” line got to me too.

    This is creepy.

  49. Davin says:

    How do you curl up with something 2D?

  50. Gainclone says:

    And upon further review, I find this project painfully relevant. It embodies the “I don’t have a girlfriend, but want one” feeling. I’m sure this is just the lesser side of the same phenomenon that causes geeky guys without companionship to design and build lousy robot fembots.

    Too bad you can’t customize the INBED companion, though. That would be a cool feature. I’ll take the Xeni Jardin applet, please.

    If it were from University of Alabama, it would be called INBRED, and the digital girl would be your cousin.

  51. Takuan says:

    Dear 3Daywalk

    even a great cause, much less`a good one, is diminished if pursued with less than rigorous integrity.

  52. GregLondon says:

    All art occupies the realm of surplus energy, i.e. energy not needed to hunt, or gather, or protect the tribe from invaders, and so on. People spend something like a billion man-hours watching TV every year.

    So, by occurring only in the surplus, art cannot be wasteful. You cannot waste what is already excess energy.

    Note that those with an ingrained Puritan Work Ethic might disagree and assert the need to always contribute the gross national product in some way. And that’s OK too. Cause, hey, it’s surplus, and if that’s how they want to spend their surplus, telling other people not to waste their surplus, I say have at it.

  53. KurtMac says:

    The juxtaposition I find in the whole project is, in order to create his art project, he must have obviously knew a girl well enough to convince her to let him video tape her while she lays in bed, performing these pre-scripted movements. Heck, I have a girlfriend and I don’t even think she’s comfortable enough to let me do that.

  54. Lobster says:

    Yeah Dave, I think you’re reading a little too much into it. It’s hard to argue that prefering to go home to a bed with someone in it over sleeping alone is sexist. Besides, if it’s just a projection then it could just as easily be a male. How is it “misogynist” when the fact that a female was used for the prototype was essentially arbitrary? It’s not like she’s even naked, flat on her back and spread eagle.

    Affectations of feminism aside, this seems like a stupid idea. So she spoons you… but you only know that if you’re looking at the mattress behind you? Maybe you should install a camera over the bed too so you can be sure you’re getting properly cuddled.

  55. misha_u says:

    What a total rip off of Telematic Dreaming. This piece doesn’t even deserve the attention that it is getting.

  56. Takuan says:

    http://www.hgb-leipzig.de/~sermon/dream/

    it’s a springboard for some good discussion though

  57. Sister Y says:

    #78 GregLondon Ah, the Scott McCloud definition of art (anything not directly connected to immediate survival or reproduction). I approve.

    Yes, art is, by its nature, wasteful, if you think that only survival and reproduction are valuable. But, if those are the only values, then . . . why bother to survive or reproduce?

  58. buddy66 says:

    Too many ghosts in my bed as it is.

  59. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Technogeek, could you send me your real address? I tried to send you mail over the weekend and it bounced.

  60. spokehedz says:

    I don’t understand why people get so mad at ‘art’ projects. I wonder if other artists ever had this problem.

    “You made her without a smile. I wanted a goddamn smile! How am I supposed to use this?”

    “Here… Right there. See that little upturn? That’s a smile.”

    “You will never work in this town again!”

    ****

    “Watson! Come in here this instant!”

    “Yes, Mr. Graham?”

    “Go down stairs, you will see a device like this one on the wall. Pick up this end, and talk dirty to me!”

  61. David Carroll says:

    OK. I have waited long enough. If no one else is going to say it, I will:

    I for one, welcome our two dimensional subservients..

    Of course this contradicts everything I have written about this post so far…

    …I guess I’m complicated.

  62. Rindan says:

    I fail to see the “objectification, misogyny and sickening creepiness of this whole thing”. First, lets pretend that this is more than just a cool art project (and it is a cool art project by the way). So the guy has a projected girlfriend in his bed? So what? Its only worthwhile purpose is to provide psychic support. Feels miserable, turns over, sees someone else in bed, feels a little relieved (even if it is clearly fake) and sleeps better.

    There is no “objectification” because there is no object. It is a freaking beam of light that provides a little comfort when he is alone at night. There is certainly no “misogyny”, as the guy pretty clearly would prefer a human next to him. I don’t even find it “sickening and creepy”. I think “sad” would be the first word that comes to my mind. It is sad that someone feels so miserable when they lack of the affections of a woman that they use this as a poor comfort.

  63. Gainclone says:

    I just couldn’t go to bed with a woman that two-dimensional.

  64. jere7my says:

    Log position?

  65. Antinous says:

    I wonder if other artists ever had this problem.

    Everything from oil painting to Baroque music has been labeled subversive, sickening and criminally insane when they were new.

  66. Takuan says:

    Dear Greg
    The uncanny valley reflex evolved to protect us from psychopaths

  67. holtt says:

    How about a virtual bed for two distant participants? Each sees the other projected next to them on the bed. It would be a sort of creepy (but probably very effective) cyber sex thing.

  68. drivenbyboredom says:

    this would be a great art project for arts sake
    to use it as a replacement for a woman is just creepy

  69. Antinous says:

    Isn’t that in a movie?

  70. technogeek says:

    After rereading the “uncanny valley” descriptions… Hm. Yes, that might indeed explain the strength of the reaction; it’s a good enough illusion (at least in concept) to provoke conflicting reactions in some folks.

    If so, my hat’s off to the artist for successfully finding that corner of the subconscious and bringing it up where we can look at it.

