re:bodying the virtual
A bilateral excavation in virtual interior(s)
This visual essay is composed of an associative thread of images that are sourced from several collaborative projects we (A + R) have conducted over the past six years. The context in which these collaborations took place include a symposium, exhibitions, various video works, and the teaching of a semi-virtual interior design studio in Melbourne. A crucial aspect within these situations was a shared spatial and didactical praxis that was located on opposite sides of the planet?—?Belgium and Australia.
The collaboration was thus largely determined by the gaps between A + R: the geographical separation, the physicality or virtuality of site, and the millisecond delay of the video feed. The virtual screen that speared through each interaction meant that the technologies and processes employed were often undulating attempts to minimise
To compose this visual essay, the image archive of each collaborative project was examined through a peripheral lens, in order to create relations that interrogate the spatial and conceptual implications of bridging this physical distance. The anachronistic approach to the images allowed new forms of configurations to arise, emphasising the specific spatial situations over any previous context or anecdotal chronology.
As a consequence, elaborating on the precise details of each project seems to be somewhat beside the point. In fact, prosaic descriptions detract from what is actually important about these interactions. The textual interspersions throughout the essay are attempts to develop
a syntax for pointing out what is conceptually relevant. They try to unpack?—?or make more accessible?—?the visual argumentation that the essay is constructed from, without ever claiming or providing unisonal clarity. The words do not function as explanations, but instead as musings that attempt to mark?—?and disclose?—?the various typologies, as well as to narrate the transition between them. They are attempts to describe both the experience of the digital landscape and the terrain itself.
In these thematic paragraphs, we have attempted to find language that resonates with the configurations of site that come together through the juxtapositions within the visual sequence. The collected imagery has been curated to lay bare the constituting components of this shared experience within digital space. In this way, the essay as a whole can be read as a subjective taxonomy of our digital communication of place as well as a truly digital simultaneous compression of it into one singular entity.
Ultimately, the resulting transmedial constellation of images, text, places, objects, and projects aims to interrogate the kind of interiorities that are generated when two bodies interact from distant locations through predominantly digital platforms. It describes an exchange between the virtual spaces that we occupy and the physicality of the bodies and objects that remain essential for this virtual occupation.
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