The Para-Real, Tactical Media & the Failure of European Tech Criticism

00:01:23,220Thank you very much.00:01:25,920

00:01:26,020Hello.00:01:26,920 00:01:27,020Can you hear me?00:01:27,520 00:01:27,620Hello?00:01:28,020 00:01:28,020Hello?00:01:29,620 00:01:29,720You're on mute~00:01:30,280 00:01:30,380I'm sorry!00:01:31,920 00:01:32,020OK, can you see my screen?00:01:33,180 00:01:33,280No!?00:01:33,880 00:01:33,980Hang on, let me try again.00:01:34,780 00:01:34,880I've got to quit!00:01:37,620 00:01:37,720OK.00:01:38,220 00:01:38,320Oh, great, you can hear me?00:01:39,460 00:01:39,560Now I can't hear you!00:01:40,520 00:01:40,620Hello?00:01:42,160 00:01:42,260Hello??00:01:43,420

00:01:48,360So I'm starting this talk today on three and a half hours00:01:53,700 00:01:53,800sleep.00:01:54,880 00:01:54,980I kind of just threw a lot of what00:01:56,440 00:01:56,500I had written out at the very last minute for this.00:01:59,100 00:01:59,200And I'm actually going to give a talk a little bit off the cuff.00:02:02,300

00:02:02,400You can see here my website, our website, New Design00:02:05,400 00:02:05,500Congress, where I've got an article that here and I sort00:02:12,520 00:02:12,620of worked on together about the Para-Real, which00:02:15,880 00:02:15,980we're going to talk about today.00:02:17,420 00:02:17,520But firstly, obviously, thank you, everybody, for being here00:02:21,820 00:02:21,920and the people on the livestream.00:02:23,160 00:02:23,260And we've got people on the New Design Congress Discord00:02:25,260 00:02:25,320also watching, so hello to everybody.00:02:29,180 00:02:29,280But yeah, I wanted to talk about tactical media.00:02:31,160 00:02:31,260But I think that there's like these kinds of, in a sense,00:02:35,020 00:02:35,120I come here today with a little bit of cynicism,00:02:36,820 00:02:36,920in a sense, a bit of impatience.00:02:40,200 00:02:40,300And I'd like to kind of reflect a little bit on that as to why.00:02:44,100

00:02:44,200But before I do, I'm going to basically go through and tie00:02:48,540 00:02:48,640some of these points to a series of videos00:02:50,440 00:02:50,540that I've got here today.00:02:51,780 00:02:51,880And it's going to jump around a little bit.00:02:53,540 00:02:53,600And it might not make a lot of narrative sense together.00:02:56,100 00:02:56,200But I hope, by the end, that there's00:02:57,460 00:02:57,560a series of provocations here.00:02:59,400

Cracking your egg with the girl filter at work

00:02:59,500TIKTOK AI NARRATOR VOICE: Trying the girl filter at work.00:03:02,340
00:03:02,440EMPLOYEE #1: What?00:03:04,300
00:03:04,400EMPLOYEE #2: Hey, what do you see?00:03:05,300
00:03:07,900EMPLOYEE #1: It's going to use a tune [face filter], though!00:03:10,380
00:03:10,480EMPLOYEE #2 I don't know if I had to take this off.00:03:12,880
00:03:12,980EMPLOYEE #1: Andrew, Andrew, come here, come here, come here.00:03:14,880
00:03:14,980Look, I need you to look at this.00:03:17,480 00:03:17,580Look.00:03:17,980 00:03:24,460This is who you're looking at.00:03:25,900 00:03:26,000This is going to be your new wife.00:03:27,200 00:03:27,300This is the female version of you!00:03:29,700
00:03:29,800ANDREW: Really?00:03:30,500 00:03:33,800Do you know, as a female, as a female, I look like I'm flippin... don't I?00:03:41,880 00:03:41,980As a male, I look - sorry - as a male, I look absolutely shit!00:03:47,280 00:03:47,380That's the female?00:03:48,280
00:03:48,380EMPLOYEE #1: Yeah!00:03:49,480 00:03:49,580You might have to change gender!00:03:51,780 00:03:52,700You might have to change gender!00:03:53,900
00:03:54,000ANDREW: I look happy.00:03:56,300
00:03:56,400TIKTOK AI NARRATOR VOICE: He couldn't get enough and even pissed himself off.00:03:59,100
00:04:06,440ANDREW: Do you know what, though?00:04:07,740 00:04:07,840I'd be - honestly - it's made me feel pissed off, really.00:04:12,680 00:04:12,780Not with you...00:04:14,680

