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Actual, virtual, and invented reality.
Change the image of the world
Maria Filippone Colonna (english translation by Irene Amore)
ISSN 1127-4883    BTA - Bollettino Telematico dell'Arte, Roma, 11 lug. 2000, n. 48 (16th Feb. 1995)
Aesthetic Area

In our 90s a mono and bi-dimensional Ocean of frequences and videoclips pours everywhere through our screens, and connects the most distant times and places on earth; in so doing it shortens, but does not erase, the distance between the world of words-images and our reality.

The improvement in the quality of life will be possible, instead, thanks to the advanced technologies able to create images with "well-ordered clouds of numbers", and, therefore, to transform not only the actual reality but also all the thinkable, that is the imaginative universe, in reality, even if virtual.

Objection: is it really an improvement, or just a leap in the dark ?

Let's try to clarify this concept. In the context we live, the traditional relationship between actual reality and its description or representation can be turned upsidedown: the image of an event, through mass media, can have consequences more relevant than the event itself.

Today, some phases in the wars, or in political and economical contests happen only with words and images. Maybe tomorrow words and images will be the only guns to fight without moving, anywhere in any sort of conflict.

But ... let's try and imagine what kind of shaking intervention might be possible in the future with the application of more sophisticated technologies to the information and documentation processes. These involve what exists and what occurs which today is already subject to a wide and sometimes uncontrollable exploitation.

An outstanding example of fakes in communication is the mythical massacre in Timisoara: an event which never occurred, whose news has however existed "in reality and can be truly reconstructed and retransmitted to the posterity", as C. Fracassi says in his recent book "Sotto la notizia niente."

Paradox by paradox, this impossibility to manage the news and the power of images can bring to the opposite excesses. According to the press, almost a third of Americans do not believe that in 1969 few astronauts landed on the moon. In their view, the photographic and video documentation of the event would be a very subtle mystification.

To believe or not to believe? That is the question. From the improvement of quality we passed to a leap in the dark. Today it is not even sufficient to see in order to believe, because in the darkness we can only see darkness. Thus, what is there behind the image projected onto our screens ?

For the time being let's leave the answer to this disturbing question, and let's reverse our route (reality - image). This will bring us to discover and see the images that are hidden within the actual reality, thanks to the tools offered by the advanced technologies.

We are still at the very beginnings of a POETIC SCIENCE OF VISION, but it is proved that the final image (together with the systems of hyperaccess adopted with video images), makes possible to the viewer a broader and more intense perception of reality.

We, therefore, discover that what some philosophers and physics state is true: the objective reality is not at all as we see it and as it is represented by our 5 senses. Dygital systems offer us the opportunity to observe what is infinitively small in the inorganic and organic substance, and to reveal the armony of an universe that - up until today - has not been accessible to the human eye. The consequences are almost unbelievable: the most daring journeys of our imagination don't bring us far from reality, but they prove to be very close to it, at least by analogy or symmetry.

According to some, we are witnessing the birth of an image of the world where actual, virtual and, I would add, invented reality attempt to dissolve in the perceptive ability of the man-spectator, transforming his "image of the world" and, as a consequence, his relationship with the world.

Thanks to the advanced technologies, which are a road, or better a bridge between the visible and the invisible intimacy of the substance, the frontiers of science and research stretch as far as the eye can see.

However, only a creative use of technology leads us towards a scientific research which doesn't exploit human beings and is the most effective antidote against the alienation which threatens the society of the future. From this viewpoint, if we will be able to consider the image not as an escape from reality but as the observatory on all the real, we will also be able to regain the AESTHETIC DIMENSION of the world in which we live, and, at the same time, avoid the risk of being individually and collectively eradicated.

We must believe and hope that the "beauty of science" is the first step towards a science of beauty, that will help us to regain, together with an aesthetic dimension, a vision of the world free from the limits and conditions of TELE-VISION.

And maybe the improved potential of the individual and collective imagination will be able to break even in the mass audience, a daily experience of life, today freezed by the unidirectional messages of media which rejects thinking.

There is nothing but a way to reach this objective: blow up the market's old logics and readdress every project towards a more complete and higher concept of economy. Not a leap, but a bridge of quality must link our material needs with our immaterial needs, in a humanity that is fighting against two kind of death, for lack of food and lack of values. Today we should promote those initiatives that together with the necessary search for sources of alternative energy, also consider a thorough search and a rational use of the immaterial alternative energy that is present in all activities requiring creative skill and imagination.

Artistic activities, in fact, and the various creative languages, that today manage to survive to the progressive flattening of our forms of communication, can be considered authentic sources of psychological and mental energy, mostly important to the survival of the human species, not less than the sources of material energy. Also and mostly in this respect, the creation and diffusion of a culture-civilisation of images, able to renew and express a social dream, can be the industry of our future, where actual, virtual and invented reality be not competitive, but functional to each other.

Creativity and art with their impredictable journeys can still bring life to a dry world entirely programmed and dominated by technology.



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