arctic circle

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Virtual Realists

<<arctic circle>> is a media-critical exploration of all-too-common
positivist utopian claims by 'virtual idealists', like the
secret rush of excitement some theorists crave when they
criticize media speed over and over.

Positivist technological panaceas produce utterly WOW-nerful art
that only promotes skeptical and technophobic awareness. So-called
'Virtual reality' computer systems, i.e. the RealityEngine®,
process less than 1% of the 800 million polygons perceived by a
healthy human visual system in a second. Hallucinations are a
clearer form of vision at this point, and perhaps will remain so
if Virtual Realists keep trying to mimic mirror vision and real
reality instead of getting on with the archeological business of
interlacing and connecting fragments of the world in a cohesive,
synaesthetic rather than an awesomely confusing manner.

By continuing our arctic travels on the net months after our physical
journey has ended puts the real and virtual installments of our
performance journal into a amusing, comparative light. Live or direct
time is far less important than which time zone or geo zone you're in
in cyberspace.

Chronology and loop structures provide the conceptual backbone for
all levels of the arctic circle project: chronology, aside from
techno-stress, as the only external given known prior to departure;
and the video loop, as our only aesthetic given. Travel and information
systems both exhibit these structures as qualities, as internal givens.
Both destinations and GO TO statements imply  a chronological and a
circuit nature.

The only preconceptions that we can honestly report concerning the
outcome of our arctic circle project are:
(1)-Being both on-the-road and on-line represent loss: the
replacement of a real connection with nature by an idealized,
romantic one; and the avoidance of local social contacts and
problem-solving by an equally idealized romantic image of a world
(2)-our conflation or confrontation of extreme natural remoteness in
the Great North with virtual connectedness on the net may result in
one and the same sense of isolation or loneliness.


Background Info I, "Gold Rush", February-May, 1995

Background Info III, "Cultural Alchemy", February, 1996.

"Die Arktis und das Internet", Siemens Media Lab Talk, July 1995

"email reading", Ars Digitalis, HdK Berlin, April 1996

"Medium bedeutet Mitte", Institut für Deutsche Philologie, Munich, July 1996

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copyright 1995-96 felix s. huber, philip pocock