March 10, 2012

The Otherness of Virtual Places. ~ Ali Alisir

(Photo: Ali Alisir)

Connecting places through electronic circuits.

When it comes to technology, we’re often standing only at the threshold of a new enlightenment age, at the same time as we’re experiencing how the rapid advance is radically changing our thinking patterns. The technology of our era is peeling off the layers left by the last couple of millennia and unearthing a whole new universe from under them.

We call this unlimited independence Virtual Reality. Every single day our Virtual Reality is expanding a bit more. Just like what happened in the past, when telegrams were replaced by phones and radio was replaced by TV. Like a virus, this is spreading everywhere around us.

This evolution shows us that a lot has changed since the 18th century, when the term “virtual” was first coined to define the optical reflection of an object. Today—unlike in the optical age— images are not just used to reflect the world to our eyes. On the contrary, they have come to a point at which they shape our lives, social environments, relations and finally, us.

(Photo: Ali Alisir)

With the concept of Virtual Reality, during the course of time, our thoughts along with our perceptions and experiences are carried to a transparent state. Today, we can safely say that we have become both viewers as well as the communication network itself.

At this point, keeping up with the speed of the technology, photography resembles virtual reality. It seems as if its “real” aspect, was absorbed and swallowed inside these virtual networks. The fact that the images shot by the photographer are coded digitally and that all of them are transferred from one processor to another (from the computer, to the TV, to cell phones, etc.) has an impact on the image of photograph itself.

From this point on, “reality” is not something as clear and explicit as we thought. Its digitally coded nature along with the overwritten and repetitive coding turns the photographed image into something completely synthetic.

The content and transmission of news has also undergone a change through these coding processes. On TV, the way the events are handled has turned into a depiction of the events. (Only their digital coding is transposed).

(Photo: Ali Alisir)

As such, with the effects of the mass communication, reality gets reproduced artificially. Economy and politics took part of this whole disintegration. Presently, the real economy is replaced by a virtual economy, whereas the new media order took the place of politics.

In our day, policies are shaped with reference to public surveys. Likewise, commercials are created according to tests. The consumer panels decide which songs are to be played on the radio. The end of the movies and the design of their posters are formulated according to what the opinion surveys say. Ratings are the decision-makers for the TV shows. Maybe the greatest change we have seen to date is that the control, production and distribution of today’s images are handed over to digital processors, artificial memories and technological communication devices.

This rapid change of the images and information initiated a switch from newspapers, magazines and books, towards the digital platforms. This setting change of setting is actually the greatest evolution since the invention of the printing press.

Throughout this long journey, information drifted apart from the “real” setting and moved into a “possible” setting; departed from the setting of the “event” and settled in the setting of “thought”. Information spreading from a “limited” field to an unlimited one is—from that moment on—in a Virtual setting.

The state of being virtual involves being something else. In other words, in one sense it has the potential of embodying all the qualities of reality. Every information within the circulation goes through a change via other information from inside the web.  Today, computer-based “produced virtual images” are about to be in a position where they define reality through themselves.

(Photo: Ali Alisir)

My Virtual Places Project is the artistic interpretation of the breaking between the reverse perspective of the Medieval Age and the central perspective of Renaissance. There is no longer a perceivable depth and breakpoint for us in these places, where share our social lives and trade information.

Today, instead of these gloomy and depressing buildings that we once used to be surrounded by, we now find the operation modes of interfaces and network representations. These places, where we connect to one another via electronic circuits (cell phones, internet) or where we surf using the unlimited information network, have now turned into interactive areas free from gravity; that do not abide by any measurements.

The Virtual Places Project is an artistic critique of the technological effect—allowing for infinite reproduction and intervention—of information plus images. Our virtual places are places of trade, where individuals are mentally alienated from their physical setting.



Editor: Andrea B.


Like elephant culture on Facebook!



Ali Alisir was born in Istanbul, in 1978. He received an art scholarship from the Yeditepe University in 1996 where he acquired skills in graphic design, painting and photography. After finishing his degree in Fine Art, Alisir moved to Italy where he worked as a photographer. He later completed post-grad studies in photography at the Accademia Italiana in Florence. He has been thrilled to work with renowned artists for companies like Giorgio Armani and Salvatore Ferragamo.

He has been focusing on the concept of “virtuality” since 2009. Alisir’s art points to how our society is dividing the subject, taking it apart through the fractured views of our spaces for living. He is currently working as a digital photography artist in Italy and Turkey as well as lecturing at the Department of Graphic Design of Yeditepe Fine Arts Division. Stop by his website to find out more about his art and connect with him.

Read 3 Comments and Reply

Read 3 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant Journal  |  Contribution: 1,509,280