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Near Future Laboratory Drift Deck 2008


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The Drift Deck (Analog Edition) is an algorithmic puzzle game used to navigate city streets. A deck of cards is used as instructions that guide you as you drift about the city. Each card contains an object or situation, followed by a simple action. For example, a situation might be — you see a fire hydrant, or you come across a pigeon lady. The action is meant to be performed when the object is seen, or when you come across the described situation. For example — take a photograph, or make the next right turn. The cards also contain writerly extras, quotes and inspired words meant to supplement your wandering about the city.

Processed in collaboration with Dawn Lozzi who did all of the graphic design and production.

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Published in: Design

Near Future Laboratory Drift Deck 2008

  1. 1. drift.
  2. 2. Drift Deck (Analog Edition) is a Near Future Laboratory Process. Design and Implications by Julian Bleecker and Dawn Lozzi. Writings by Bruce Sterling, Ian Bogost, Katie Salen, Jane McGonigal, Jane Pinckard, Kevin Slavin and Ben Cerveny. Creative Assistance and Support from Nicolas Nova, Mary Barbour, Pascal Wever, Andrew Gartrell, Simon James, Bella Chu, Pawena Thimaporn, Tom Arbisi, Duncan Burns, Raphael Grignani, Rhys Newman, Mike Kruzeniski and Rob Bellm. Processed for Conflux Festival 2008. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
  3. 3. Play By The Rules Or Whatever... The Drift Deck is an algorithmic puzzle game used to navigate city streets. A deck of cards is used as instructions that guide you as you drift about the city. Each card contains an object or situation, followed by a simple action. For example, a situation might be — you see a fire hydrant, or you come across a pigeon lady. The action is meant to be performed when the object is seen, or when you come across the de- scribed situation. For example — take a photograph, or make the next right turn. The cards also contain writerly extras, quotes and inspired words meant to supple- ment your wandering about the city. The motivation for Drift Deck is from the Situationist International, which was a small, international group of political and artistic agitators. Formed in 1957, the Situationist International was active in Europe through the 1960s and aspired to major social and political transformations. Guy Debord, one of the major figures in the Situationist International, developed what he called the “Theory of the Dérive.” “Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll. In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. Chance is a less important factor in this activity than one might think: from a dérive point of view cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.” Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as the “the study of the pre- cise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously orga- nized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” Psychogeography in- cludes just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.” The dérive is con-sidered by many to be one of the more important of these strategies to move one away from predictable behaviors and paths.érive
  4. 4. References ... Theory of the Dérive Situationist International Anthology Ken Knabb Paris: Invisible City Bruno Latour and Emilie Hermant Cosmicomics Italo Calvino Invisible Cities Italo Calvino Notes Towards A Mental Breakdown J.G. Ballard Maneki Neko Bruce Sterling Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity Marc Augé
  5. 5. Jane Pinckard Jane Pinckard
  6. 6. A city forms a pattern on a soul: its streets, veins, deliver- ing blood; its skin bursting skyward in steel, glass, stucco, wood. And you, always alone but also merely one of the urban collective (for in a city one is never truly alone) a solitary flâneur, a botanist of the metropolis – free yourself, for the moment, from obligation and sense of purpose. To go nowhere, and everywhere. The city will impress its pe- culiar, organic logic upon you as you walk. Later, draw your own map; but now, embrace your inner monadic nomad! Jane Pinckard
  7. 7. Ben Cerveny Ben Cerveny
