Mapas Oniricos in Blend & Bleed

STORIES BEHIND

In Ghent (2018), Mapas Oniricos [Oniric Maps, MO] introduced “Espectrito” within the workshop performance.  There were two ideas behind it, first I wanted to disappear in front of my colleagues at KASK. Back in those days, I was taking a storytelling postgraduate course as a student and docent. Besides that I was announced as workshop facilitator since the start of the course, a lot of my colleagues didn’t know about it. So I have the feeling that erasing myself from the role of being a ‘classmate’ would improve the workshop presentation, especially during the first minutes. Also, back in those days I was living  a personal-creative-turbulence period… when a childhood friend, Micho,  appeared in town from Mexico city. And he brought a present for me,  the mexican wrestler mask of  “Espectrito”.

Espectrito is not the most popular wrestler mask, others like El Santo, Atlantis, Mistico are more famous and easy to recognize. Yet it is one of the most mysterious masks in the history of Lucha libre; Espectrito’s story is linked to the origin of broadcasting lucha libre in the mexican tv back in the 50s . And because of the aesthetic of the mask and the ‘ritual’ that the original wrestler used to perform.  (He used to arrive inside a coffin to the fight field) The mask became a controversy for the mexican catholic society from the time. Since those days, Espectro‘s saga ─ which includes a lot of wrestlers with similar names and masks, such as Espectricto, Espectro de ultratumba, Mono verde among others─  is full of bad reputation and even a wishcraft.

Antonio (Toño) Hernández Arriaga was the first Espectro. His debut was in Monterrey, 1951 and besides his great success next years. During an encounter he suffered an unfortunate accident that ended with his career.

Today, I know more about the story behind this Mexican icon, but back in those days, I merely knew this mask was coming from my old first friend who loved evil and mysterious forces since his childhood.  And maybe that was enough to use it during this presentation in Belgium. 

Anyway, my friend gave me a tool to disappear/appear in front of my colleagues and a toy for self exploration. Also, one of the objectives of MO workshop deals with the remediation of written language in images, sounds and interactions; So in a way this gave me the chance to play and  incorporate a performance that encourages participants to experiment with language beyond a cases of words. 

The origin of the name Espectro was inspired by this comic book from the 50s in Mexico . Apparently the name was suggested by Roberto “el güero” Rangel

BLENDING REALITIES

This was the picture we used for invitation of the workshop .

For the purpose of this workshop edition in the Blend and Bleed symposium,  my goal was to remark that the mask is a tool for the workshop and not the other way around.  The mask is not a character; it is not a childish story, not even an icon; it is not about the performance. The mask is a tool, It has a function that aims to blend the pedagogical and performative experience of the workshop.  So I decided to continue this (self) exploration and take out an Espectro mask and vanish it into myself.  

These are some sketches and tests about my makeup and expressions. I was looking something simple that remark the expressions of my own face

Something I have discovered during the tests, is that each time I was playing a mask, my own voice and character was changing. it was like meeting a another VIni

MO looks to merge what is happening, the real moment with visual, sound and performance elements that sum to the statement of what is developed within the workshop. I would say a symbolic experience that goes beyond words.

It echoes Augusto de Boal’s idea of Invisible theatre of  blending reality in some spontaneous event.  Participants of the workshop don’t really know exactly what, how and when an event will happen. There is not such an exact script. It only exists a plan to develop during the workshop, notes.

Plan of the day

I feel enthusiastic about the potential of the online version of the workshop, surely this will continue evolving and changing. Some ideas that came to my mind are related to the UI and the modification of the workshop format it self. As MO is not attached to Twine or any particular technology, I wonder about how the content shapes the experience of the workshop.

In contrast with the physical experience of the workshop; the online version of MO, optimizes the time and facilitates unique features from the medium, such as more control on sound and images and programmatic or networked features that impact the total performance of the workshop.

My home studio for MO.

Nevertheless,  the personal physical interactions and casual events are nul. For the workshop development  those small  interactions and casual events are essential for the personal growth of each participant.  For example, personal conversations about dreams are lost . I don’t mean we don’t talk about our dreams in some way, the workshop has an organized way to talk about them . I am talking about casual chats and events that happened within the time that we are just around. Those events might happen more often as we provide time for “blank spaces” within the workshop. Maybe working with some asynchronous times during a a workshop that last more time , it would be ideal to provoke those conversations. Psychical interactions are unique; yet I wonder about the power of the physique.

There are more questions and concerns to be answered  such as  How to balance the performance and the pedagogical content? So far I have been using the mask a lot, but  What about using  some other visual,sound  and interactive elements?  How time and more sessions would affect the experience?


RESULT OF THE DAY

You can check the dream exploration we did that day here .

My apologize I did not keep a precise track about the dreams ownership for each twine stories, my mistake. The next twine stories, only mention the last author, an interpreter of others dream. You can find more information in the original document.

Thanks to everybody who join the workshop.

All my gratitude to my Carina Erdman for this fantastic initiative and for the invitation. Gracias

TRUEQUE / REMEDIATION

Trueque: a meaning beyond the object

A workshop refers to an arrangement whereby a group of people learn, acquire new knowledge, perform creative problem-solving, or innovate in relation to a domain-specific issue (Ørngreen & Levinsen, 2017) and inspired by the Blueprint for Counter Education a set of posters  that  serve as a portable learning environment for a new process-based model of education. This experiment is aiming to combine both concepts and remediate Trueque experience into a bookwork/gameboard/artifact 

This book is awesome .it is a facsimile printed in 2016 but the original edition was published in the late 60s by Maurice Stein and Larry Miller. I am totally astonished by these educational artifacts !! They are so visually atractive and energetic as a poster, and they were innovative proposal visual material for non lineal reading as well . In addition they are functional artifacts that deploy workshops . WOW

The main objectives of this exercise is : 

  • to remediate a concept of Trueque marketplace . There are already remediation I have done previously for the digital realm, Trueque for Salutches and Trueque de talleres (Workshop trandes, exchange of knowledge).
  • To explore the concept of  human and non human agents based on Bruno Latour (2005) ideas  and some others post humanist thinkers. One of my main concern is about the ontology of the agents . How can we value agency ? For this edition, I used as parameter “attributes” as a way to deploy trades between participants.
  • to apply the the actor network theory. So far I have been notice that there are more doubts about how to apply ANT (2005) as method, than proposals. So this exercise is a inquiry that I would like to discuss later in Reassembling the social reading group *( Open monthly meetings that I organize online)

Trueque” is a system of exchange in which participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money, The concept is originally from pre-colombian cultures.

For this edition of the trueque experience, I will create a bookwork/game board. I do considered the artifact as the facilitator of the workshop, so would prefer to named it “Geppeto

During this workshop experience we will exchange human and non-humans agents based on their attributes for PLINTH exhibition project. PLINTH is organized by Baart Gert, Together with five more colleges We will explore the exposition and exhibition possibilities for artistic research. There will be 3 iteration of the project for the next months. The first exhibition will be hosted by Luca School of arts at C-mine in Belgium. The project inquire, as well , in online and offline formats , so who knows where are we gonna remediate Trueque again.

As I am living in Mexico city, I have designed this paper prototype and proof on concept, Both project were played at different moments, several times with people in a coffee shop close to my place here ( “El cafe” ) This too place between the 20 of March and 15 of April 2020

There are some questions that have been around my mind, at the time I was designing this experience. Those were not meant to be answered perse, rather they are guide questions for participants and readers to keep mind

  • What is a human and not a human agent ?
  • Do human and non-humans share the same ontological value ?
  • What do we, as community, value when we have to trades different kind of agency ?
  • What would be the most fair way to exchange humans and non-humans agents?
  • What is our relationship with the other objects?

