Communication Breakdown: A Virtual Reality

Ariane Roesch: PLAYMATES
PLAYMATES, photo by Valerie Green

code: /VectorMZ.exe


It has been several days and still no answer. Lumina A7 paces through her apartment. She puts on the kettle for a cup of chamomile tea, perhaps that might help her calm down. As the water starts to boil she wrinkles her forehead and scans her place: there are piles of clothes and stacks of paper littering the floor; the dirty dishes with dried scraps of food are overflowing in the sink. Her choice of food for the last few weeks has beans and rice. There are just so many possibilities – either served in a taco, just as is, with cheese or without, etc… it keeps the flesh at ease.

It has been now almost 4 months since she first found out about Vector MZ. It was almost an accident. He appeared while her laptop was in for maintenance care. There was an immediate connection and his chip slowly found its way into her body. Lumina A7 still remembers starting to cook in her kitchen, when a sensation shot through her body, similar to the standard “touch” sensation but with the intensity of an electric shock. She found her computer glowing with the start screen of the program: “VECTOR MZ – the one you take to bed with you.”

Since she discovered him, her thoughts never drift too far. She clings to her laptop because it is the only way to have physical contact with Vector MZ: The numbing glow of the screen, the smooth feel of the keys, the rhythm of the type scrolling across the screen. She knows nothing about him, yet everything seems familiar.

The computer travels everywhere with her. In addition to his wireless sensations, they also “chat”. She keeps the computer by her bedside just in case he taps in. Their correspondence has been consistent until recently. The mainframe has been going through maintenance after several bugs were diagnosed and he had to be switched to another working template. The reprogramming is taking longer than expected.

Sometimes Lumina A7 vaguely remembers a different way of life from when she was younger. Engaging in purposeless activities, like lying on the grass in a field with a friend, with the wind animating the ferns around you and the sun, like a blanket, warming your body. Now, things are unembellished. Lumina A7 sometimes goes weeks without even seeing anyone since she works from home and most interactions with people are online since everyone is busy and on the go and anything she needs can be ordered right at her fingertips. Humanity has become a technological animal – virtual life is more important then private life in the flesh.

But modern man still has the human body, which means in addition to the basics, like eating and sleeping, they also still crave interaction and human touch. To make a smooth transition, various chips were implanted in the brain to simulate interaction as needed. They say we live in an over stimulated time and we should gorge on stimulation. And in turn we have become accustomed to want more, whether it’s tactile, emotional or sexual. And Lumina A7 thinks that’s good. Especially now that she has tapped into the ultimate interactive sensation source.

Lumina A7 picks up the laptop, slides into the softness of her couch, and checks his status. Still no answer from him. She sends a message into the void, ‘I want you, MZ. Come to me now – don’t keep me waiting’, in hopes of him stumbling upon it – just in case – if she is not there. She nervously continues to stare at the screen and starts to fidget with the “About” informational button to kill time. “Vector MZ an advanced Z-80…designed for exceptional…reliability and versatility…he’ll play you like a CD-ROM… turned on manually…with enough power to get things done.”. She has read this description so much in last few days that she could almost recite it. Before going to sleep, she gives it one more try:

code: /VectorMZ.exe



Ariane Roesch
December, 2009