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]

Dimensionality is a concept that attempts to define reality through scientific framing. Dimensionality refers to the theoretical construction and quantification of fundaments. These fundaments, or dimensions, act to define the:

‚Ķparameterization of the conceptual or visual complexity of any geometric object. In fact, the concept can even be applied to abstract objects which cannot be directly visualized. For example, the notion of time can be considered as one-dimensional, since it can be thought of as consisting of only “now,” “before” and “after.” Since “before” and “after,” regardless of how far back or how far into the future they are, are extensions, time is like a line, a one-dimensional object.”

Just as the idea of dimensions can be applied to non-concrete elements in order to frame theoretical states:

…the principle can expand to encompass aspects of emergent social actions. These actions are evident in shifting social dimensions/states. These states [collectively termed "Social Tesseractions"] emerge from certain communication patterns displayed through synthetic interactions. If you’re a user of augmented technology in multiple forms [think: MMO/Mobile gaming, iPhone or Android apps and social networking sites] you will inevitably become part of engagement procedures that promote a type of “social froth”. This froth manifests via electronic gesturing:

These gestures are created through:

The important factor for both connection modes are the resultant patterns a user creates through social inscriptions/gestures:

These gestures create complex interpersonal streams that provoke additional connections and accompanying interactions. Sending remote tweets is considered an example of a synthetic interaction [via electronic gesturing]. As this incremental data melds with other user-streams and crossmodal platforms, aggregative patterns emerge. These combined patterns may be considered as a parameter space blueprint that produce, and are in turn produced by, synthaptic communication tides. Examples of such variables include information traffic patterns or “hot” social tracts [when certain users are active according to time zone variations].

Social Tesseractions assist in shaping contemporary notions related to Sociorelational information. Just as raw geophysical encounters evoke varying psychological and communicative responses [think: Communication Accommodation Theory], Tesseracting engenders similarly relevant synthetic loadings. In attempting to establish a conceptual structure surrounding Social Tesseractions, contemporary theorists display a pervasive tendency to shrink all synthetic interactions to a geophysical/biological endpoint. In order to establish whether Tesseraction can be considered a tangible phenomena, this assumed standard of endpoint interaction should shift from a reductionist angling towards more appropriate markers. These markers will be discussed in _Social Tesseracting: Part 2_.


Having decided to take action regarding the Swastika Symbol, Bowtox broadcasts a _call to action_ to other interested WoW characters through the general, trade and looking-for-group chat channels. He also talks to the surrounding player characters, who begin to modify the base symbol shape.

Lilsmoky is the first to perform the “/sleep” action, which allows them to lie down along one symbol _arm_. Other players adopt the action and a user-generated box pattern forms to replace the Swastika:

Group Dialogue begins regarding action[s]. The lilac text indicates chatting privately, the white is general, and the orange indicates in-game gesturing.

The Group continues to modify the symbol.

As the symbol intervention continues, additional players perform other reappropriation actions, such as:

  • Riding mounts so as to close spaces and join gaps within the symbol:

Characters Actively Altering the Symbol Shape

  • _Beautifying_ the area with displays derived from inherent game functions [eg multiple spell casting(s)]:

Symbol beautification in action

  • Morphing of player characters into disco-dancing pirates. These pirates proceed to play a game of catch with a leather ball whilst dancing in the swastika-turned-box:

Disco-dancing Reappropriation Pirates 1

Disco-dancing Reappropriation Pirates 2

This Synthetic Presencing example ends when Blizzard begins to remove the symbol corpses [due to player complaints]. After thanking his fellow actioneers, Bowtox proceeds to the mailbox and resumes playing WoW via convention game dynamics.

The presencing action is deemed successful as the symbol disappears

Subject x [X] is a 27 year old American male. X began playing the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft [WoW] in June 2005. On Average, X will be logged into WoW between 2 to 8 hours per day. X has created 7 WoW toons or player characters/chars. His characters are located on _Frostmane_, a USA-based realm/server. His main [primary game character] is a level 70 male Gnome Warrior named _Xster_.

X plays Xster during the majority of the time he is engaged within the WoW environment. X has 5 alts [alternate game characters] which he plays sporadically. X also has a bank character which he uses for all in-world economic transactions. He is a member of a group of players who have voluntarily chosen to band together to achieve specific goals within WoW. This group is called a Guild. Xster’s guild is titled _Carpe Pwnum_.

X/Xster is currently immersed in a specific game variable within WoW. This game variable is an instance called _Karazhan _ [Kara] which is an example of a raid. X is present in the instance with 9 of his fellow guild members. Each member has been included specifically for their race, class and talent make-up.

The raid members have just completed one of their raid targets by killing a boss Non-Player Character or NPC. This boss encounter was difficult; it has taken the raiders 4 attempts to kill Attunemen. The unsuccessful attempts ended in the successive deaths of each raid member, otherwise known as a wipe. X decides it is time for a break and informs the other raid members that he’ll be afk [away from keyboard] for 3 minutes taking a “bio break”.

X makes this announcement through 3 channels. The 1st and 2nd are via text, using the /g and /ra commands to tell his guild “afk for 3″ and to tell the raid “afk bio”. The 3rd is via Ventrilo [Vent], a VOIP program through which he has been verbally communicating with his raid team, 3 non-raiding guild members and 2 out-of-game friends.

Before X leaves his computer, he positions Xster in a safe area in-game where he can wait in suspension until X’s return. As X types the /afk command, Xster appears no different to the other raid chars; the toon still loops through a basic standing state. Xster continues to function via base movements such as breathing and blinking as if X is still present and waiting at the keyboard. There are no visual or otherwise discernible char changes occurring in-game to indicate X’s absence apart from his text and verbal announcements.

X has moved to the kitchen and is now, in a geophysical sense, completely afk – an example of “hard afkism”. However, X is also in a hyper-aware state, conscious of the estimated time assigned to his game absence. X has the game volume turned up to allow for monitoring of the raid member’s voices and game sounds. Any heightened verbal intonations may indicate that the raiders require his immediate presence back in-game.

X rushes his food preparations and arrives back at his keyboard within 2 minutes. He switches back into WoW via maximising the game window but does not put on his headphones and thus does not resume his presence in Vent. He is told that several of the other raiders are still afk. He then alt-tabs out of WoW, checks his Insoshi and GeoSimm Philly accounts whilst still unconsciously checking the game via sound scanning [an example of "soft afkism"]. If a combat sound occurs, he will switch back into the game and resume his activity on Vent.