Re: The Pleasure Dome, or better the Consciousness Dome
- Ah, but artists are so DANGEROUS, often exposing us to what critic Wendy
Steiner calls "The Scandal of Pleasure." Take Coleridge, for example.
(clipped from Wikipedia)
In Xanadu did Kubla KhanA stately pleasure-dome decree:Where Alph, the
sacred river, ranThrough caverns measureless to manDown to a sunless sea.
Coleridge claimed that the poem was inspired by an
opium-induced (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium)
dream (implicit in the poem's subtitle *A Vision in a Dream*) but that the
composition was interrupted by a person from
Porlock (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_from_Porlock).
Some have speculated that the vivid imagery of the poem stems from a waking
hallucination albeit, most likely, opium-induced.
In contemplating the uses of the dome, shall we be artists? Or (unwitting)
persons from Porlock?
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 4:41 PM, gill russell <gill.russell@...>
> Well that is what artists can do well ....without preaching ...which
> puts people off.
> I remember seeing a video installation at the Tate Modem in London
> which made me acutely aware of the uncomfortable voyeurism around
> up market tourism. In this case it was people from the western
> world paying huge amounts of money to observe 'indigenous tribes' in
> far flung places practising 'rituals' and buying souvenirs in the
> form of artifacts.
> I could not possible describe it in words but it was a very clever
> connection the artist created and it made you feel very
> uncomfortable without actually being openly didactic.
> It relied mainly on cleverly shot interviews.
> Hire more artists!
> Gill (artist :-))
- On 13/6/08 9:52 AM, "RoseRose" <faithfulscribe@...> wrote:
> Ah, but artists are so DANGEROUS, often exposing us to what critic Wendyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleasure_principle_%28psychology%29
> Steiner calls "The Scandal of Pleasure."
> In contemplating the uses of the dome, shall we be artists? Or (unwitting)"Porlocks" are those who hold Reason above all else. Poets prefer poetry.
> persons from Porlock?
As Alan Watts said, "One has to get used, fundamentally, to the notion that
different things are inseparable."
- On 13/6/08 5:13 AM, "Ed Lantz" <ed@...> wrote:
> In 1958 - the early days of television - CBS Newsman Edward R. MurrowEd, so much in your post my head is spinning. Please allow me a few,
> "This instrument [TV] can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even
> inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to
> use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box."
probably crass, observations. The problem with TV, cinema and the
computer is that they offer only one way of seeing the World. Imagine if
you grew up with only one kind of atlas. All maps, you mistakenly
believed, were printed on flat paper. Then, suddenly, someone hands you
a globe. Now you instantly see where you come from in a more complete
That damn rectangular frame, sorry, "orthagonal" format, shreds reality
into a million pieces. The dome gives us back our innate capacity to
look up and wonder. Like King Arthur's famous round table, the dome is
everyone's home, spiritually speaking.
> Others would still hold to the "vast wasteland" critique, pointing toI'm surprised you didn't mention the Internet. Have you had your eyes checked lately? Seriously, premature sight deficiency is upon us, thanks to the w.w.w. Fulldome will never debilitate anyone's eyesight, that's a fact.
> gratuitous violence, shallow dramas, sensationalistic news programming
> and commercial spots that clutter our minds while luring us into crass
> It just doesn't make good business sense to take such risks, even though itYes, by God, there are many fine exceptions. Genuine television can shake the
> may be the "right" thing to do. This method of following fads and trends
> maximizes profits, but also contributes to the "wasteland." Granted, there
> are notable exceptions.
establishment to its foundations and tell the People what they need to know.
So, what of the dome? As a delivery system (pixels, lumens, data, bits
per second), fulldome is growing into the most powerful media/data
delivery systems on the planet. Can we ultimately prevent domes from
becoming another "wasteland" of cheap thrills and video game violence?
Reasons to be cheerful, in my opinion:
The stereotypic thrills and spills of Hollywood action films don¹t
translate well in the dome, because of the cutting rate.
