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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathAesthetic Paradigms

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mobility and variability directly influence the notions of reality and materiality, which become equally flexible, variable, and capable of virtualization. The Internet provides clear examples of the different realities and of the tendency toward transformation or simulation of the real in virtual space (‹virtual› here in the sense of suspending reality). The fluidity and playfulness of the experience in this space intensifies the feeling of timelessness and immateriality. A consideration of the various artistic Internet projects reveals that subverting the notion of reality is one of the subjects most frequently tackled by artists. Chat rooms and MUDs as well as virtual cities can similarly be regarded as platforms for the creation of artificial realities.

However divergent the views reflected in the most recent treatises on the ‹aesthetics of dematerialization,› and here specifically the ‹aesthetics of vanishing›—for example, in the writings of Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, Johannes Birringer, Paul Virilio, Peter Weibel, Vilém Flusser and Peter Zec—there are unanimous references to the «chronochratic process» (Peter Weibel) underway in contemporary society and its effects on human


perception, artificial acceleration, physical and material disintegration, and spatial simulation.

In his emblematic 1985 exhibition [8] in the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Jean-François Lyotard intensively analyzed this process which leads to what he calls «immaterials.» The show «Les Immatériaux» attempted to demonstrate the kind of transformation undergone by the relationship between human and material, beginning with the Modern tradition—itself heir to the Cartesian tradition—and continuing up to Postmodernism with its ‹new materials› above all in the areas of the techno-sciences, computer science, and electronics. According to Lyotard, in the process of interaction material vanishes as an independent unit (electronic waves, sound waves, light waves, elementary particles). Thus, the principle of the operational structure is based not on a stable ‹substance,› but on a series of unstable interactions. These immaterials are joined by new processes of interaction that change the way one acts in the world, and thus at the same time the human projects, too (art, philosophy, sociology, science).

Paul Virilio and Peter Weibel describe this process

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