��Virtual reality, Alterity��

« Virtual reality, Alterity »
Art and alterity at the age of virtual reality
Wednesday, March 25 2015
Lab at the Cultural Institute - Google
8, rue de Londres, Paris
VR and Alterity
by David Guez
Alterity process.
In the skin of the « other ».
Questions about alterity arise in a very significant way
through the use of the new Virtual reality devices. Helmets,
haptic interfaces or any other tool, which allow interaction
between corpse, brain and reality, are able to change our relation to
l, i
the « other ». I am the « other » ; I have access to his point of view, to his
senses, to his relation to the world. I am only a passive visitor, an observer
integrated in his eyes, a cognitive ghost.
I understand the reality which is taking place from his point of view. For a brief
moment, I teleport myself to live inside his chiaroscuro. The « other », a face, eyes, the
expression of astonishment or discontentment, fear. To be inhabited, to be a host : a vehicle.
To see things that we cannot see. What can we say to a ghost ? How can we communicate with him?
In which dimension?
The perspective introduced by Virtual reality is not a 4D perspective, in the sense of the Euclidian
geometry, but a perspective of alterity. It goes beyond the spatiotemporal question to balance
itself on the idea of the « other’s thoughts ». Thinking of living people or thinking of dead people is
acknowledging the existence of a specific time where time and space are focused on a particular scene :
a memory or a desire. The « other-image ». I am sitting on a train, I think of the other, I see him, I create
a film of a real subjective time. Nothing reveals that this imaginative creation, as light as a halo of
smoke, is currently taking place. How these passing interfaces, these new sight organs can move me
inside the « others-image », the « others-reality », the « others-host »?
VR helmets are vehicles. Before offering me a physical meeting, they are tools, which allow
image and image desire to set up again through revolutionary exchanges. They are not
only a tautology of teleportation, but even more a new window opened to the creation
of the image of the other.
We must think VR helmets as vehicles
of dimension change.
Then, surely, we will question the « image ».
What will become the image, in the sense of a passive
representation which would become active (the moving
image -> the desiring image facing the objectivized image of
the other).
I could have only the « animal » view ; it means the experimental view
based on the differences of points of view according to each species. Being
outside my « Human-Being ». Will it provide me other learning processes than
those equivalents to the effects of any entertainment in a funfair? Bringing those
sensory devices to their limit.
I am only a visitor, I settle myself inside you, I ensconce myself into your point of view.
Would I see the same things as you? Because seeing is not only receiving physical images or light
waves, it is also receiving in the sense of a return of alterity. Sometimes, a blind person can see better
than a sighted person.
We must then question ourselves about the ontology of virtual image, think of its alterity dimension,
of the corollary between a seen image, a received image and a perceived image in the percept sense.
Then we must think of the go and return between emitter and receiver. Because image, as a symbolic
but passive representation (or moving images) and already full of strength, is, in reality, nothing
compared to the image of alterity, to an exchanging smile. This « alterity-image » in the VR devices is
also an image of communication in the sense of a perceptible and persistent return.
Entering in the other’s dimensions through the helmet, is to be in a complete visual intimacy,
in an echo bubble, which brings us back continuously to our «human being ».
Because seeing what the other sees, is to convince yourself that you see « well »,
that you see the same. It is to convince yourself of the existence of your own
« human being », of your likeliness, of your affiliation.
This is why it is never about experiment.
VRLab with David Guez
Natacha Seignolles Décalab’s Director
Laurent Gaveau Lab at the cultural institute Google
1st part
Annick Bureaud art critic
Virtual Reality or the « White Man’s Mask »
Exploring the worlds of imagination ; experiencing the worlds of the Others ; perceiving the world
as a lobster. In this brief introduction, we shall present a few examples of how Otherness was
approached by the artists during the first epoch of Virtual Reality in the 20th Century. Hypotheses
and comparisons will then be made with today’s directions taken by VR 2.0.
Dialogue with Makiko Izu choreographer of « Mirage » by Grinder-Man, Japan
Performance Art with Substitutional Reality System
« MIRAGE » is the first performing art ever in the world to experience with immersive. This
experience reminds us that we generate ourselves at each moment in our highly subjective
ambiguous world. This expression is created by a performance from art group GRINDER-MAN,
based on the Substitutional Reality (SR) ; System an experience platform developed by RIKEN
Brain Science Institute in Japan. Unlike the general performing arts for different audiences,
« MIRAGE » is generated by the interaction of two dancers and one participant. As the participants,
you are invited into an 8 minutes immersive experience, using a head-mounted display fitted with
headphones and a camera to capture live scenes. Each participant will be required to discover
their own « reality ». The aim of « MIRAGE » is to encourage you to establish yourself in such
unique, uncertain world.
Décalab is an innovation agency by contemporary art and research design.
Décalab explores the contemporary changes through weak signals given by art and design research. It supports
its customers in innovations and the artists for research and production of works. Décalab also produces
exhibitions. www.decalab.fr
Annick Bureaud
Annick Bureaud is an art critic and independent curator in the art-science-technology domain
(www.annickbureaud.net). She is the director of Leonardo / Olats (www.olats.org), the French and
European branch of the magazine « Leonardo » (www.leonardo.info).
She has co-directed « Meta-Life. Biotechnology, Synthetic Biology, A-Life
and the Arts » in the Leonardo ebook collection MIT Press. She
contributes to Décalab since 2013.
Makropol artists collective / Denmark
Presentation of « Dog House »
The table is set for five and on each plate awaits a pair of video-glasses and head-phones. You
sit down, put on the glasses and headphones, and instantly a film opens and you are a part of it.
