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深渊模拟器 Deep Simulator

£14 ($17 / €16)
Weidian / 微店

The horizon has vanished.
Nothing is certain. Places, characters, relationships.
Unexpected conversations, unidentified objects, fleeting companions, elusive clues, hidden passageways, unverifiable legends, fractures, queries, quips …
In this alternate dimension, memories and dilemmas of dreamers interweave, leading us to one question…

One of the lead characters is you – the reader.

Starting with the lead character falling into an unknown space, you are faced with options as you turn the pages. The choices you make may take you forward or send you back, but you may also end up wandering in circles in one narrative, or skipping to a section towards the end. It is even possible that you are led to situations unrelated to the book…

Deep Simulator is a cyberdrama-novel with layers of stories generated through reader interaction. Based on a namesake video game, it is a collaborative experiment between artists aaajiao and the author Ag, which began during the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. The novel and the video game have different focuses and nuances in their sensory workings and content, but both stem from themes related to player identity, the multiverse and the breaking down of interdimensional walls. The exposure of karmic chains, the ideological rupture between various movements, melancholia, death, the final struggle, accelerationism, the inability to distinguish between the real and the imaginary, all foreshadow an ominous sense of change looming ahead.

Like the virtual meta-game experiment that came before it, this book is hard to define. Ag blends myth, science fiction and multi-media reality into a seemingly unconventional spatio-temporal dimension. Upon opening the book, the reader becomes the player, and in the experience of reading-wandering-selecting, engages in an indeterminate journey of in-betweenness.

Deep Simulator is an organic, living, long-term project, and this publication is one of its reincarnations on its transition through the next dimensional wall – from a whimsical, pie-in-the-sky script to an outlandish indie game, then to a virtual game which was made into a physical book written in two languages with a unique design.

Read the Epilogue

Comments

Perhaps only someone as spiritual as Ag can turn written word into a game full of uncertainty and metaphysical ambiguity posited within a text that eliminates the boundaries of fiction, drama and poetry in its eccentric manner … If occasionally it reminds you of Beckett, it seems to also have a sense of the threshold state of the end of an era.
—Zhao Song, writer

There is nothing more liberating than wandering through Ag’s words.
—aaajiao, artist

This is a book that can be “played”, and within, is the correlation between “the story that is told” and “how you turn its pages” —it’s a game in itself.
—Mira, designer of the book

Everyone can practice writing as a comprehensive exercise in awareness, as is also the case with reading. The book’s paper is like our bodies, and they provide the most direct interface for such an exercise. This book is quite unusual in the way it is designed, produced and meant to be read—we try to let the frame of reference lapse as we play together.
—Ag, author

About the author

Ag is a writer and filmmaker whose works include fictions, art criticism, motion pictures and boundry-breaking genres. Self-identified as a wandering dream catcher, she continues to explore the energy exchange between space and consciousness, her words beaming with refreshing metaphors and signifiers that have grown from her acute observation of daily life and multifarious influence from literature, films, science and philosophy. She lives and works in Shanghai.

Notes on design

The sleeve wrapped around this volume is a deep abyss of colorful noise generated by code, which on the surface implies the static of an interrupted TV signal, but in fact, it is a cacophony of waves captured from nature and the universe. Together with the multihued laser holographic display, it foreshadows the complex qualities of “in-betweeness”.

The paper chosen for the inner pages is Fedrigoni Arena Ivory, for its subtle, vintage feel of early computer-era print in tone and touch, albeit at a high cost. The Dinkie Bitmap font, used for the cover and interior titles, pushes the technical limits of low-resolution type. The look and feel of the paper and the font come from a turning point in the print industry’s digital transformation, showing both the limitations and possibilities of being in an intermediate state.

Size: 110 × 160 mm
Pages: 296
Language: Chinese & English
Binding: thread-sewn soft cover
Co-published by Tabular Rasa Gallery (London) and 51 personae (Shanghai)
First edition, August 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5272-9632-9

Author: Ag
Editor: Chen Yun
English Translator: Jude Keeler
English Proofreader: Cathy Keeler
English Editor: Gigi Chang
Book design: Mira Ying
Display typeface: Dinkie Bitmap, designed by Willie Liu
Assistant Producer: Chi Mian

地平线消失了。
没有什么是确定的。地点、人物、关系。
那些突如其来的对话、不明的物体、稍纵即逝的旅伴、难以捉摸的线索、隐秘的通道,还有诸多断裂、疑问、戏谑和无从考证的传说……
在这个异度空间中,交织着不同梦者的回忆与困境,它们似乎都将我们引向同一个问题……