> ... we also need a better understanding of why Hollywood movies, videoADD syndrome and the sort of media you are referring to would seem to
> games, and virtual worlds are so seductively popular.
have a lot in common. I insist that it is the rectangular geometry of
the frame that allows the random segmentation of continuous reality (or
pseudo-reality) into "scenes". Fulldome, by way of contrast, tends to
re-connect us to the entire biosphere.
> We then need to using these powerful tools and technologies to intentionallyWhat you are saying, Monsieur Ed, is that, in order to realise the full
> craft immersive experiences that are deeply transformative, useful, educational,
potential of fulldome, those within the emerging industry have an
obligation to continue to Humanise its content. This is why it's so
awful to know that, somewhere, people with deadly motives are using this
awesome medium to train young men and women to kill. Simulation is not
(only) what fulldome digital video technology was designed for. I'm sure
Brauersfeld had something better in mind for Humanity.
> My definition of Transformative or Transformational Media is a media-basedI had one of those transformative experiences here in the Brisbane
> experience that substantially alters a person's "possibility space" or life
> path. That is, when a visitor leaves the dome that are forever changed in
> some fundamental (positive) manner, and as a result, their life takes a turn
> in a direction that is more beneficial for themselves and the planet. This
> might include discovering new facts, cultures, connections; it could be the
> experience of epiphany, realization or revelation; it could be a spiritual
> experience, sometimes described as a numinous or "unity" experience; or it
> could be an awakening to a deeper empathy, compassion or love for one's
> self, for others, or for the planet. Many of these are not formal
> educational goals, but they are the kinds of experiences that really change
> people and make for a better world. And they are the kind of experiences
> that a dome is well suited for, in my opinion.
> Transformed individuals will lead to a transformed world.
Planetarium when I saw the AMNH's "Passport". It literally changed my
whole concept of Space / the Universe in a few minutes. Came away
thinking everyone should see this film! It truly creates a new
perception in your head and you can feel the dots connecting inside
yourself. But, after a while, due to lack of reinforcement, the new
perception is gradually overwhelmed by old perceptions.
> Transformative Media uses digital media to:Very comprehensive. You keep coming back to Humanity and our unrealised
> Open the Mind - Information, education - empowering truths bring new
> Shift the Heart - Empathy, compassion, understanding, fun - emotional shift
> towards love, respect, joy, happiness
> Activate the Spirit - Sense of awe, mystery, ecstasy, bliss, unity -
> elevated "quality of consciousness"
> Soothe the Beast - Invoke positive moods, relaxation, regeneration, "digital
Hollywood programming uses time-tested tools to (willingly) commandeer
our nervous systems and take us on an emotional ride.
Here is my gauntlet. What you have just said also applies to voices I
have heard in the fulldome community. That is that fulldome films must
take the spectator on an emotional "ride". This is the point at which
you, as a community, can best distinguish yourselves from OmniMax. How,
exactly, does fulldome do it differently? Nothing wrong with an
emotional ride hell, that¹s what film makers do best but, surely,
the fulldome ride is something that the inventors of Imax could never
have contemplated nor dream of emulating. That is, Totalities. That's
what you guys do best. You put Humpty back together again, for all the
rest of us. God bless you all.
(some argue that transformation in fact lies at the very root of all
entertainment). What is missing is a pledge to leave the moviegoer
positively transformed, to uplift rather than depress, to educate rather
You know, it takes someone like Andrei Tarkovsky, who basically devoted
his life to making 7 great films that transformed film culture forever,
to show us what Cinema was actually invented for. Who will be the
Tarkovsky or the Bela Tarr of the dome?
So what would it look like if we purposefully learn and apply these
transformative affective/cognitive modalities to the powerful fulldome
medium with an intent to meaningfully transform our audiences? Many of
you are already striving to do this, I know.
In my own small way, I¹m in the middle of editing a series of test
pieces for projection in a portable dome in Byron Bay, here in
Australia. It¹s owned by Adam Spinner, a smart young entrepreneur who
intends to tour his new acquisition to major population centres on the
east coast. His main market is the techno-savy 17 30 demographic
who¹ve seen everything, except fulldome.
