All posts by Matt keats

An Exotic Lie Detector, A Consensual Hallucination, Crime Coefficient over 531

 

Last week I researched the Cyberpunk genre, its dystopic settings, its portrayal of (or the lack of) the separation of the organic and artificial, as well as Jon Turneys “Imagined objects”. From here I will begin refining my final digital artefact, with the aim of developing a complete Virtual Cyberpunk Store.

To begin, I have selected the first 3 objects I will be exploring:

1. The Voight Kampff Machine – Blade Runner:
A lie detector-type device that allows the user to distinguish between humans and androids using biometrical measurements.

 

2. The OSC 7 Cyberdeck – Neuromancer:
An advanced computer system used to jack into the matrix.

tumblr_nmpoxsp7FN1syrjl3o1_1280.png

 

 

3. The DominatorPsycho-Pass:
A gun that can determine the identity of the user, requiring authentication in order to read and send psychological data (Psycho-Pass) of targets in order to calculate their crime coefficient.

cerevo_life_size_psycho-pass_dominator_replica_1

 

For each of these objects displayed in my store, I will create an in-depth discourse exploring the textual background and the contextual societal concerns, as well as a description of what they are used for within their texts.
A further element I am considering is pricing the items in specific currencies, and possibly even creating comparisons between similar items.

This will involve drawing on Cyberpunk theory, as well as wider sci-fi theory and how these genres impact on real science and technology. Furthermore, research into Design Fiction will help in my representation of the ‘imagined objects’. Lastly, and most obviously I will, and have been, engaging in the texts of which these items come from.

Another step which I am about take is to begin developing the store site. If I can find an effective way of reading material within VR, I will definitely be looking at creating a VR store, with my items through Unreal Engine. However, I feel a much more realistic approach will be to create a web-store.

 

Cyberpunk and Design Fiction – A way to explore imagined technologies.

As I am aiming to create a virtual storefront for imagined objects within Cyberpunk texts, it’s important to have a clear definition of the Cybercultural elements I will be looking to explore in depth.

Firstly and most importantly, I must define what a Cyberpunk text is.

Cyberpunk:

While rather lengthy I feel Erich Schneider perfectly explains Cyberpunk:

 “Cyberpunk literature, in general, deals with marginalized people in technologically-enhanced cultural ‘systems’. In cyberpunk stories’ settings, there is usually a ‘system’ which dominates the lives of most ‘ordinary’ people, be it an oppressive government, a group of large, paternalistic corporations, or a fundamentalist religion. These systems are enhanced by certain technologies (today advancing at a rate that is bewildering to most people), particularly ‘information technology’ (computers, the mass media), making the system better at keeping those within it inside it. Often this technological system extends into its human ‘components’ as well, via brain implants, prosthetic limbs, cloned or genetically engineered organs, etc. Humans themselves become part of ‘the Machine’. This is the ‘cyber’ aspect of cyberpunk. However, in any cultural system, there are always those who live on its margins, on ‘the Edge’: criminals, outcasts, visionaries, or those who simply want freedom for its own sake. Cyberpunk literature focuses on these people, and often on how they turn the system’s technological tools to their own ends. This is the ‘punk’ aspect of cyberpunk.”

 

Cyberpunk is known as ‘Hard Science Fiction’, due to the strong reliance on science and technology. Cyberpunk breaks down the separation between the organic and the artificial, or, between the human and the machine. They often focus on how technology has resulted in a dystopian society.

cyberpunk_20somethin_by_nathantwist

Jon Turney discusses the influence of Science Fiction on the trajectory of technological development in his paper ‘Imagining technology’ (2013). This piece of work is fundamental to my research, at least in these early stages. Turney (2013 p. 8) states that Science Fiction “is an important arena for imagining the effects of technologies, existing and yet to come. Its imagined worlds are ones in which life is enabled or constrained by technologies in ways we have not yet seen in our world. Whether we do see them realised may then be influenced by the role technologies play in these alternate realities.” Therefore, Cyberpunk is a cultural response used for exploring technologies that have led to, or that are within, the previously mentioned dystopian society.

This brings me to the technological objects within these texts, specifically, the ones I will be analysing. What makes an object Cyberpunk technology?

