Seemingly Hallowed Screens, 2018


“We have moved from a philosophical exploration of space to, in the mid-twentieth century, an exploration of ‘outer’ space. Even in its titling, the space race apparently pushed our understanding of this particular ontology of space to its limits. Furthermore, we have managed to reconfigure what this word means in the digital, especially to digital natives who have grown only knowing the plasticity of ‘space’ and its various uses. Assimilating and expanding the remit of the existing lexicon to new sociopolitical concerns is an age old but dangerous game, one that allows systemic changes to go somewhat unquestioned, to be approached and treated as natural.

To be out of space now is to be full of information. Just as we once exhausted our understanding of space on the ground and looked to the stars, we now fill our phones and turn to the cloud. While similar and comparable in certain ways, these two psychic and other worldly anxieties have distinct differences that their identical languages don’t quite take into consideration. Unlike the necessary romanticised showy-ness of nationalistic space exploration, new formations of digital space have masses of physical infrastructure that it is often purposefully made invisible. Arguably, technologies such as VR and AR are taking steps to successfully straddle both the physical and digital realms, integrating our solid blocks of silicon and glass (and the worlds they project) into our terra firma experiences. Of course, others would argue that these technologies, especially VR, are masturbatory and digitally isolating.[1]

Download the full text here: Seemingly Hallowed Screens_2018

Published in association with the exhibition Out of Space at AVD Gallery, 01/11/2018_30/11/2018



[1] Douglas Coupland has labeled VR ‘the new ultimate masturbation’. I first encountered Coupland’s views on VR in an interview of the artist by Daniel Birnbaum in Artforum. See: D. Birnbaum, 2017. Wildest Dreams. Artforum. November 2017, pp. 192 – 201.

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