Ask yourself this question: what shifts in consciousness, understanding,
emotion, etc. would result in a better world? Here's some thoughts:
1) How about a show designed to engender an awareness that the earth is
finite and the powerful tools of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering
& Math) can be used responsibly to vastly improve everyone's quality of
life (or used irresponsibly to destroy it)?
Just as generals need fulldome to fully comprehend a remote battlefield,
the general public cannot realise the effect that things they take for
granted in the First World have on people in Third World countries.
Again, focussing on the connectivity thing.
2) How about a program that builds bridges of understanding between the
many cultures on the planet?
The Australian Government recently apologised, at long last, to its
First People. Canada has just followed suit. Warriors of an unknown
tribe in the remote jungle of South America shake their spears at
helicopters as we sip our café au laits.
3) What about a show that engenders a deeper understanding of our place
in the universe - based on the latest scientific understanding - and
relates this to our everyday lives in a meaningful way?
As a mere spectator, I would argue that the AMNH has already achieved
4) What about deeply beautiful art and cultural experiences that weave
stories around the latest scientific visualizations of the universe -
SciArt, if you will?
This is the New Frontier! We live in the Golden Age of Science, and it
just so happens that, at the same time, global culture has never been
more dependent on the image. It is not the fault of the scientists if
artists fail to rise to the glorious challenge of the dome.
> Now is the time to set the standard for excellence in fulldome programmingJust a small final plea for one more category, can we PLEEEZE have music based
> and differentiate it from other genres by assuring that it is fact-based,
> meaningful and transformative - and, at the same time, highly entertaining.
> P.S. - Spherical is also establishing a circuit for theI'll be in touch.
> touring of performing artists and distribution of related merchandise to
> dome theaters worldwide. If you are working on a project that might be a
> good fit and need help, do let us know.
- love that quote of watts. on to poetry and pleasure. the weekend's here!
time to put theory to the test. Porlocks and Pruefrocks, on alert!
On Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 8:26 AM, erik ART <cameraderie@...>
> "Porlocks" are those who hold Reason above all else. Poets prefer poetry.--
> As Alan Watts said, "One has to get used, fundamentally, to the notion that
> different things are inseparable."
Shermer's Last Law:
"Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is
indistinguishable from God."
- --- In email@example.com, "Ed Lantz" <ed@...> wrote:
> 4) What about deeply beautiful art and cultural experiences that weaveEd - SciArt - I like that.
> stories around the latest scientific visualizations of the universe -
> SciArt, if you will?
Question: now how do we get people away from their big (and getting
bigger) HD televisions and into the domes?
Ward Beecher, Youngstown
- Thank you Sharon.
I wondered when and if somebody would bring us back to realities !
In firstname.lastname@example.org, "sharon.shanks" <slshanks@...> wrote:
> Question: now how do we get people away from their big (and getting
> bigger) HD televisions and into the domes?
Artist, theorist, and educator Roy Ascott has been in the SciArt biz
for many years. His book, The Telematic Embrace covers that
waterfront from the 70's on.
I suppose, regarding the home market, domes will come when there is a
projector system and dome-device-screen in the $ range of the current
"home theater." I design them on an almost continual basis in my
head. I have a float version (think John Lilly, or put it over the
pool); a LazyBoy version with retractable computer controls; the
pasha's palace version (might be the pleasure dome, full of cushions
or lined with a foot thick memory foam) ...... I see the evolution
of the market to be similar to that of computers. First we had
mainframes and used them for, well, defense among other things. Think
Turing, von Neumann foward into IBM and the corporate computer. Then
the mini--the DEC with the 20,000 per year service contract, mid-80's.
Of course, the personal computer was well underway, and has changed
The Sci-artists/educators (like composer Pauline Oliveros) have been
using telematics to perform with groups in multiple cities for
forever, and to teach, using the largest most immersive projection
systems they could steal time on. But Sci-artists begin with
one-offs, Rube Goldberg installation, demo.
I think we a waiting for the lower cost projector to meet the flexible
designs for projection surface, and the market. The gamer market is
shifting methinks as girls get geekier and nerdettes break through.