The ‘Novum’:

Turney explains a key feature in Science Fiction texts. Most stories have a ‘novum’ – “a feature which defines a key difference between the reader’s everyday world and the world being portrayed” (Turney 2013 p. 7). The novum is usually technological, the most common tropes of science fiction texts are that of tools and machines , such as computers, virtual reality, robots and spaceships.
It is therefore important that my imagined objects or, ‘novum’s’, explore the implications of technology on the world.

maxresdefault

Hence, Cyberpunk is a literary genre used to explore the relationship between organic humans and artificial technologies and the resulting effects on the world.

It is these technologies that I will be pulling out of their texts and exploring their historical, societal and contextual backgrounds.

Design Fiction:

Whilst not exactly Cyberpunk, or even Science Fiction, Design Fiction may still be of value to my project. Design Fiction is an interesting attempt to explore technological possibilities of the near future. Void of the drama and stories of Science Fiction literature, Design fiction is generally a conversational piece that conveys “the kinds of experiences that might surround the designed object” (Turney 2013 p. 41). Design Fiction is the result of our knowledge of how stories influence cultural mentalities towards new technologies. As Turney (2013 p. 43) puts it, “The story we are telling ourselves about the relation between imagination and technology is changing, and so the way we try and tell stories about technology is changing, too.” Design fiction could be seen as a new way for promoting technological advancements and discussion of possible futures.

Design Fiction projects

References:

  1. Turney, J 2013, ‘Imagining technology’, Nesta Working Paper, No, 13/06, viewed 5 April 2016, <https://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/imagining_technology.pdf&gt;

 

A Cyber-punk Storefront

For the first time in my university life I think I have found an idea I genuinely like and have it rather organised before week 6. As an update, my digital artefact for DIGC335 will be an in-depth look at several major imagined objects from Cyber-punk texts. This will include a description of the object and its uses within their respective text, and then the historical and social contexts of which these objects and devices have derived from. Furthermore, I will be exploring how such objects are a reaction to real world fears and concerns portrayed through the Cyber-punk genre, or alternatively, how this article explains, that dystopic Sci-fi could be generating fears towards future technologies.

I have narrowed down the formats which I am considering using to two possibilities (at the moment). Firstly, and simply I can’t go past the idea of a simple ‘imgur’ album with descriptions. This format will be easy to create and easy to navigate, but because of this simplicity it may be boring and dull to view. Which brings me to the second possibility, which wasn’t entirely my idea but I do really like it. Angus suggested in our tutorial of creating a virtual storefront where my objects could be displayed. This would certainly create an interesting aesthetic for viewing the objects and could possibly allow for a more holistic experience with each object. This ‘experience’ would be created through a series of images for each object, with descriptions and annotations, overall providing, I feel, a cleaner format. Nevertheless, I have time to continue developing these ideas.4ff54bb1f8e6045336d11414443864e0

In the meantime, I have begun researching my first two objects, The Voight Kampff tester from ‘Bladerunner’ and The Dominator from ‘Psycho-pass’. Both are proving to be quite interesting to research, not only their uses and context but the ideologies behind such objects. Both of these objects revolve around power, control and the search for truth.

hqdefault cerevo_life_size_psycho-pass_dominator_replica_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

The search for more interesting items within Cyberpunk continues. I’m looking to possibly do a virtual reality system, be it also from ‘Psycho-Pass’, ‘Sword-Art Online’ or ‘Neuromancer’. I’m also leaning towards exploring the Neuralyzer from Men In Black. Although this might be stretching the genre of Cyber-punk a little too far…

Either way, the search continues and any pointers would be much appreciated!

The beginning of a “Cyber-mythology” catalogue

Matt Keats

Since my fascination of the cyberpunk genre began in high school I have been constantly drawn to the stories because of the imaginative, yet almost realistic “imaginaries” of the genre. From the total mental virtual reality device in Sword-Art online to the Bladerunner Voight-Kampff test scanner, these devices have constantly intrigued me.

Because of this, for my digital artefact, I have begun 19dgyot084zt9jpgdeveloping the idea of a website that catalogues and explores these types of Cyber-Mythologies and objects. The aim of this site is to portray and explore not only specific cyberpunk creations but to also delve deeper into the history and societal fears and concerns over such items.

In order for my site to be effective, it is obvious I must conduct deep research into the Cyberpunk genre and its surrounding culture. This will include films, books, anime series and literature surrounding these texts which will provide helpful and…

View original post 100 more words