HD SINGLE CHANNEL VIDEO / COLOR / ENGLISH / 04:27
Research Biennale 2021
In this investigation, performance is situated as philosophical and political act, to expose an analytical journey –to critique techno-hierarchy and cognitive occupation– and an experimental journey –to explore techno-diversity and cognitive liberation.
The research yields methodical and aesthetic approaches and ideas that have affected the investigation as a whole, highlighting experience as a canal for building knowledge. The practice is an algofiction created and performed by Alternative Explorer, presented in the form of a video poem.
By creating and performing a poem, Alternative Explorer –an embodiment of Pegman, the yellow-to-orange little human icon that, by dragging and dropping it, indicates the exact point the user wants to explore on Google Street View– questions aspects of abstraction, simplification and acceleration related to the techno-hierarchical mechanisms of Google mapping systems that affect its users.
The practice and its analysis unlocks a conscious and active emancipation, one that conceives a critical alternative micro-history of contemporary macro-cartography.
The current visual regime is oppressing our cognitive system through cybernetic over-saturation –it is colonising our representational capacity–, leaving no space for it to imagine alternatives. Maps have been tools of territorial, economical and cultural colonisation. Google mapping systems – Maps, Earth and Street View– are, in addition, tools of cognitive occupation. These designed tools establish a global techno-hierarchy to accelerate the reach of Silicon Valley’s singularity.
The poem is written, performed, documented and, finally, exposed on the suit.
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Algofiction is an invented genre for this project that consists of fables that occur in between the digital and the physical, where imagery produced by algorithms and machines is re-contextualised in order to generate alternative histories of technology. Alternative Explorer exists in an algoreality where Pegman is embodied by a human and performs an algofiction.
Alternative Explorer is an extension of the imagined user, term used in design processes to determine behavioural characteristics of the individual of a target group. The imagined user is conjured up in the form of anecdotes based on assumptions that can be exclusive and often based on numeric and calculable –but– unreliable data.
When Pegman becomes Alternative Explorer they become physical, thus alienated from their original binary condition. Alternative Explorer observes the environment and experiments with it. Senses and emotions become tangible and complex, the whole –if not infinite– in-betweenness is accessible.
Alternative Explorer is a figure that comes originally from the digital environment. I invoke this figure and embody it, altering its nature and changing its state from digital to physical. Together we go for an excursion to places that have not yet been registered by Google. The performance transforms –or translates– a binary subject with binary experiences into a physical being who feels the complexity of a remote environment.
DETAIL OF THE FRONT, HANDS AND BACK OF THE SUIT WITH HANDWRITTEN POEM
VIDEO STILLS FROM ‘I ROUND MY LIPS TO TELL YOU THAT O IS 0’