00:04:14,780So this is a video that I think is a, it's obviously TikTok.00:04:19,780 00:04:19,880And there is a lot of problems with the TikTok filters00:04:22,700 00:04:22,800that feminize people.00:04:24,300 00:04:24,400But it is part of a broader and very well-documented concept00:04:28,000 00:04:28,100of the kind of concept of cracking one's egg,00:04:30,540 00:04:30,640the idea of entering an avatar or a presentation of oneself00:04:36,900 00:04:37,000in a different gender than the one that society sees you in00:04:40,740 00:04:40,840and kind of realizing that that's the case,00:04:43,040 00:04:43,140that there is something more here00:04:45,080 00:04:45,120and that there's the kind of articulation of gender00:04:49,360 00:04:49,460dysphoria that comes as part of that.00:04:52,220 00:04:52,320And full disclosure, I am cis.00:04:56,960 00:04:57,060There are people who, like some very dear friends of mine00:05:00,560 00:05:00,660who have gone through this experience.00:05:02,600 00:05:02,700And we've sort of talked about that as part of our work00:05:05,000 00:05:05,100at New Design Congress.00:05:07,240

00:05:07,340But what I wanted to do is kind of talk a little bit00:05:09,280 00:05:09,380about what this kind of means and what00:05:13,840 00:05:13,840we can learn from it and what we're not00:05:15,980 00:05:16,080doing as part of our work into interrogating infrastructures.00:05:19,820 00:05:19,920So a lot of what we do here is when the pandemic hit,00:05:25,160 00:05:25,260there was this opportunity for us to move into a space00:05:27,660 00:05:27,760where we were beginning to play with more interfaces that00:05:33,200 00:05:33,300were moved beyond the things that we had today,00:05:35,100 00:05:35,200these ideas of Zoom calls and the endless,00:05:38,000 00:05:38,100as I just demonstrated, struggle to hear each other00:05:41,840 00:05:41,940in this digitally flattened space[2].00:05:43,440 00:05:43,480And the kind of tick that emerged in my brain of this00:05:48,340 00:05:48,440was like the number of people who then started influencing00:05:51,620 00:05:51,720by creating YouTube how-to videos on how to look00:05:54,380 00:05:54,480at the best with your ugly webcam on a Zoom call00:05:57,560 00:05:57,660in March and April of 2020.00:06:00,720

00:06:00,820And yet at the same time, there was a whole lot00:06:03,620 00:06:03,720of other stuff going on that I think00:06:04,920 00:06:05,020we can kind of look at that's been missed,00:06:07,700 00:06:07,800but not missed by everybody.00:06:09,460 00:06:09,560And in order to kind of get a sense of that,00:06:11,260 00:06:11,280I'm going to move to another video.00:06:13,820 00:06:13,920And I'm going to take us back in time to 2012.00:06:17,400

The violent prototype of the Para-Real

00:06:37,980“Actually, it's about ethics and video games journalism,”[3]00:06:41,440 00:06:41,540the famous tagline of Gamergate[4], the place where this really00:06:45,780 00:06:45,800begins to kick off and where, I guess,00:06:48,200 00:06:48,300the foundational part of what becomes the para-real00:06:51,300 00:06:51,400is first seen at a systemic or at a sense of scale00:06:55,240 00:06:55,340that previously had not been seen.00:06:57,840

00:06:57,940Gamergate turned out to be, for those who weren't aware00:07:01,640 00:07:01,740of it, who have forgotten about it, and if you have,00:07:04,180 00:07:04,280that's amazing, congratulations.00:07:05,580 00:07:05,680And I'm sorry I'm going to spoil your day,00:07:07,520 00:07:07,620is in a moment in time in which the relatively00:07:11,320 00:07:11,360apolitical teenage youth of the early 2010s00:07:15,840 00:07:15,940was infiltrated by well-funded far-right provocateurs who[5]00:07:19,940 00:07:20,040used the immersiveness of video games and their social closeness00:07:24,180 00:07:24,280to each other to radicalize people and begin and birth00:07:28,420 00:07:28,520the next, oh, and groom, should I say,00:07:30,220 00:07:30,320the next wave of far-right conservatives and fascists.00:07:33,820