  8. 8. Pure play is the chaotic field in which human choice frolics unbounded. It is the space of actionable possibilities un- sculpted by constraint. Thus, play is a primordial modality of will before language. The movement of a person through the process of play is a continuous act of discovery, each action like a “ray” in the ray tracing of the surfaces in a scene that describes the cultural and social boundaries of the actor. Games are an architecture constructed in this field Games are social contracts. They create relationships between ob- jects and between people that sculpt possibilities. This sculpture is experienced through the actions of players, this time the “ray-tracing movements” revealing order and rhythm. As a culture plays more games, it gains a literacy in these sculptures. This growing under-standing of “pos- sibility sculpturesm,” or models, allows people to perceive and articulate complex systems that criticize or inspire so- ciety in a new way. Thus, games are one of civilization’s highest-bandwidth modes of expression, and play one of it’s most basic motivating forces. Ben Cerveny
  9. 9. Bruce Sterling Bruce Sterling
  10. 10. Evil Joker Wow, a flophouse, a tattoo joint, sleazy lingerie and a head shop, all in the same building! Let’s double parkt he sto- len ambulance. It can’t be “sex tourism” if I brought the sex here with me. But I have to spend counterfeit cash – see, look at this fake passport. Street traffic got lots calm- er once I stole all those manhole covers. I’m the Batman. Not really. Just an ultra-rich, heavily armed vigilante who bought the police commissioner. You’re not the doorman? You’re an admiral? Then hail me a battleship! It’s a kind of urban hide and go seek. “Hide, and go seek crack co- caine.” Once we put child pornography in front of the sur- veillance cams, all the cops will have to arrest themselves. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Especially the grimy, illiterate, derelict Romans with contagious diseases. It’s a breeze to “drift” the streets once I’m reeling, dead drunk, in this Segway. I put Burroughs cut-ups into the search box in Google Maps. Now the whole town is crooked drug- stores, gay bordellos and Beat hotels. There are a million storiesin the streets of the Naked City, which is why we’re both standing here, naked. Bruce Sterling
  11. 11. Jane McGonigal Jane McGonigal
  12. 12. O. Bauri For more than 100 years, scientists underestimated the power of the “trap jaw ant” (scientific name Odontomachus bauri). Trap jaw ants are fierce little insects who clench their teeth shut to attack prey, and to launch themselves into the air. Scientists have been studying the strange biting, flying ants since the year 1892. But it was only this year that they managed to document the true strength of the species. By modifying a video camera to film at 50,000 frames per second – more than 2000 times faster than a normal video camera – scientists finally were able to calculate the astonishingly fast spring mechanics of the O.bauri jaw. They discovered that the trap ant’s jaws reach speeds up to 242 kilo- meters per hour. This is by far the fastest that any limb of any animal in the entire known universe can move. What’s even weirder – the jaws accelerate at 100,000 times the force of gravity. Not even the space shuttle gets that many G’s. All in a tiny little ant. Who knew? The thing is, it’s not just the Odontomachus bauri that’s hiding incredible strengths, that’s capable of amazing feats you wouldn’t expect just by looking at it. Some people are like that too. You have this deck, so you are like the trap-jaw ant. You have set out to dis- cover, test and document your own strengths. To make things more fun (and more interesting), you will invite others to join you in your investigations. Launch, play, amaze! Jane McGonigal
  13. 13. Katie Salen Katie Salen
  14. 14. Listen Then. Drive. Drift. Draw near to a house, right up outside of it, and listen then for the life or emptiness inside. Put your ear directly to its skin – still warm from the sun – and hear something: a footstep, two footsteps, someone coughing, laughing, singing. This – a calliope of inner harmonies – digestive and mechanical, all keening and bubbling. Take your ear away the sounds are muted. Put it back, they sing. See Then. He saw the scar and turned her hand to ask Is this forgiven? Was something taken? Of what do the lines write? Remember Then. She saw the scar and turned his hand to ask How does one remember? Can such things be forgiven? Of who do these lines write? Katie Salen
  15. 15. Ian Bogost Ian Bogost
  16. 16. In the introduction to his book of urban folk tales, Italo Calvino remarked, “I believe that fables are true.” Fables, though, are usually pastoral affairs, and Marcovaldo, the book’s title character, spends much of his time happening upon the ways nature betters, surprises, or undermines the city. Cities remain the places of dreams, only insofar as those dreams are logical ones: career, love, house. We exercise prudence while longing for magic. Can a city have its own fables? Not faint, false copies of borrowed tales, but new and original lore worthy of future worlds’ jealousy. I’ll wait here while you work on it. Ian Bogost
  17. 17. Kevin Slavin Kevin Slavin
