Inside the virtual net

/ 4 June, 2015

EXPERIENCE AND IMMERSION

Pierre Levy, an author who has discoursed around the concepts of virtuality, considers that imagination, memory, knowledge and religion were the first vectors of virtualization as they have caused the abandonment of the physical place long before computerization and digital networks. However that has not prevented us to exist. The development achieved by telecommunications systems has conditioned the experience of our senses: the phone to the ear, television to the sight, remote handling systems for touch and sensory-motor interaction, all these devices virtualize the senses and create, finally, “virtualized organs”.

Virtualization reinvents a nomadic culture, not through a return to Palaeolithic period or ancient civilizations of shepherds, but by creating an environment of social interactions where relationships are reconfigured with minimal inertia. Today, virtualization affects not only to information and communication, but also to the bodies, economic operation, collective frames of the sensitivity or the exercise of intelligence. Virtualization even reaches the forms of virtual communities, virtual enterprises, virtual democracy, etc. And although digitization of cyberspace plays a crucial role in the ongoing mutation, it is a groundswell that goes far beyond computerization.

One of the most effective devices between human connection with virtualized spaces is the oculus, commonly used to increase the experience of the gamer in video games. However, its options allow other more synesthetic explorations, as those carried out when starting from the current reality itself.

APPLICATION, CREATION AND DEPLOYMENT

Malla Net 2.0, the work presented by Rodolfo Peraza for this 12th Havana Biennial, is a web application which functions allow you to create virtual worlds on which today’s world can emerge on the internet. The piece is developed from free codes and is published under the MIT license, assuming the collaborative paradigm as creation process. Malla Net 2.0 emerges as a tool for exploring the Internet as a space and the social relations that are structured from it. Virtualized worlds are deployed in sub-domains that allow the immersion of users (viewers) in the internet, using virtual reality devices.

The play takes place at Fanguito community, a suburban neighborhood born and made mostly from an unplanned settlement where cybernetic virtuality is not seen as a priority. Considering that the Biennial is focused on accompanying transdisciplinary creating processes, supported by scientific activity; Malla Net 2.0 project combines artistic with pragmatic concerns, hence it proposes a piece with dual, application and artistic experimentation meaning. In addition to the semiotic value the piece contains, regarding multi-sensitive experience and current thinking about new systems of human communication, it also pays special attention to the usefulness as application to create, for example, architectural spaces, which can then be used not only as archives but as virtual models to perhaps achieve a greater sense of space and man’s experience within it.

REPOSITORY

The ethnographer is a little like Hermes: a messenger (…) who presents languages, cultures and societies in all their opacity. Then, like a magician, a hermeneutic, Hermes himself clarifies the opaque, becomes the strange in familiar and ascribes meaning to what does not seem to have it; decodes the message, interprets it.

V. Crapanzano

During the time of action and experimentation of Malla Net 2.0 in the community, the resulting visual information of scanned elements: people, objects, architectural or natural spaces, etc, will be archived. These files would be stored in the repository of the application, which would become a kind of ethnographic document on the value of collective memory of that social micro space. As if it were an ethnographer, the artist records and organizes his field notes and become them permanent records and then move to the analytical phase of memory and field diaries. The repository approves in its procedures such concepts: its notes are the scan files; its permanent records refer to its safety once in cloudy the analytical phase, the interpretation of such fragments of virtualized realities.

The piece promotes reflection on new ways of social relations, apprehension of reality, artistic representation and current conditions sustained in the virtual credibility. Since their inception, photography and cinema were primarily based on documentation and anthropological record. Especially from postmodern theories of art, a special attention was given to the importance of this expressive language, although other trends as conceptualism accelerated its legitimacy. The development of technology and its interconnecting channels have also encouraged other logics of representation in art. This type of work is resistant to context, movement, action, moving from the real to the virtual world from a sensory experience that disrupts the mimesis and expression codes to accommodate that of immersion.

Claudia Taboada Churchman

Claudia Taboada Churchman

Havana, 1990. Art critic and curator. She currently works in Villa Manuela Gallery. Her texts have been published in ArteCubano, Revolución y Cultura, La Jiribilla, Noticias de ArteCubano, among others. In 2015 she received the Curatorial Award granted by the Center for the Development of Visual Arts for the project Pintura expandida.

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