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How to accommodate grief in your life

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This artists’ text examines the relationship between photographic images and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) environments. We note that such scripted image worlds necessitate a fundamental reconsideration of the capacities of image, its formation, reproduction, storage and circulation. As an archaeologist would document an excavation, extending conventional methods through 3D visualization technology to work in new ways with the archaeological record, we chose to document a world built and razed digitally by a now dormant group of anonymous gamers called the Yung Cum Bois (YCBs). We turn to some definitions of griefer as a subcultural phenomenon within online culture to attempt to contextualize our involvement some more, thinking through the forms of image-gathering that grief play has generated, such as scripted object attacks where image-objects spawn and self-replicate, continually spurting out copies of themselves, lagging the region, slowing down frame rates, consuming land resources. Here we witness images blockading network logistics. This was active fieldwork. We got involved. We applied visualization technology learnt from archaeological computing research to the avatars, temporary structures and abandoned ruins of an online world, Second Life (SL). We patched together a kind of virtual photogrammetry, enabling the monumentalization of avatars, objects and scenarios, recompiling these into new configurations and uploading them freely to be reused, detourned and weaponized by our virtual friends. We situate this endeavour within a cobbled history of imaging technology, the networked self and its pathologies, riffling through our own image dump. Here.
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Keywords: 3D imaging; Second Life; computer game culture; griefing; online relations; photogrammetry; photomontage; spam

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Central Saint Martins 2: UCA, Rochester

Publication date: 01 October 2016

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  • Philosophy of Photography is a new peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of photography. It is not committed to any one notion of photography nor, indeed, to any particular philosophical approach. The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for debate on theoretical issues arising from the historical, political, cultural, scientific and critical matrix of ideas, practices and techniques that may be said to constitute photography as a multifaceted form. In a contemporary context remarkable for its diversity and rate of change, the conjunction of the terms 'philosophy' and 'photography' in the journal's title is intended to act as a provocation to serious reflection on the ways in which existing and emergent photographic discourses might engage with and inform each other.
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