Meta-trixx - This is not a ritual
This project and research explores trickstery as a method, both visual and linguistic, as a valid form of artistic inquiry and posthuman movement through the all-encompassing simulation.
key words: radical embodiment, metaverse, simulation, second skin,
Post truth, deep-fake, simulation, Bertolini's law, politicised language, social justice scams, Tourins test, fake news, altered bodies, Boudrillard, treachery of images - this is not a pipe, gamified existence, plasticity & performativity of ritual practices.
Metatrixx Research Texts
Optical illusions in Metaverse embodiments
Second skin in fashion and the Metaverse - METATRIXX BODYMORPH INTERFACE
Posthuman marks the awakening of the Trixxster consciousness
EMBODIMENT PRACTICE - BODY in SYSTEMS - Reclaiming our agency like a Trixxster
Alan Watts: Joker / Dark Side lecture - notes
Optical illusions in Metaverse embodiments
Our bodies are instrumental the way we navigate our reality. Man is a bundle of sensations, using the five senses to verify whether something is real or not. The senses are easily tricked and enchanted, especially by natural forms, which Alan Watts (philosopher) calls games. Not trivial games, they’re important games, for the nature of all life is play - these game are divine wisdom.
Optical illusions were discovered by Protagorus and Epicharmus in 550bc. Protagorus said that a man is a bundle of sensations, and Epicharmus, disagreed and said that the senses are not important - it is instead the mind that sees and hears. Aristotle, around 350bc, said they are both correct and incorrect - that the senses are to be trusted but are easily fooled.
The Metaverse is a visual world that blends the physical and digital worlds. Still in its infancy, Metaverse’s visual construction is key to perceiving our bodies, making our inner experience so much more dependent on our aesthetic experience of our bodies.
It is a hyperreal world where models of reality dominate and reality itself has given way to simulations of the real, the eventual simulations of simulations have no anchor, nor interest, in the real whatsoever. Becoming hyper aware of how our reality is built on appearances and self-representation. Hyper reality is when the signs + symbols of the real have replaced the real, creating an artificial reality that consumers and users consider superior to real reality, when the signs and symbols of the real replace the real, when the copies replace the authentic.
Here, it is interesting to consider how embodiment relates to self-representation as an attribute of presence in virtual/digital space. Also, how embodiment also relates to the perceptual system that is reformulated or extended by technology, and finally, how it is articulated in semantic constructions built from the experience of the body, which tie representation to the expansion of these constructions arguably created for the purpose of collective consciousness, which can be further understood as part of human evolution.
At this embodiment turn, our senses are being tested and redefined, in hyper and synthetic and mixed realities where reality needs more than 5 senses to be verified.
Optical illusions are a phenomena of biological mimicry first, before they became a state of the art. Nabokov states that art and nature are both forms of magic, both games ‘of intricate enchantment and deception’. Art and nature are magical, in that they both have the ability to deceive, to enchant, to bewitch the senses: to make one thing seem like another. The process of enchantment or deception is very different, of course. In a leafy habitat, various environmental pressures (such as the prevalence of predators and the extent of their ability to sense prey) manipulate the heritable traits of a population, generation after generation, mutation after mutation, weeding out anything conspicuously un-leaflike until – abracadabra! – an insect projects a convincing illusion of a leaf. The mimic absorbs the visual qualities of the original into its own appearance; these qualities become visual similarities that the mimic and the original now share.
Optical illusions on bodies became a fashion trend as seen in both luxury and niche fashion brands. Optical illusion forces us to reinterpret our senses, and our sense of being in the world, but it also speaks on the collective sense of our bodies' silhouettes changing and morphing. We seen Gaultier Cyber collection from 1995 return to the runway, where they use geometrical illusions on skintight clothing, and also printing skin on outerwear garments; bodycon skin tight suits by Mugler; Sinead Gorey; GDCS; also contouring shapewear by Skims from Kim Kardashian and Lizzo; redefining activewear as leisure and even high fashion, to brands that sculpturally redefine human silhouettes, such as Awawaw, Windowsen, Schiaparelli.
