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© 2021 by Heinz Hermann Maria Hoppe.
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Neurons are cells specialized for voltage changes. Ion currents flow through cell membranes. Dendrites pick up excitation from other cells. In the axon hillock, analog signals are transcoded into digital signals ... Our nervous system is based on impulses, excitation transfers and signal processing. If the voltage flows in the wrong place at the wrong time, we go crazy. If it fails, we are brain dead. We are electric. ///
Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” Tool and medium shape image idea, execution and signal. Drawings, paintings and sculptures have been transmitting codes for millennia. Digital art, on the other hand, is already based on electrical coding in the process of creation. You can’t paint digital art ‘in oil’. The images are volatile; pixels replace pigments. Without electricity, no image can be created in the first place. But with digital tools, electrical voltage can be transformed into exciting visual worlds. Digital art is electric. ///
Pythagoras thought light was emitted by hot visual rays from the eyes. Physical experiments did not prove the connections between the electromagnetic rays that reach our optic nerves until much later. Quantum physics discovered the current of photons, again later the rules of electrodynamics were understood. So, as a photographer, you ‘paint’ with ‘electric light particles’ and ‘image electromagnetic waves’. ///
Across all image media, art connects ideas with people. Art encodes and excites via impulses and signals - analog and digital. The word parallels are interesting: ‘tension’, ‘excitement’, ‘code’, ‘impulse', ‘current’ and ‘signal’ are also key words within image design. ///
h:h:m:h creates digital image worlds.
Through unrestrained ‘growth intentions’, through droughts and through pests, huge areas of forest are destroyed worldwide : : :To the Compositings ‘Evocation of the Forest’ : : :
In New York City, impulses and consumer turnovers condense. On the downside, worries and heart attacks catch up with them : : :To the collages ‘NYC United Multiple Views’ : : :
Social acceptance of designer babies is not yet ready for the market : : :To the picture series ‘TransCRISPRians’ : : :
A new hot age is driving humanity. In the race against the ‘fever of the earth’ a technological upgrade has begun : : :To the picture series ‘Children of Icarus’ : : :
Our relationship with money is pathological. We want more and more of it and are even willing to sell our happiness and livelihoods : : :To the picture series ‘El Dorado 4.0’ : : :
Due to the Corona pandemic, human ties are broken, some die lonely and of grief : : :To the artistic projection and the digital image sequences ‘In Isolation’ : : :
Digitization and artificial intelligence are set to revolutionize work. But what will become of the employees? : : :To the picture series ‘Sisyphos at Work’ : : :
With nuclear fission scientists released the spirit for the development of atomic bombs into the world : : :To the picture series ‘Angel of Fire and Fury’ : : :
With climate change, we are walking on the precipice. Images and questions about our horizons : : :To the picture series ‘At the Edge of the CO2 sphere’ : : :
With the news of the worldwide spread of a new disease everything changed : : :To the picture ‘Birth of Corona’ : : :
We need insects to survive. But they're just leaving us : : :To the picture series ‘Insects Leave Now’ : : :
Blows of fate, ‘hell on earth’ and compensatory justice. Sinners’ from Dante’s Divine Comedy digitally interpreted : : :To the picture series ‘Dante 2020’ : : :
Organic organisms and biotechnologies combine to form artificial hybrids : : : An artistic vision : : :To the picture series/the animations ‘Deep Sea Creatures’ : : :
How much longer can the Earth support us? Human growth questioned : : :To the picture cycle ‘Mankind, multiplying’ : : :
The future of beauty. About algorithms and creativity : : :To the picture ‘Calculated Beauty’ : : :
All the following posts are comments.
