Minggu, 18 September 2005

Possibilities


I have been very busy recently, helping out the ArtLAB with an excellent initiative of theirs, a conference about New Approaches to Landscape (it took place yesterday here in Lisbon at the Superior Institute of Agronomy). It was very inspiring, I learned a lot and will write some more about it soon, but first I have some material that got delayed because of all the activity. For starters, a web project about alternative lives. The possibility of having other lives is so tempting , and for anyone spending some time in the virtual realm it is so close to reality, that it seems almost natural to re-write one's life in a "what if" narrative. Surprisingly though, we rarely go through with it, we rarely actually dare to imagine what ways our lives could have gone, and think it out till its ultimate consequences (those latter being altogether quite similar in all cases). The whatif project by Craig Robinson is one project that went all the way. In it, you can follow the author's (the politically correct version: "his alter ego's") life through all its possible events, with their often surprizing consequences. Wandering through these possible lives, I remembered the contemporary philosophical discussion about "possible worlds" (Saul Kripke is one of the main actors in this discussion), a very "fun" concept for a very un-fun environment that analytical philosophy can be. The question often asked is: "what do we talk of when we talk about possible worlds?" To put it in another way: how real are they and what's the use of talking about them? We could say they're useless inventions. But take a look around Robinson's possible worlds. Surprizingly enough - they tell us a lot about his actual world, the possible choices, events - and outcomes - all fit snuggly in one universe. You might accuse this universe of being too light-hearted and smartass-funny (I suppose I would agree with you), but nonetheless you do get a clear picture of who Craig Robinson would like to be, thinks he could be, thinks he could have been, thinks who he thinks he is not, and all the other possible options - that could well tell you a good bit about who Craig Robinson is.

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