[ISEA2011] Paper: Nettrice R. Gaskins – Cybism and Decoding the Letter: Countering Mass Culture’s Reductional Breakdown Through Afro-futuristic Forms of Representation and Emergent Game Platforms


The realm of pure unadulterated street art allows viewers to experience what is now a thriving knowledge culture that merges specialized forms of representation: alphabets, drawings, paintings (graffiti), films/videos, choreographic notations based on symbolic, linguistic and scientific formulations, programming languages, hardware (robotics, handheld devices), software (game platforms) and so on.  Modern graffiti pioneers such as Rammellzee, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Futura (formerly Futura 2000), Doze Green and others have provided artistic guideposts through their street-level, urban texts, images and performances from cyber-culture, speculative and science fiction. Cybism and Decoding the Letter, as the next level in this development, involves discourse that considers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s notion of the minor as parallel to syncretism in urban, street art which might be usefully brought into contact with art theory and cultural studies.  This paper speaks from a future place in order to draw forth from its readers a subjectivity in progress that expands into digital media. It will examine the work of local experts (artists) and cultural practitioners with user-generated, relational, virtual 3D and physical site-specific content that cross multiple disciplines and dimensions on emergent game (technology) platforms.  Can virtual forms of minor art practices and syncretism be used to describe an evolving, open form of cultural production, as applicable to Afro-futurism and hip-hop as it is to game worlds, multi-media installation and open source works on the web?  To address this question this paper will analyze the development of technologies that explore urban, metaphysical, or experimental narrative spaces and engage a trans-national network of participants through game world performance and art.  User interactions in material and online spaces, through digital media — virtual windows, mobile devices and perceptually immersive 3D simulations — create new forms of representation that simulate alternative conceptualizations of the future.  This paper will capture the spirit of this production, moving from concrete realities to visual abstractions, virtual 3D bricolage and performance in perceptually immersive 3D space. Evidence of this development will be presented as a paper for ISEA2011 conference attendees.  Video: Breakdancing with my virtual 3D art on LEA5  (Maya Paris and Solo Mornington join me in the reveal of my new art project, a wildstyle graffiti simulation, at Linden Endowment for the Arts in Second Life.  Music is “Al Naafiysh the Soul” by Hashim).

  • Nettrice R. Gaskins, Georgia Tech U.S.A.  nettrice.us

Full text (PDF)  p. 917-922