Augmentology" a concise manual of reality for our digital age."

Mark Hancock,_Augmentology: Interfaccia Tra Due Mondi_

[Sponsored by The Ars Virtua Foundation/CADRE Laboratory for New Media]


e) Information Deformation: akin to process centering, this Social Tesseraction involves a shift in the very definition of information:

Information may be defined as the characteristics of the output of a process, these being informative about the process and the input. This discipline independent definition may be applied to all domains, from physics to epistemology.”

These deformed systems of data are constantly in flux and available for perpetual revision. Examples include:

Users are able to simultaneously modify, update and adapt their input in real time:

This type of liminal practice results in a deformation of current information architectures. Although traditional information construction may be flexible over time, it still demands unitary data snapshots for knowledge formation. Deforming such data in real time acts to fundamentally alter meaning production. Socially structured input is the keystone of such a dynamic, perpetually fluctuating system:

Here the notion of Social Froth takes on a new level of importance: information becomes a constantly shifting construct with variable endpoints.  Rewiring information in such a way radically changes its cohesive nature. This in turn effects:

In this deformation system, facts can be reality-edited* in real time:

Information becomes pliable in ways that challenge the perceived authority of institutions. The concept of narrative deforms as:

Narrative progression repositions the representational towards the freeform [think: paidia as opposed to ludic]. An instance of this information deformation in action is troll play [or uncontrolled play]. A social example of troll play is found in the wiki Encyclopedia Dramatica which:

satirizes both encyclopedic topics and current events, especially those related to or relevant to internet culture. The wiki has been the subject of media attention given its focus on trolling and use of shock value, as well as its criticism of other Internet communities. It is also associated with the Internet subculture Anonymous.”

_Encyclopedia Dramatica_ – and the affiliated imageboard/meme propagation site 4chan - showcase the challenge faced by narrative frameworks.  Platforms like _Encyclopedia Dramatica_ encourage troll-based comedic intent. Users remix absurd, and sometimes taboo, content. In particular, invasion boards like _4chan_ utilize shock networking*: where social content attempts to subvert social codas through deliberate agitation. In comparison with established narrative conventions, platforms like _Encyclopedia Dramatica_ offer an experimental system which bypasses strict censorship and ethical constraints. These platforms cater for unfiltered interactions that operate via immediacy-of-response. They are highly idiosyncratic in execution and linguistic formation: censorship and moderation may be limited or non-existent. The output is propagative, with contributors encouraged to riff and rip-off, replace, and even delete content. Narrative is deformed beyond a sequential structure whereby the climax or pay-off event becomes the spectacle:

An example of such modification is Copypasta, which consists of repeatedly copying and pasting blocks of text designed to evoke a heightened emotional response:

A time-tested classic. This ending usually comes into play at the climax of a very troubling or exciting situation. Rather than resolve the story, one of the characters will abruptly say something to the effect of “I had Reese’s for breakfast.” At this point, the other character will completely forget about his/her worries and jump into the corresponding commercial dialogue, enamored by the peanut butter and chocolaty goodness that is Reese’s Puffs cereal. “It’s Reese’s… for breakfast!”"

_Copypasta_ derails notions of story or plot progression, resolution or dénouement. It embodies context-counteraction* and meme perpetuation. Dramatic intent shifts to reiterative moments containing affectivity spiking which ignores the rigors of institutionalized framing [think: morality, hierarchy or ownership]:


f) Attribution Modding involves an extension of Stewart Brand’s iconic phrase “Information wants to be free” to “Identity wants to be freeform”. This category describes users focused on mobilization rather than individual recognition.  The group Anonymous* projects attribution modding via collusive identity constructions. The collective’s title is based on the method _4chan_ uses to brand all contributors “Anonymous” by default:

As making a post without filling in the “Name” field causes posts to be attributed to “Anonymous”, general understanding on 4chan holds that Anonymous is not a single person but a collective (hive) of users.”

Anonymous is a social-tesseractivist group who perform raid actions [think: the immediate action to halt the abuse of Dusty The Cat and Project Chanology's DDoS attacks]:

The collective broadcasts non-attribution ideologies where members are viewed as units of a social mechanism with a deemphasis on individual identification. Attribution modding illustrates the rise of collective identity cognizance and the accompanying shift from expert-centric disciplines.


g) Decline of Silo Ghettos: as information deformation impacts knowledge formation, there’s an increasing need to provide social tesseractors with comprehensive dimensional engagement. This type of borderless interaction deforms monostreams into cross-channelled productions. Social tesseracts assist in addressing the somewhat restrictive walled garden approach to software and platform production [think: the frustration levels encountered whilst experiencing the locked door syndrome].

Google Wave is one system that removes such constraints and allows users to input directly into previously distinct arenas. Other instances of interoperable systems that require the reorientation of Information Silos:

  • augmented applications that encourage a pairing of geolocative and geophysical needs:

Information Deformation, Attribution Modding, and the Decline of Silo Ghettos are paradigm-shifting markers that highlight socially directed trends. One significant user-centric challenge involves ensuring a smooth migration into a Social Tesseracted future. Such transitions should lessen future shock and encourage a type of overlaid meta-comprehension which promotes the seamless recognition of synthetic conditions.


