The Void and the Cloud
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“Nothingness is really like the nothingness of space, which contains the whole Universe. All the sun and the stars and the mountains and rivers and the good men and the bad men and the animals and the insects, the whole bit: all are contained in the void. So out of this void comes everything, and you’re it." - Alan Watts
Quantum mechanics is founded on a duality; two contradictory descriptions, the mechanistic nature of reality must be described in both wave and particle terms. Human existence too is founded on a duality; coming out of nothingness, it is human nature to combat this state and evolve complexity, build civilizations, and imagine our futures. Yet the nothingness is always there, our universe ever-expanding into the uncharted void. And the void is where we may return, as T.S. Eliot describes, through a bang or through a whimper.
Far before our poetic cosmic end we may find ourselves abandoning physical reality for another: the digital ether. As we lose touch and control of our changing natural environment, we are building digital stand-ins of our physical lives. Not a void of nothingness, but an endless data cloud, digital platforms and devices like social media, smart phones, GPS, and FitBit are where and how we increasingly live. Disconnected and hyperconnected at once, the balance of our physical with our digital state is at a tipping point.
Is human nature moving to a state of the non-physical? Will this non-physical state expand endlessly into the digital ether, as our physical universe expands into the void? What happens to the physical world, the physical self, in a digital-dominated era? Can we exist in a dual state of being and non-being?
- Curated by Marnie Benney with guest juror George Musser, author of Spooky Action at a Distance