You are at a family dinner.
The Doghouse comes from the idea to experience the same story from five different points of
view at the same time. In the Doghouse you experience, what the actor experiences. You see,
what the actor sees, and you hear, what the actor hears. So you, by the help of the actor, become
a character in the film. Like an advanced role playing game.
Experience in live with 5 persons
Johan Knattrup Jensen
Director and writer, graduated from film school Super16 in 2012 with the graduation film « Copenhagen Love
Story » about the last days of real life poet Michael Strunge. In 2011 Johan made the crossover documentary
« Road to Paradise », where he follows the footsteps of late hippie star Eik Skaløe in his fatal journey to rural
India to commit suicide. The documentary screened in all major film festivals in Denmark. Johan also works in
the fields of photography, theatre, music, and performance art.
Mads Damsbo
As a producer at Makropol, Mads wants to curate and create transforming audiovisual experiences in a digital
age. Together with film producers and directors, interaction designers and game designers, artist and coders,
Mads works as a professional facilitator for talents who work with storytelling in this new media landscape.
Thus, Makropol takes pride in being undefined until it’s connected to an idea or project. It has an ever-changing
nature, which is what makes it flexible and applicable in cross-medial constellations.
Dark Matters
Works with light, stage design, development of new ideas and
abstract visual narration museums, theatres, music &
2nd part
Mark Farid artist / U.K.
Presentation of « Seeing-I »
« Seeing-I » is a social-artistic experiment that questions how much of the individual is an inherent
personality and how large a portion of the individual is a cultural identity. For 24 hours a day for
28 days, artist Mark Farid will wear virtual reality glasses through which he will experience life
through another person’s eyes and ears - this person will be referred to as « the Other ». Mark has
had no previous relationship with this person; he is only aware that the Other is a heterosexual
male, who is in a relationship. The Other is required to wear a pair of glasses that covertly capture audio and video. This footage will then be watched back by Mark, who will be inhabiting a
space consisting of only a bed, a toilet and shower area. This area, as well as Mark, will be on
constant display to the audience.
Experience in live
Mark Farid
Born 1991, lives and works in London.
Farid is a multimedia conceptual artist, who through an interrogative practise, examines the ethics of performing
in social situations to help understand the administrated identity of the individual, in relationship to the
institutions and systems.
Currently using technology to dissect these systems, Farid aims to help understand the power structures that
bind together the collective of individuals, which act as the cogs in these formations. In doing so, Farid subverts
the nature of this relationship in the hope of deconstructing the administering rules of function, with the
aim of emancipating the participant and audience from these very power structures.
Farid graduated from Kingston University, London with a
First Class degree in Fine Art, 2014, and has since
participated in group and solo exhibitions
in London, Frankfurt and Abu
David Guez artist / France, initiator of VRLAB
Presentation of « Homni » developed with Ivan Chabanaud
The project involves the construction of a mobile phone application and VR goggles google
cardboard type that allows each user to navigate the subjective view of a network : the network
HOMNI. The HOMNI network consists of X people equipped with VR headsets that transmit their
real-time view of the camera via their mobile phone. They have the choice to go with a look at the
other members of the random network (chat roulette-type) or selected (mapping).
The project proposes two forms of exploitation :
1- In the form of a performance where several dozen helmets are distributed to a population of
visitors to a space / time given (art center, course in a city...)
2 - In the form of a personal usehome where each connection to the network HOMNI projects
each in a kind of vertigo, where he spent a look to another in a kind of multiple Teleport vision.
This project is linked to a project related to the multiverse...
in live
Emanuele Coccia philosopher
And discussion with the audience
VRLAB is an artistic initiative consisting of the establishment of a laboratory whose objectives are :
– Technological watch on the fields of virtual reality and alternate realities.
– Make the connection between art and these areas.
– Establishment of events (conferences, demonstrations, exhibitions …) involved in creating a dynamic
reflection and production.
– Creation and production of projects, group exhibition initiative, performance, installation.
– Partnerships with scientific laboratories, universities, production structures, arts centers and exhibition spaces,
private companies. www.vrlab.fr
David Guez
Since 1995, David Guez has been realizing art projects including the two basic engines : The notion of « link » :
social link, link between different mediums and different practices, link associated with a sense of otherness
where new technologies would be the means to help people to exchange with each other. The notion of
« public » in the most open sense : « an open art and available to the general public » and the political and social
sense, « an art that questions the public and private freedoms and proposes alternatives ». Both approaches
have allowed it to invent « objects » and « matrices » which question contemporary issues and their links with
new technologies. These are themes as varied as free media, psychoanalysis, the relationship with time,
collaborative uses of the internet, identity problems, loss of freedom and archiving issues. The latest projects
- Series 2067 Humanpédia, hard paper disk, binary Stele, Standard kilobyte - focus more specifically on the
themes of time and memory.
He set up the VRLAB artistic platform in 2014. www.vrlab.fr
Emanuele Coccia
Emanuele Coccia is Associated Professor for Social Sciences at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
(EHESS) in Paris. Among his publications La trasparenza delle immagini, Averroè e l’averroismo (Milan
2005, Spanish translation 2008), La vie sensible (2010, translated in English, Italian, Portuguese,
Spanish and Romanian) and Le bien dans les choses (2013 translated in Italian,
Spanish, English and German translation in press). In collaboration with
Giorgio Agamben he edited an anthology on angels (Angeli).
Natacha Seignolles
Veille DécaLab