phound stufphs

may 08, 2004.


Erebus organizes a 5 hour 'Found sounds, footage & objects event', one week from now, on saturday may 15th, in Projet 101, a small 'multi-média events' space situated in a Pigalle basement. This is an excellent initiative and good enough reason to get out my box of found cassette tape fragments, and get on with the mounting back onto cassette. My collection is spanning a bit over two years now, and some ninety 'finds'; about one a week, say. But they tend to 'arrive' in clusters. Keeping an eye open for them at all times has become something of a second nature, even though I never go out specifically to search for them. Sometimes, however, either accidentally or on purpose, I make a detour, and deviate from my 'usual city paths'. These 'micro-dérives' often turn out to be very fruitful indeed.

On march 3th in Les Mureaux, for instance, when I had some time to spare on my way back to the station, and decided to enjoy the sun and stroll around a bit at random, I picked up four pieces in the span of an hour. And later that same month, on the 31th, when I absentmindedly got on the wrong bus leaving the Villetaneuse campus, and then took the tramway from Saint Denis to La Courneuve. Looking out of the tram's window I saw a strand flapping in the shrubbery lining the tram-trail, and - after some hesitation, I have to admit - I decided to go back there to collect it. I carefully untwisted it from the twigs and sprigs it had gotten caught up in (thrown out of a passing car probably), on a small stroke of green, with cars racing by on my left, and the occasional tram rumbling by on my right. I must have made a curious sight. Haven gotten off already, I did not feel like getting back on the tram, and walked the couple of stops to the nearest metro station. And then along the way I came across another three 'lost tapes'... one was wrapped half under and around some metal pole, another one sticking out from under a paving stone on a streetcorner, and later again there was some more in the gutter.

tettines trouvées

But there are also long periods in which I do not find a thing. Noppes, nada, nothing.
It was during one of the earlier of these periods that I noticed how often when strolling around, looking down, up and around for tapes, I came across lost baby soothers. "Did you know that mums, on average, will use 22 soothers for her baby every year?" Well, of course I know. Now I do. It's obvious. The things get dropped or are spat out regularly while mum isn't paying attention, or too much in a hurry to stop and pick them up again. I must have seen them before. Of course I did. Of course you do. But I only started to notice them at about the time I also consciously began looking around for these clods of cassette tape. I saw one, I saw another one. And then I started to pick them up.

I take them home, give them a good wash, and attach a little card with the date and place of finding. Then dump them into a cardboard box.

It's a colourful lot, it is.

I cannot 'play them back', no. And there's nothing that I could imagine suitable to 'mount them back' upon. My own 'babies' are way beyond the age of soothers, and, anyway, of course I wouldn't dare sticking a found soother in their mouths. :-)
Nevertheless, I daresay: found soothers are a lot like found tapes. Both are artifacts that were initially taken out into, and used in, public spaces for the satisfaction of very private needs, then subsequently ejected, often from inside some sort of a vehicle, and left behind right there, as a result of an emotional outburst caused a system failure.
(There must be a deep, or at least interesting, lesson in the fact that I somehow ended up collecting both... which for the time being somehow defies proper articulation ... or do I want it to? ... Maybe that's for the better then ... :-)

[ Next related SB-entries: instructions in arabic :: 9x9. Earlier related SB-entry: new acquisitions #7, #8 ]


Talking of babies: this reminds me of breedster, a (basically) Dutch 'netgame', to which I got 'email invited' a week ago by someone I did not know (or, at the very least, could not remember having met before - which I guess boils down (sorry, do not take offense :-) ) to the same. Breedster actually, rather than a game, is a smart piece of 'net-art', being a pretty vicious pastiche of the many 'social networking' sites proliferating on the web. Like the Google-affiliated orkut, just to name one. You can enter the network on invitation only: someone has to send you an egg. When you accept the invitation and create an account, your egg hatches, and you enter 'the grid': you'll find yourself, in the guise of an insect larva, on one of (presently) 123904 colored tiles covering the surface of a donut. First thing to do, is to fill up the larva's tummy. You have to eat. Each insect is either male or female, and has a 'genetic pattern', consisting in the color of its food, and the color of its excrements. When your intestines are not completely filled up (with food and/or excrements), and you find yourself on a tile that is the color of your food, you can eat. You can defecate when you're on a white tile, or on a tile, of a color corresponding to that of your excrements, that is not 'saturated' yet. Every hour 10% of the food is digested, adding 10% to your excrements, but also increasing your energy level by 10%. In order to find food, and tiles that allow you to defecate, you have to move around. Tile by tile. Each step, however will cost you 1% of your energy ...

larva puppa

Having filled up your larva's tummy, you have to wait until your energy level reaches 100%. Once you reach that level - merely a matter of time - you metamorphose into a puppa.
A puppa is unable to move on the grid. It stays put, and after 10 hours becomes an adult. As an adult bug, you can start exploring the grid. But it is a slow exploration. You're nothing but a bug, right? An energy level of 100% allows you to move around a mere hundred tiles, it then takes again 10 hours to 'fill up' completely. If you ate enough, that is ...
(Moving around I actually came across quite a couple of 'known bugs' ... bloggers whose blog I read regularly, old acquantainces ... most of them however in a state of 'hibernation'.)
Breedster's major adult attraction however is this: fornication.
When you move up next to another bug, you can jump it, and fornicate. If your partner is of the opposite sex, and each fornicators' energy level is above average, eggs are produced. These you can send out, in order to invite others to join the grid. You can keep track of your succesful (hetero)sexual exploits in your copulogram. And, yeah, it is sort of fun to sneak up onto an attractive ladybug and hit 'fornicate' ... :-)
But then here's where the game's turns vicious: the makers have infected the grid with a sexually transmitted virus. And chances are pretty big actually that fornicating with your average stranger will make you sick ... eggs produced are infertile, and fornication will transmit the virus to any of your future partners. Maybe worst of all: there is no cure ...


It is thus that Breedster actually turns into something of a 'cyber-social experiment'. How will we bugs react? One sees teaming up, small groups of bugs that only jump each other, afraid of 'strangers' sneaking up to them, developing divers strategies to avoid infection ... Will such strategies be succesful? Or will the grid slowly be taken over by the virus, turning it into a death zone crammed with infected bugs, roaming around like zombies, free to fuck their buggy brains out, but no longer producing any offspring?
(Besides the STD, chances are also that 'pathogenic agents' turn up in your food, affecting your metabolism, and infecting your excrements - that, as a matter of fact, are other bugs' food ...)
(There must be a deep, or at least interesting, lesson in the fact that my bug has been crawling around on this 'grid' quite a bit this week ... a lesson that for the time being somehow defies proper articulation ... or do I want it to? ... maybe that's for the better then ... :-) ... Like to have a taste of breedster? I do have a couple of eggs to spare! Just leave a comment stating you'd like to receive an egg ... We'll have you up and jumping in no time ... !)

[ links --> have a look at the grid changing over time (_.mpeg, 560k _.Willem Hengeveld._ hattip kokeshi ._) :: heksje blikt terug :: (05.31.2004) - an enlightening report by Breedster's founders, with many pictures, statistics, animations : "On Fornication And Genetics in The Breedster Age" :: ]

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