The work currently in production is composed as a recursive digital game played across three levels with the possibility of looping. The narrative follows a disillusioned matador who feels duped by his biology and the manufactured performance of the bullfight. Longing for jouissance and an ecstatic return to animality and difference the character chases 'deep play' in the form of the true conquest of the bull of heaven. The player progresses from matador, to bull and eventually to god in the form of a swarm of flies, 'waiting to inherit the earth again.' through which the game tracks a dissolvement of the self. As a context for the game, both landscape and character are actually an imaginary of an AI, which has been trained on texts including the Epic of Gilgamesh, (the origin story of the bullfight and the first written epic poem) and whose textual outputs have been used as a rule-based architecture for the building of the world, which appears as a kind of stitched together collective space. These samples will also dictate the evolving landscape of the character, the narrative of which will attempt to parody the hero convention in epic storytelling, and is designed on the principle of algorithmic recursivity, whereby the only way to win (to achieve deep play) is to die. The game centrally acts as a parable for deep play as a form of deep learning, self-determining emergent intelligencce of human intellect which is sought after in the technological development of AI. The malaise of the central character is borne out of an unending quest for unattainable ecstasy, a characteristic of deep play. Prior to releasing the game, this page will operate as a record for the process of its production. 
The proximity of so much dying tends to demand a certain honesty from observers... And if it does so happen that a human being finds death in the corrida's rarefied afternoon, if a torero, or perhaps one of his cuadrilla, is fatally wounded, then the corrida is intended to redefine the moment of death... Even the almost always inevitable death of the bull, is meant to be controlled within the corrida's physical language, the structure and the sad necessities of its world. 
On Bullfighting, A. L. Kennedy 
Deep play is defined as a game in which the stakes are so high, that the potential losses far outweigh the potential gains in winning, and so it is conceived as irrational to play at all. 
Relief of Gilgamesh and Enkidu killing the Bull of Heaven while Ishtar attempts to prevent them. 800BC - 700BC. 
Cult Relief of Mithras Slaying the Bull (Tauroctony), ca. A.D. 170-71, Limestone.  
'After bruising afternoons spent facing an inn's resident toro, after dangerous, thrilling nights spent in ganaderia fields learning to handle a cape when it counts, learning the physical language of the bulls, a deep sympathy for the reactions and instincts of another species, Belmonte began to understand his own nature. His belief in his own identity as a matador was woundingly intense, as was his frustration with a corrida 'so hide-bound, so rigidly and exhaustively hemmed in by canons of immemorial antiquity' that he despaired of ever realising his true self.' 
A.L. Kennedy, On Bullfighting 
Juan Belmonte, Killer of Bulls 
If you ever get the chance, examine a cow's eye. It will be just as honey brown and benevolent as you'd expect, but look closer and you'll see that it's pupil forms a long thin, horizontal slit. The grain of the eye, the small drifts and flecks of colour, seem to disappear into this dark line, almost as if it were an opened flaw in a thick liquid. And, of course, the bovine eyes, in situ, are placed at the sides of the head. Both these facts mean that, although a cow or a bull will turn its head inquisitively to face a movement, it doesn't actually see that movement in anything like the way we do. As far as research and observation can tell, any bovine, including the toro de lidia, will perceive anything more than roughly ten feet away rather poorly. The left and right fields of vision do not integrate, and so don't produce the kind of stereoscopic vision that humans or primates have. This leads many theorists to agree that toros have a large blind area or 'anticone of [matador] immunity', directly to the front of their heads. Research seems to show that animals without binocular vision are less stimulated by movements which run towards their temples. This makes a lot of sense. A toro, for example, pushing its head forwards, eyes largely passive, will see most of the world head towards it as a unified movement towards the back of its head - the things which stand out - like the flick of a cape - are the things move out of this mass drift. This may actually begin to explain why toros charge at threats - running forwards tones down the visual input from the background and heightens their perception of the errant target. It would also explain why a man standing still, unless he's directly in the bull's path, can be safe - he'll simply fit in with the general, less stimulating, drift of the landscape. And if you consider that movements going towards the nose of the bull - against the usual flow - are something immensely stimulating, it suddenly makes sense that the pase natural, a cape pass which moves the cloth across the toro's leading eye in a noseward direction, is regarded as the pass upon which all toreo is founded and is the pass which always leads the bull forward for the final sword thrust... The matador's experiential knowledge of how to play the toro, the aficionado's rules and regulations for who should stand where to get what result, are all based on simple anatomy. Or, to put it another way, the acres of poetic theorising and the yards of geometrical and technical theorising by observers of the corrida all come down to the simplicity of two different species responding to each other as best they can, the simplicity of a man trying to keep himself alive by thinking and feeling beyond the speed of his own and the bull's reflexes. The bull is also, of course, colour blind. So the red rag to the bull doesn't have to be red - although the magenta, yellow and red used in the torero's capes all have long wavelengths and are easy for the bull to see. 