  71. stickystyle says:

    I always felt art is something that should provoke feelings, and make you think. By my counts this artist has done just that, good work.

    There is video of it on his site.
    http://drewburrows.com/

  72. andygates says:

    It’s kinda sweet (and devilish cunning). Next: Feed it Second Life avatars for wacky cross-life spooning fun.

  73. GregLondon says:

    The uncanny valley reflex evolved to protect us from psychopaths

    Yeah, I’d say psychopaths belong in the “not tribe” category. i.e. something to immediately “other” as not belonging.

    Well, that’s how my tribe did it to me anyway.

  74. technogeek says:

    Re #72: TNH, I’m having trouble finding *your* address, which makes sending you mine a bit tough.

    But the one BB has on file should work. Do NOT remove the apparent spambaffle; it is actually part of the userID.

    If that hint doesn’t do the trick, I know Rob Beschizza has my address; we exchanged a few notes w/r/t the 1K Challenge contest.

    If still puzzled, let me know and we’ll figure something out.

  75. agoodsandwich says:

    Right. This is being presented in this case as art, so part of its function is to provoke just the kind of comments and thoughts displayed here.

    Whether this guy “uses” this in his own home for whatever reason is entirely his own business.

  76. madjo says:

    @#37.

    Lots of people don’t have committed relationships and live alone. If they are wise (or just do it out of instinct) they are members of clubs, volunteer, get visited by a Meals on Wheels, go out after work with the gang, play second life, or comment on blogs like I am doing right now.

    I’m not the most social person on the planet, and while I agree that people need to know that someone cares about them. The options you mention are still a bit difficult in my case.

    Looking at myself: I’m shy, extremely self-concious and an introvert.
    Basically, when placed in social situations, I find myself hugging the wall more often than not. (Especially when the group is larger than 3 persons and most of them complete strangers of me.)

    Joining a club? Well, which one, most of my hobbies are done via the internet. And I don’t have the time for it. (perhaps I am working too hard) :)
    Volunteering requires a certain amount of courage. Which is hard to find for introverts like me.
    Meals on Wheels, at 28, I’m too young for that.
    Going out with ‘the gang’. My (few) friends don’t exactly live nearby. And I don’t get on well with my co-workers.
    Second Life, I don’t see the point in that.
    And commenting on blog posts only points out the loneliness in my life. :)

    Though I am active on IRC. So that’s at least some form of social interaction.

    If technology is used as a way to create a hollow simulation of contact then you’re just fooling yourself.

    Yet, you mentioned Second Life or blogs as suggestions to break the spell of loneliness.

    I think you come across as rather preachy. And that can put people off.
    Your truth in life is not necessarily the same as mine.

    But this is just an art project.
    And in the second place, If it helps people get through a rough (lonely) patch in life, what’s the harm in it?

    My bed is empty and cold every night. And while I agree that a video projected simulation of a person doesn’t solve the problem, nor does it warm the bed, it could at least make it feel a bit less empty. :)

    Not that I would want this. I do prefer a real person. :)

  77. sonicred007 says:

    I’m all for people not liking the art, but lambasting the artist for presenting it seems a bit much.

    Sure the work is a reflection of the artist, but it’s not a statement of intent, or commercial proposal to help lonely people cope with solitude, greaving loss et al

  78. David Carroll says:

    Madjo (#37):

    Actually the “truth of my life” is remarkably similar to yours. Please believe me when I tell you that I know exactly how hard this is.

    I am not talking about intimate physical relationships. I am talking about platonic friendships that don’t necessarily require physical proximity.

    Meals on Wheels, at 28, I’m too young for that.

    Are you too young to volunteer with them and deliver the food? Service organizations will take as few or as many hours as you can spare. The work times can be very flexible too. Again I know this because I volunteer two shifts a week for two hours each. Not for meals on wheels, but you get the idea.

    This kind of setup is ideal for introverts like you an me. You can go through an entire shift without making eye contact or saying a word if you want. In this case it’s almost always one on one and the ice is already broken because you have a good reason to be at their door.

    As for Second Life or blogs and other social sites being different than “hollow simulation”, both are simulations, but in the case of blogs etc you are texting and typing with a real people. Second Life is a little more of a fantasy, but still applies.

  79. Elysianartist says:

    It’s not creepy or sad or misogynistic. It’s just stupid.

  80. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Thank you, David.

    This is a good thread.

  81. Bill Beaty says:

    Heh. Viewed from sufficient distance, 2D and 3D aren’t so different: needs mirrors on the ceiling. …and all else that suggests! :)

    “Shag-adelic mode” projects a fuzzy tiger-stripe bedspread below her.

    Hmmm, what else.

  82. technogeek says:

    #64: It’s none of the above; it’s just a playful/cute artwork based on (and giving an excuse for) an exploration of a nontraditional interface. Folks are taking it much, much too seriously.

    BTW, if it’s a simulation of anything it’s closer to grooming/troop behavior than sex. The confusion arises because humans — like bonobos — have entangled those behavior sets, and is exacerbated by the fact that Westernized humans have been discouraged from grooming interactions except with those of our innermost troop.

    (It occurs to me that he could have done a version in which cats settled around the human. But it also occurs to me that it’s much harder to direct cats to provide the necessary motion sequences to animate appropriately.)

  83. Aaron T. says:

    #13 Holtt: see Telematic Dreaming (linked to in comments on the link page).

  84. Bender says:

    This is a definite work of art. If he could get a hard working NYC business man to sleep on that bed, it might be one of the best works in years.

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