March 10, 2020

Tamaš Šeregi Virtuality versus Simulacrum. On Participation and Critical Distance in Contemporary Art and Culture

In the paper I focus on the concept of virtual art gone so viral recently. My statement is that in the literature discussing the concept of ‘virtual’ in art the word is either undefined or used in a way which makes it interchangeable with simulacrum. The main aim to be achieved by most of the art works in question is immersion which is, as I have tried to show, is exactly the opposite of what is to be achieved by virtuality. It is a fake presence in the absence, unlike virtuality that can be defined by the real absence in the presence. To prove my statement I return to the history of art prior to new media arts in order to show that the new technological devices used by new media art works are not only unnecessary for making an art work virtual but sometimes they literally hinder it from being able to become something more than the modernist presentism and the society of the spectacles imposed upon both the art works and the beholder.

Tamás Seregi is assistant professor at the Department of Aesthetics at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. He earned his PhD with a dissertation written on Phenomenological Aesthetics in 2006. Since then he has specialized in contemporary aesthetics and the philosophy of art. His last book entitled Művészet és esztétika (Art and Aesthetics) focuses on the characteristics that differentiate the ‘art world’ from the ‘aesthetic sphere’. He is also the translator of numerous works in Philosophy and Aesthetics (Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Pierre Bourdieu, Gilles Deleuze, Georges Didi-Huberman, Peter Bürger, Clement Greenberg etc.).

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