Gordon Moore, a co-founder of intel, stated in the 1990s that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years, and the cost of computers is halved. That was based on an observation he made on the rate of the industry. Then it turned into more like 18 months. That's fast, the fastest revolution the world has ever seen.
You can read a modern MIT Technology Review here, explaining the current state/potential futures of computing.
The results of this development is that consumers have felt comfortable enough to invest in extremely powerful components, either for their work or their entertainment.
You may have heard of Folding@Home, which employs 'citizen scientists' to run simulations of protein dynamics. This just means that a program runs on your computer and uses your GPU(Graphics Processing Unit), which is largely under-utilised in common applications apart from editing software or gaming.
it seems to me that this incredibly fast, powerful culture exists in an introspective and isolated place.
I started to look at the speedrunning community, because I often think about speedrunners when considering the idea of online-isolation. But the speedrunning community has developed into a tight-knit crowd, with a dedicated network of players and watchers. So even if they're stuck at home, they're livestreaming to a group of friends and peers all the time.
Some of the most passionate runners attend GDQ, a bi-annual organised livestreaming event, raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.
I feel like I could write an essay on speedrunners as futurist glitch-fuelled flaneurs, and their persistent desire to get on the leaderboard, maybe I could liken that to some sort of rat race we're all a part of, and how speed is a requirement for modern life. I'd call them traceurs, and imply that they are evidence of our cultural revolutions.
Originally this article was going to be about ego & inner confidence and how that affects creative expression, but the net derailed me.
I want to share this speedrunning video with you. It's Ryan Lockwood running Golden Eye 007 for the N64, a game that came out in 1997.
Streets Agent 1:12 [subtitles]
Ryan Lockwood- Uploaded by Trenthovis
You can be free when you're online. You get to construct your own appearance or personality, and you get to do whatever you like.
I gave the formal writing thing a go, it's fun isn't it, and I just get to stop when I feel like i'm trying too hard. But you can just put links in to other peoples writing, it's all free like I dont have to pay for it at all.
This freedom is what attracted me to virtual environments in the first place. Everyone I meet online has this interesting way about them, like they were coming online and trying to be the realest version of themselves.
Virtual reality is just increasingly more tangible and more impactful too. nowadays you get to have those screens right in front of your eyeballs. Then hopefully, or inevitably, part of the veil falls away.
You can find therapy online, you can find expression, you can carve out a little portal for yourself. it can be really beautiful. there's ego and inner confidence, personality, constructs & systems, but those things just protect you... its like a utopia on here.
Here is a link to a pdf of my writings about hosting the gallery in VRChat
Make sure to look at 'Thumb', a net exhibition concerning virtual scale & drawing, which opens on the 1st of May.
If you want articles/essays about players, and art in virtual environments:
"Virtual Worlds: Why People Play" by Richard Bartle
"Promises of the Virtual Museum" by Jas Brooks
Most importantly, "Circumventing The White Cube", published by anti-materia, written by Wade Wallerstein
Return of the Obra Dinn by Lucas Pope
VRChat by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey