Digital reality parallel to analogue reality
Analogue space: everywhere, both for the user and the artist
Virtual space: input and output only place of internet contact
Time: is it live or is it delayed? If it were live would it be delayed anyway, would it change anything? The only difference is the idea of living that moment with other strangers
What changes between analogue and digital experience? Some senses are missing, such as the sense of smell and touch. If they are not missing, they are not given by the artist but by the user subject and the context in which it is located. Sight and hearing are related to the subjective and their media tools (stereo, headphones, different types of screens) and not only physiological. Such an experience leads us to inhabit two or more places simultaneously but, to a certain extent, we are giving up our physical extensions opting for technological ones.
Will we miss the space? The installation? The artistic place? Will we miss the journey? Will we miss the smell of the environment and other visitors? These are not problems to be solved but features, new circumstances to think about, changes and not negative judgements that we discovered during the Festival.
What does it mean to live the Romaeuropa Festival experience? Trying to transform a bedroom, living room or kitchen into the perfect set for a DIGITALIVE show? To reflect on issues where the border in which friendly technology becomes the enemy of human beings is not so visible, and to experience the shows themselves through tablets, smartphones, televisions, PCs… such intrusive and necessary tools in our lives. Being so in touch through the web that you can read the comments of the audience in real time, so the distance with the rest of the audience seems to be reduced. Now, perhaps, even the artists are closer than when you see them on stage. The sense of discovery and excitement for these new modes (it is still a first time in historical terms) is combined with a palpable feeling of something lacking. And yet, in this edition, we have certainly experienced first-hand not only how the digital can be a creative tool, but also how it can become a means of functional, poetic contact between individuals.
image (cover): BACK ONL(Y)NE per Digitalive. Romaeuropa Festival2020, still from video (Flavia Costanzi, Francesco Pacifici, Francesca Paganelli)
This article is part of the special section that Arshake dedicates to BACKSTAGE / ONSTAGE, a project that has brought a group of students from the Rome Fine Arts Academy behind the scenes of Digitalive for three consecutive years (2018 – 2019 – 2020). Digitalive is a format curated by Federica Patti dedicated to algorithmic art, continuing the interest in digital arts that the Romaeuropa Festival has developed for several years, from a time when this aspect was less popular. The memory of works and artists who took part have been gathered over the years through the articles, capturing key moments of the ‘vitality’ of the performances, but also of their protagonists. The 2020 Festival takes place during a historical moment characterised by a pandemic, so the online presence has become particularly important. For this event, students have created a special BACKONL(Y)NE edition. Texts, photographs and videos recount the works, but also their online life and all the spaces and moments of ‘collective isolation’ that gather users in front of a screen. All this becomes part of an archive that examines in depth and freezes in time the artists’ performative work which, in the context of Digitalive, has been “consumed” in time-based form. BACKSTAGE / ONSTAGE