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Virtual Tourism and Tours of Duty in Tactical Iraqi and Virtual Iraq


Title: The Reverse Memory Palace Author: A GANEGODA Last modified by: A GANEGODA Created Date: 11/29/2006 1:17:36 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Virtual Tourism and Tours of Duty in Tactical Iraqi and Virtual Iraq

Virtual Tourism and Tours of Duty in Tactical
Iraqi and Virtual Iraq
  • Elizabeth Losh
  • University of California, Irvine

Military Users and VR
  • More accustomed to bulky gear and wearing
    specialized goggles.
  • More familiar with navigating a screen
    environment that represents local real-world
  • More habituated to displays with functions that
    can reshape landmarks and terrain.

A Rhetorical History in Classical Rome
According to a famous narrative by Cicero, the
Method of Loci originated in a personal disaster
that took place in the life of the rhetorician
Simonides of Ceos, who then created artificial
The Palace of Memory
  • Memory was one of the five canons of classical
    rhetoric, although it is often considered less
    important in the era of computing technologies.
  • The Method of Loci orients a rhetorical subject
    in a 3-D environment to create particular mental
    associations while moving through sequences of
    discrete scenes.
  • The contemporary research of Yates and Carruthers
    attempts to relegitimize these cultural practices.

Abbey Memory System
  • Johannes Romberch, Congestorium Artificiose
    Memorie, 1533

Paradise as Artificial Memory
  • Cosmas Rossellius, Thesaurus Artificiosae
    Memoriae, 1579

Is Memory Obsolete?
  • For much of the twentieth century memory was
    devalued in the canon of rhetoric, and invention
    was lauded.
  • Now, with ubiquitous computing and powerful
    search engines, is the construction of organic
    memory of any continuing importance?

Wong and Storkerson
  • In virtual environments, however, associative
    processes of cognition could assert their
    importance again.

The Reverse Memory Palace
  • Making Environments to Suit Rhetoric
  • Michael Heim on Avatecture in
  • the CyberForum_at_ArtsCenter that also uses the work
    of W.S. Mitchell

The Human Terrain
  • Policy analyst Max Boot in an editorial in The
    Los Angeles Times
  • The FlatWorld mixed reality facility at USCs ICT

Tactical Iraqi

A Pre-History of Tactical Iraqi
The Center for Advanced Research in Technology
for Education (CARTE) at the Information Sciences
Institute of the University of Southern
California previously authored a range of
imaginative but seemingly disconnected distance
learning initiatives that featured computer
generated animated agents, software capable of
expressive speech analysis and synthesis, and
programs organized around the presentation of
pedagogical drama.
Mission Game

Skill Builder

Arcade Game

What are the core problems that Tactical Iraqi is
designed to solve?
  • A chronic shortage of Arabic speakers among
    military personnel
  • A combat environment in ambiguous urban warfare
    settings of occupation and reconstruction
  • A resistance to classroom language instruction in
    the planned population of learners

Social and Perceptual Realism
What common rituals make us more likely to
identify a given situation as realistic? Alison
McMahan How does the agora function in digital

(The agora is the environmental bubble in which
social exchange and mutual appropriation is
permissible according to Ostwald.)
A Pre-History of Embodied Language Learning
Georgi Lozanov Suggestology and Suggestopedia
Constraining Transgressive Play
  • James Paul Gee has argued that there are
    pedagogical benefits to challenging the norms of
    explicit instruction in situated learning
  • Yet military videogames generally punish
    transgressive play and limit exploration of the
    virtual environment, to such an extent that human
    subjects at first avoided the game space of
    Tactical Iraqi entirely or cheated to reach the
    ostensible rewarded objective.

The Commercial Market for Language-Learning
The Living Language series models norms of
politeness in which interactions are highly
regulated and proprietary rights to the physical
space is not contested.
Knock and Talk Missions
  • How do soldiers learn to follow very different
    rhetorical rules?
  • How is personal space negotiated?
  • How do strategies and tactics differ?
  • Is there a role for politeness?

Positive and Negative Face
  • Brown and Levinson recommend negative politeness
    as the safer course.
  • Yet military missions may necessarily constrain
    the spatial freedom of others during
    interrogation, search, or arrest.

Virtual Tourism
  • What are the effects of architectural pastiche?
  • How is the area of game play constrained?

Virtual Iraq

A HMD exposure therapy simulation that uses
digital assets from other ISI/ICT projects
and Full Spectrum Warrior. The object of the
simulation is to allow the patient to create
personal narratives about real-life traumatic
events that foster psychic integration rather
than the symptomology or dissociation of PTSD.
Some versions of the simulation use a motion
platform and/or scent release device.

A Pre-History of Virtual Iraq
  • Brain injured patients or stroke victims need
    spatial cues to reacquire particular cognitive
  • A modern form of the method of loci operates by
    rebuilding intellectual function by fostering
    interaction with the virtual environment.

  • Rehabilitation and training in virtual
  • for amputees, spinal injury patients, the blind,
  • and the developmentally disabled.

