Here’s where I think my brain began to concieve of my larger project. But this is really just the beginning.
The internet: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Usenet, online-dating, online-gambling, secret porn lives, blogging with the ever present answer to all queries, questions and quizzes Google. The more we as a culture choose to interact with this colossal network, the more this network influences and manipulates our lives. We are choosing to lift the internet above the individual, and also above man. The internet is God. And I plan to prove that God is just a god-machine.
Inspired by the interconnection of man and machine within Atrocity Exhibition and Neuromancer, I have become fascinated in destroying the divide between what has come to be termed “virtuality” and that of “reality”. The internet has become a myth – an ethereal phantom in part due to the further institutionalizing of the internet and so called “virtual life”.
The culturally recognized perception of a virtual space existing outside of real space is a myth. The engorging use and ubiquity of the internet increasingly separates the actual physical apparatus of the internet from the myth/myths that is the internet. On a basic fundamental level the internet is physical and not virtual. There is no separation between the atom and the bit, between the physical and the digital. The digital process of information exchange is, as I have stated, a physical process which is not unlike the processes exchanged within the human body.
The deified program or being Wintermute or Neuromancer exists as a fuller realization of our present internet – the internet with thought, agency and will. Wintermute is portrayed as distant and untouchable, both in reference to physical space. And while Case cannot physically escape Wintermute, it is not because of Wintermute’s transcendent immateriality, but rather because of the pervasiveness of physical network connections internationally as well as individually in implants within the brain. Wintermute is a being like a human performing functions and processes in a material way. This connection begs the question for our own internet and computers, how will and do we distinguish between a human thought and a machine thought? Will we ever have an answer to this?
In a similar overlapping of the artificial and organic, in Atrocity Exhibition there is a blurring between technology and man resulting in the confusion of the actual and the simulated. The real takes the form of a stylized representation, a transparent simulation of the actual. The form of the work takes an objective perspective, separating itself from an individual consciousness, but at the same time acknowledging that it cannot ignore consciousness. Consciousness as individual thought, emotion, perspective, is simply not there. Instead objective accounts of the environment and the material and physical movements is represented – an objective interface with human subjectivity. The narrator is an objective consciousness – a computer – a thinking, observing, artificial intelligence.
The separation between the virtual and the physical does not exist. There is no clear discrepancy between what a human is and what a machine/computer is. The internet is not something beyond the human apparatus. This worship of the immateriality of the internet is false – it is not God.