00:07:33,920It was extremely successful and also deeply horrendous00:07:37,220 00:07:37,220because it attacked a place that had previously00:07:41,300 00:07:41,400been a haven for queer people, video games and video game00:07:45,900 00:07:46,000development.00:07:47,200 00:07:47,300Even the kind of problematic parts of AAA titles00:07:52,080 00:07:52,180were no match for the fact that there were these spaces being00:07:55,040 00:07:55,140created and creativity in these spaces that was suddenly00:07:58,520 00:07:58,620under deep threat.00:07:59,320 00:07:59,320From that and looking at everything that came since,00:08:08,500 00:08:08,600we came with this idea of the para-real and essential00:08:13,100 00:08:13,200to the idea of the kind of strategy of what was done00:08:16,880 00:08:16,980with the far-right and with GamerGate,00:08:19,140 00:08:19,240with this idea of red-pilling[6], which you've probably heard of.00:08:22,280 00:08:22,380Once again, borrowed from a trans experience.00:08:25,820 00:08:25,920Red-pilling is this concept of revealing the world for what00:08:30,220 00:08:30,320it supposedly is and this idea, an enlightenment,00:08:33,260 00:08:33,360a dark enlightenment that introduces people to fascism00:08:37,100 00:08:37,200and to question the real world.00:08:39,240

00:08:39,340The para-real in our understanding,00:08:41,840 00:08:41,940and I'll get to this in a moment,00:08:43,140 00:08:43,240is an antidote about that.00:08:45,100 00:08:45,200So I'm going to switch here and read the opening sentences00:08:48,980 00:08:49,080from this manifesto that we produced as part of our work00:08:52,280 00:08:52,380with Cio Berlin in December last year.00:08:54,920

00:08:55,020Between the digital realm and our physical world00:08:57,460 00:08:57,560is a third space, hybrid, ephemeral,00:09:00,560 00:09:00,660and poorly understood.00:09:03,160 00:09:03,260You may have encountered it recently,00:09:04,620 00:09:04,720an uncanny or unreal sense of almost touching something00:09:08,360 00:09:08,460in a VR scene, an impossible fatigue during a Zoom call00:09:12,340 00:09:12,440that leaves you floating like a balloon full of lead,00:09:15,700 00:09:15,800or an eerie unease at the accuracy00:09:17,580 00:09:17,680of a targeted advertisement.00:09:19,740 00:09:19,840For decades, this in between, including in 2012,00:09:23,820 00:09:23,880this in between space has influenced00:09:25,920 00:09:26,020the digitized society unseen.00:09:28,020 00:09:28,120We call it the para-real, an emotional and transformative00:09:31,720 00:09:31,820state that emerges when the electronic and the real collide.00:09:34,920 00:09:35,020And just for a moment creates a space that can only00:09:38,200 00:09:38,300exist at the exact second where platforms and atoms00:09:41,560 00:09:41,660operate in absolute parallel.00:09:44,200 00:09:44,300Moving along, the para-real has been with us00:09:47,400 00:09:47,500since the earliest days of the personal computer00:09:49,980 00:09:50,080that we have not hitherto sought to examine00:09:52,280 00:09:52,340the para-real institutionally or systemically00:09:55,240 00:09:55,340as part of why we continue to struggle to grasp00:09:57,880 00:09:57,980the force of a digital affect or imagine better futures that00:10:00,980 00:10:01,080are tangible beyond speculation or beyond GitHub repositories.00:10:06,120 00:10:06,220The para-real itself is tied to the self00:10:08,720 00:10:08,820and it defies the cyberpunk claim of cyberspace00:10:12,120 00:10:12,220ascent from the material bounds of the embodiment and politic.00:10:16,300[7]

