My research over the last year has been about exploring through Social Art Practice and using creative play to investigate peoples’ relationship with the outside (real/physical) world and the inside (virtual/technological) world. I have been concerned about Western societies apparent withdrawal from the real world to become increasingly preoccupied with ever-evolving and ever-trending immersive social platforms. This concern has become particularly pressing as we move closer to a world where virtual and augmented reality will become commonplace and the lines between the virtual and the real become even more blurred.
Through creative collaborative and participatory events involving a variety of age ranges, both online (Gaming, Twitter, Facebook etc.) and within the real world (Forest walks, Popup events), I have endeavoured to create an ‘interstice’, a space, which encourages dialogue surrounding these concerns. This research has also persuaded me to reconsider my own relationship to both the real and virtual world, which has given me personal insights that have widened the creative course.
This piece is a reflection on the contrast, or lack thereof, between the virtual and the real. I have extended a hand into the virtual world with all its enhanced imitations, and invited its commuters who travel through the shopping malls, hangouts and entertainment complexes of the information superhighway to break from the boundary of their coded environments. The invitation is an opportunity for online ‘Gamers’ to ‘Control Me’ like one of their online characters or avatars in the real physical world, by addressing the question: “Your character dies in an epic battle, you’ve re-spawned into the real world…what happens next?’ I in turn have attempted to re-enact the scenarios conjured up by this question through the medium of video.
Just as I, the gamers too are bound to the physical world by their bodies, even if their minds are elsewhere traveling timelessly through the technological rhizome. Understandably that just as ‘Gamers’ are confined by the rules of their online worlds, they too will know that when they ‘control me’ in the real world I will be confined by its limitations.
My desire is that the collaborators and the viewers of the performances are given the ‘interstice’ to examine their own relationship to both the real and the virtual world.
“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”
– Oscar Wilde