And first person shooters would no doubt be grrrrrrreat! in a
homedome, enemies on all sides, and adrenaline maxed out. But oh, the
chill possibilities as well. I like McConville's quoting Bucky--don't
waste effort protesting the bad ideas--put the new model out. What
the dome can be. It's a new critter trying to adapt, find a niche in
the media (hence consciousness) ecology. There couldn't be a better
time. I want my iChat AV in the homedome for impromptu meetings,
social and political organizing, research, and parties, and it better
not break up as much as it now does.
10 years ago I wanted to control a program I was designing (LiveGlide,
3D forms of a visual language moving in three space) with gesture.
SciArtists were building their own one-offs. It took ten years to get
the Wii, cheap, reliable, sensitive, and an afternoon's programming to
hook it to LiveGlide. (First performance at Roulette in NY on the
So mass market finally catches up to the desires of SciArtists.
Enough rant. I will have my dome one day.
RoseRose under the stars
your friendly alien SciArtist and Xenolinguist
On 6/13/08, sharon.shanks <slshanks@...> wrote:
> Question: now how do we get people away from their big (and getting
> bigger) HD televisions and into the domes?
Shermer's Last Law:
"Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is
indistinguishable from God."
>I wondered when and if somebody would bring us back to realities !Some suggestions for public theaters:
>In email@example.com, "sharon.shanks" <slshanks@...> wrote:
>> Question: now how do we get people away from their big (and getting
>> bigger) HD televisions and into the domes?
1) Provide compelling, culturally relevant experiences that strike a
2) Let people know about these awesome experiences and tell them where
to find you.
3) Stop playing it safe. Science is full of controversy. Don't insult
the public by denying this.
4) Imagination and even speculation are at the cutting edge of science
(just don't pass off speculation as fact or bona-fide theory).
5) Use the full affective power of the dome - a cinema or home theater
cannot compete with full immersion.
6) Partner with brand name artists, musicians, TV series, etc.
7) Never forget that this is, to an extent, show business. Use skilled
writers, art directors, composers and good showmanship when dealing with the
- Camaraderie writes (snipped):
>The stereotypic thrills and spills of Hollywood action films don¹tDont underestimate producers abilities to totally ignore everything you
>translate well in the dome, because of the cutting rate.
think is sacred in a dome, and the publics ability to consume the resulting
shows. I almost became ill when I saw Fantasia in an IMAX theater. It was
never intended to be screened in such an immersive format - the action was
too fast on the big screen yet it grossed $52 million in IMAX theaters.
Likewise, flat-screen IMAX films are routinely exhibited in IMAX Dome
theaters without any attempt to spherically correct the films. I recall
seeing a racing film in an IMAX Dome theater the horizon was on the zenith
and we were driving upwards. No one complained.
>> ... we also need a better understanding of why Hollywood movies, videoYes it can, if intentionally used in this manner. It can also be used as an
>> games, and virtual worlds are so seductively popular.
>ADD syndrome and the sort of media you are referring to would seem to
>have a lot in common. I insist that it is the rectangular geometry of
>the frame that allows the random segmentation of continuous reality (or
>pseudo-reality) into "scenes". Fulldome, by way of contrast, tends to
>re-connect us to the entire biosphere.
extension of the TV screen, surrounding us with hundreds of TV screens for
an ultra-ADD experience. If your idea of creating a continuous reality is
to survive, we need to show how this makes for better (selling) shows. If
it makes money, then others will follow this template.
>> We then need to using these powerful tools and technologies toIndeed.
>> intentionally craft immersive experiences that are deeply transformative,
>> useful, educational, meaningful.
>What you are saying, Monsieur Ed, is that, in order to realise the full
>potential of fulldome, those within the emerging industry have an
>obligation to continue to Humanise its content
Those quotes in my original post from the early days of TV were an attempt
to illustrate how television pioneers also wanted to humanize that new
medium - and in many ways, they failed to do so. Commercial interests
prevailed. My point is, lets try to learn from history and create an
economic base for fulldome that makes money from delivering enlightening
programming. Then, perhaps, commercial interests will follow this
successful template. It worked for IMAX for many years (via the classic
documentary format) until IMAX promoted a method for converting Hollywood
programming into large-format films.
