A Digital Diorama

I’m sure many Dutch people will feel a spark of recog­ni­tion when I say that De Eftel­ing was my favour­ite theme park as a kid. What set the place apart from most of the oth­ers in the Neth­er­lands at the time (and argu­ably still) is its con­sist­ent fairytale-inspired atmo­sphere.* *The Eftel­ing nos­tal­gia is not without racist […Read more…]

Guns & Gowns

Some­thing of a ram­ble about what made me stop play­ing Knights of the Old Re­pu­blic II for a while, about play­ing dress-up with guns and gowns and what that has to do with role­play­ing, and about what Ian Bo­gost wrote in The At­lan­tic today on games and the re­pre­sen­ta­tion of in­di­vi­duals. […Read more…]

Noctis: The Loneliness of Night

If there is one thing astro­nomy has taught us, it is the rea­li­sation that a planet like Earth, with its abun­dance of life, is incre­dibly rare in the vast­ness of the uni­verse. We do know that there are bil­lions of gala­xies each contai­ning bil­lions of stars, so it is pro­bable that life is to be found some­where else in space; yet we are lonely all the same. We could - in a man­ner of speak­ing - travel for an eter­nity in any direc­tion without encoun­tering any sign of life. That over­whelm­ing sense of lone­li­ness on a cos­mic scale is what strikes me the most while play­ing Noc­tis. […Read more…]

FATALE & the History of Salomé

This is the third time I’m wri­ting about a digi­tal work by Fle­mish duo Tale of Tales, and that alone says some­thing about the capa­city of their releases to in­spire dis­cussion. I star­ted with the peace­ful MMO The End­less Forest, and also did a short bit on The Grave­yard. Conti­nuing the chrono­logical trend would leave The Path as my next sub­ject - argu­ably their best and most game-like work - but writ­ing about that fasci­nating psycho­logical hor­ror piece still seems rather daun­ting. Instead, I’m stick­ing to the slightly more manage­able FATALE and explo­ring a bit of what it has to say about the fig­ure of Salomé and how she’s been treated through­out his­tory. […Read more…]

Harlequin Valentine, or Lustprinzip & Todestrieb

Recent­ly I had a dream where­in I was re­peated­ly meet­ing a dark-hair­ed wo­man, pre­domi­nant­ly in my work­place and other day-to-day en­viron­ments. On a very lit­eral level - as far as any such thing exists in dreams - it was just some­one who appear­ed to take plea­sure in my com­pany and who came to see me often, me enjoy­ing her com­pany and the atten­tion it brought, but not desi­ring any rela­tions bey­ond friend­ship. My self-effacing side would say she was a pro­jec­tion of lat­ent nar­cissism. How­ever, on an emo­tional and sym­bolic level, there was a deeper attrac­tion, but at the same time a mor­tal fear or sense of danger. This see­ming­ly nor­mal woman was at some non-apparent level a femme fatale. […Read more…]

Remedios Varo: Spiritual Confinement and Escape

Not a lot of words from me this time: just three pic­tures. This con­cep­tual trip­tych by Spanish/Mexican painter Remedios Varo is too beau­ti­ful not to share, and just a sample of her impress­ive body of work, rooted in European sur­real­ism, but with a dir­ec­tion all of her own. The three works, in chro­no­lo­gical order, are: Toward […Read more…]

2011 Inspirational Reading

Out of the 100 books I read last year, I wanted to high­light a few that I found par­tic­u­larly reward­ing. […Read more…]

Ruins: Digital Dream Poetry

This is going to be a very brief im­pres­sion, but there’s an­other game I wanted to share with you. Ruins, deve­loped by Card­board Com­puter, is a new dig­ital art piece in which you con­trol a dog, Agatha, who cha­ses a num­ber of white rab­bits in a dream­like land­scape which is do­min­ated by ruins, trees, fog, and piano. […Read more…]

Kein Bestandteil Sein

In my cur­rent lin­guistic stud­ies, I am focus­ing on the way in which verbal forms are spread by people through­out their com­mu­nic­at­ive net­works. These net­works are basic­ally abstrac­tions of the ‘forces’ that tie people together: meet­ing, talk­ing, touch­ing; com­mu­nic­a­tion in the broad­est sense. But net­works func­tion as a model of a great many things, and […Read more…]