"An interactive system defines a virtual space, whether the system’s interface provides access to the inhospitable planet of Stroggos or the Microsoft Windows desktop. Users of both these systems interact with a place, one created by a computer and in which users and computational agents carry out their individual and collective activities. The intuitive and often-discussed benefit of a well-designed interface metaphor is that it allows users to carry over conventions from their 'real' experience when performing tasks within the interface world.
Another key and often unarticulated value of an interface arises from the interface’s mimetic quality. While mimesis is often discussed by narrative theorists as a contrast to diegesis, distinguishing the concepts of showing versus telling (Aristotle), my emphasis here is to distinguish between an artifact that is intended to be an imitation of something, but is not really that thing and an artifact that is intended to be mistaken as that thing. An example of the former case would be a film of a fictional account of the D-Day landing on the beaches of Normandy. An example of the later might be a virtual reality system displaying photo-realistic graphical images of a physical space. D-Days stories like The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan are, in some ways, imitations, and so are more mimetic than VR systems whose design is intended to '...produce synthetic images visually and measurably indistinguishable from real world images.' (Greenberg 1999)(pg. 45)."
(R. Michael Young, 1999)
Greenberg, D. P. 1999. 'A framework for realistic image synthesis'. Communications of the ACM 42(8):45-53.
1). R. Michael Young (1999). 'Notes on the Use of Plan Structures in the Creation of Interactive Plot', Papers from the 1999 Fall Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Symposium
"With a technology called MotionScan, an actor's complete performance--their facial expressions, how they talk, when they blink--are captured for use in a video game. We spoke to Brendan McNamara, the head of the team behind the detective game using this tech, 'L.A. Noire.' ...
Made by Team Bondi and Rockstar--the AAA developer behind the violent and cinematic Grand Theft Auto series--L.A. Noire is set in post-WWII Los Angeles, giving the player the role of Cole Phelps (Mad Men's Aaron Staton), a war-hero turned police detective."
(Kevin Ohannessian, Fast Company, 4 February 2011)
"Tucked away near the last stop of Line 9, the satellite settlement of Thames Town opened in 2006 as part of Shanghai's One City, Nine Towns program, with low-rise apartments and gated complexes designed to house 10,000 residents. Despite an intensive marketing effort (including a beauty pageant), the community failed to take off, and what's left is a ghost town -- and an ideal place for a quiet afternoon stroll.
As its name suggests, the design of Thames Town is inspired by England, with a main square, red telephone booths, streets named High, Oxford, and Queen and, of course, its very own man-made Thames river. If you start to lose yourself in your surroundings, worry not: images of Haibao have made it out here to reassure you that you are, in fact, still in Shanghai."
(Frances Woo, 22 January 2010, CNNGo.com)
Fig.1 Anthony Skriba. 27 April 2010. 'three separate wedding parties', stillgoingnative
Fig.2 Sarah Low, 2009. 'Boxing Day / China Trip: Day 10 and 11'
"Doesn't a picture that declares, ''This is not a pipe,'' undercut our expectation that representation will give us the thing - in this case, the pipe - itself? The difficulty it presents is no accident. Magritte was perhaps unique among the visual artists of this century in the depth of his philosophical lore. Another of his pipe dreams contains a depiction of a pipe on a blackboard under which ''This is not a pipe'' is inscribed in a schoolmasterly hand. Floating above the blackboard Magritte depicts a kind of Platonic pipe. By virtue of its disproportionate size and free-floating dislocation, this utopian pipe is made to seem a mirage, while the depiction of a pipe, comfortably ensconced in its frame, enjoys a higher ontological dignity. The superficial contrast between the flat, two-dimensional blackboard pipe and the Platonic or transcendental overpipe is subverted, and it dawns on us that it is the picture of the pipe that we know, not the pipe in itself."
(Flint Schier, 23 January 1983, The New York Times)
Fig.1 La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), 1929; Fig.2 René Magritte - Die zwei Mysterien, 1966, "Die Pfeife ist keine Pfeife", (Ceci n'est pas une Pipe)
"Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.
And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?"
Plato's Republic, book vii, 514a-c to 521a-e
[Plato's allegory about consciousness underpins Western philosophy. It also introduces a fundamental concept used by Christian theology to describe spiritual enlightenment.]