Short Guide to the Museum of Simulated Societies
|Oct 18, 2020|
The archaically physical Museum hosts, in photorealistic synthetic video, 3D prints, and interactive game worlds, windows into societies built of archaeology, probability theory, and sociological mathematics.
The first floor hosts the atemporal Egypt of later ignorance; the e-commerce archetype of Alexandria --endlessly greedy for knowledge and profits-- just a gesture away from the holographic engineering of the funeral landscape of pyramids and secret tombs, their budget carefully graphed in time, grain, and blood.
On the second floor there's Rome. On one side is the noisy live slideshow of an Augustan triumph: the cheering crowd gives cover to the visitors' vicarious satisfaction as the newly enslaved walk under their sight. In front of it a game engine lets them see and participate in gladiatorial games (the unspoken open secret is that this is the Museum's only regular draw of visitors; historical accuracy, for once meticulously pursued, warranting interactive graphic violence elsewhere hard to find).
Tucked away on the third floor, like a minor periphery of mere wonder insurmountably Other, are the bustling Ming awash in commerce and books, the interactive spacetime geometries of the steppe peoples, and the unwinnable challenge of the Aztecs, enthusiastic in violence but never to become other than amateurs at war.
There's a basement as well, but it can only be accessed by prior request and a signed disclaimer, the former never denied, the latter a sincere attempt to warn. For in that basement are hosted, in digital models you could almost, not quite, live in, nightmare-inducing utopias that could have been and could still, mathematically undeniable in their possibility, forever out of reach.