Rolling The Bones With Adorno

PLSJ has introduced me to Roll_The_Bones, a blog of "Research, Reflections, and Speculation concerned with Risk, Play, and Chance", which features an excellent series entitled Theodor Adorno on Art and Play (Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII). A sample is included here:

Whereas all art sublimates practical elements, play in art ? by its neutralization of praxis ? becomes bound up specifically with its spell, the compulsion towards the ever-same, and in psychological dependence on the death instinct, interprets obedience as happiness. In art, play is from the outset disciplinary; it fulfills the taboo on expression that inheres in the ritual of imitation; when art exclusively plays, nothing remains of expression. Secretly, play is in complicity with fate, a plenipotentiary of the weight of the mythical, which art would like to throw off; the repressive aspect is obvious in such phrases as that of the rhythm of the blood, with which the formal playfulness of dance is so readily invoked. If games of chance are the opposite of art, as forms of play they nevertheless extend into art. The putative play drive has ever been fused with the primacy of blind collectivity. Only when play becomes away of it?s own terror, as in Beckett, does it in any way share in art?s power of reconciliation. Art that is totally without play is no more thinkable than if it were totally without repetition, yet art is nevertheless able to define the remainder of horror within itself as being negative (Adorno AT 317).


Teledildonics and accompanying commentary from Paul Virilio. Will modern sport also continue to experience this sort of "remoting"? Evidence at this point suggests the answer is yes.

Musculoskeletal-Neurological Fusion

Notes from last night's Monday Night Football tilt between Dallas and Washington:

The Model

In this modern incarnation of Cowboys versus Indians, Dallas is now 13-1 over the past seven years. Sounds about true to form.

Opening Credits

Welcome to the full American hyperreality of covering key demographics: Hank Williams crooning, a marching band, the Statue of Liberty, blacks drumming on plastic buckets, whites dancing hip-hop, fighter jets, cheerleaders, pyrotechnics, "authentic replica" football jerseys everywhere, a heavy-duty (made in America!) GMC truck, and a huge Stars and Stripes flag to round out the performance.

Making The Cut

Selecting a team of football players? B166ER isn't necessarily better (just ask OJ).


Speed in the running game allows a team to get out of the backfield to the perimeters and attack from the flanks.

Courtesy of the Washington Post


"Please put me on TV": Hogs celebrate their lipidinal identification.


Reminiscent of the wristwatch decoders that kids used to play with, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells sends in a numbered play, which quarterback Vinny Testaverde decodes on a wristband.


Star players in MNF games are immortalized on the "Horse Trailer".

Attempting to Extend Benjamin

A few notes as I attempt to expand upon Walter Benjamin's key essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". The following excerpt is Part VIII of that work:

The artistic performance of a stage actor is definitely presented to the public by the actor in person; that of the screen actor, however, is presented by a camera, with a twofold consequence. The camera that presents the performance of the film actor to the public need not respect the performance as an integral whole. Guided by the cameraman, the camera continually changes its position with respect to the performance. The sequence of positional views which the editor composes from the material supplied him constitutes the completed film. It comprises certain factors of movement which are in reality those of the camera, not to mention special camera angles, close-ups, etc. Hence, the performance of the actor is subjected to a series of optical tests. This is the first consequence of the fact that the actor's performance is presented by means of a camera. Also, the film actor lacks the opportunity of the stage actor to adjust to the audience during his performance, since he does not present his performance to the audience in person. This permits the audience to take the position of a critic, without experiencing any personal contact with the actor. The audience's identification with the actor is really an identification with the camera. Consequently the audience takes the position of the camera; its approach is that of testing. This is not the approach to which cult values may be exposed.

I think it is fair to say that in the age of videogames and other recombinant simulations, the equation changes somewhat.


Actor identifies directly with audience; he may modify or adjust performance to audience during show; the performance is consumed as it is acted out.


Actor responds directly to camera; cannot adjust performance in response to audience; camera need not respect performance as an integral whole; performance is consumed at some point in time after it is acted out.


Actor responds directly to camera, but camera isn't watching; motion capture, green screen and CGI capture points of light that allow for the creation of virtual stick figure components; these components, in conjunction with digital skin wrappings and voice clips, are featured in performances the actor may not have done before in places the actor may not have been before; camera becomes a physical extension or surrogate of the virtual cameras (camera ludica = omnipresent godvision) that exist within the game environment; director may still control these virtual cameras, though the actor does not control the virtual character that features as this particular drama unfolds; in some cases, the performance is consumed before it is acted out.

In this case, not only is the actor's performance not necessarily respected as a whole — but neither is the actor's body.

Some People Will Watch This …

You had to know this was coming: G4techTV will air virtual hockey. If anything will bring the labour unrest to an end quickly, it will be decent ratings for this show.

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 21, 2004 - The NHL lock out may have postponed the 2004-2005 season, but disappointed hockey fans can still watch the puck drop in more than 50 million U.S. and Canadian homes when the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the Philadelphia Flyers in the season opener of the video game NHL season on G4techTV. The hard-hitting action begins with highlights, scores and stats, airing daily on the network's sports program "Sweat," premiering October 13 at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT. G4techTV is the only 24-hour television network devoted to games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes.

From The WTF? Department …

Continuing to explore the link between sports and war and sports and alcohol:

LONDON, England (Reuters) — The creator of one of the world's most famous guns, the AK-47 assault rifle, has launched another weapon in Britain — Kalashnikov vodka.

Lt. Gen. Mikhail Kalashnikov, who invented the AK-47 after being shot by German soldiers during World War II, said Monday he wanted to continue "the good name" of his gun.