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Spooky Design: William Gibson, Virtual Reality, and a Giant Squid

Spooky Design: William Gibson, Virtual Reality, and a Giant Squid

So I picked up the paperback of William Gibson's latest novel, Spook Country, at the airport on the way to Vegas for Infocomm. I haven't read anything of his since Neuromancer, back when that was all the rage. To be honest, that groundbreaking book didn't do much for me except give me a headache, but I'm sure I was as behind the times as the book was ahead of it. I'm finding the new one a little easier to grasp so far (I'm currently only about 100 pages into it). It's discussing the utilization of GPS, VR, and other technologies to create "locative" art; one installation is a virtual recreation of River Phoenix's death scene outside the Viper Club (sooo LA), while another one is a giant squid floating over a Japanese department store with a constant flood of video imagery passing over its surface.


Of course, you gotta wear goggles to view this stuff in the book, though, this being William Gibson, it suggests that someday we'll all be wired to view such site-specific stuff automatically, without all the accessories. But what struck me about it, particularly the latter project, was the fact that there are projection designers already doing this kind of work, maybe not site specific, but certainly in the context of another project, be it onstage or in an architectural setting.

So the question is, are projection designers so far ahead of the curve they're anticipating Gibson? Or does Gibson just not get to the theatre very often?

Assuming there are a healthy number of cybergeeks out in our world, I'd love to hear any feedback on this latest novel, and if you think there are parallels to the world of entertainment technology. But please, no spoilers, I gotta lot left to read.

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