PIXXELPOINT 2008 - International New Media Art Festival
FOR GOD’S SAKE!
How the media change the way we imagine / represent / honour / curse the divinity
Whether we like it or not, spirituality has shaped the evolution of the media, and in turn has been amply influenced by it. Two of the most effective technological brand identities, the Big Brother symbol and the Second Life logo, are blatantly inspired by the divine eye. “God games” are among the most popular videogames, and our passion for high tech gadgets is akin to idolatry. The total absorption commanded by videogame playing, right down to the position adopted by players, is our new form of prayer.
Search engines have come to acquire the status of modern-day oracles. “It’s true, I read it on Google”, is an everyday assertion that sounds like an act of faith. If religion is (or was) the opium of the people, in the 90s it was a banality to say the same of television – just as it is today of Youtube. And satellite vision, made popular by GPS systems and Google Earth, on the one hand imitates the divine viewpoint, while on the other allows everyone to adopt it. Technology violates our privacy like only God used to be able to. And while computers are not yet powerful enough to follow in the footsteps of HAL 9000, the overbearing superbrain of 2001 A Space Odyssey, we get the impression that they are not far off it.
From another perspective, churches of all levels and denominations are themselves exploiting the potential of the media to the full. As one Christian website reads, “God Always Uses the Latest Technology”. Holy wars are being waged in virtual worlds. We want technology to give us proof of myths and miracles, and the Catholic backing for Mel Gibson’s blockbuster is common knowledge.
Contemporary artistic projects have raised these issues on many occasions, exploring technological fetishism, the oracular nature of the internet, the fideistic attitude we have towards the media and the evangelizing bent of those who produce them. This art often takes a critical approach, but also looks for an authentic vehicle of spirituality in the media. Taking this as its theme, Pixxelpoint 2008 addresses saints and heretics alike, looking for projects which explore the relationship between media and spirituality at a key point in human history, a time of civilization clashes and neocon upsurges, apocalyptic nightmares and hopes for a new enlightenment.
Curator: Domenico Quaranta, Italy
Event place/dates: Nova Gorica (Slovenia), 5th – 12th December 2008