Game Tickets

barcode

Upon arriving at the Raptors-Knicks game the other night, Linds and I show our tickets at the front gate, the usher scans the bar code on the ticket with a handheld device and we are permitted to pass through the gate and enter the arena environment.

What does this accomplish?

As noted already, the predominant characteristic of the modern stadium environment is its enclosure. This poses a problem for the spectator-fans as they attempt to flow en masse from one space to another — that is, flowing through the barriers that enclose a carceral environment. In the past, gate ushers could pursue one of two strategies to meet the demand of this flow:

The first option was to carefully peruse each ticket and either risk huge lineups or else incur the economic costs of more ushers, more open gates, and therefore less "enclosability". The alternative was to maintain a higher rate of flow at the risk of increased counterfeit or illegitimate entry.

Downloading this responsibility to the bar code scanner and enterprise ticket management platform allows for net wins on both fronts, however. A high flow rate, so necessary to an entertainment/leisure business, is maintained, yet the database can check for fakes as well. Most importantly, the security of the carceral space is left intact.

It also essentially renders the gate usher an automaton. Though more "entertaining" or "family-friendly" than automatic gate machines at parking garages, the similarities are striking nonetheless.

The enterprise-wide ticket management system also allows for further wins that are flow-related, in this case the flows of information. We know precisely how many people attended the game, which seats they sat in, how much each of those seats cost, whether it was a season ticket or single-game purchase, etc. We could track all of this information before, albeit after the fact; now we know it instantaneously.

Finally, the ticket serves an archival function, in duplicate: on one hand, as promotional item in the archives of the subject's memory box, and on the other, as a code to the database that objectifies the fan's attendance in the archives of a computer's electronic memory box.

A Strengthened Sport Media Power

The latest I3 manufacturing news, from ESPN.com:

On Monday, ESPN and EA announced a 15-year integrated marketing agreement that will allow for all of EA's sports franchises to have access to the network's programming and personalities.

. . .

"Our mission is to be in a place that is central to our fans, wherever they are watching, reading or logging on," said John Skipper, ESPN's executive vice president of advertising sales, new media and consumer products. "Video games has become the new medium and we felt that it was crucial for us to be there in the biggest way possible."

The TV Arc of Muhammad Ali

Three television appearances, seemingly chosen at random, trace the arc of Muhammad Ali's career outside the ring:

1967: Appears in an interview with Howard Cosell. Ali, who had changed his name from Cassius Clay upon joining the Nation of Islam, refused to serve in the American army during the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector. He was stripped of his championship belt and his license to box and sentenced to five years in prison.

1996: Lights Olympic Torch. A broken and trembling Ali provides the inimitable televisual moment for the International Olympic Committee's archives when he lights the torch at the opening ceremonies of the centennial Games in Atlanta. The Games would provide Vietnam's first visit to the United States as an Olympic delegation after boycotting the 1984 Los Angeles Games (they had 6 competing athletes and no medals).

2004: VirtuAli appears in adidas commercial. With the magic of CGI, a commercial spot for adidas' Impossible is Nothing ad campaign features Ali's virtual appearance fighting against daughter Laila in an adidas commercial. At this time, Vietnam is a strategic location for the company, "where there is a concentration of factories manufacturing adidas-Salomon product."

Is this the price of globalization?

Linky

ESPN.com: Names on team jerseys

Scotsman.com: Robots will win World Cup by 2050?

Wired: "Exergaming" hot at electronics show

The Closed Loop

Virilio, Open Sky, p.61 (emphasis his, links mine):

Whether we like it or not, races are always eliminative, not only for the competitors engaged in the competition, but also for the environment underlying their efforts. Whence the invention of an artificial arena, of a 'stage' on which to practise the exploit of extreme speed: stadium, hippodrome or autodrome. Such an instrumentalization of space signalling a tailoring, not only of the body of the athlete, trained to exceed its own limits, or the bodies of the racehorses in our stables, but also of the geometry of the environment supporting such motor performances: the closed-circuit connection of all those vast sporting amenities heralding the closed-loop connection, the final looping and locking up of a world that has become orbital, not only in terms of circumterrestrial satellites on the beat, but of the entire array of telecommunications tools as well.

Does Virilio's closed loop still hold true at the cusp between the transmission and transplantation eras? Deleuze might suggest not.

Perhaps we can say instead that the stadium offers the carceral space in which transmission and transplantation become one, before allowing the subject out into a more fluid space. Or maybe that's what Virilio is saying himself … ?

Soccer and the Romanticization of Globalization

In the latest "Impossible Is Nothing" ad spot for adidas, we see a young boy of some generically Latin descent getting chastised by an older neighbourhood man for apparently being a nuisance as he collects plastic bags from dumpster bins and flows of blowing debris. Our interest is certainly piqued as we wonder why the lad is so resolute in his pursuit of all this trash. The spot comes to its sugary finale when the boy carefully ties all of the bags together to form a pretty decent soccer ball that he happily flicks up over his head with the back of his foot.

While adidas' message of the promise that sport holds is certainly an important one, it must be tempered by the ironic and depthless romanticism in the ad that blinds us to the economic conditions that lead one to create a "real" ball from plastic bags in the first place (Gatorade is equally complicit in a recent spot that celebrates a young [black] boy [read:"from the hood"] who uses a shopping cart as a basketball hoop).

Perhaps I am guilty of an "anthropological gaze" in this case, which implicates the little boy as lacking the First World amenity of a "real" leather ball for play and thus trying to compensate for that lack.

Perhaps.

We must remember, though, that at the end of the day this boy is an actor in a television commercial produced by the American subsidiary of a German-based multinational, which is designed to sell more soccer boots to those consumers who romanticize such an anthropological gaze. It is the depthlessness of the globalization spectacle.

The irony lies is the fact that adidas themselves are moving past the use of "real" balls for soccer: "German ball manufacturer Adidas is to make a presentation to FIFA on Feb. 26, when a chip-laden ball will be used at a test match. If the trial is successful, the ball will be used in the Carling Cup final in Cardiff on Feb. 27."

I somehow doubt that our fictional Juan will find any wireless transmitter chips in the next dumpster he is diving through.