Participants and duration:
The experience last as along the artifacts (posters and boards) are displayed,
Everybody is welcome to participate as many times they wish.

INSTRUCTION (First iteration, paper prototype):

  1. All participants write down or draw a human or nonhuman agent in five blank card. One agent per card. This could be a biological agent, (Ex. an ant), a process ( Ex. kissing strangers in the street ) or an artifact ( Ex.a cellphone )
  2. Drop all the cards in the box of existence and shuffle the cards
  3. Take nine cards randomly and display those on the Trueque board
  4. One participant, Take one card from the box 
  5. Exchange this card with one the cards that are already displayed in the Trueque board. The exchange should be based on one attribute that both objects share. For example, you can exchange the Caribbean sea, for meant ice cream, both of them are turquoise;  or you can exchange your best lover for a piece of meat.
    Participant can also add attributes to those objects when this is not explicitly written down on the card or it doesn’t contradict the natural state of those objects.  For example: All sunflowers are yellow (this is a natural state) but not all the roses are roses. I will exchange the card label rose for my best lover named Rose. 
  6. If you add an attribute to those agents,  You should write it down in the back of the card. From now on, this value (attribute) should be considered for future exchanges. The name of my best lover card will be Rose.  She will never be Rita
  7. Write your exchange and why you did that exchange: Vinicius /  sonora lithium desert  for a cell phone battery . 
  8. Next participant inherit the previous card.

This paper prototype was played between 3 participants. We modify it around 3 times with small variants on the rules set. For example, I noticed that the game flow was improved by inheriting the last card picked by the last player. Therefore participant in turn cannot have a full control on what is the next move
Also I realize that this is a storytelling game like , so when you play it between people at the same time, it creates a sort feeling of community. People start to introduce elements from their personal life or they start to co-create fantastic stories between them.

One of the main concern was when to stop.

The board can be extended , but I think is better to keep it smaller and simple. Maybe when there are more participants would be interesting to extend the board.
Frontside

Back side:
A mi mejor amigo se le murio un hijo [the son of my best friend dies] | El viento le recuerda la muerte [the wind remebers him death]| ese dia aparecio saturno[ that day Saturn appeared ] | origina el mito del ojo [and it originates the eye myth]| Da forma un globo aeroestatico [ it forms like an aerostatic balloon ]

INSTRUCTION (Second iteration, game installation):

  1. Take one agent (card) randomly from the box
  2. Exchange your agent for another in the Trueque board. The exchange should be based on one attribute that both agents share. For example, you can exchange the Caribbean sea, for meant ice cream, both of them are turquoise; or you can exchange your best lover for a piece of meat.
    Note. Once an object is set with an attribute, it is set for future exchanges. Now we know the Caribbean sea is not green, it is turquoise and your lover is not a plastic doll or a dildo.
  3. Write down on the blank side of both cards, the attributes that link both objects . Link stories.
    For example. The caribean sea is turquoise *(other card) Such a delicious ice cream , it remember me the color of the sea of my childhood in Cuba
  4. Place the new agent in the board
  5. Put the other in the box,
  6. Exchange this card with one the cards that are already displayed in the Trueque board.
  7. Comeback soon and check how your story evolve.

For this edition We include abstract symbols or drawings, such as “” no equal or “∴” therefore , a black square or the typographical characters as a single “A” .
Do people will return to see how their stories evolves ? will they feel curious about who else intervene their stories ? would they be interested to meet some other players ?

By the moment I am waiting to see how does this project evolves. I will leave the installation for a week . I hope to get soon more result of this project

Mapas Oniricos in Viral for Salutches

Oniric Maps (Mapas Oníricos) is a workshop that explores dreams through digital narratives by using UX prototype techniques and tools to do it.  The project fosters the remediation of written language within the networked and programmable media, by remembering, deconstructing,  rearranging and symbolizing dreams experiences. 