  18. 18. Or stars. Before the stopwatch, before the satellite. We used to navigate by stars. Then as now, there’s too many stars, too much signal. No one can read everything they see. And so we turned the stars into constellations, and the con- stellations into stories. For thousands of years, we mapped fiction, navigating the world with stories and lies. A dragon to give us North. A lizard to the East. Andromeda. Zeus. Zeus disguised as a swan. So now, the stories are no less true, but the demand for them is greater. So maybe the stars are on earth. And may- be the fictions are new. But same as always, stories to read the signals, stories to make sense of the world. Same as always, using stories to move. Kevin Slavin
  19. 19. Inquisitively confirm this with any passerby to your right. Architecture is the simplest means of articulating time and space, of modulating reality and engendering dreams. Formulary For A New Urbanism Ivan Chtcheglov (In Situationist International Anthology)
  20. 20. There’s Someone Wearing Red Shoes Take precise notes. Take the next left onto a public thoroughfare. A mental disease has swept the planet: banalization. Everyone is hypnotized by production and conveniences, sewage systems, elevators, bathrooms, washing machines. Formulary For A New Urbanism Ivan Chtcheglov (In Situationist International Anthology)
  21. 21. There’s Something Under Repair Back away. Then continue... Psychogeography sets for itself the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals. Introduction To A Critique Of Urban Geography Guy Debord (In Situationist International Anthology)
  22. 22. Uh oh... An awkward moment. Pause and take a photograph. A friend recently told me that he had just wandered through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London. Introduction To A Critique Of Urban Geography Guy Debord (In Situationist International Anthology)
  23. 23. There’s a Sad Fellow Continue in a leftward direction. LAER EMOCEB OT SDNET HCIHW TAHT SI YRANIGAMI EHT
  24. 24. Change your pace to appear to be in a panic.
  25. 25. There’s Something Under Construction Draw a crowd. My shell, mechanical found ghost But my ghetto is, animal found toast. Cannibal Ox
  26. 26. A Public Servant Amble by, discussing the state of the world using street jargon and the patois of da’ hood. All the science fictional images of transcendence are all bullshit as far as we can see. You know, the aliens have been a big disappointment, time travel doesn’t seem to work, there’s nobody leaving on other planets, it’s not even anything use- ful to steal there. I mean it’s just a big … you know … it’s the end! Hakim Bey
  27. 27. Some Bit of Uneveness Confirm this with a passerby. Then turn and run. These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. On those remote pages it is written that animals are di- vided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that re- semble flies from a distance. The Analytic Language Of John Wilkins Jorge Luis Borges
  28. 28. A Melancholy Moment Pause contemplatively. Continue and turn right at the next junction. Leaving there and proceeding for three days toward he east, you reach Diomira, a city with sixty silver domes, bronze statues of all the gods, streets paved with lead, a crystal theater, a golden cock that crows each morning on a tower. All these beauties will already be familiar to the visitor, who has seen them also in other cities. Invisible Cities Italo Calvino
  29. 29. Distinctive Weather Admire it. Pause. Continue. My ideas have undergone a process of emergence by emergency. When they are needed badly enough, they are accepted. R. Buckminster Fuller
  30. 30. Water Take the next possible left onto a public thoroughfare. The logic of cybernetics, applied to the history of the universe, is in the process of demonstrating how the galaxies, the solar system, the Earth, cellular life could not help but be born. Cosmicomics Italo Calvino
  31. 31. Ugliness Avoid it noticeably, gesturing and registering disgust. Continue smartly, making your next possible right. If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm’s bed. Invisible Cities Italo Calvino
