The spirit of the new frontier is still strong in the vast, yet unconquered spaces of the West Coast and the landscape itself prepares the humans inhabiting this land for making the transition to functioning within cyberspace. Driving down the freeway for hours daily develops an ability to parallel process movement through space and time with the higher thought processes functioning on a conscious level. The body is still, in a sitting position, with a simple task of automatic movement of the car and observing the few signs along the way while the subset of the mind operates. This is a form of active meditation that prepares one for navigation through cyberspace…
The vastness of the California landscape with all traces of history wiped out and the generic housing projects sprouting all over the place makes it impossible for one to internalize it and feel in control of it. When confronted with the artificiality of sites like Hollywood or Orange County and the immense surrounding spaces, it is easy to make the comparison to the newly evolving cyberscapes. These distances also necessitate the communication through the electronic space and it is by no accident that it was conceived in this part of the world where
Silicon valley sits. The inherent need to control nature manifests itself in the projection of visions of perfection that are in fact closer to a virtual world then that which is defined as virtual reality. Silicon, the same substance which is used in the production of chip technology, is used in redefining the human body, mostly women, and preservation of nature. Yet, when we delve deeper into the mysteries of the mind projected into the silicon chips, we once again return to the generative erotic—the Motherboard, the matrix. Here we find that the architects of the machine, no matter how unconscious, have left room for the feminine principle to participate in the creative process. Women are coming into the picture much later, but without any excess
baggage of the past connections to war. The transmutation process involves the feminization of this mental space constructed by the masculine, inward looking mathematical process.
Using the installation “Another Day in Paradise,” which is composed of three preserved, reconstructed palm trees (symbols of Paradise) with integrated monitors, I will explain the
preservation process and compare the artificial geometries of the California landscape (and many similar new areas) which elide hidden indigenous patterns to the spatial relationships of
cyberscapes under construction.
- Victoria Vesna is a video, performance and installation artist. Her work has been shown at the Venice Biennale (1986), P.S.1 Museum (1989), Art in General (1993) and Long Beach Museum where she serves as chair of the media council. She is currently an assistant Professor at UC Santa Barbara where she has initiated a collaborative effort between the Art
Department and the College of Engineering.