Virtual Classroom
  • Albert Skip Rizzo
  • ADHD Children

Virtual World Trade Center
  • Cornell and the University of Washington

Virtual Vietnam
  • Jarrell Pair and researchers at Georgia Tech

Virtual Bus Bombing
  • Tamar Weiss, University of Haifa

The Spatialization of Memory in the work of Jacki
  • The Memory Stairs

  • DarkCon

The Rhetoric of Walking Michel de Certeau

Ian Bogost, the figure of the flaneur, and the
concept of Procedural Rhetoric
  • Tactical Iraqi is a game, and Virtual Iraq is a
  • Tactical Iraqi has pedagogical goals, and Virtual
    Iraq has therapeutic ones.
  • Tactical Iraqi uses third-person perspective, and
    Virtual Iraq uses first-person.
  • Tactical Iraqi rapidly switches contexts, and
    Virtual Iraq is immersive.

  • Both programs recreate segments of the landscape,
    built environment, and population of Iraq in 3-D
  • Both are developed by teams in close physical
    proximity under the auspices of the same
  • Both require a high degree of trust from
  • Both use off-the-shelf game technology that has
    had a history in the consumer market.
  • Both have attracted considerable news coverage in
    the mainstream media.
  • Both connect memory development to discrete
    scenes in digital experience.

Showing pervasive problems being solved could
potentially create political spectacles
  • The shortage of Arabic speakers
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among the veteran
  • The difficulty of locating improvised explosive

Ambush! from BBS, another DARWARS project
Mainstream Media Coverage
  • Tactical Iraqi
  • Newsweek
  • USA Today
  • The Los Angeles Times
  • The New York Times
  • National Geographic
  • Forbes
  • BBC
  • National Public Radio
  • ABC News
  • Virtual Iraq
  • BBC
  • National Public Radio
  • CNN
  • ABC
  • CBS
  • Reuters
  • Newsweek
  • The Washington Post
  • The Los Angeles Times

Is there a rhetorical function to making
training, language-learning, or therapy visible
to the public? Regardless of the intentions of
their creators, are policy-makers motivated to
fund projects that show intractable problems
being tackled regardless of their efficacy? If
audiences for broadcast media in the general
public do not participate in interactive
experiences do they have any opportunity for
ideological critique?

Slavoj Žižek Welcome to the Desert of the Real
  • By using the film The Matrix as an analogy,
    Žižek argues that until the attacks of September
    11th, the U.S. was shielded by an artificial but
    ideologically comforting socio-economic,
    political, and cultural virtual reality
    environment that separated it from the violence
    and privation of the rest of the world.

  • If there is any symbolism in the collapse of
    the WTC towers, it is not so much the
    old-fashioned notion of the center of financial
    capitalism, but, rather, the notion that the two
    WTC towers stood for the center of the VIRTUAL
    capitalism, of financial speculations
    disconnected from the sphere of material
    production. The shattering impact of the bombings
    can only be accounted for only against the
    background of the borderline which today
    separates the digitalized First World from the
    Third World desert of the Real.

  • Ironically, since those attacks, government
    agencies have created even more VREs so that
    games and simulations can safely model military
    and public health situations of crisis.
  • When the consequences of error are so high, VRE
    simulation would seem to create a logical testing
    ground for purposive action.

  • In particular, a number of Virtual Iraqs were
    to have been recreated these included plans to
    construct a digital replica of the looted
    National Museum in Baghdad.
  • Yet the portability of digital assets poses
    challenges to designers state-side who are not
    cleared for secure access to certain photographic
    reference materials, such as those from the Green

Making Things Public

Taxpayer-Funded Games as Public Property
  • Scientific laboratories, technical
    institutions, marketplaces, churches and temples,
    financial trading rooms, Internet forums,
    ecological disputes without forgetting the very
    shape of the museum inside which we gather all
    those membra disjecta are just some of the
    forums and agoras in which we speak, vote,
    decide, are decided upon, prove, are being
  • Bruno Latour

Summation Whats unsettling about these games
and simulations?
  • The Palace of Memory is actually underutilized.
  • Interaction with the spatial environment is
    highly regulated.
  • Secondary audiences can only experience the
    spatial environment passively.
  • The danger of creating political spectacles is
    not acknowledged.
  • Virtuality creates an ideological alienation

  • My thanks to Lewis Johnson of the
    Information Sciences Institute for allowing me to
    interview him about this project and for access
    to his published studies, game scripts, character
    descriptions, and personal reflections in several
    follow up e-mail exchanges. I am also very
    grateful to Albert Skip Rizzo of the Institute
    for Creative Technologies, who permitted an
    extensive interview allowed me to use the system
    twice and shared his rich archive of digital
    files that demonstrate virtual reality exposure
    techniques and clinical findings.

What isnt here about Tactical Iraqi . . .
  • A critique of its assumptions about the identity
    position of the user, particularly in regard to
    nationality, class, sexuality, and gender.
  • An exploration of the cryptohistory of the games
    development and its migration from face to
    trust to etiquette as the core explanatory
  • An analysis of the debate in the game development
    community about working on a military-funded
    videogame by looking at competing philosophies of

My e-mail and web addresses
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//