Timeline: optical illusions in fashion
Optical illusions are discovered in 450 bc by Prootagorus and Epichaurmus
Animistic rituality - introduces us to clothing that is alive - gives one superpowers by mimicking animal or plant patterns
1500 on - invention of corsets
Victorian corsetry and large girdles
1950s - hourglass shape is popularised
1960s- nylon pantyhose to airbrush skin, invention of lycra and spandex
Azzedine Alaia - introduction of hourglass, skin tight and bodycon in fashion 1980s
JP Gaultier - Cyber Collection 1995 - bodycon optical illusions as prints
2022 Foundation wear, shapewear merges with athleisure, leisurewear and everyday wear; Metaverse Digital fashion - phygital CGI 3D environments
Wearing optical illusions derived from natural forms and patterns, is known in animist cultures as camouflage, and as biomimicry in design science.
Until early 2019, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London displayed the exhibition “Fashioned from Nature”, which highlights the relationship between humans, nature, and clothes. In the age of posthumanity, the way we can establish the new relationship with our body as metamorphic is learning from Sympathetic magic, or the Law of similarity: That mimicry and camouflage clothing with their optical illusions bring attunement and rejuvenation and superpowers. Animistic beliefs consider clothing as alive, and mimicry and camouflage as sacred acts. Witches used to achieve immortality through shapeshifting into other (animal, plant) forms by mimicking the visual and sonic language of the animal. Wearing a second skin bodycon suit with digital prints - and attuning to digitally transformed nature - this is how we rejuvenate the body mind soul in the Metaverse.
Using the Law of Similarity, and mimicry, there are no longer any distinctions between the real and the representational, between the living and the dead, or between the figure and the environment. All boundaries collapse; something dead may actually be alive, something alive may actually be dead, a plant may be an animal or an animal a plant, an image might be a thing or a thing an image, or all of it might be poised in the middle of changing into something else, caught in a teeming maelstrom, a chaotic flux of becoming.
Optical illusions make us question also what is truth and what role it plays in our coexistence. In the post-truth world, where Tourins test becomes necessary, it is wise to remember Bertolini's law on processing information and how fake truth emerges: If the text of each phrase requires a paragraph (to disprove), each paragraph - a section, each section - a chapter, and each chapter - a book, the whole text becomes effectively irrefutable and, therefore, acquires features of truthfulness. I define such truthfulness as transcendental.
Gestalt theory how humans typically gain meaningful perceptions from the chaotic stimuli around them, from an abundance of information that can be truth or not. They identified a set of laws which address the natural compulsion to find order in disorder. According to this, the mind “informs” what the eye sees by perceiving a series of individual elements as a whole. We are all rooted in bias, because our gaze is informed with our past experience.
Optical illusions can awaken the trixxster consciousness by shaking us out of the known into the unknown, so we can perceive the body anew and its superpowers too.
Second skin in fashion and the Metaverse
METATRIXX BODYMORPH INTERFACE
The Metatrixx project seeks a new relationship between posthuman and nature, by reclaiming the human silhouette as metamorphic in the visual landscapes of the Metaverse. With second skin designs & optical illusions we evoke our human animal instincts and animality while advocating for radical embodiment. We aim to call upon developing awareness for the body's ability to metamorphose and to heal through developing higher sensory sensitivity and connection with the collective intuition.
What is radical embodiment:
“'Radical embodiment' refers to an epistemology and anthropology fundamentally rooted in our bodies as always in correlation with our natural and social environments. All human rationality, meaning, and value arise not only instrumentally but also substantively from this embodiment in the world. Radical embodiment reacts against Enlightenment mind-body dualism, as well as its monistic offshoots, including the physicalism that reduces everything to component matter/energy at the expense of subjectivity and meaning. It also rejects certain forms of postmodernism that reinscribe modern dualisms. “
Clothes are the second skin on human bodies. By coming in contact with humans, clothes become a part of the body. Through the contact, clothes affect and enable human actions.
The world of big luxury fashion brands has been obsessing over altering and changing human silhouettes, contouring, altering, augmenting them. From second skin, to shapewear, foundation wear, and optical illusions to change the human silhouette. Inspired by synthetic realities, deep fake, post-truth, our bodies become subjects to be changed, enhanced, botched up, as we are witnessing how virtual / gaming reality can reinforce ideas about internal mental representations of the body.
The term second skin is used in gaming to describe the act of donning a virtual or simulation of the human form in a real or online space; in medicine for a medical-grade barrier or compression; it is a title of the movie about a multiplayer online game like Second Life; and is also a general a term for clothing. Second Skin is also the title of the book which speaks seriously about the invention of a modernist style and the theatricalization of black skin at the turn of the 20th century.
The emergence of second skin wear:
Stretch fabrics provide a second skin that can shift our perception of our bodies, enhance our athletic performance, even improve our health. From 1920s girdles to today’s lymphedema sleeves with a fashionable flair, stretch fabrics expand the ways we move through the world. Nylon, the first synthetic fibre with stretch, was created by a team at DuPont in 1938. It quickly replaced silk as the fashionable fibre for women’s stockings. When the stockings were introduced on May 16, 1940, “Nylon Day,” four million pairs sold out within two days. Following DuPont’s success with nylon, chemist Joe Shivers tried to create a synthetic rubber primarily for use in women’s foundation garments.
In 1959, Shivers invented spandex. The spandex in thread like this consists of two groups of molecules: one that expands to provide stretch, and one that is rigid to provide stability.
Like early women’s undergarments that made use of stretch fabrics, many “second skins” shape the exterior of our bodies. Stretch fabrics can be used to shape our bodies for fashion, health, and self-expression. DuPont introduced spandex into the market under the brand name “Lycra.” DuPont introduced spandex into the market under the brand name “Lycra.” While DuPont initially promoted girdles containing Lycra fibres (like the one depicted in this advertisement), by the 1960s, control top pantyhose had eclipsed them in popularity.
From professional athletes to young children, many people make use of stretch fabric to facilitate movement. Innovations in stretch allow us to move with comfort, unencumbered and flexible. Mid-century and modern swimsuits would be unrecognisable to Victorian women, who swam in knee-length wool bathing dresses and full bloomers. Contemporary bathing suits are made of synthetic materials to allow for a tighter fit and a greater range of motion.
The suits in this ad were made with Latex, an elastic yarn in which a natural fibre (like cotton or silk) is wound around a thread of latex, providing greater stretch to garments. It was registered as a trademark in the U.S. in 1931.
“I felt freedom, I felt empowerment, I felt like I owned the pool…” Lebanese-born Australian designer Aheda Zanetti described the feeling of swimming in the burkini (a portmanteau of bikini and burka) that she designed. This swimwear provides women whose religious beliefs ask them to wear modest clothing the chance to swim and wade comfortably in public settings. Modern full-coverage swimsuits also offer supercharged sun protection. This Coolibar hooded one-piece swimsuit for a small child is constructed with four-way stretch knit (polyester and spandex). The tightly woven fibres physically block sunlight, but they're also embedded with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for even greater protection against UV rays. This garment offers UPF 50+ coverage. Running does not require much more than a pair of sneakers and for some people, a supportive bra. In 1977, Lisa Lindahl made the first sports bra out of two jockstraps. Named the Jogbra, this bra featured a wide waistband, sturdy straps, and supportive cups.This 1986 advertisement depicts the Sportshape bra, the successor to the Jogbra, designed to appeal to women who wanted a traditionally-styled, yet supportive bra for sports. Scientists continue to innovate with stretch. Using new materials and new methods, researchers are developing cutting-edge wearable technology that can monitor, heal, support, and train our bodies.The Playskin Lift is an assistive garment for young infants with weakness or movement problems due to brachial plexus palsy, cerebral palsy, or various other forms of muscular dystrophy/atrophy.
This soft, comfortable, supportive stretch garment is designed to help strengthen arm muscles by providing light upward resistance. This prototype was completed in 2014 and can be custom made or even sewn at home, providing a low-cost physical therapy solution for families.
Stretch garments form a second skin that can help us create the body we want or need. Thanks to chemists, chemical engineers, fashion designers, and garment workers, innovations in stretchy second skins have changed the way we live in our bodies and interact with the world.
With second skin, we can make meta-humans - enhanced, optimised, healthy, athletic. Skin as the surface for representation, and what does that mean in the hyperreal world when clones become realer than real?
Posthuman: awakening of the Trixxster consciousness
A Posthuman is like a Trickster - sworn to non-adherence to a limited or fixed identity pattern opens one up to a fuller bandwidth of experience. Trickster plays a wide variety of contrasting roles in myths, to show our idea of integrity means always one sided attachment to the prevailing system. In 2022, our society is awakening into the role of a trickster, and celebrating villains - and understanding the side of the Joker: Lady gaga is playing the Joker in an upcoming musical, Hollywood began flipping known story plots and showing the reality of villains (Frozen, Joker), and recently the female character in Euphoria said: If showing emotions makes me a villain, so be it! We begin owning up to our multiplicities.
Trickster archetype was widely researched by Jung, and is synonymous with villain / hero duality in our subconscious, and awakening the role of the trixxster, or trixxster consciousness, means the ability to see our own biases, to see both sides, and to awaken to a fuller bandwidth of experience by entering the unknown.
What is a trickster?
Trickster as a shadow character, who evokes the collective shadow - of dualities, paradoxes, and breaking the one-sided attachment to the prevailing system, and humouring wishful/utopian thinking and anyone with a serious plan. There are four similar archetypes: the Fool, the Clown, the Jester and the Trickster.
Trickster dives into the unknown, the shadow, and shows us what we do not want to see, what we have disowned and denied about ourselves.
Trickster or a shapeshifter, carries a transcendent function, this is a ritual humourist, a divine character of immense intelligence, embodying an ambivalent duality, and uses riddles and tricks and illusions while operating outside of conscious and intellectual territory, transforming anxiety into laughter. It is a sacred clown, as his aim is rectification of imbalance, known in many myths and cultures. When our circumstances are very much out of balance, then the trickster takes excessive and opposite measures to correct them. Sometimes shock is what it takes to jolt us out of one-sided denial. One-sidedness breeds unconsciousness. The role of the sacred fool is to pierce deception, to wake us up to a fuller attentiveness.
The tricksters, or sacred clown’s essential message seems to be:
Take responsibility to be aware of opposites, of being both hero and villain.
Don’t be afraid to embrace either side consciously.
Respect the dialectic between seemingly contrasting extremes.
Stay with moments of emptiness and its accompanying anxiety. Something creative WILL come from it.
Above all, shape-shift and trans-form (go beyond set forms) by releasing overly fixed patterns as you play within and between the full bandwidth of opposites.
As Lisa Perfetti states, “Tricksters and pranksters are among the most common characters of Mediaeval comic literature”. Within this literature, women commonly assume the trickster trope, which has its roots in The Old Testament of the Bible. The archetype formed in response to the actions of Eve, who committed the first sin in eating the fruit of knowledge, and “convinced” Adam to do the same. When confronted by God, Adam recalls, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit from the tree, and I ate” (qtd. in Perfetti 633). Eve is shown as the reason for humanity’s downfall, deceptive and deceitful. Sarah S. Forth writes, “No one gets more bad press than the First Woman who is accused of getting herself and her partner kicked out of paradise and starting humankind on a downward spiral” (57). This portrayal deeply influences how Mediaeval society viewed the role of women as the Church was deeply embedded in their culture and guided their ways of life. It led to a cycle of distrust, preventing women from assuming powerful positions or gaining too much control over decisions for the family and community. People figured that women were ultimately going to make a choice that would contribute to the downfall of society, just as Eve committed the sin that “ruined” Paradise. This is explained in “Mediaeval Women,” “Mediaeval society would have been very traditional. Women had little or no role to play within the country at large. Within towns, society would have effectively dictated what jobs a woman could do and her role in a mediaeval village would have been to support her husband.The freedom of women was greatly limited. They were not allowed to marry without their parents’ consent, could own no business without special permission, and could not own property of any kind” (Trueman 1). If women had any of the above powers, it was determined that they would abuse them or make an unfavourable, uneducated decision. Since the church was the authority in society, men were expected to control all affairs in order to prevent women from committing any sins or leading to downfall and mayhem. People believed, “When women exercise power, they frequently are viewed as ‘manipulative, deceptive, illegitimate or unimportant. This accounts for the prominence in the Bible of female trickster figures . . .” (Forth 217). They considered that it would be in God’s favour to keep women out of all policies and powerful positions, as Eve was the one who originally disobeyed him. However, in Medieval literature, women were not always portrayed as being incompetent or ill-prepared. They were portrayed as tricksters who exhibited cunning qualities, but also, being true to the Eve role, tricked men and were extraordinarily deceptive.
Trickery is inherent in magic practices across continents - magic is illusory, mesmerising, healing. Not just magic, but games of trickery have the central importance in Zen philosophy; in rituality; in psychotherapy they use self-deception and hypnosis to trick patients out of old outdated patterns, and shamanism - which uses trickery to impress the patient for placebo effect - to leap into the unknown and shake out of stagnation.
Trickster is a master of mimicry - James Frazer, in The Golden Bough (1995), refers to as ‘sympathetic magic’ or the Law of Similarity: the belief that there is a deep connection or ‘secret sympathy’ between things that are alike, and that the image of a thing can therefore wield power or influence over the thing itself. Sympathetic magic takes numerous forms in the rituals, ceremonies, images and objects of different cultures across time and throughout human history. one believes at some level that the likeness of a thing holds some kind of connection to and power over the thing it represents.
Crazy visionaries as Jesus, the Sufi Poet Rumi, Buddha, Lao-Tse, Mahatma Gandhi travelled on a comedic course to enlightenment, representing the collective “Self” – that is the divine.
EMBODIMENT PRACTICE - BODY in SYSTEMS - Reclaiming our agency like a Trixxster
What is an embodiment practice?
An embodiment practice is a method of using our body as a tool to develop awareness, and access embodied information that is otherwise inaccessible with intellectual modes of inquiry. In educational settings, as well as in artistic research and creative decision making, it is important to bridge the mind-body division by balancing intellectual knowledge with bodily/intuitive knowledge. Because our experience of reality is ultimately mediated by the body and its five senses, the body is our most important tool and reference, for it contains thousands of years of information stored in its DNA (which is more than our minds could ever contain).
Body & Systems - Reclaiming our agency like a Trixxster
How can the body reveal information about the systems we are part of?
The body suffers from memorised oppression we encounter in the surrounding systems - which ranges from white supremacy, colonialism, ableism, homophobia, racism, sexism, to misogyny, etc. These systems use shaming, punishment or disposability to affect us and condition our bodily movement patterns and emotions, imprinting individual, collective and generational trauma that functions to numb our intuition and bodily senses.
The desire to subvert systems and break the mental, emotional, and physical conditioning caused by oppression, often comes from feelings of inequality and ultimately seeking justice and balance while reclaiming our agency in alternative ways.
To discover where we have felt ignored or oppressed, which is a bodily clue about particular systems we are part of (and can give us more information about this system itself as well), this quick meditative exercise can be done on the go, in 5 or 15 minutes, whatever feels right for you.
First step: Notice the breath: With no judgement, pay attention to the breath. Does it feel the same? Different? Is it fast or slow? What do you notice about your breath at this moment?
Scan the body: where do you feel tension in the body? Inhale into that part of the body, and exhale and release the tension. In your mind's eye, scan your toes, feet, ankles, knees, thighs, hips. Exhale tension. Belly, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers. Exhale tension. Neck, face, chin, eyes, cheeks. Exhale tension.
Identify memory: In a state of relaxation, try to recall where and when have you felt oppressed, ignored, stepped over, invisible, not important, taken advantage of: Can you recall a specific situation and memory? What other emotions come up associated with this memory?
We practise non-judgment, as we recall any emotions associated with this memory (sadness, shame, embarrassment, fear). Notice these emotions, letting them be there, and get curious about them - this allows us to soften towards them— notice how they manifest in the body. Hold them in compassion, and ease any negative emotions with breath –
Identify collective memory: Be aware of this oppression as a pattern in the world– visualise how these same feelings as you are feeling affect many people, take in this pattern of suffering, hold it in compassion, send ease, and a wish for relief to the collective.
Return to the awareness of breath, body, heart. Allow yourself a few moments just to breathe and let go of the memories.
Questions: (you can also take a paper and write down your memories and reflections that came up during this exercise)
Coming from this deep meditational awareness, what intentions come up in your body to address the suffering of injustice?
What steps might you take, in individually, collectively?
How does this new intention that came up during your meditation feel in your body?
And a question to those interested in addressing the mind-body division in systems specifically:
How can we seek ways to break mental, emotional, and physical conditioning, and move towards compassion and politics of care, and our body as a valid form of knowledge inquiry?
Alan Watts: Joker - Dark side lecture - notes
Life is a drama and drama is an act it’s a deception.
Everyone has en element of duplicity in them - everyone plays tricks.
Joker - trickster - we all lie - and pretend.
You’re like an onion, you never come to the centre just peeling layers of yourself
It’s all deception, you try to get to get to core, and you can’t.
Who’s fooling who? What is fooling really?
It’s all a big performance, it’s a trap that sucks you in and you have to keep playing because the onion keeps being peeled, but don’t back out - go to the extreme.
You find yourself confused? Go to the extreme of feeling confused, until you fall through the veil and now you find yourself. What does it mean to have all our desires fulfilled?
Feeling the onion makes you humorous, ain’t nothing like laughing at yourself.
Humour at oneself - that’s the real humour - laughing at your own contradictions - recognitions that behind pretentious of being good or successful or whatever - there is the element of the unreconstructed bum - something to be recognized as contributive to the success of oneself.
Can you feel selfish without feeling guilty?
How do you integrate these parts?
Holy men are scary cuz the unity of opposites, unthinkable is scary to see, So unify unify unify - Kill duality. What was evil has turned good - And what was good has enabled the evil all this time.
This is the fundamental law of life - Enantiodromea* - The reunion of the waring halves of personality.
A fool that persist in his folly will become wise - Following our ego, it will transcend itself.
Maya is a playful construct and social institution - Progressive development or human consciousness that comes through games - is alike divine wisdom, it is played for the purpose itself - to be played.
Games are like laws of the universe that have divine sanctions. A game is alike divine wisdom, it is played for the purpose itself - to be played. Games are like laws of the universe that have divine sanctions but it’s a hoax it’s only to terrify the young.
A fool that persist in his folly will become wise. Following our ego, it will transcend itself. Therefore I deceive I play I live in Maya.
This is a hoax! This is a performance!
A game of life.
* Enantiodromia (Ancient Greek: ἐνάντιος, romanized: enantios – opposite and δρόμος, dromos – running course) is a principle introduced in the West by psychiatrist Carl Jung. In Psychological Types, Jung defines enantiodromia as "the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time." It is similar to the principle of equilibrium in the natural world, in that any extreme is opposed by the system in order to restore balance. When things get to their extreme, they turn into their opposite. Jung adds that "this characteristic phenomenon practically always occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control."