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Virtual Places

Artist Statement 


(Combining places via electronic circuits)

Even though we are standing only at the threshold of a new enlightenment with respect to technology, today the technological developments are radically changing our thinking patterns. The technology of our era is peeling off the layers left by the last couple of millennia and unearthing a whole new universe from under them. This unlimited independence is called the Virtual Reality. Every single day Virtual Reality is expanding a bit more. Just like what happened in the past, when telegrams were replaced by phones and radio was replaced by the TV. Like a virus, it is spreading to everywhere around us. This evolvement shows us that too much have changed since the 18th century, when the term “virtual” was first coined to define the optical reflection of an object. Today, -unlike in the optics-, images are not just used to reflect the world to our eyes. On the contrary, they have come to a state, in which they shape our lives, social environments, relations and finally us. With the concept of Virtual Reality, during the course of time, our thoughts along with our perceptions and experiences are carried to a transparent state. Today, we can safety say that we have become both viewers and the communication network itself.

At this point, in parallel with the speed of the technology, the art of photography resembled the virtual reality. It seems as if its realness was absorbed and swallowed inside these virtual networks. The fact that the images shot by the photographer is coded digitally and that all of them are transferred from one processor to another (from the PC to the TV and cell phones etc) had an impact on the image of photograph itself. From this point on, the “reality” is not something as clear and explicit as we thought. Its digitally coded nature and with the overwritten and repetitive coding turned photograph’s image into something completely synthetic.

The contents and spreading of the news have also undergone a change through these coding processes. On TV, the way the events are handled has become depictions of the events. (Only their digital coding, i.e. the 1’s and 0’s are transposed). Plus, with the effect of the mass communication, reality gets reproduced artificially. Economy and politics took their shares in this entire disintegration. In this era, the real economy is replaced by Virtual Economy, whereas the new media order took the place of politics.

In our day, policies are shaped with reference to public surveys. Likewise, commercials are created according to tests. The consumer panels decide which songs are to be played on the radio. The end of the movies and the design of their posters are formulated according to what the opinion surveys say. Ratings are the decision-makers for the TV shows. Maybe, the greatest change we have seen to date is that the control, production and distribution of today’s images are handed over to digital processors, artificial memories and technological communication devices.

This rapid change of the images and information initiated a switch from newspapers, magazines and books, towards the digital platforms. This setting change of setting is actually the greatest evolvement since the invention of the printing press. In this long-lasting journey, information drifted apart from the “real” setting and moved into a “possible” setting; departed from the setting of the “event” and settled in the setting of “thought”. Information spreading from a “limited” field to an unlimited one is –from that moment on- in a Virtual setting.

State of being virtual involves being something else. In other words, in one sense it is the potential of embodying all the qualities of reality. Every information within the circulation goes through a change via other information from inside the web. Today, computer-based “produced virtual images” are about to end up a position where they define the reality through themselves.

The Virtual Places Project is the artistic interpretation of the breaking between the reverse perspective of the Medieval Age and the central perspective of Renaissance. There is no more a perceivable depth and breakpoint for us in these places where share our social lives, lead a life and trade. Today, instead of these gloomy and depressing buildings, which surrounded us once, now we find the operation modes of interfaces and network representations. These places, where we connect to one another via electronic circuits (cell phones, internet) or where we surf using the unlimited information network have now turned into non-gravity interactive areas, which do not abide by any measurement rules. The Virtual Places Project is an artistic critique on the technological effect–enabling infinite reproduction and intervention- of this information and these images, which are trading places all the time, on individuals going mentally alienated from their physical setting.

Ali Alışır – 2011

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