* Shock networking, reality editing, context-counteraction and Anonymous will be discussed in upcoming augmentology entries.

9 Comments to “_Social Tesseracting_: Part 3”

  1. azdel slade says:

    wow, there is so much here that it’s going to require a few reads and any complete response would be longer than the article! but there are a few questions i have, or observations…

    i think its really interesting how troll play is really t[rol(e)]l play, and that it deals with ethical systems as elements in a role play that can be used to create affective reponses. but, and maybe this is cuz of the “queer relational” discussion on empyre i’ve been knee deep in all month, the oscillation of normative/reactive is really twisted in something like 4chan or ED, where they are performing a kind of supermacho, anti-feminist, even racist character, to evoke a laugh, when i think that they probably see themselves as rebelling against an accepted widespread level of respect for women. it reminds me of the kathy sierra situation [ ]. I wonder if it might be something like ethical tesseracting, or some other topology like feedback loops or strange loops or some other npirl formation, if we can imagine the loops of interaction between the assumed field in which these technologies develop.

    what are the underlying driving forces in some of the examples here, a drive for omnipotence (AR), power (WE OWN THIS) or endless entertainment? i’m still processing it and will have to write more later…

    and hooray for freeform identities! i think this kind of thinking you’re doing just shows how far, far obsolete a lot of notions of the social, the political and the subject are and how deep and intricate the unfolding interactions are!

  2. Alan Sondheim says:

    Terrific; I do wonder tho about its impact on scientific method, which proceeds necessarily by stricture and experimentation. Your example is on learning – for a discussion of methodology look at Smolin’s What’s Wrong with Physics (think that’s the title). Anyway there’s an interesting dialectic among individual, mashup, stricture and experimentation here – I keep remembering David Finkelstein’s differentiation between pure math and physics/applied math – the former he characterized as masturbation, the latter fucking, since you don’t always get what you want (and seems to me, re: science, but if you try, you might find, you get what you need) – Alan

  3. To zoom in on a specific point: “Social tesseracts assist in addressing the somewhat restrictive walled garden approach to software and platform production [think: the frustration levels encountered whilst experiencing the locked door syndrome]”

    This is a very apt comparison as it not only extends the architectural metaphor from the silo through the deadbolt but it foregrounds participation in social networks as gaming. I think a great example of a widely deployed example of locked door syndrome is Facebook Connect, sure the system integrates with OpenID and allows content across the web to “port into” Facebook (and users to “port into” it), but these flows are on the terms of the developers of the Facebook platform.

    Anyways, like Azdel said, there is a lot going on here and I’m going to have to spend some time with this text to get my bearing. I think Augmentology needs a glossary. :)

  4. mez says:

    Text-deep in deadlines so an ultra quick reply: agreed re: Augmentology Glossary. Who’s in 2 help?;)

  5. Glossary sounds good to me :)

  6. [...] and Anonymous will be discussed in upcoming augmentology entries.[Posted by Mez on _Augmentology 1[L]0[L]1_] Jul 28, 15:05 Trackback [...]

  7. Its a terrific text. If it were still permissible to speak of avant garde tendencies, then without doubt you would have identified them here. (I just noticed that the spell checker flagged avant garde as non-words, so there ya go).

    Much as i enjoy the phenomena described here, i agree with Alan that it can’t be extended to a scientific method. But then science has already largely undergone the transformation that digital media enables. Culture is playing catch up.

    I would extend the point to say that there might be other social-communicative formations that can’t be flattened out in this way. What might be interesting is to think about a more plural universe of social-communicative formations.

    For example, these phenomena are mostly about the interaction of human and non-human actors in the present tense (in ‘realtime’). But what about the past? What about interactions with the dead? (And with the machinic supports of the dead?) Which for example is what the humanities is, or is in part.)

    I still think this is a world where reading/writing are only partly well served. They become functional. The language here is about data, not the poetics of communication. The poetics arises out of the froth of data. But is language only data? Could it be built the other way around?

  8. azdel slade says:

    I was thinking of this the other day.

    is tweeting a space between private thought and the social? or is it always performative? or is it a new dimension, a new space?

    is that what you meant by tesseracting, the unfolding of two spaces into a new space with something in between? like hollowing out a prim? an “invagination”?

    or do you mean more a multiplication of spaces and the feedback and resonances between them?

  9. mez says:

    [off-the-cuff response] the act of tweeting seems performative, in that it’s essentially offering up a persona-mediated segment of urself 2 a user base that can:

    1. act as an audience/lurker [those that passively absorb tweets/input with no actuated responses 4thcoming ]


    2. actively [socially] respond thru the creation of “multilogues” through replies, retweets etc…+ its an aspect of a new dimension, an example of social tesseracting….

    re: invagination/prim hollowness, it wasn’t entirely wot i was getting at – was more angling 2wards the idea that these types of synthetically mediated/governed social interactions aggregationally create a new dimension, 1 not able to be explained or parsed through the current theoretical/known/accepted structures [think: Point-Line-Plane Postuate its almost like a sense + dimensionality merge [+ that's not to say ur invagination idea isn't a great way to conceptualise such spaces. my interpretation is far from absolute, it's just 1 way of conceptualising it?]

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