Reality Turn | Understanding New Experiences, Art and Ecologies in Virtual Era

16 - 19 May 2019
Lūznava Mano, Rēzekne Latvia

“An ecology of the virtual is .. just as pressing as ecologies of the visible world” – Felix Guattari

A paradox has formed today, whereby nearly all aspects of our daily life take  place in the virtual space, yet the consequences reache us in our physical space. The border between the real and virtual has become thin and porous because of ubiquity, immersiveness and immediate transformations: Smart algorithms analyse the traces we leave in our social networks and make suggestions for us about what we should like, shop and who we should befriend ; Digital models can be transformed into tangible objects through 3D printing; VR and gaming offers us new experiences, extending our senses and visions – but what do these “new experiences” mean for the i(phone)Generation, who have no similar experiences in “real” life and often make their decisions based on lessons learnt from the digital realm?

Now more than ever, it is time to make a reality turn, and to treat the virtual more seriously.

Moreover, as we are facing immediate and reinforced consequences in everyday life of things we do in the virtual environment – for instance, wrong posts which can become viral, and harm us in reality – the moment has come to emphasise, that “an ecology of the virtual is .. just as pressing as ecologies of the visible world” (Guattari, 1995: 91).

Ecological awareness forms the core of the EUCIDA symposium, which aims to explore the artistic strategies facing the urgent realities of today in our society – such as climate change, environmental issues, ubiquitous and immersive technologies. By focusing on ecologies, we are using environment as the point of departure to make a shift “back to reality” with the two fold intent: First, as climate change is a major issue which can only be solved in the physical world; and second, as nature in Latvia, where this Eucida symposium will take place, has always had a particularly strong meaning and link for the local communities.  

Outstanding keynote speakers will discuss alternate realities and ecologies of the virtual, while featured Eucida network artists will give masterclasses that use digital technologies for communicating with the plants, reveal myths behind electricity and network infrastructure, grow algae and bacteria for producing green energy, experiment with 3D printing to transform the digital into the tangible, and experiment with 360-video transforming the real environment into the mixed reality experience, establishing a stronger link between the virtual and the real.