a virtual conversation between
CHRISTINA LESSA AND NICOLA TREZZI
CHRISTINA LESSA: In the year 2000, approximately 400 million people globally used the Internet to obtain and share information. A little over a decade later, the number has risen to close to 3 Billion, and continues to rise daily. Over a quarter of the earths population now communicates in a virtual environment; an exciting environment that facilitates manipulation and polarization of popular opinion and whose setting empowers it’s users anywhere, and at anytime. The users of the internet create interactions and share information in a way that defies the limitations of traditional time and space. In the virtual world, Art, in all of its guises, as commodity or inspiration, translates itself though human efforts into symbolic interactions. As Marshal McLuhan so intuitively wrote in 1967, during the pre-curser to computer technology, the Television Age, “When information is brushed against information the results are startling and effective. The perennial quest for involvement takes many forms.” We are living in a time of Virtual Culture where the visual interface now supersedes the textual one and art has become its core. Do we need a new paradigm for this transaction of meaning?
NICOLA TREZZI: I don’t think we need a new paradigm for the simple reason that the notion substitution, which is purely dialogical, no longer makes sense. I think what we really need now is a never-ending oscillation between virtual and real worlds: between email and postcards. Only if we learn how to swing between these two extremes will we be able to embrace and fully understand the reality surrounding us.
CHRISTINA LESSA: I think a lot about how this virtual setting perpetuates the question of identity, and authorship particularly in the art world. Works online are often taken out of context and unwittingly co-produced and often find greater success than their original form(s). Has the concept of singular self expression become less important in exchange for a collaborative effort …?
NICOLA TREZZI: The problem of originality goes beyond what you called the virtual setting. Originality and authenticity are losing their original meaning even in situations where the Internet is not in the picture so to speak. And therefore we must understand what is originality today and the apparatus that goes with it. Regarding the notion of authorship I think the story has always been pretty much the same: what we thought was one person was instead a team of people doing things together and then distributed under a singularity. From William Shakespeare to Omer we learned that multiple singularities have always existed, we just didn’t have enough information to deconstruct the monolithic signature-based understanding of creativity which is very much rooted in Western culture. So I don’t think self expression becomes less important but again we must understand that the notion of self is quite colorful and multi layered.
CHRISTINA LESSA: I agree with you, nothing is ever really black and white when it comes to interpretation…I do feel that as original works are reproduced and shared virtually, the degradation of the authenticity of a piece begins to some degree….but that is the new reality. The question is, will the real work evolve into becoming a “fictional” iteration of itself ? If the works lifespan then becomes endless in its interpretation, can it maintain the authority of its original intention?
NICOLA TREZZI: I guess we must clarify what is an original work here. Speaking of works of art, I think the notion of originality and singularity will always prevail unless we will really witness a collapse of neo-capitalism in favor of an alternative system rooted in collectivity and redistribution.
CHRISTINA LESSA: The question is, will the real work evolve into becoming a “fictional” iteration of itself ? If the works lifespan then becomes endless in its interpretation, can it maintain the authority of its original intention?
NICOLA TREZZI: What is more likely to happen is we will continue to have the same system with the sole difference that the grade of fiction in it will increase exponentially allowing us to insert new ways, creating a sort of camouflage where opposite stances can coexist in perfect harmony.
CHRISTINA LESSA: Yes, compatibility without conformity..an almost perfect atmosphere for expression. Great chatting Nicola, as always! XC