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Re: <nettime> Learning from Prada (PART 1)
Ana Viseu on Wed, 30 Oct 2002 05:05:46 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Learning from Prada (PART 1)


I realize that this was sent to Nettime a very long time ago. It has been 
on my reading list since then. As I now prepare to re-write a paper on 
augmented bodies I finally got around to reading it and would like to make 
a brief comment on it. In fact, it is a more of a question that I have been 
struggling with in my own work, and I thought it would be very useful to 
hear your comments on it.

You say that we are moving from an era obsessed with the virtual, to one in 
which the physical becomes visible and important again. I absolutely agree 
and have made a similar argument elsewhere.

However, the physical we are speaking about is very different in character 
from the past, it is, as you point out, augmented. So, I'm left wondering 
about the paradoxes of it being the era of the physical, on one hand, and 
being more and more dissatisfied with our own physical bodies and 
environment and in constant search for augmentation on the other. My 
doctoral thesis is on wearable computers which are great examples of this 
search for enhancement. In a sense, it seems to me that the body is now 
viewed as deficient, in need of improvement, of being enhanced with 
computing abilities. It is almost as if the human is no longer the measure 
of all things, the entity that machines are designed to imitate. Instead, 
it is to be perfected by them. The role models have been inverted.

So, this physical 'age' is somewhat paradoxical. While the physical is 
being brought back into the family picture, it is almost portrayed as the 
handicap kin.

Best. Ana Viseu

At 12:15 PM 5/16/02 -0700, you wrote:

>Lev Manovich (www.manovich.net)
>The Poetics of Augmented Space: Learning from Prada
>[May 2002]
>PART 1: Augmented Space
>The 1990s were about the virtual. We were fascinated by new virtual spaces
>made possible by computer technologies. The images of an escape into a
>virtual space that leaves the physical space useless and of cyberspace ­ a
>virtual world that exists in parallel to our world ­ dominated the decade.
>It started with the media obsession with Virtual Reality (VR). <snip> The
>virtual became domesticated: filled with advertisements, controlled by big
>brands, and rendered harmless. In short, to use the expression of Norman
>Klein, it became an ³electronic suburb.²
>It is quite possible that this decade of the 2000s will turn out to be about
>the physical ­ that is, physical space filled with electronic and visual
>information. While enabling further development of virtual spaces ­ from
>more realistic computer games to new 3D technologies and standards for World
>Wide Web such as Director 3D to wider employment of compositing in cinema ­
>computer and network technologies more and more actively enter our real
>physical spaces. The previous image of a computer era ­ VR user traveling in
>a virtual space ­ has become replaced by a new image: a person checking her
>email or making a phone call using her PDA / cell phone combo while at the
>airport, on the street, in a car, or in any other actually existing space.
>But this is just one example of what I see as a larger trend. Here are a few
>more examples of the technologies which deliver data to, or extract data
>from, physical space ­ and which already are widely employed at the time of
>this writing (early 2002):

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Tudo vale a pena se a alma não é pequena.

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