  32. 32. A Quiet Spot Turn around and continue, taking the next right onto a public thoroughfare. He entered the Hotel Daruma and went to the hotel barber shop, which was called the Daruma Planet Look. “May I help you?” said the receptionist. “I’m thinking, a shave and a trim,” Tsuyoshi said. “Do you have an appointment with us?” “Sorry, no.” Tsuyoshi offered a hand gesture. The woman gestured back, a jerky series of cryptic finger movements. Tsuyoshi didn’t recognize any of the gestures. She wasn’t from his part of the network. “Oh well, never mind,” the receptionist said kindly. “I’ll get Nahoko to look after you.” Nahoko was carefully shaving the fine hair from Tsuyoshi’s forehead when the pokkecon rang. Tsuyoshi answered it. “Go to the ladies’ room on the fourth floor,” the pokkecon told him. “Sorry, I can’t do that. This is Tsuyoshi Shimizu, not Ai Shimizu. Besides, I’m having my hair cut right now.” “Oh, I see,” said the machine. “Recalibrating.” It hung up. Nahoko finished his hair. She had done a good job. He looked much better. A man who worked at home had to take special trouble to keep up appear- ances. The pokkecon rang again. “Yes?” said Tsuyoshi. “Buy bay rum aftershave. Take it outside.” “Right.” He hung up. “Nahoko, do you have bay rum?” “Odd you should ask that,” said Nahoko. “Hardly anyone asks for bay rum anymore, but our shop happens to keep it in stock.” Maneki Neko Bruce Sterling
  33. 33. Unfairness Take a photograph. Continue westward, smartly. This is the foundation of the city: a net which serves as passage and as support. All the rest, instead of rising up, is hung below: rope ladders, hammocks, houses made like sacks, clothes hangers, terraces like gondolas, skins of water, gas jets, spits, baskets on strings, dumb-waiters, showers, trapezes and rings for children’s games, cable cars, chandeliers, pots with trailing plants. Invisible Cities Italo Calvino
  34. 34. Nail Salon Walk in and take a few deep breaths. Steady yourself. Depart, continuing in an easterly direction. Most of my advances were by mistake. You uncover what is when you get rid of what isn’t. R. Buckminster Fuller
  35. 35. Prehistoric Take a photograph. Make the next left and continue. The more information spreads and the more we can track our attachments to others, since everywhere cables, forms, plugs, sensors, exchangers, translators, bridges, packets, modems, platforms and compilers become visible and expen- sive – with the price tag still attached to them. The reader will perhaps forgive us for our myopic obsession with the trails of traces. Paris: Invisible City Bruno Latour and Emilie Hermant
  36. 36. An Atavistic Scene Change course, northerly. For some reason, empty swimming pools and multi-storey car parks exerted a particular fascination. All these he seems to have approached as the constituents of a mental breakdown which he might choose to recruit at a later date. Notes Towards A Mental Breakdown J.G. Ballard
  37. 37. Something Broken Take a photography from two angles. Make the next right onto a public thoroughfare. Describe your street. Describe another street. Compare. Make an inventory of you pockets, of your bag. Ask yourself about the provenance, the use, what will become of each of the objects you take out. Question your tea spoons. What is there under your wallpaper? How many movements does it take to dial a phone number? Why don’t you find cigarettes in grocery stores? Why not? It matters little to me that these questions should be fragmentary, barely indicative of a method, at most of a project. It matters a lot to me that they should seem trivial and futile: that’s exactly what makes them just as essential, if not more so,as all the other questions by which we’ve tried in vain to lay hold on our truth. L’Infra-ordinaire Georges Perec
  38. 38. A Jay-Walker Describe your street. Describe another street Compare. Now walk westward. What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us. We live, true, we breathe, true; we walk, we open doors, we go down staircases, we sit at a table in order to eat, we lie down on a bed in order to sleep. How? Why? Where? When? Why? L’Infra-ordinaire Georges Perec
  39. 39. Public Telephone Write down the number. Stand nearby and call it. Gesture excitedly and encourage a passerby to answer. When they do, ask them where they are, and ask them what the weather is like. We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. Roy Amara
  40. 40. A Doorman Pose for a photo. Throw a makeshift gang sign. Proceed. Take the next left onto a public thoroughfare.
  41. 41. Broken Infrastructure Take a photograph in an officious manner. Continue, making the next right. If a place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place. Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity Marc Augé
  42. 42. Dog Walking Approach and ooh. Call it “Sparky.” Disengage quickly. Continue on for some distance, awkwardly walking 1 or 2 paces in front of the walker.
  43. 43. Bright Light Slow your pace by half.
  44. 44. Food Eat something.
  45. 45. Homelessness Take it all in. Contemplate a donation of some sort. Find a right turn and continue...
  46. 46. A Sleepy Building Try to enter in some fashion.
  47. 47. An Alley Explore. Linger. Document what you find. If there’s anything truly curious, photograph it and call it treasure.
  48. 48. Real, Jarring Change course.