Own It (Consciousness)

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes — Neo touching the bullet with his fingers, and processing the experience with his eyes, gives rise to a form of consciousness that may be the key to creating haptic experiences in virtual worlds.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes —

frame from The Matrix where Neo sees the room and the agents as the streaming code that it actually is

Executed by the state and resurrected as an enlightened being, Neo perceives his world as it truly is.


Perception, Immersion & Consciousness

I’ve long felt that the Perceive The World As Code shot (above) from the climactic sequence of The Matrix, is the most important shot in the film, because that is the moment when Neo becomes enlightened and perceives his world as it truly is. This is the moment when he becomes fully awake, and achieves a new level of consciousness. The shot just preceding that, the To Touch A Bullet shot (below) is also important to the narrative in a similar way, but it occurs to me now that it is also an iconic image of a very powerful human, of a very powerful intelligent life, moment: the moment when a living thing acts on the world with a hand, and then learns about the world through the visual experience of seeing the result of that action, and creating understanding.

Toward a Virtual Haptic

Eupalinos and I had a conversation yesterday about my LEA Alice in Cornelland proposal and the idea of a virtual haptic. I came to realize that while a real part of what I’m thinking about does involve Accelerometers, Force-Feedback, and perhaps GPS, that these things are already here, will grow in ubiquity, and will be advanced by technologists vastly more knowledgeable than I… in a way what I’m reaching for is that Alice taking apart a Cornell box moment… where your ability to manipulate the world, makes that world yours, both in a sense of ownership that you have agency over it, and also in that by syncing your hand and eye experiences you discover a new level of understanding and immersion.

Hand, Eye, & Consciousness

When I speak of a Virtual Haptic I am thinking about this sort of synchronization, or synchronicity, or immersive, tactile viscerality. In many regards we already have this, peeps spend many hours tweaking architecture or kinetic sculpture or apparel or body elements like hair and so on. Perhaps in Alice in Cornelland we can take that experience into even richer territory by syncing virtual-tactile familiarity with the powerful ideas contained in works of art, bits of culture, moments of life.

My LEA Land Grant Proposal
Eupalinos Ugajin’s Blog
The Matrix / Wikipedia
Enlightenment / Wikipedia
Eye-Hand Coordination / Wikipedia

Frame from The Matrix where Neo says "No," stops the bullets heading toward him, and holds one between his fingers and examines it. Through hand-eye coordination he is able to achieve an understanding, or consciousness, of his world

A seminal moment in The Matrix when Neo, fully awake, attains mastery of his world — at the same time it is a marvelous image of hand-eye coordination — of understanding the world by manipulating it with your own hands, and synchronizing the visual and tactile feedbacks in your mind.

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One Response to “Own It (Consciousness)”

  1. Yordie Sands
    2013/02/13 at 22:09 #

    I so love it when you talk of these far reaching ideas. I’ve long believed that haptic and a general sense of kinethesia is obtainable in virtual experience. In fact, it opens doors to real artificial consciousness. Ooops, I’m about to invoke romantic notions from the Cartesian Theater… never mind. Great info and perspective, Van.