LPDT2 is the Second Life incarnation of Roy Ascott’s groundbreaking new media art work La Plissure du Texte (“The Pleating of the Text”), created in 1983 and shown in Paris at the Musée de l’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris during that same year.
The title of the project, “La Plissure du Texte: A Planetary Fairy Tale,” alludes to Roland Barthes’s book “Le Plaisir du Texte”, a famous discourse on authorship, semantic layering, and the creative role of the reader as the writer of the text. As was also the case in its first incarnation “distributed authorship”, a term coined by Ascott has been the primary subject of investigation of LPDT2.
Whereas in 1983 the text was pleated by a number of human storytellers positioned around the globe; in the three dimensionally embodied metaverse the storytellers show novel and unexpected attributes: An emergent textual architecture/geography, as well as a number of autonomous “bot” avatars which dwell inside this bizarre, literary landscape are pleating the text by acting as communication nodes between the narrators of this new version of the tale: The persistent distributed authorship is now accomplished by many writers throughout the ages. A text generator telling a non-linear, multi-faceted, often times poetic, story harvested from the famous online Gutenberg Project is now distributing its output amongst architecture and its inhabitants, generating dialogues and iterations taking their trajectories from masterworks of classical literature. The pleating resembles musical sampling, the connection between the sentences fades, text becomes noise, from which the audience generates meaning. The structure on the simulator adds yet another layer of pleating by visually mixing the different sources of text, while yet another layer of textual input will be provided through a contribution by i-DAT.org from the University of Plymouth, UK, by means of which Real Life visitors will be able to contact the LPDT2 by sending SMS messages. Thus all pleated text – the generated, the contributed, and the stored – is simultaneously visible as a massive, ever evolving literary conglomeration.
LPDT2 will be projected into Real Life in Seoul, Korea during the INDAF new media art festival held at Tomorrow City, Songdo, Incheon, throughout September 2010. The project will also be open to visitors in Second Life during this month, starting from September 1st.
Roy Ascott’s project has been co-authored in Second Life by Selavy Oh (programming and architecture), MosMax Hax, aka. Max Moswitzer (architecture and terrain) and Alpha Auer, aka. Elif Ayiter (avatar design). Further associates are Frigg Ragu, aka. Heidi Dahlsveen (avatar animations), i-DAT from the University of Plymouth, UK (Real Life SMS input) and Alican Turk (text generator coding). Special thanks go to the University of Applied Fine Arts, Vienna, who have made the project come to life through the provision of their Second Life island for the duration of the show.