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A Current Virtualization of Reality? N. Katherine Hayles: “We live in a virtual condition” Postmodern culture as being characterized by its virtuali zation of both reality and what has traditionally been seen as virtual? After virtualization, culture is potentialized in a certain way.

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slide1

A Current Virtualization of Reality?

  • N. Katherine Hayles: “We live in a virtual condition”
  • Postmodern culture as being characterized by its virtualization of both reality and what has traditionally been seen as virtual? After virtualization, culture is potentialized in a certain way.
  • Pierre Lévy: A general virtualization of reality, i.e. virtuality as a general cultural condition
slide2

What is Virtuality?

  • The concept of virtuality in computer science: Virtuality as a set of levels of derived/”higher” languages of programming, e.g. BASIC, C
  • The popular sense of virtuality, culture, and computer media: The virtual as simulation or derivation/perversion, e.g. “a virtual romance”
slide3

Virtuality in Philosophy

  • The history of the concept of virtuality: - potentiality versus simulation/”fake”
  • (Lat.) virtualis: potentiality (deprived of existence)
  • Aristotle: in potentia vs. in actu
  • The Scholastics: a dialectical rather than a radically oppositional relationship between the virtual and the actual (e.g. virtuality as the seed of a tree)
slide4

Virtuality in Philosophy

  • The modern concept of virtuality:
  • The negative to the real; non-existent, not actual
  • Optically defined as an illusionary, ghostly existence
  • “To be a virtual dictator”: Almost like a dictator; yet not really a dictator
  • The virtual/the fake celebrated by Decadence owing to a mistrust of the “natural”
  • The virtual/fake in post-modernity taken for fundamental for aesthetic pleasure
slide5

Virtuality in Cyberculture Studies

  • Two fundamental positions in the study of cyber culture: The virtual as fake (“negative”) or the virtual as potential (“positive”)
  • Two reactions to the virtual as fake:
  • - 1. a generel rejection of the virtual as fake
  • - 2. scepticism as for the so-called “real life” (RL) and its claimed authenticity compared to “virtual life” (social intercourse in cyberspace)
slide6

Pierre Lévy: Virtualization

Pierre Lévy: ”Rigorously defined, the virtual has few affinities with the false, the illusionary, the imaginary. The virtual is not at all the opposite of the real. It is, on the contrary, a powerful and productive mode of being, a mode that gives free rein to creative processes.”

slide7

Pierre Lévy:

  • Virtual/Actual/Actualization
  • 1. The relation of the virtual to the actual is one to many: There is no limit on the number of possible actualizations of a virtual entity.
  • 2. The passage from the virtual to the actual involves transformation, and is therefore irreversible. Lévy: “Actualization is an event, in the strong sense of the term”
slide8

Pierre Lévy:

  • Virtual/Actual/Actualization ...
  • 3. The virtual is not anchored in space and time. Actualization is the passage from a state of timelessness and deterritorialization to an existence rooted in a here and now. It is an event of contextualization.
  • 4. The virtual is an inexhaustible resource. Using it does not lead to its depletion.
slide9

Lévy: Possible/Real, Virtual/Actual

5. Lévy: ”The real resembles the possible. The actual, however, in no way resembles the virtual. It responds to it.”

Matrix featuring the conceptualized dichotomies in Lévy (derived from Félix Guatarri: Chaosmose)

slide10

Lévy: Virtualization

Lévy: ”Virtualization is not derealization (the transformation of a reality into a collection of possibles) but a change of identity, a displacement of the center of ontological gravity of the object considered”

”Actualization proceeds from problem to solution, virtualization from a given solution to a (different) problem.”

slide11

Lévy: Virtualization

Lévy: ”The virtualization of a given entity consists in determining the general question to which it responds”. After virtualization, the ”entity … finds its essential consistency within a problematic field.”

E.g.: ”The virtualization of the corporation consists primarily in transforming the spatiotemporal coordinates of work into a continuously renewed problem rather than a stable solution”

slide12

Virtualization of Place

  • Cyberplace as ethereal, or mediated place in cybergeography: - seemingly not a technical, but an epistemological and most likely also a cultural condition of place.
  • Cyberplace seen as already constituted epistemologically and phenomenologically and still something that is to be; a place which ”contains” its problematic of mediation
slide13

Virtualization of Place

  • Staged place in Superflex: A re-vitalized, but also re-constituted ”art place”: One finds oneself there again in the world being staged, or mediated by art.
  • Art place as already being constituted institutionally, yet still something that is to be; a place which ”contains” its problematic of culture