Thesis Info

Thesis Title
PostDigital City. Aesthetics and Politics in the Space of Embodied Virtuality
Sandra Álvaro Sánchez
2nd Author
3rd Author
28-11- 2016
Number of Pages
Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona
Thesis Supervisor
prof. Khaldoun Zreik (Paris8)
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr. David Casacuberta (UAB)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
Cultura Art and Technology, Digital culture; Aesthetics and politics; Software studies
Abstract: 200-500 words
Deleuze and Guattari quote Paul Klee to characterize modern art as research engaged in the mobilization of the creative potentialities of matter. Art gives up mimesis or Representation and assumes an aesthetic and political compromise: to express how things reach existence. The Modern Artist becomes an artisan engaged in the experimentation with matter, which is understood as multidimensional, active, complex, and counter-intuitive. After having abandoned the repetition of tradition and the codifications of power, art explores noise, the unactualized possibilities of the Virtual, and unfolds new channels of communication, new transductions towards the creation of new territories or spaces of dwelling. Art becomes ecology and claims for a population, called on to be the oscillators that make these starting points and new temporalities resonate. The collective engagement in the creation of our surrounding reality will reach philosophy and science, this resulting in a new understanding of Ontology; our reality becomes an ongoing collective project, not populated by static objects but by the immanent process of producing complex assemblages. The Deleuzian concept of Art stems from a materialistic ontology that unfolded from the postcartesian philosophy of Leibniz and Spinoza and the conception of a processual reality proposed by Whitehead, and followed by authors such as Bergson, Simondon, Deleuze and Serres, that was later elaborated by Delanda and Latour and more recently by currents such as Software Studies, Media Archaeology, the Ecology of Media, and others that have considered the agency of matter in relation to the Digital ground. The research presented here navigates these theories, their relation to and influence on to theories about urbanism, especially in Lefebvre, and contemporary artistic production to propose a series of concepts: ‘Space of Transformation’, ‘Embodied Virtuality’ and ‘PostDigital’ are the points of accumulation where all the previous conceptual elaborations converge; the nodes of a constellation that will allow a navigable map towards the understanding of the conformation of our technological milieu to be built. The Postdigital designates a situation shaped by the ubiquity of a big assemblage that has spread computation to all the spaces of knowledge and practice until reaching our daily routines and the physical space by means of the new connected devices of Ubiquitous Computing and the associated phenomena of Big Data, the Internet of Things and Smartcities, that are territorializing all the spaces of our life, all of them flattened under the politics of a representation where everything becomes computable data and modelled by new cartographies, which are aimed at the efficient management of these spaces. Under these circumstances, computers are not tools, but a new techno-social apparatus changing the practiced, conceived and lived space. This research is aimed at the proposal of a productive relation with the new non-human agents populating our environment, by means of the consideration of the creative potential of making, understood as a transductive process from where things emerge as Embodied Spaces of Transformation. That is to say, the result of a communicative encounter by virtue of which things are produced at the same time as the subjectivities and territories of the Collectives involved in them. As Valéry predicts art is becoming ubiquitous, the creations and techniques developed in the experimentation with new media pervade our environment from the facades of our buildings to the small communicative devices we stock in our pockets and the design of consumer products. In it, art and design encounter with technology and engineering. What is proposed here is a set of strategies arising from the free and playful activity developed on the intersections between art, engineering, architecture and social intervention, the Postdigital Strategies are rooted in the space of Embodied Virtuality and directed at the elaboration of a new poetics of the city, which is concerned with the speculative construction of programmable space. It becomes not an unrooted, homogenized and fragmented nowhere, jeopardized by the fuzzy relational systems of an imperceptible apparatus, but a space rooted in the specifics of the local and able to embrace difference, populated by open systems that foster participation and empowers citizens, able to be appropriated for new uses and where everybody can be engaged in its social production; the seeds for the new citizenship that Lefebvre claims in the Right of the City.