Author: Heinz Hermann Maria Hoppe
An online bank transfer is a virtual process. We have never seen our money. We don’t hand it over personally, it exists as data. Other than a few wipes on a flat screen, there’s nothing to touch. The former way to the bank is replaced by a ‘login’. Web design replaces the appearance on site - the carpet in the branch, the wood veneer of the bank counter. Instead of a handshake, we get a pixelated portrait of our ‘personal’ bank advisor on the monitor, sometimes even an avatar. Advising, informing, establishing and maintaining trust no longer takes place in private. Online chats with robots replace e-mails, SMS and phone calls with the flesh and blood employee. Still not always satisfying, but they are working on it. We confirm our own identity by means of a numerical code, the paper remittance slip is a thing of the past, the signature on paper is just a relic.
Our physical spaces of experience are virtualized. We have not yet arrived at pure virtuality and will probably never quite be so, because we are bound to our bodies. But our mental ‘activities’ are well on the way. The changes in our lives due to the worldwide transformation into digital processes are epochal and in full swing. Virtuality is being filtered into our lives like a Trojan horse.
The feeling of being yourself is first of all a simulation. Our brain calculates ‘reality’ by comparing possible scenarios and outputting the most likely version as reality. In order for reality to feel ‘real’, credible interaction with bodies is required - with people, animals, spaces or things. Without external resonance and interaction, we have no comparison, no benchmark to determine our reality.
However, feedback can also be given virtually and the simulation through ‘virtual reality’ is perfected. What will appear ‘real’ to us if we can no longer distinguish the virtual world from the real world? Will we opt for the more pleasant world when the simulation has become perfect? Will we choose the world where we have fewer worries and hardships, where everything seems nice and light? Why should we not be able to be happier in such a virtual world? How real is the ‘analogue world’ anyway?
The wristwatch is an app on the smartphone. Instead of looking out the window, we trust the weather app. Webcams bring our holiday resorts home a little in advance. We no longer write on paper with a ballpoint pen as often, but with our thumbs on the smartphone - with limbs that have evolved to grasp. With online services, we shop conveniently around the clock all over the world. Appointments with doctors are made online, and remote diagnosis is becoming increasingly common. We initiate our next love relationship online. Entertainment, customer advice, finding your way - everything is digital. Talking jukeboxes are on call for us, looking for information about weekend events in the region. Our room can be turned into a cyber-living space by means of VR glasses: Our body is still between cemented walls, but in our mind we can already cross boundless dimensions. Our children drive virtual car races in digital landscapes. Five-year-olds run through the streets, staring spellbound at the screens of their smartphones; oblivious, fascinated and immersed in parallel worlds. It seems as if they are literally pulled into the virtual spaces.
Virtual space creates a social paradigm shift and we are right in the middle of it. Every day, we move quite naturally in virtual parallel worlds, at work and at home – even without 3D glasses. These worlds are just as real as the rooms in our homes. We can do business, have fun or commit crimes in them. We make contact with other people and connect with them - just like in ‘real’ life. They have long been an integral part of our lives.
A purely virtual life cannot exist as long as we are bound to a body. But the boundaries of virtuality are shifting. Already today, bedridden patients have relationships with people on other continents whom they only know as avatars and whom they will never meet in person. They seek comfort in virtual relationships.
»Virtualität ist die Eigenschaft einer Sache, nicht in der Form zu existieren, in der sie zu existieren scheint, aber in ihrem Wesen oder ihrer Wirkung einer in dieser Form existierenden Sache zu gleichen. Virtualität meint also eine gedachte Entität, die in ihrer Funktionalität oder Wirkung vorhanden ist.«1
(Approximate translation: Virtuality is the property of a thing not to exist in the form in which it appears to exist, but to resemble in its essence or effect a thing existing in that form. Virtuality thus means an imaginary entity that exists in its functionality or effect.)
New production conditions are the end of the classical industrial society. We no longer live in the age of production, but in the age of information. Knowledge has always been power – now data has become a commodity. Because these developments are creeping, we are rarely aware of them. Every day, resourceful entrepreneurs come up with new ideas to further streamline processes. Manufacturers digitally reinvent themselves and every single production step.
In the industry, people talk about ‘digital twins’, ‘Internet of Thinks’, ‘cloud computing’, ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘user experience’. Position Tracking’ computes the physical features of dead actors on the moving, virtual 3D bones of real filmed extras; a third, virtual ‘being’ is calculated from a dead and a living person. International flows of goods flow in virtual simulations to test efficiency. Products and services are planned, produced and distributed on a virtual level. VR glasses reflect components into space for the engineer to reach through. After lunch, teams from different continents meet via video conference for an update. Marketing? Virtual bidding at click rates. Virtual reality has long become reality. We live a mixed life of real and virtual experiences. Our life is hybrid! We are ‘pre-virtuals’!
2050: Physical locations are no longer important in virtual organizations. Old workplaces have disappeared from existence like objects of utility. New jobs, products and services have been transformed into digital equivalents. The reduced relevance of locations for jobs and places of residence also blurs the boundaries between working time and leisure. Work is no longer perceived as work at all, and leisure is no longer perceived as leisure.
Our perception has been reversed. At some point people have to decide whether they want to live in the new, virtual world or in the old, analogue world. There is a kind of quality seal for nostalgic premium products: ‘real’, physically experienced environments in the old world. They are sold as historical adventure trips, just like study trips to Ephesus in the past. Otherwise, we no longer travel ‘live’, but only send our spirit on its way. We perceive the experience as equally intense. We can now play chess with our deceased, virtually revived friend. The algorithms of the artificial intelligence combine his words collected during his lifetime into entertaining conversation. Parents in nursing homes receive virtual visits from their children much more often and no longer have to wait until the weekend or even Christmas. There are hardly any ‘facts’ left. Online psycho-consulting, online law, cyber cash, cyber marketing, cyber sex, ... we miss nothing!
When our actions are digitalized, our experiences will also be virtual. Will we at some point forget the analogue ways of dealing and living? Will our hands, arms, and trunks atrophy along with our manual skills? Don’t we already look different, rounder and more curved today because of our hours of virtual activity in front of the ‘TVs’? Do our physical experiences evaporate? Are we leaving the analogue world? Will we find our way back to the analogue world once we have left it or will we then remain trapped in the apparent authenticity of virtuality. In the end, will only the real basic needs remain for the analogue life? Shall we?
In the man-made era of the Anthropocene we are experiencing a parallel revolution. We are crossing the boundaries of analogue life with great strides towards a symbiosis of analogue and virtual existence. The process is continuous and creeping - we therefore usually do not consciously perceive the effects on our lives. In art, too, analog boundaries dissolve and our existence between physical and virtual realities is increasingly being addressed.
In the book “Was gibt’s zu sehen, 150 Jahre Moderne Kunst” from Will Gompertz2 the timeline of art epochs following postmodernism, minimal art, concept and performance art ends with the names of the current artist stars. »Kunst heute« (Art Today) is the end of the time travel through the exciting art history of modernism.
Isn’t there something missing?
In its origins, media art was linked to photographic and film techniques. It uses media technologies such as film, video, television and computer as ‘image carriers’ instead of canvas and sculpture. The generic term ‘media art’ with its subdivisions into ‘digital art’, ‘video art’, ‘computer art’, ‘robot art’ etc. thus refers to the media and tools used. The art genres of ‘Conceptual Art’, ‘Processual Art’, ‘Generative Art’, ‘Interactive Art’, ‘Performative Art’, ‘Net Art’, ‘Game Art’ etc. overlap and connect in places with media art. Works of art that are realized with the tools of virtual reality are also referred to as ‘VR art’ by a generic term. It also describes the medium.
The drastic changes brought about by digital and virtual processes are not about another category for a new art genre, but about the description of an epoch!
Artists will increasingly deal with virtual themes. New digital processes will further change the production of art. The proposed name ‘Previrtual Art’ for the present epoch reflects the upheaval in our time. It is not about genres or painting styles, but about a new form of existence.
What’s next? What will become of fine art in a virtual world? Will virtual artists present virtual artworks in virtual museums?
Philip Rosedale, founder of ‘Second Life’, it looks forward to it: »In einigen Jahren werden wir die reale Welt als Museum betrachten«. (Analogous translation: In a few years we’ll look at the real world as a museum.)3
Why the art world’s constant and devout bowing to pictorial themes that centuries ago moved the elites of the nobility and the Church? Were they deprived of view of commissioned art, which today is kept in safes for the longest time? In front of pictures that have mutated into objects of trade and prestige whose astronomical prices are artificially inflated? ///
What does a painting that basically copies or varies old ideas want to tell us today? What do variants of Minimal Art have to tell us that is new, apart from asking questions to specialized art critics? Where are innovative forms of presentation in the temples of art museums? Who is still captivated by the ritual of vernissages with opening speeches full of empty words and small talk with champagne glasses in front of white gallery walls? What is the point of the filtered, iconographic decoding of image details by museum educators who sell their view of “groundbreaking works” and thus rob the pictures of their aura? Why do we walk like lemmings through boring exhibitions in the stink of the Sunday visitor queues? ///
We need more, new, previously undiscovered art and creative forms of presentation. We need the opening and financial appreciation for fresh, unknown art and artists. There is a lack of courageous, contemporary and questioning art in museums instead of the constant mystification of the painter with the cut off ear and the endless reproduction of the tomato soup cans. ///
Outside the museum door we read about plastic particles in pack ice belts, melting glaciers, extinction of species, migration, diesel scandal, care crisis, freedom of opinion, world food, hate messages, lie press, wars ... but inside the museum the same pattern is repeated without any emotion: “important collections” show “important artists” from the ‘drawers’ Bauhaus, Expressionism, Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Constructivism, Surrealism, etc. The thoraxes of the trained visitors swell when they are able to recite the right art epochs - as in a vocabulary test. Art reception should look different. ///
There are exciting artists who go beyond familiar boundaries of perception. Many of these creatives create excellent works, are at the same time unknown and live below the subsistence level! There are exhibitions of contemporary art that are excitingly staged. There are alternative presentation formats and discussions about voluntarily refraining from intercontinental museum visits. But the relationship of new art platforms to established rituals does not fit. The budgets for urban prestige new buildings are disproportionately high. The Sunday cultural visits to the sacred halls of the museums have an artificial effect. The clientele of collectors and customers of galleries and auction houses with their merchandise art is circumscribed. The relevance of art in people’s everyday lives is not right, partly because of a lack of credibility with the art scene. Modern and abstract art has a problem of trust and thus an image problem. ///
Art should be more integrated into our everyday life, not only in the form of a bronze sculpture on the square in front of the town hall. We should surround ourselves with art, always and quite naturally. In the street scene, in parks, in front of and behind the front door. Art should be as omnipresent as no parking signs. Much more art fits into our commonplaces. For a better quality of life and a higher level of culture. ///
1: Page ›Virtualität‹. In: Wikipedia, The free Enzyklopädie. Processing status: September 24, 2019, 11:12 UTC. URL: https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Virtualit%C3%A4t&oldid=192541104 (Retrieved: Januar 7, 2020, 19:16 UTC)
2: Will Gompertz: »Was gibt’s zu sehen, 150 Jahre Moderne Kunst«. DuMont-Buchverlag, Köln, 2014, Fold-out pages
3: Eva Wolfangel: »Virtuelle Welten. Große Illustion, echte Gefühle«. GEO-Magazin, Gruner + Jahr, Edition 12/2019, Page 142 ff.
Nicole Zepter, ›Kunst hassen. Eine enttäuschte Liebe‹. Tropen Sachbuch.
In the texts, the masculine form is used for better readability. This refers to people of any gender.
Translated with www.deepl.com/Translator
If you are interested in an original, please contact me.
Heinz Hermann Maria Hoppe
Digital Artist/Dipl.-Designer (FH)
85737 Ismaning (near Munich)