>This is why it's so awful to know that, somewhere, people with deadlyAny technology, used out of fear, can become very twisted. In a positive
>motives are using this awesome medium to train young men and women
>to kill. Simulation is not (only) what fulldome digital video technology
>was designed for. I'm sure Brauersfeld had something better in mind for
light, simulators make for better trained soldiers who ideally will make
less mistakes should the legitimate need arise to use military force.
> >Transformed individuals will lead to a transformed world.Great that you were touched in this way. Carter, Ryan and the gang should
>I had one of those transformative experiences here in the Brisbane
>Planetarium when I saw the AMNH's "Passport". It literally changed my
>whole concept of Space / the Universe in a few minutes. Came away
>thinking everyone should see this film! It truly creates a new
>perception in your head and you can feel the dots connecting inside
>yourself. But, after a while, due to lack of reinforcement, the new
>perception is gradually overwhelmed by old perceptions.
You bring up a common issue with attempts to transform that is, the
reversion to old habits and modes of seeing after an initial powerful
transformative experience. Someone recently accused me of promoting
self-help modalities in planetarium programming. Its true that most
transformative modalities are currently found in self-help, rehab, forum
workshops, etc. Alcoholics Anonymous (al-anon), for instance, is a 12-step
process for self-transformation. Im suggesting that we make a science out
of transformation and apply these powerful tools to everyday education and
entertainment in delightful, fun and non-preaching ways.
>>Hollywood programming uses time-tested tools to (willingly) commandeerInteresting perspective. Im not sure that this holistic cinematic
>>our nervous systems and take us on an emotional ride.
>Here is my gauntlet. What you have just said also applies to voices I
>have heard in the fulldome community. That is that fulldome films must
>take the spectator on an emotional "ride". This is the point at which
>you, as a community, can best distinguish yourselves from OmniMax. How,
>exactly, does fulldome do it differently? Nothing wrong with an
>emotional ride hell, that¹s what film makers do best but, surely,
>the fulldome ride is something that the inventors of Imax could never
>have contemplated nor dream of emulating. That is, Totalities. That's
>what you guys do best. You put Humpty back together again, for all the
>rest of us. God bless you all.
language, as you suggest, cannot be replicated in a flat-screen theater, but
perhaps a dome is ideally suited to making this particular language a more
compelling experience. As I pointed out earlier, it is not the only way to
produce fulldome programming
Regarding the emotional roller coaster, I also believe that there are brain
states that can be induced that are not necessarily emotional and cannot
always be accessed through story alone. Im not sure what to call these
states, but it is the general realm of experiencing awe, mystery,
connectedness, unity, love, beauty, numinous, etc. I think the dome is a
better delivery system for these alternate states. I would love to drag an
fMRI imager into a dome some day to confirm these intuitive observations.
>>3) What about a show that engenders a deeper understanding of our placeAgreed, this place in the cosmos genre is the most common theme in
>>in the universe - based on the latest scientific understanding - and
>>relates this to our everyday lives in a meaningful way?
>As a mere spectator, I would argue that the AMNH has already achieved
fulldome, and AMNH is creating premier programming of this sort.
I do feel that there is more room to explore our place in the cosmos,
however, particularly as it relates to the MEANING of all our scientific
knowledge and the BIG questions of life, such as where did we come from?,
where are we going?, why am I here and such. Of course, it is
stretching the bounds of science by trying to provide meaning to such
questions. This is more in the realm of storytellers, religions, myths, and
such. Still, it is our attempt to answer such questions that creates our
personal mythos (world view), and our personal mythos drives our personal
and collective behavior and ultimately determines our quality of life, so it
is not wrong to provide an environment for exploring these deeper questions.
Classrooms provide an appropriate environment for teaching the basic facts
of science. Planetariums provide an appropriate environment for exploring
the deeper meaning of these facts. A world view is not something that can
be taught matter-of-factly. Each must discover their personal place in
the universe and personal mythos or meaning. Seeing the big picture of
the universe - according to our most up-to-date scientific data - in an
environment that allows a degree of self-contemplation creates an ideal
environment for such realizations. A continuous narrative soundtrack that
attempts to interpret and explain every visual that the visitor sees only
interferes with this deeper, more contemplative mode of thinking and
reasoning that can result in a transformative realization, in my opinion.
