A New, Complex World

It is important to note a shift that has taken place in the evolution of sport media, which reflects a corresponding shift from a Baudrillardian second order of simulacra (production) to a third order of simulacra (simulation). Only a short time ago television was the driving force behind sport videogame innovation, which led to the introduction in videogames of play-by-play and colour commentary, multiple camera angles in a 3-D game field, instant replay, and picture-in-picture showing runners on base.

Recently, however, videogames have begun to surpass television and are now the driving force behind sport media innovation. The simulation capacity of videogames has led, for example, to the 1st & 10 line in football, a virtual line "painted" on the field to show how far the offensive team needs to go for a first down.

The 1st & 10 line: a high-tech entertainment technology that has won two Emmy Awards, and which is born of higher-tech U.S. defence technology. This reminds one of the military C3I that Donna Haraway refers to in her Cyborg Manifesto: command, control, communications and intelligence. Which reminds one that the cyborg is semiurgic in nature, ie. of code.

Cyborg replication is uncoupled from organic reproduction. Modern production seems like a dream of cyborg colonization work, a dream that makes the nightmare of Taylorism seem idyllic. And modern war is a cyborg orgy, coded by C3I, command-control-communication-intelligence, an $84 billion item in 1984's US defence budget. I am making an argument for the cyborg as a fiction mapping our social and bodily reality and as an imaginative resource suggesting some very fruitful couplings.

We may thus reconsider the old military-industrial complex as the new military-communications-entertainment complex — that is, a military-post-industrial complex of warfare technology that may also be leveraged in the production and consumption of hyperreal spectacles.

Continues Haraway: "Michel Foucault's biopolitics is a flaccid premonition of cyborg politics, a very open field."

Creating The Hyperreal

ESPN.com elaborates on the process behind the new Ali vs. Ali commercial by adidas:

"We had to remove the people who were already in the frame," says Fred Raimondi, visual effects supervisor for Digital Domain, and chief tech wizard on last year's dazzling "23 vs. 39" Michael Jordan Gatorade ads. "In the original footage of the opening of the Williams fight, for example, the referee and the opponent's entourage were in the center of the ring."

Layering various angles and images, and digitally producing canvas, ropes, and members of the ringside audience, Raimondi's team painstakingly erased the extras crowding up the screen.

Next came new live-action sequences of Laila climbing through the ropes and shrugging off her robe. The costumes are borrowed from Will Smith's "Ali." The cameras in reporters' hands are vintage.

"That's the most challenging thing," Bullock says. "To get the authentic footage to match the new footage; to make it seem as though the two places are one."

ren?der (tr.v.)

  1. To submit or present, as for consideration, approval, or payment: render a bill.
  2. Computer Science. To convert (graphics) from a file into visual form, as on a video display.
  3. To reduce, convert, or melt down (fat) by heating.

[Middle English rendren, from Old French rendre, to give back, from Vulgar Latin *rendere, alteration of Latin reddere. ... etc.]

Source: The American Heritage? Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Copyright ? 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

A Hitting Machine

An ESPN.com update on Barry Bonds as he reports to training camp with the shadow of BALCO Labs looming over his head:

While the Giants have indicated they will be better about enforcing a two-year-old directive by the commissioner's office that limits who can enter the clubhouse, Bonds thinks his other trainer, Harvey Shields, will still be there. Shields stretches out Bonds before games.

"I believe Harvey will always be with me," Bonds said. "That's stretching. I have to get ready for games. People have to realize our body is our machine."

You Make The Call

I ask myself: Is the Iron Curtain of Hyperreality the same thing as the Chrysalis Digitalis?

AstroTurf: RIP

Artificial turf: an innovation that changed the face of professional sport by further divorcing our sporting selves from nature. AstroTurf, the first artificial playing field surface, was created in 1966, when it was used to carpet the Astrodome, inspiring the AstroTurf brand name.

AstroTurf-maker Southwest Recreational Industries Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection and is going out of business. SRI, which entered into the artificial turf business in 1989, initially bought AstroTurf Industries Inc. from St. Louis-based Balsam Corp., when it had filed for bankruptcy in 1994.

The irony? Long after the companies themselves become extinct, the artificial fields they have spawned live on to remind us of their existence.