Monday, 18 August 2008

'the broken world'

just finished reading tim etchell's book 'the broken world'. it is really good - completely enjoyed it - and very absorbing in relation to the stuff that i often end up thinking about (the world - what is it), but from a different direction. 'the broken world' is a walkthru or guide to an imaginary computer game, and the novel navigates a fine journey, intersecting the 'game' world with the 'real' world, particularly in relation to the city/suburbia, and allowing those worlds to reflect and comment on each other. i was really struck by the stuff around the glitches in the programming, the lists of characters and 'items', and the imaginative and human landscape of the story. this passage from the book particularly stood out to me (pg 94/95), which i've been thinking about, and cross-referencing to, ever since.

“Listen up. There are TWO glitches I spotted in the Colony section including the one in Ray’s room where he should at this point be resting … Ray’s quarters are cramped. There is a cot, a chair, and a table with a vase containing as Moon Orchid (BugMap says it is plastic, not even real). On the far wall you see a pretty non-spectacular porthole/window. You cannot see much out there, only moon buggies stacked high with ore and a few Rogue Drones (?) headed off in random directions. But if you take a close look you will see a pixelated shimmering by the left-hand side of the porthole. Bro - it is a tiny gap (maybe one pixel) between the texture mapping of the window and the green stuff below. OK. I am not an expert but when I showed the glitch to CW he told me that cool green line you can see is a part of the wireframe, i.e. the skeleton that they build the whole world onto. Texture mapping is how they make the porthole look like it does (with colours, paint, and textures, etc). Anyway. Look hard between the two and that gap of darkness, and you will see it is somehow different from the night. My friend, when you look in to that gap you are seeing right thru to the nothing that the world is drawn onto. HINT: Do not spend too long looking in there coz you soon start thinking much too much about that nothing. Like what is it? Or what would happen if Ray could get inside it, i.e. not if he went out thru the porthole into space, because then obviously he would die (unless he was wearing a spacesuit) - but what would happen if he could somehow prize open the tiny gap in the world and go inside there, into the nothing that the world is drawn onto? Where would he be then? These are the kinds of thoughts that can send you crazy.” "

and another that threads through the book, is the continual reference to the programmers as the makers of the world: "the way they do the trees is beautiful"

this may not be an obvious connection to my blog which focuses on the neroche landscape, but it's important how other work relates / provokes thought / invites perspective, and 'the broken world' has certainly done that. and not least, reminded me of all the people, teenagers and kids in the blackdown hills right now who are sitting in generated pixel worlds while the rain pours down, fighting the demons, gangs and zombies and rescuing the world from certain disaster.

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