For this edition, we evoke the spirit of the Mexican mini wrestler Espectrito from the underworld. During this brief workshop, Espectrito  showed us basic syntax of Twine, a fantastic tool to deploy interactive fiction. Also,  he proposed a technique to explore our oniric experiences


Espectro has been a popular wrestler mask since the early 50’s in Mexico.  Many wrestlers have been using this mask since then, such as Espectro de ultratumba, Espectrito or Espectro Jr, Mono verde and many others.  The story of this mask is attached to the birth and development of Lucha libre in the mexican media realm and to the evil misfortunes of their users.
For this workshop, the story starts when my best friend of my childhood (MIcho) appears in Ghent with a gift on his hands, a mask.  Since then, I have been exploring this mask every time I performs this workshop. First,  it was a manner to disconnect my own persona from the public. But as the time has passed, it has become a way to reconnect with my own symbols and friends.

Honestly I was nervous about condensing this workshop. It usually take me between 12 and 8 hours to give it . Viral brief workshops as a format means to deploy an interactive workshop under the condition of time, 50 minutes. At the end this workshop experience took me 15 minutes more to facilitate it.

Sure I can optimize some part of the workshop with out loosing this “social” feeling of co creating together , spontaneous events and gestures from everybody. For example, I lost time in advising participants to modify their name.

Also, a participant, Debora ( from Re:anima), suggested to send a 5 minutes video of Twine syntax before. So the participants can focus more on the practice during the workshop. Both cases my mistake and this suggestions should be part part of the communication plan within the first email

During the workshop, Steven Malliet, ask me for a depository to save the html files. I forgot it, but still I could react in time during the performance and I create one. That was so cool!

One of my fears was that the character of espectro became bigger than the content. Fortunately it didn’t happen. Something funny, besides that participants knew espectrito would arrive, based on their faces I think they didn’t expected the entrance. This was dissolved in the discourse, it was fantastic. 24 hr before I was not sure how to make this transition. But I got a tremendous good advice from Maylo Colmenares and Mayra Cebreros. Maylo started a street theater company in the 60s , named Los nakos full of counter culture ideas. This evolve in a music theater group since those days.

He told me Theather is to play. Stay in front of the camera and just play . Practice, but play with your self. Get fun ! He was right. I found the transition to change my character just by playing 12 hours before the opening. My main concern was how can I make a transition in a way that is smooth and natural. So I decided to refused my self and create a new story. I apologized at the begging of the workshop and said espectrito would not come because I lost the mask . And I focus in trying to place the people in the right place and mood, so I asked them to close their eyes and breath deeply to feel their heart beat. Then at certain point, I stood up and came back as espectrito .

I am so happy and glad with the results of the workshop . I guess this is the best Edition in a production perspective. We did a lot a brief time (15 min) maybe .

please take a look here

I am already thinking in the next workshop, and continuing exploring this mask. I like that espectrito but I am not interested to keep it pure as the popular icon that means in my home coutry . Instead I am interesting in my relation with the mask

Mapas Oníricos at KASK

This lecture aims to be an introduction to electronic literature practices. During the lecture and workshop, We construct e-lit concept by regarding the cultural context from historical examples coming from the book history, print literature and visual arts Also We review and analyze artworks coming, mostly, from the e-lit collections (I,2,3)
Mapas Oniricos (Oniric Maps) is a workshop that explore dreams thought digital narratives using UX wireframing technique and Twine tool to do it.
This session of Oniric Maps was developed by the obscure and probably sinister character of “Espectrito” . 😉

Presentation |PDF

Twine Workshop booklet |PDF

Thanks Pieter Bloome and my KASK classmates , for this great experience and invitation. My special gratitude to Scott Rettberg for his attentions and for sharing his book “Electronic literature” A lot of this class was based on his book. And sure , thanks Nick Montfort for sharing his time .