When the Fourth Wall Falls


I’ve lost count of the times I’ve demolished the fourth wall since I posted the original version of this video two years ago.  Sometimes it’s been intentional and strategic. But it usually happens when I lose the discipline of unflinchingly working within the constraints of a character.

The magic circle isn’t just a fictional device. We live our lives in Russian nesting dolls of selective attention and amnesia. We fixate upon and magnify what we want to see. We ignore, deny or flee from what we don’t want to face.

In any case, the falling of the fourth wall is a gift. It exposes our illusions. At least for a brief shining moment. We wake. Fall back asleep. And wake again.

 

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Categories: Identity, Strange Zeitgeists

9 Comments on “When the Fourth Wall Falls”

  1. Monday, 18 June 2012 at 17:39 UTC #

    Have you ever watched a movie or play or even a fireworks display with someone whose 4th wall just won’t fall? Yanno, they are looking for the wires that enable Spiderman to swing across the New York skyline… stuff like that. I’ve known a few people like that.

    I enjoy your work, Botgirl. At the start of any piece, I never know for sure if my mind will be the same when it comes out the other end (or wherever). /me giggles

    • Monday, 18 June 2012 at 17:44 UTC #

      OMG! The 4th wall falls! Yordie discovers that Botgirl has been neurolinguistic hacking her (virtual) brain!!

      • botgirlq
        Monday, 18 June 2012 at 18:24 UTC #

        Funny you should mention it. I used to practice hypnotherapy including quite a few NLP techniques. I don’t intentionally use any of them in my work, but now that you mention it, maybe I should.

        • Monday, 18 June 2012 at 18:26 UTC #

          Oh lawdy, don’t do that Botgirl! I’m having trouble enough keeping those walls off my head. hehe

    • botgirlq
      Monday, 18 June 2012 at 18:23 UTC #

      Thanks. I’m glad you like it. I half-seriously joke that the reason I post my work publicly is because I don’t want to just amuse myself . . . I want to amuse myself in public.

      I know people whose natural vigilance about hidden wires and tiny plot holes spoils a lot of movies for them. I’m glad I’m not one of them!

      • Monday, 18 June 2012 at 18:32 UTC #

        Yay for amusing yourself, Botgirl. And yay for amusing the public. I think the reason I find so much amusement in Second Life is it gives me the abilty to just open my imagination. When I find someone whose willing to “play” with me, let their imaginations run, then I’m as happy as a clam (whatever that means). I’ve been suspending disbelief ever since I was a little girl listening to my mom read stories to me.

  2. Monday, 18 June 2012 at 18:07 UTC #

    hehehehe… oh yes, i’ve been watching Botgirl twisting my mind around for a couple years now. Otoh, my human has been watching all this with a knowing smile (meaning, she doens’t know what is going on… at all). /me turns to her human and snickers

  3. Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 23:22 UTC #

    In virtual space you hear the words “fake” and “real” and I think they’re about similar ideas.

    Yes, you’re right, the start of every book… of every play or film… of walking over to a painting in a gallery… is certainly not immersion in a world you don’t even know about yet… but very often we do pretty quickly slip into that world. That’s the joyous phenomenon of “the lights going down”… and perhaps occupying yourself with a ridiculously large bucket of popcorn with way too much butter and way too much salt helps too…

    When people say a virtual world is “fake”… I don’t think they mean that all the avatars are actually NPC’s being run by brittle AI’s like Eliza or Perry or Deep Blue or Watson or Siri, I think what they mean is that they are unable or unwilling to suspend disbelief. They might be willing to “live” in Pirates of the Caribbean for 2 hours, but they are not willing to live in this MMO.

    Your video is a very cool meditation. You’re probably familiar with the legendary 1960 film “Frames of Reference” by legendary documentarist Ricky Leacock (who actually just passed away last year)

    An amazing film by a cinema pioneer and a couple of really smart physicists. With Fourth Wall Remix you’ve sort of moved their already kind of philosophical physics meditation into a New Media / Virtuality contemplation.

    It also reminds me of the old Zen parable:

    The farmer’s horse runs away. The neighbor comes to say sorry for your bad luck. The farmer says “who’s to say what’s good and what’s bad.”

    The farmer’s horse returns and brings a whole herd of horses back with it. The neighbor comes to say congratulations on your good luck. The farmer says “who’s to say what’s good and what’s bad.”

    The farmer’s son tries to ride one of the horses and breaks his ankle. The neighbor comes to say sorry for your bad luck. The farmer says “who’s to say what’s good and what’s bad.”

    The army comes to take away all the young men, but they don’t take the farmer’s son because of his broken ankle. The neighbor comes to say congratulations on your good luck. The farmer says “who’s to say what’s good and what’s bad.”

    The army doesn’t have enough young men, they lose the war, and the people are enslaved. The neighbor comes to say sorry about our bad luck. The farmer says “who’s to say what’s good and what’s bad.”

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