The last decade of the 20TH century witnessed the birth of the internet. A network of computers, servers and telephony infrastructures covered the world and a new space was formed on it, a virtual environment without any physical existence that was called cyberspace by some people and “entered” to search for information, read news, chat, send emails and share music. In the mid-2000s, the advent of mobile phones placed in the palms of our hands access to the new world that so much of our lives are now spent in.
Thirty years after its emergence, the internet has completely transformed our daily lives. The term cyberspace appears to have become obsolete, unable to reflect the omnipresence of the virtual world in our everyday lives, and we now talk about new and more immersive forms of digital experiences that will enable us to deploy essential parts of our lives outside the physical reality. The fact is that we’re already living in an expanded world. A hybrid reality in which virtual environments extend the borders and potential of the material world, raising questions of unprecedented depth.
The exhibition, which can be visited free of charge at the Espacio Fundación Telefónica from 23 November 2023 to 5 May 2024, provides a journey through eighty pieces, ranging from 19TH-CENTURY cycloramas to augmented reality and the Second Life phenomenon. Together at the facilities of ScanLAB Projects and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, artists such as Marc Lee, Cao Fei, Solimán López, Eva and Franco Mattes, Theo Triantafyllidis, Johanna Jaskowska and Inès Alpha will address questions about the migration of our identity to a space in which corporeality doesn’t exist, the repercussions of creating digital alter egos and their impact on work, health, leisure and culture and the challenges and concerns of a society that lives between the physical and the virtual worlds, encouraging us to reflect on the rules and ethical codes that digital citizenship should be governed by.
For the first time in the history of humanity, the drive to generate simulated worlds has culminated in the possibility of abandoning our natural environment and immersing ourselves in a different one. This exhibition explores the background to this world and addresses some of its ethical, philosophical, legal, social and financial implications.