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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathAesthetic Paradigms
Rara Avis (Kac, Eduardo)

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of dematerialization as an ‹era of absence› that brings forth an aesthetics based on the ‹absum,› [9] in its meaning of remoteness and spatial distance, as well as on lack, loss, and dematerialization. Media artists took up the experiences conveyed in the first discernible artistic signs of an aesthetics of absence [10] —particularly since 1945 (Fontana, Manzoni, Klein, Cage and others already mentioned)—as well as the tendency to dematerialize the artistic object, along with other strategies of immateriality that dominated the art and theory of the 1960s and ’70s (as analyzed by Frank Popper in his book «Le déclin de l'objet» of 1975, which already pointed out the process of dematerialization and the dissolution of the art object). If one considers the changes driven forward by the technologies, then these experiences are expressed even more clearly.

That messages circulate without message carriers—codified and by means of electromagnetic waves—or that signs and information travel the globe in disembodied form at speeds allowing them to be practically ubiquitously and simultaneously present are, according to Peter Weibel, the reasons that the world


and the human being are experiencing a process of relativization in consequence of which the state of things is changing of its own volition. If the duplication of time and space by simulation is turning real time and natural space into interchangeable quantities, then this, according to Weibel, also places in question the body itself. Telematics, for instance, allows the body ubiquitous telepresence as long as physical absence is guaranteed. Through technological transformation and artificial prosthesis the body, as the central element for understanding reality, is gradually moving away from its historical representation. Even if the body is characterized on the net by its absence, it can still be symbolically or imaginatively very much ‹present.› So-called »Telepresence Art« [11] exemplifies this process. [12] It examines the possibilities of telematic media and telerobotic [13] technologies in regard to developing forms of co-existence in the real and virtual space of actions carried out synchronously by artists and users and characterized by the duality of physical and immaterial presence. One example is «Rara Avis» (1996) by Eduardo Kac, a telepresence installation that exists both physically at the exhibition site as well as

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