Let's begin with a story…

“the real trick in understanding foams was figuring out just how they change over time. researchers knew that two distinct processes took place.

  • first: the foam coarsens—meaning simply that its bubbles enlarge—and
  • second, the liquid in the foam drains away.” [from scientific american]

when the liquid disappears, the foams are deprived of one dimension. the only remaining reference to this ethereal substance are tiny line-drawings on the surfaces where once the bubbling occurred. the lines are like tightropes.

Here began my slow, insecure tightrope balancing act, above a dry, cracked ground of creative practices. The rope appeared to be woven out of thin, self contained bundles of stories, that were touching and twisting around each other. My feet moving across them extracted tiny fibres from one bundle, sometimes leaving them entangled in another bundle, as I jumped and slipped from one part of the rope to another. The more the fibres intertwingled, the more robust the rope became, allowing me a steadier grip on their surfaces. I learned how to write my own story by sliding and crossing and turning the rope as I performed more elaborate tricks. Knowing that at some point, I will have to perform a final twirl, landing securely on the ground. If I don't, the whole excercise will be annulled, ridiculed and I will be disqualified.

faccio una capriola? - i asked my teachers who worriedly tried to avoid the answer by looking away. saying yes could cause my injury, saying no could dismantle their own incapability to face the risks of such a complex trick. The rope story-bundles were struggling to incorporate freshly inserted fragments of fibres that my feet continuously disturbed and recombined. I felt confident on this one dimensional surface by now. There were worlds inside the rope that I discovered, deeper than any 3 dimensional surface I knew about. In a final crossing, I gathered sample-fibres on my soles and decided to jump. The whole rope was vibrating with tension. I flew in the air, looking at the ground upside-down, looking for a safe place to land, avoiding the large cracks. For a moment I wanted to reach for the rope. It felt so much safer there. It became my reality, so difficult to reach by anyone unable to balance on it. Which most people walking on the cracked ground wouldn't even try. Now I was landing onto their world, where the cracks still needed to be bridged by new tightropes, but the fibres were not manufactured yet. Or so they thought.

I began twisting to reach the ground standing up. Looking down, I realised that the crack that was opening underneath my feet was too large for me to avoid it. I tried moving to one of its edges, but the soil was so dry that it turned into dust upon impact. I violently dropped into the crack. The dust and pieces of soil followed. In a few moments, everything became silent. I fell deep, very deep, so that I couldn't hear the voices of the people staring in the crack, but doing nothing to lift me up from it. Perhaps they don't see me, I thought, but most probably - they simply didn't care.

I remained still for a while, localising the damage to my surface layer. Then I got up and looked around (the crack was wide enough for me to stretch my both arms and still not touch its walls). When my eyes got accustomed to the darkness, I discovered that the realm of the crack was a wild world of its own. The cut fibres from both walls were seemingly trying to reach each other, weaving new tightropes, creating a 3 dimensional weave of tightropes that i could balance on forever. I remembered that my soles should still have several fibres from my tightrope stuck onto them. I began balancing and jumping from one side of the crack to another, entangling my fibres with the ones growing in the crack. The one dimensional surfaces were expanding here in three dimensions! The story bundles were intertwined here into a large interconnected tightrope rootlet, unknown and unexplored by the surface people jumping over the cracks, avoiding their dark, unruly, untamed spaces. My fibres became alive. All of the fibres became alive. Together, they formed an spawning tissue of interconnected wilderness, ready to sprout new worlds. I realised that as much as the surface above was disjointed by the cracks, they were all connected into an intricate system of tunnels and branches of the in-between. In there, I found other tightrope dancers, some of them as confused as I was, others already planting their seeds. We gathered in one of the cracks and realised that all of us fell in between the cracks, but didn't regret it. No one missed the narrowness of the surface ground patches and the rules imposed by people living on them. The surface was cultivated and organised but dry. The cracks were still wild, messy and wet. Fertile. We grasped that what we thought were rigid borders were in fact malleable edges. We decided that we should minimize the borders further, in order to maximize the edges, by tightening the ropes and expanding the tissues of fibre-bundles. We began growing our own worlds.

Zero Culture

a few moments of pure experience…

  • purge the cultural, emotional, informational baggage: media de-tox lounge
  • establishing what is real, actual, desired: transforma[c]tion
  • extending the bodily needs into the realm of the imaginary: foamFood
  • allowing the unfinished, unpolished growths to crossbreed: foamFroth

Micro Culture

  • exploring the substance of the worlds
  • exploring the matter of the newly grown worlds: pro~theus
  • inciting the processes of growth and decay: orGlic
  • expanding the senses and sensations: |yt_A

Multi Culture


  • minimizing edges/maximizing borders, distributed wilderness
  • building public spaces on alternative models of exchange
  • developing flexible architectures that can adapt to the needs of their inhabitants
  • incorporating processes of growth and decay in the design of public spaces

Macro Culture

Mixing digital an physical realities…

TGarden/txOom environments:

  • knowledge and the skills of people to shape mental universes with gestures, movement, social interaction
  • incorporating Play as exploration and experimentation method
  • designing responsive, adaptive and evolving worlds
  • allowing the physical and the digital to become fully entangled: you can wear media and render the fabric shapes, write with video and become infected by a sound of another player

txOom is a responsive environment founded on “recycling” of media, materials and behaviors from one form to another:

“… recycling allows the same materials to be transformed from one object to another, such that the materials “move”… through culture. Culture becomes nothing more than the organization of such flows….”

“Images are literally consumed as a form of nutrition… As the body expands, the environment is literally brought inside. Space gets reconstituted. Architecture is what you swallow.” (Wigley, M in A. Marras, 1999)

Meta Culture

exercises in evolution of language, rituals, belief systems, cognitive processes

  • spiritual worlds of mysticism, alchemy and shamanism as an inspiration for experiences in immersive VR: GoToØ
  • evolution of populations, social structures and language as building blocks of a self-evolving a-life virtual architecture: mGen
  • psychoactive experiments in the age of prohibition


“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” [yogi berra]

  • uscb_lecture.txt
  • Last modified: 2015-11-05 18:31
  • by maja