Again, Id love to see more research on this topic.
>> Now is the time to set the standard for excellence in fulldomeYou bet.
>> programming and differentiate it from other genres by assuring
>> that it is fact-based, meaningful and transformative - and, at the
>> same time, highly entertaining.
>Just a small final plea for one more category, can we PLEEEZE have music
>based as well?
Ive long promoted visual music in domes, although fine art VM is often
avant garde and a bit fringe for the average audience. Harmony Channel has
been giving out Domie awards for best Mood Elevating Visual Music at
DomeFest. We figure that music that invokes positive moods will ultimately
be more entertaining. In the end, however, MTV-style music videos and
immersive concerts will likely rule
- As a veteran of 25 years of television (starting at PBS and going to
all the other networks including a Murrow hungover CBS), I appreciate
Ed's background and perspective. There is a great opportunity to take
chances and innovate in fulldome now, and to avoid the consequences of
another of my favorite early TV quotes, this one from Fred Friendly:
"Imitation is the sincerest form of television."
What Friendly noted is even more evident today: a channel with its own
identity will often jump on a currently popular program style (reality
TV, let's-blow-things-up, home-makeover) and end up diluting their
brand, becoming indistinguishable from the competition.
I look forward to working in our own fulldome production center (some
2 years from now, after we build the Center for Community dome in the
Lower East Side of Manhattan) and tackling some of these challenges.
Following up on the quote above, I hope that we see the development of
many schools, genres, and local strains of production. The drive to
create shows that can be sold to the widest possible audience can lead
to what we see in mass media now. Affordable narrowcasting may be a
better way to go.
Let a thousand dome flowers bloom!
See you at Domefest.
The Daily Glyph http://www.gomaya.com/glyph
Center for Community http://www.girlsclub.org
Note: New Cell 646 704 2021
- Thanks for all the great discussion on fulfilling the great potential
of this medium!
I have to share that the fulldome fractal shows we've been doing here
in New Mexico have been incredibly popular, and just growing ever more
so. And the particular modality we're using - Fractals - reaches
exactly the states of consciousness Ed was referring to, illustrating
the connectedness of complex systems, from the smallest to the largest
in nature, and even bigger. Transcendence. Fractals are all about
*awe*, and the fact that we sell out every single one of our First
Friday Fractals shows (69 in a row now!) is a direct result of the
power of this sensation. You think the Universe is big? Try zooming
into the Mandelbrot Set! Staring straight into the Infinite is a
The cool thing is, while our shows are extremely entertaining,
they're also highly educational. Can you imagine people paying good
money on a Friday night to come learn about algebra?! But they do:)
It's because fractals make math beautiful, and also relate it to the
patterns in nature we're all familiar with.
The last thing I want to add is that the visual music aspect of what
we do is incredibly powerful too. I work with accomplished,
successful musicians to create original choreographed arrangements (in
5.1 Surround.) The music rocks, the visuals rock, and together they
fuse to form an exciting new medium that enthralls people. So much so
that we've just added a new late-night show to our lineup, called
"Fractals Rock!" which I'm really excited about. These shows will be
more entertainment-oriented, but we'll still manage to sneak in a good
helping of education, because people are naturally curious how these
infinitely dazzling patterns work and what they mean!
I always feel a bit like a mathematical rockstar when I do my live
narration in the dome, but this past month we hit a new milestone. I
heard that at least one person in the audience bought a scalped ticket
for $20! Now that's funny...
I can't get away for the whole IPS conference, but I will be there
for the last day at the Fulldome Summit and Domefest, and I look
forward to seeing a bunch of you there. I'll bring some fractal DVDs
with me, so try to find me if you'd like to see a glimpse of what I'm
-Jonathan Wolfe, Ph.D.
Coming Friday July 4th, "Fractals Rock!"
Fractals are SMART: Science, Math & Art!