Ali Alışır – “Virtual Places” – 2011
The term ‘virtual’ was first used at the beginning of 18th century in optics so as to describe an object’s reflected image. The reflected image of object is not separate but part of a complementary mechanism.
The major reason for images to be virtual is the fact that they are distant from both viewers and users, and this distance gives the impression that one can accustom to it any moment. Today the concepts ‘virtual and real’ are in a similar relationship with each other. Images of movies that we watched, voice of music that we listened are results of a process in our minds that we can barely control. The thing what creates the feeling of difference in ourselves is our capabilities throughout the process that continues with experiences.
In this age, images in digital medium are, in fact, nothing but a series of electrical charges. These charges are ready to modify and change at any moment. While e-mails, multimedia images, and visuals are transferring from one continent to other, they lead the space to a kind of break and resolution.
This change tells that today the description of “virtual” is different than reflected image (optics) of an object that was made during 18th century. Images are not used only to reflect the world (like in the case of optics) any more. On the contrary, they are designated to be in a status that shapes our lives, social environments, relations, and us. Along with the concept of virtual reality and in time, our thoughts were moved to a transparent position with our perceptions as well as experiences. We can claim that we started to become both the vast audience and the transmission network itself.
At this point, in conjunction with the speed of technology, photography, which is not functional anymore, resembled to virtual reality. In a way its reality was vanished within these virtual networks. The fact that photos taken by a photographer are codified and transferred from one processor to other (from computer to television or mobile phone) affected the image of photography. Contrary to what is believed, “reality” is not loud and clear any more. Its image, on the other hand, became purely synthetic due to the digital codes and successive codes.
Along with computational processing, the concept of “nostalgia feeling” had a chain reaction. The absence phase formed by the classical photography was taken over by the scene, in which everything must be seen and even produced.
This era imposes some sort of “meaning” bombardment on religion, policy, economy, social relations, and news. Each individual connects with each other through digital networks and transforms into an image transmitter. However, in this traffic images do not educate and inform the individuals. In order to be informed, they just lead the individuals to become a huge network. Today it became impossible to reach a certain reality based on these images.
This enormous introversion brought about desensitization and the desire to act. In the middle of this excessive meaning and excessive meaninglessness, individuals started to live with sudden internal shakes particular to the system.
This may be the first harbinger of the concept of artificial intelligence. Today, in this adventure, in which people had imagined to build a stronger machine than human being, this might be the first real flirt that human beings experience with virtual reality. While artificial memories increase their hegemony in our lives; our bodies, languages, and thoughts transform into unnecessary functions.
Within the new world order, while on the on hand the period of all revolutions and revitalization mechanisms are closing; on the other hand, the virtual universe, by which people connect with each other through closed circuits and digital networks, is making the distance between humans and “physical realities” more and more transparent….