本书的主人公之一就是你——读者本人。

故事从主人公掉入了一个未知的空间开始。读者会在阅读/探寻的过程中时不时面临“选择”,不同的选择或导致读者退回到起始点,或使其卡在某段剧情里反复徘徊,或可直接跳至后面的某一页,甚至亦有可能被引向与本书无关的其他境地……

《深渊模拟器》,一部赛博戏剧小说,一本能经由交互而产生不同剧情层次的书。它脱胎于另一个同名电子游戏——2020 年新冠疫情爆发期间艺术家 aaajiao 和写作者 Ag 的一次合作实验。小说书与电子游戏在感官运作方式与内容细节上各有侧重与细微差异,但都源于玩家身份、多重现实与次元壁涨破的相关主题,因果链的暴露、各阵营的决裂、忧郁、死亡、最后的挣扎、加速主义、虚实难辨、不详的预感、同时又有一种变革的可能性隐含在前方。

如同那次虚拟的元游戏实验一样,本书也难以被定义。Ag 将神话、科幻与多媒介现实糅进一个看似非常态的时空维度,翻开此书,读者即成玩家,在阅读—游荡—选择的体验中,一场无所依靠的中阴(in-betweenness)之旅由此展开。

从另一方面来说,“深渊模拟器”也是一个活的、会有机生长的长期项目,此次的出版行为便是其中一次回穿次元壁的转生——从天马行空的剧本到反常的独立游戏,再从虚拟的游戏到一本装帧巧思的中英双语实体书。

阅读书跋

评论摘选

或许,只有 Ag 这种通灵主义者才能在这个消除了小说、戏剧、诗歌界限的文本里,以其诡异的感应方式,把文字变成充满不确定性且玄机暧昧的游戏……如果偶尔它让你想到贝克特的气息,那只是因为它也隐约有某种对末世临界状态的觉知。
—作家 赵松
无论何时都可以在 Ag 的文字中游荡,无比自由。
—艺术家 aaajiao
一本可以「玩」的书。「它说了些什么故事」和「你会怎么翻阅它」是相关联的。它本身就是一个游戏。
—本书设计师 Mira
我想每个人都可以将写作当成一个全面的觉知练习来实践,阅读也是。书的纸张如同我们的身体,它们为这样的练习提供了最直接的界面。这本书的设计、制作和阅读方式不是太寻常,我们试着在一起玩的过程中让参照系失效。
—本书作者 Ag

关于作者

Ag,写作者,影像创作者,自诩游荡的人、捕梦人。她的作品涉及虚构、艺术评论、影像、和难以划定边界的体裁,并不断探索时间、空间、视像、自我意识等之间的能量流动。对看似普通但深藏神秘的日常生活的敏锐洞察,以及来自文学、电影、文理古今中外多种体系的庞杂滋养,使她的文字充溢着令人耳目一新的隐喻和能指。著有《无限的卧室》(梅菲斯特书店出版)《上海地理注疏》(51 人出版)等。

关于装帧

本书的材料工艺是对作品内涵与意象的再度模拟,试图有节制地、有觉知地、整体性地为它设计出一具合理的身体。包裹这具黑色身体的封套,是由一段代码生成的彩色噪点深渊,表面上意味着电视信号中断的空无状态,实际是从宇宙自然中捕捉的嘈杂波段,加以激光全息膜衍射的多变色泽,共同预示着“中间性”晦暗不明、无中生有的复杂特质。

正文部分的纸张选用 Fedrigoni Arena 象牙色轻型纸,它在色调与触感上精微地传达出了早期计算机时代印刷物的复古感,虽然它的成本不菲。封面与内文标题采用的丁卯点阵体,则将低精度字体推向技术极限。两者的视觉面貌,都来自于印刷工业经历数字技术变革的转折期,另一种充满局限与可能性的中间状态。

尺寸:110 × 160 mm
页数:296
语言:中英双语
装帧:锁线胶装
联合出版:Tabular Rasa Gallery(伦敦);51 人(上海)
2021 年 8 月第一版
ISBN: 978-1-5272-9632-9

作者:Ag
策划编辑:陈韵
英译:Jude Keeler(阿德)
英文校订:Cathy Keeler
英文编辑:张菁
书籍设计:应宁
标题字体:丁卯点阵体,刘育黎设计
编务:池勉