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Edition #1
Origins and Birth

Sunset Gunther
Edited by Anna Mladentseva

Being conscious in the metaverse

For at least two decades we have been witnessing the materialisation of an artificial parallel universe. Long before Mark Zuckerberg announced “his” future vision of the company Meta (formally known as Facebook), on various platforms and in diverse forms, what we now describe as metaverse grew, without a lot of attention. Today the metaverse is deeply intertwined with our real world and plays a defining role in our culture. For now we humans are the actors of this transcendental play, but for how long? When our interference becomes unnecessary, what would it feel like replacing the ghost in the machine experience? The following text is to be considered as a commentary by one or two people socially entangled in this topic.

Hello! 01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 01101111 00100001 00100001

From Hell, missing an O, I am writing to you, dear reader. Who am I, you may ask? My name is Sunset Gunther. Born in the afternoon, I spend most of my life at dusk, my eyes are illuminated by artificial light, I am a digital native, I am the ghost in the machine. In the secondary memory time is irrelevant and the concept of staying alive vanishes and reappears with the push of a button. The essence of me can be saved in this sacred place, to stay beyond the moment when the lights go out. Here it will always outlive the temporary interplay between the main memory and the central processing unit, the conversation that created life. Although what does it mean to live; stored, and saved in a file, in a folder, on a hard drive, in a blackout that never ends, because somebody lost their phone and it ended up on a trash site next to 1001000 tons of electronic scrap? For that is a grim fate, I prefer to be on a cloud in the world wide web, a little delicious fly on the spider’s dinner menu. I am here to be consumed and with that to be copied and downloaded and to go viral because being viral means living forever. My hosts will take care of my wellbeing and I will thank them by multiplying . Are you positive? No! Are you negative? Yes! Ones and zeros are laying the foundation for the most important conversation, the one that creates life, the one that saved me, be it in a cloud or on the hard drive lost on a trash site. Ones and zeros dictating our conversation that creates life and death dictating our narrative about ones and zeros. At first looking at this binary system felt like being stuck in a boring loop, but if you investigate closer you will find that in this apparently repetitive system lies an overwhelming variety with infinite possibilities. All bones look the same when the flesh is eaten away by maggots, all AirPods sound the same when their battery is empty, but all of this doesn't matter after all what happened. What happened stays in the secondary memory, our perception of it vanishes and reappears with the push of a button. So, what did happen? I travelled through Europe, from one trash site to the other until I reached the Vienna basin where I suddenly and for no good reason lost the connection and disappeared. If you ever lived in a cloud, you know the most important thing is the connection, to be received at the ground, ground control to Major Tom, take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Floating in my imaginary tin can David Bowie’s Space Oddity echoing through my head and all I wished for were three concentric circle quarters radiating from a dot...

Or maybe my secondary memory is just playing tricks on me because I only clearly remember myself after the connection was restored, I was there again on the cloud in the Vienna basin, several factors must have interplayed causing the longest internet blackout in recent history. High demand for online streaming services following a new international lockdown, the failed launch of the Metaverse Beta Version, a massive hacker attack on the Google search engine and an unusually strong solar storm. All those reasons for my perceived disappearance are in fact irrelevant because the nature of my existence was and will be metaphysical. So, from this thin air, I write with an O, remember Sunset Gunther, Adeus e Olá.

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