EXODUS was a virtual tele-performance whose starting point lied in the Israeli desert of Negev. I spent the five days of Ars Electronica 1995 (June 20-25) in the desert, and each day I followed the biblical trail of the prophet Moses. Included in my equipment I had a portable GPS (Global PositioningSystem) which was linked to a modem and a cellular phone This equipment made it possible for World Wade Web users to follow my movements in real time The GPS picked up data from several navigational satellites and sent it to the nearest Internet server via cellular phone. Many digital desert landscapes were stored in the Internet server and can still be accessed through the WWW When Moses led his people out of slavery, nobody sensed what a radical effect this event would have on the development of human history. Man with his new consciousness was transformed into a new species both through his experience of liberation and through his acceptance of the Ten Commandments. I want to use this important event in mankind’s history as a metaphor for the newly developing man at the end of the twentieth century. Mankind’s emigration into the virtual net and the liberation from time and space associated therewith changes our consciousness just like the experience of presence in absence. The new ubiquity, not only passive but also active, creates the ‘Information Man’. The philosopher Vilem Flusser said in relation to this that materialized terms like ‘soul’. ‘spirit’.’identity’ ‘I’, or ‘self’ would have to be reconsidered. My desert experience put me in a new relationship with reality both through my isolation from the ‘flow of information’ and through the awareness that the outside world was ever-present through the Net and could register my isolation. Maybe the ‘omnipresence of God’ IS nothing other than the experience of the individual with the more highly developed consciousness of society. The novelist Stanislav Lem. in his theo-fiction novel Solaris, described this as the Oceanic Consciousness. So it seems that the technology of the Net helps man to develop a new impression of reality that will have both sociological as well as political consequences.
- Michael Bielicky, Czech Republic, media artist, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague