"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 20 November 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Die Hard in a Warehouse


[Survival Research Labs]

"Interactive Multimedia" - a

poorly-defined term for a

tenuous concept. If today's

gurus of interactivity would

direct their thinking less

towards The Berenstain Bears Get

In A Fight and more along the

lines of Cujo at the children's

petting zoo, we might actually

make some inroads towards the

dream of compelling media

experiences. Some people get it,

some don't. Mark Pauline,

founder of the apocalyptic art

terrorist militia, Survival

Research Labs, does - and has

the scars to prove it.


[Mark Paunline's Leg]

Pauline is in the enviable

position of being a magnet for

disaffected and crazed engineers

of all stripes. One of the most

gloriously irresponsible artists

of our times, the oevre of

Pauline and his transient crew

of volunteers gives new meaning

to the "ultimate man-machine

interface" proposition. SRL

shows posit the battlefield as

canvas, where industrial-strength

monstrosities (both autonomous

and remotely guided) are the

condemned actors, and

understanding is measured in

degrees of post-traumatic stress



[Arm Controller]

The easiest way to dismiss SRL,

of course, would be as a

glorified monster truck rally

for hipsters. The disaffected,

thrill-seeking middle class are

always out for that next

adrenaline rush, and when the

latest Schwarzenegger vehicle

doesn't cut it, there's La Fura

dels Baus or SRL, ready to chase

down the petit bourgeoisie with

some flame-spitting contraption,

in order to make those art history

courses seem worthwhile.

Performance art for lowbrows,

these shows "break down the

boundary between audience and

performer" while providing enough

visceral excitement so as not to

get anyone thinking too hard -

it's difficult to ponder the

inversion of capitalist values

represented by a 2-ton

mechanical behemoth when you're

literally afraid for your life

from same. Now, that's



[Mark Pauline's Hand]

The extent to which Pauline's

antics are genuinely dangerous

can be measured not only in

terms of the disfiguration he's

stoicly suffered in the course

of his career, but also in the

cloak-and-dagger logistics

necessary to pull off a SRL gig

without police interference. As

the outfit's notoriety grows,

the difficulty in securing a

venue and eluding Killjoy

increases proportionally - and

this week's show will be no



[Break Down The Wall!]

If all goes well, hard-boiled SRL

addicts and curious first-time

victims will have an opportunity

to watch an example of the net

living up to its potential, as

it figures heavily in the

clandestine plotting leading up

to the still-mysterious "Crime

Wave" show which takes place in

San Francisco some time this

Thanksgiving weekend. Expect a

phone number to be posted to

SRL's new show info page at

UC Berkeley's Robotics and

Intelligent Machines server by

tomorrow. Reflector site info

for short notice CUSeeMe test

broadcasts will also be

announced on the info page.

Show up early and often: the

potential for carnage is

just as palpable during the

dress rehearsal as at the

actual show.


[Mr. Satan]

And gawkers outside the Bay Area

will be overjoyed to learn that

Pauline has recruited engineers

of the non-mechanical variety.

The show itself will be broadcast

live via CUSeeMe and the MBONE.

Finally, an application for live

video that moves beyond the

pedanticisms of IETF and NASA

broadcasts, while avoiding the

crotch-twiddling so popular

amongst CUSeeMe Brady Bunchers.


[Happy Clown]

Don't say you weren't warned.

courtesy of the Duke of URL