00:10:16,400If you want to read this, it's on,800 00:10:19,900But essentially, what we're talking about here00:10:21,900 00:10:21,960is unlike red-pilling, which is the act of radicalization00:10:26,520 00:10:26,620similar to what ISIS managed to pull off in the previous decade[8]00:10:31,060 00:10:31,160with teenagers suddenly taking up arms and traveling00:10:34,700 00:10:34,800around the world and creating a whole complex new form00:10:38,300 00:10:38,400of Islamophobia and racism as a result.00:10:42,680 00:10:42,780The para-real is the moment before that radicalization00:10:46,240 00:10:46,340in both of these contexts in the radicalization00:10:49,380 00:10:49,460of perpetrated by ISIS or the radicalization perpetrated00:10:55,000 00:10:55,100by Steve Bannon.00:10:57,140 00:10:57,240And it's in that moment that we can understand also00:11:00,140 00:11:00,240the antidote to that— 00:11:01,580

00:11:01,680One minute!? Are you kidding me?00:11:02,780 00:11:02,880Oh, my god, I'm on a soapbox.00:11:05,620 00:11:05,720I'm going to roll through this now.00:11:07,020

00:11:07,120OK, all right, so essentially, this00:11:11,420 00:11:11,520is an extremely important point, which00:11:13,420 00:11:13,520is that the para-real itself exists separate from this.00:11:17,460 00:11:17,480And it becomes a space in which we can start to open up00:11:21,580 00:11:21,680a permission and space in order to have this kind of reflection00:11:25,880 00:11:25,980that can then go in any direction.00:11:27,220 00:11:27,320When the parallel of the real world and the digital00:11:29,620 00:11:29,720come together, like as we saw here, the wheels start turning,00:11:35,160 00:11:35,260this is where the para-real begins.00:11:37,060 00:11:37,160Please indulge me with a little bit of extra time00:11:39,060 00:11:39,160because I'm just going to show a couple more things here.00:11:42,900

Designed in California, manufactured in China, surrended to in Europe

00:11:43,000So there was a couple more points.00:11:45,400 00:11:45,500One of the problems that we've had00:11:46,740 00:11:46,760and part of the reason why I threw this out00:11:48,760 00:11:48,860and started it fresh is because of this:00:11:51,360

00:11:51,460ADULT: So yo're playing Roblox?00:11:52,160
00:11:52,260YOUNG GIRL: Yeah, I'm playing Roblox.00:11:53,360
00:11:53,460ADULT: OK, explain to me what you're doing, though.00:11:55,560 00:11:55,660You're playing Roblox.00:11:56,460
00:11:56,560YOUNG GIRL: Yeah, I'm playing Roblox.00:11:58,160 00:11:58,260I'm taking money from yo—00:12:00,860
00:12:00,960ADULT: You're getting on the phone and then you're stealing money00:12:02,800 00:12:02,900from people?00:12:03,600
00:12:03,700YOUNG GIRL: Yeah.00:12:04,860
00:12:04,960ADULT: And you have this in your basement of your Roblox house?00:12:08,200
00:12:08,300YOUNG GIRL: Yeah, um, um, don't do that.00:12:13,700 00:12:13,740My intern, Katie, actually, was helping.00:12:18,780
00:12:18,880ADULT: She's your intern!?00:12:20,680 00:12:20,780You have a whole office in your basement00:12:22,580 00:12:22,680where you're scamming people!?00:12:23,920

00:12:28,020I love this video.00:12:29,760 00:12:29,860It is the most depressing example00:12:32,760 00:12:32,860of the inability to escape capitalism that I've ever seen.00:12:35,800 00:12:35,900And it is in this space that I find00:12:38,200 00:12:38,300the kind of disillusionment of our work on tactical media00:12:41,860 00:12:41,900because while we're busy having discussions00:12:44,640 00:12:44,740about the complexities of infrastructure itself,00:12:48,340 00:12:48,440our opponents are busy making things00:12:51,380 00:12:51,480that work or things that cognitively make so much sense00:12:54,940 00:12:55,040that a small child unsupervised can become00:12:58,520 00:12:58,620an international criminal mastermind in the real world.00:13:03,380