A.L. Kennedy, On Bullfighting 
[The role of the pupil in vertebrate (and some invertebrate, e.g. cephalopod) eyes is twofold. If contracted it reduces the amount of incoming light and prevents the retina from being bleached out and damaged. It also enhances the sharpness of the image on the retina and increases visual acuity (pinhole effect). In darkness or in dim light, pupils generally are wide open and more or less round. In bright light the pupil is narrow and can present a very different outline. Walls (1942) gives a survey of the pupillary shape in the classes of vertebrates. Roundish pupils and slit pupils with the slit positioned either vertically or horizontally are the most common types. In ungulates many species have oval pupils with the long axis horizontally. In comparison with lens structure and topographic anatomy of the retina, the functional consequences of different pupil shapes have been less often discussed, except in geckos whose pupils close completely, leaving a series of pinholes (e.g. Murphy & Howland 1986). The possession of vertical slit pupils, as seen in geckos, cats and some prosimians, is correlated with a nocturnal life. It is argued that slit pupils can be closed much better than roundish pupils thereby reducing incoming light to a minimum (Charman, 1991). Because nocturnal animals have very sensitive retinae, they need an effective mechanism to protect the retina under daylight conditions...] 
[We confronted adult bulls with these types of stimuli to test whether their performance in a simple discrimination test is in accordance with the optophysical data from the camera obscura projections. The hypothesis is that acuity should be better for stimuli having vertically-separated detail because the pupillary opening is narrower in the vertical direction. Thus, the image of an object is projected more sharply on the retina in comparison to that of a horizontally oriented stimulus because of the larger pupillary opening in the horizontal direction...] 
[An open question remains, what cattle eyes are adapted to see. To come closer to an answer it might be useful to remember that cattle eyes-as many other mammalian eyes-have a retina with a ‘visual streak’. This is an elongated area of high ganglion cell density (Hebel, 1976, Heffner & Heffner, 1992). It determines visual acuity in a particular part of the visual field. Probably this visual streak of the cattle eye runs in parallel to the pupillary cleft and thus both characters might work together. Hughes’ (1977) ‘Terrain theory’ proposed that the characteristics of the ungulate retina with the visual streak is an adaptation of possible prey to identify and avoid predators that appear on the horizon. Such object would necessarily have a relatively vertical component. According to our data this could be analysed quite well by a cattle eye. However, the best visual streak is found in the rabbit (Hughes, 1977), and this species occurs in a wide range of different habitats including forest and bushland in which no horizon might be visible and Hughes (1977) himself mentions some counter-examples. Finally a personal observation should be added. Pupil (and visual streak) are in parallel to the horizon when the animal’s head is in a normal, slightly elevated position. During grazing with a lowered head the pupillary cleft seems to be no longer in parallel with the horizon but slightly oblique (20–30°). At least in this case something else rather than the horizon might be under visual control. 
Finally, it might be worth considering whether such sensory abilities as vision are afflicted by domestication. In dogs this seems to be true and breed differences are reported (Murphy, Zadnik & Mannis, 1992). In cattle, however, no data have been found respectively.] 
A painting speculating on the image of a god, Cueva de Serrata, Cieza, Spain, 2019. The significance of this drawing embodies our capacity as sentient beings to imagine, to project, to tell stories. 
Left: three images taken from this paper: Visual Perception and Stimulus Orientation in Cattle 
Left and below: tracing the River Segura from a hydroelectric dam in Blanca to the Cueva de Serrata (the cave containing the featured cave paintings) outside Cieza. August 2019. Below: the same route, but from the backseat of a car. 
Image : sketches on forms of recursion from Recursivity and Contingency (2019), Yuk Hui. 
Source: e-flux, Cybernetics for the Twenty-first Century; An Inteview with Philosopher Yuk Hui, by Geert Lovink  
L E V E L O N E 
Besides the animals, there were also gods: 
there were gods who came of youth, 
and who served as hosts to wail at the watering place. 
Tell me, how is it that you came to this place? 
Was it not you who provoked the Bull of Heaven, 
and who entered the Waters of Death? Why are we so disturbed? 
Did you not notice me when I entered the Waters of Death? 
Did you not look back at me when I entered the Waters of Death? 
Did you not look back at me at the watering place when the animals were drinking 
around it? 
Excerpt from Epic of Gilgamesh  
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