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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathEndo-Aesthetics
Liquid Views; The Virtual Mirror of Narcissus (Fleischmann, Monika; Strauss, Wolfgang), 1992

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approach towards an aesthetics of simulation and endo-aesthetics as a theory of interactive art ought to take into account that the discourses regarding ‹artificial worlds,› ‹virtual realities› or ‹model worlds› cannot refer to projections arising independently of the cognitive system of a human being, of his understanding and relationship to the (potential or real) environment, since the references remain bound up with socio-cultural and cognitive behavioral configurations and experiences. Part of the problematic of virtual reality possibly lies in the term itself, because it suggests that a parallel world exists without reference to the real world. Since historical models are always multifarious operations in language that are based on distinction processes among data of social or individual memory contents and on the (re-)interpretation of experiences and knowledge according to specific criteria, and moreover always refer to the system, historical constructions cannot consist of an objective and neutral rendition of past events, since accounts of reality are not viable. The construction of virtual reality is accomplished in similar fashion, with a role being played in the selection and


composition of data both by the observer’s particular experience of the world as well as by his knowledge and powers of imagination.

A good example of this duality is furnished by «Liquid Views or The Virtual Mirror of Narcissus» (1992), produced by Monika Fleischmann/Wolfgang Strauss in collaboration with Christian A. Bohn. [12] Based on the myth of Narcissus, the installation uses the metaphor of water as a mirror and confronts the viewer with his self-image and the reflection of the digital universe. Since the technical interface is not consciously perceived as such, a strong simulation or unconscious fiction takes effect in which the real and virtual realms are sensorially linked. The real image of the observer, reproduced in the fictive image of the mirror-screen, stresses the duality existing on the one hand between world-observation and self-observation (self-knowledge), and on the other hand the sensorial relationship of tension between the immateriality of the virtual and the materiality of the physical body. These various levels of reality (exo and endo) make clear the double game played by endo-aesthetics.

Louis Bec, an artist whose research into artificial systems

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