00:13:03,480And so I was going to say a whole bunch more00:13:05,760 00:13:05,860and then I saw that one minute thing.00:13:07,020 00:13:07,120Thank you.00:13:07,920 00:13:08,020I'm just devastated.00:13:09,360 00:13:09,360But I'm going to keep going a little bit longer00:13:11,800 00:13:11,900and I'm going to move to the kind of provocation of this,00:13:15,940 00:13:16,040of how we can escape this grip.00:13:18,400 00:13:18,500But before I do that, a simple observation.00:13:21,080

00:13:21,180Part of the reason why we're in this mess00:13:23,180 00:13:23,280is because of how we understand and articulate00:13:26,480 00:13:26,580our understanding, especially in Europe,00:13:28,380 00:13:28,480of emergence of digital trends and digital platforms.00:13:32,780 00:13:32,880And this is a systemic issue.00:13:34,460 00:13:34,560It's not something that's specific to this room00:13:36,360 00:13:36,460and it's not specific to any one project.00:13:38,420 00:13:38,580But we live in a space where we forget00:13:41,060 00:13:41,160that when we evaluate platforms, especially ones at scale,00:13:45,160 00:13:45,260we are evaluating the past.00:13:47,000 00:13:47,100Because the version of the platform and its algorithms00:13:49,560 00:13:49,660that we see are external builds.00:13:53,060 00:13:53,160They are the public facing build of something that internally00:13:56,040 00:13:56,140might be months or years ahead in terms of its feature00:13:59,200 00:13:59,300set that have yet to be unleashed on the public.00:14:01,600 00:14:01,700And thusly, our work is reactionary.00:14:03,740

00:14:03,840At the same time, our funders only00:14:07,440 00:14:07,540want to look at stuff and fund our work when00:14:11,700 00:14:11,800the subjects of our work reach critical mass.00:14:14,640 00:14:14,740And thusly, we have two problems.00:14:16,940 00:14:17,040One, we are dealing with the past.00:14:19,620 00:14:19,720And two, we are dealing with these systems00:14:23,120 00:14:23,220once they've become entrenched on the terms of their creators.00:14:26,580 00:14:26,680And this has been true for two or three decades now.00:14:31,020 00:14:31,120From the early operating system wars00:14:33,600 00:14:33,700perpetrated by Microsoft and Apple00:14:35,760 00:14:35,820through to the examinations that we have of TikTok00:14:39,520 00:14:39,620and the new Elon Musk powered Twitter toilet fiasco.00:14:45,700

The Para-Real as material hope

00:14:45,800So what do we do about this?00:14:47,300 00:14:47,400Thank you once again for letting me go a little bit further00:14:50,300 00:14:50,400on this.00:14:51,400 00:14:51,500I'm going to look at some of this.00:14:52,700 00:14:52,800I'm going to share some of this work00:14:54,240 00:14:54,340and a couple of positive threads to end on00:14:57,340 00:14:57,440so I don't sound too much like I'm angry.00:15:00,340 00:15:00,400I'm sorry.00:15:01,260

00:15:31,260So in 2021, New Design Congress began a detailed discovery00:15:57,700 00:15:57,800and research project entirely self-funded00:16:00,540[10] 00:16:00,560because, of course, hence the criticism of funders,00:16:04,360 00:16:04,460this work was left field and nobody00:16:07,860 00:16:07,960wanted to touch it until, of course,00:16:10,500 00:16:10,600the wonderful Barbara Cueto from C/O Berlin00:16:13,600 00:16:13,700arrived to support the work in 2022 along here.00:16:18,200 00:16:18,300And between these, this has been the start00:16:20,940 00:16:21,040of an amazing project.00:16:22,340 00:16:22,440I'm going to, through the framing of the Para-Real00:16:25,740 00:16:25,880and its ability to facilitate transformative moments in time00:16:32,060 00:16:32,160that have profound effects on people such as the realization00:16:36,560 00:16:36,660of gender dysphoria being a very, very visceral, real, life00:16:40,060 00:16:40,160changing example of this, going to quickly share00:16:43,500 00:16:43,600a couple of examples that can be used and accessed today00:16:47,500 00:16:47,600by anybody in this room who is interested in seeing00:16:50,940 00:16:50,940the kind of ways in which we can actually intervene00:16:55,520 00:16:55,620in our trajectory.00:16:57,220

Infrastructure ownership in para-real music culture

00:16:57,320The first one, it's actually mostly VR, but not all of it,00:17:00,420 00:17:00,520because this is all I've got for today,00:17:02,360 00:17:02,460but the first one is infrastructure.00:17:04,720 00:17:04,820We've talked a lot about streaming services00:17:06,620 00:17:06,720and I want to share a space that has emerged00:17:09,460 00:17:09,560that I am deeply respectful of and find absolutely amazing,00:17:13,040 00:17:13,140which is VRCDN[11].00:17:15,240

00:17:45,240A zero latency international audio and video live streaming00:17:53,640 00:17:53,740service built by the community of VRChat nightclubs00:17:57,880 00:17:57,980and operated for the community by the same people.00:18:02,880 00:18:02,980VRCDN is a technological masterpiece00:18:05,880 00:18:05,980that has remained relatively independent00:18:08,520 00:18:08,620despite increasing interest thanks to articles and vice00:18:11,920 00:18:11,980and other extractive media companies00:18:14,340 00:18:14,440at the emerging influence of underground virtual reality00:18:19,520 00:18:19,620nightclubs.00:18:20,980

00:18:21,080I'm going to show two more videos and then wrap.00:18:23,480 00:18:23,580Thank you very much for letting me go so disgustingly over time.00:18:28,220 00:18:28,320We talked about pandemic and hello, can you hear me?00:18:31,520 00:18:31,620Yes, you can hear me.00:18:32,860 00:18:32,960We talked about the pandemic and the miserable lives00:18:35,360 00:18:35,460that we had.00:18:36,360 00:18:36,460Does anybody here remember anything00:18:38,260 00:18:38,360that they went to in 2020?00:18:40,200 00:18:40,220Any conference, anything at all?00:18:41,720 00:18:41,820Has anyone gone back and watched anything from 2020?00:18:44,120 00:18:44,220I'm not value judging the work.00:18:46,220 00:18:46,320I'm sure a lot of great things happened in 2020,00:18:48,860 00:18:48,960but it was Zoom destroyed us in that year.00:18:53,060 00:18:53,160It was the worst possible way of interacting with each other.00:18:56,300

Furry economic subcultures as solidarity in austerity

00:18:56,400Meanwhile, the furries took their previously offline spaces00:19:01,600 00:19:01,700where people transact, where people were surviving00:19:04,440 00:19:04,540by commissioning each other to make art in real life00:19:06,940 00:19:07,040previously, and now we're supporting each other00:19:09,140 00:19:09,160to stay afloat and not go into poverty during the pandemic.00:19:11,960 00:19:12,060And they took their worlds and totally digitized them.00:19:15,900

00:19:16,000Distance won't keep you and your friends apart.00:19:19,940 00:19:20,040From this point forward, you won't00:19:22,140 00:19:22,240have to be alone at home anymore.00:19:25,700 00:19:25,800From the comfort of your living room,00:19:27,840 00:19:27,940virtual furrence is bringing the con to you.00:19:32,100 00:19:32,200Ever wanted to go to a convention that never ends?00:19:36,300 00:19:36,400Want to meet new friends?00:19:38,700 00:19:38,840Or maybe you want the whole hotel to yourself...00:19:41,680*[12]

00:19:44,380So the idea here is that a major European furry convention00:19:50,160 00:19:50,260took the Astral Hotel in Berlin and built a one-to-one replica00:19:54,160 00:19:54,260of it inside virtual reality and then moved00:19:57,360 00:19:57,460their entire infrastructure inside it.00:19:59,700 00:19:59,800While we were busy trying to figure out what to do,00:20:02,160 00:20:02,260these kinds of spaces started to emerge.00:20:05,400 00:20:05,500And what they were able to do, for example,00:20:07,900 00:20:07,900was charge money to have people come to these events that00:20:13,140 00:20:13,240had skill shares, had ways in which people could learn how00:20:16,680 00:20:16,780to become voice actors or freelancers or navigate taxes00:20:20,580 00:20:20,680or mix audio or build video games,00:20:23,280 00:20:23,380and they would stream these on Twitch00:20:25,320 00:20:25,420for people who didn't have VR headsets00:20:27,420 00:20:27,520or who couldn't afford to go to the event.00:20:30,000[13] 00:20:30,100But this event, the one I'm showing you now, Furality,00:20:32,400 00:20:32,500this is the first one of it, they didn't release their figures,00:20:36,860 00:20:36,900but they had a $15,000 set of donations, I believe,00:20:41,560 00:20:41,660to the charity, the animal charity,00:20:43,340 00:20:43,440that was part of the ticket.00:20:44,940 00:20:45,040$15,000 US dollars worth of donations00:20:47,900 00:20:48,000went to the charity, which was only00:20:49,300 00:20:49,400possible through ticket sales.00:20:51,200 00:20:51,300So while we're busy not paying money to go to Zoom calls,00:20:54,680 00:20:54,780and in many cases just blowing off Zoom conferences00:20:57,080 00:20:57,180because we were sick of being on Zoom for six hours,00:20:59,820 00:20:59,920these were real people building real economic solidarity00:21:02,980 00:21:03,080together.00:21:04,080

The playful collective resistance to exploitation

00:21:04,180And when you bring this all together,00:21:05,260 00:21:05,260I'm going to show you one more thing.00:21:06,720 00:21:06,820And I love this very much because, to me,00:21:08,820 00:21:08,920this is the antidote to things like the mythologizing00:21:12,000 00:21:12,100of ChatGPT, Crypto/NFT stuff, which, again, the furries00:21:17,160 00:21:17,260have completely rejected amongst[14] other groups00:21:20,200 00:21:20,300of creative industries, but also have rejected the art as 00:21:25,080 00:21:25,180Stable Diffusion and things like that,00:21:27,880 00:21:27,980banished them from the community.00:21:29,240[15]

00:21:29,340At a time when we're concerned about the synthesis of video,00:21:32,320 00:21:32,620this music video, where they took a song00:21:35,280 00:21:35,380from an independent artist and built a music video,00:21:38,480 00:21:38,580is 20 or 30 people together in real time00:21:43,120 00:21:43,220across the world building and performing00:21:46,560 00:21:46,660using VRCDN, a music video in the same way00:21:50,500 00:21:50,600as you might with a real production team.00:21:54,240[16] 00:21:54,340I'm not going to play the whole thing00:21:55,700 00:21:55,800because I'm not going to push my luck.00:21:57,400 00:21:57,500But I'm just going to play a few moments of it00:21:59,880 00:21:59,940so you get a sense of what's possible in the world00:22:02,640 00:22:02,740that a lot of us here do not have access to00:22:05,280 00:22:05,380and our funders are not aware of.00:22:07,580

00:22:07,680Thank you very much.00:22:08,740

  1. 2 December 2022

  2. Aesthetic Flattening 4 July 2021

  3. NEW LOGO FOR #GAMERGATE 26 October 2014

  4. How Gamergate Pioneered the Backlash Against Diversity
    Lauren McKeon, The Walrus
    11 September 2017 ↩︎

  5. How the far right borrowed its online moves from gamers
    Ina Fried, Axios
    20 October 2022 ↩︎

  6. Red Pill: The Structure of Contemporary Apocalypse
    Neal Curtis, Apocalyptica No.1
    2022 ↩︎

  7. The Para Real: A manifesto 10 December 2022

  8. Social Media Jihad 2.0: Inside ISIS’ Global Recruitment and Incitement Campaign
    New America
    18 January 2017 ↩︎

  9. 2022 ↩︎

  10. The Para-Real: Finding the future in unexpected places 2022-

  11. VRCDN
    A low-latency streaming CDN specially crafted for the needs for VR community and commonly used for immersive, grassroots VR club events ↩︎

  12. VirtualFurence Opening Trailer
    Eurofurence, VRChat
    August 2020 ↩︎

  13. Furality
    A virtuality reality furry convention founded during the COVID-19 pandemic
    2020- ↩︎

  14. “I can't believe it's come down to furries vs NFTs” “I can’t believe it's come down to furries vs NFTs”
    u/ConfusedBob, r/dankmemes
    22 January 2022 ↩︎

  15. Furry Fandom Site Bans All AI Art
    Samantha Cole, VICE Magazine
    13 September 2023 ↩︎

  16. Pi - Ginger Root (VRChat Music Video) 22 June 2022