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1. Is the the virtual world, really that different from our real world, and how does this possible difference impinge on the fields of art and creation?
First of all, virtual time and virtual space obey different rules. Even if, paradoxically, most models of simulation are basically trying to imitate reality, the possibility of creating new laws can also allow for the familiar laws to be modified. The virtual space of data is an abstract and symbolic space. The computer’s circuits, its hardware, are part of physical reality but their physical substrate is neither material nor energy: it is made up of information. Whence its utopian character. It does not have its own dimensions nor its own fixed place — or topos.

2. By choosing, the spectator of an interactive work becomes a co-producer of the work. But in interactive works, all the variables are already written into the script. The choice is therefore imposed. If, by definition, interactive art is predetermined indeterminacy, what is at stake for the author or the spectator in presuming that there is a choice? What are the limits of interactive subjectivity? Imagine two doors, side by side, with masculine and feminine symbols marked on them. In order to advance, a subject must choose, as he or she does every day, obeying the conventions of gender distinctions or, alternatively, by a fictional choice, transgressing these conventions and choosing the door of the other gender. Choice is often seen as an end in itself. But what if the explicitly limited choice was used tactically to thwart simple dualisms such as masculine/feminine, subject/object, inside/outside, public/private, moral/amoral, real/virtual, passive/interactive?

3. Looking beyond questions of perception and of possibilities offered by the radically new parameters of space and time, we might ask what universes we will be invited to explore and how rich and complex these will be — and indeed why we should want to visit them in the first place. Further questions, touching on both dramatic effects and ethics, concern the ways in which these worlds may be shared with other inhabitants. What games will be played in these universes where the body becomes elastic, transformed at a whim and where the self can adopt other personalities, where it may be possible, for example, to be an angel, a lion, or even to change sex? Finally, at the heart of these new works, we come to the question of experience. But what experience might this be, at a time when, in every form of mass leisure, these technologies, from amusement arcades, Imax and Omnimax spectacles and all sorts of other systems, the solicitation of our perceptive senses is becoming ever more intense? Is there not a risk that sensation will be sacrificed to sensationalism? Our senses may well end up saturated to a point of anaesthesia.

4. Reversing the ideology of the virtual: what is real and rich behind the highly sophisticated technical objects, the technologies of virtual environments?

5. How to update the wooden horse of Troy type of subterfuge, allowing societies to invent the physical and mental means of measuring their capacities for evolution and adapting themselves to the artificial transformations they themselves bring about?

6. Have researchers taken a direction which will lead them, with different forms of objectivity, into a metaphorical trap? In front of their computers like the demiurges of the future, might they not forget that what they are creating is almost-life, not real life itself?

7. Artist or researcher? We should think about the different roles that technical models of life forms might be called into play in the future and toward which aesthetic, epistemological, economic and sociological reconfiguration they might lead our societies.
Artificial life may turn out to either an extraordinary adventure of humankind, or a terrible nightmare.

8. What are the dimensions of human identity today?

9. How the world will react to these constantly progressing new technologies?

10. Are we on the eve of social and technological changes which will bring a radical transformation to our definition of man and of the world in which he lives, or are we simply caught up in another fashion?

11. Is the virtual world really that different from our real world, and how does this possible difference impinge on the fields of art and creation?

12. Are the artists at the cutting edge of research making a real contribution to the construction of a radically new model of self-perception?

13. Is virtual reality generated by a quest for some new art for, or by the desire to replace an incomplete reality by another, more easily mastered one, an ideal, platonic reality?

14. The world-wide network represented by the Internet is in a state of transition which is highly propitious for all sorts of creative experiments. The simple, but decisive question raised by all these experimental projects is as follows: faced with such telematic structures, or inside them, is artistic subjectivity still possible? And how can this subjectivity be defined and transformed? In 1995, a conference about Antonin Artaud at the Cologne Academy of Media addressed the question of the position to be adopted by the twentieth-century artist with regard to appearances, and more particularly with regard to technical equipment. The recurring metaphors to be found in the works of certain artists seem close to what the Knowbotic Research group tries to define with its neologism ‘mem_brane’. This term is used to designate a vibrant zone situated between different realities, all of these realities being in conflict with each other: between the interior and the exterior, for example. Between technology and politics, or between art and science. This zone, which is characteristic of today’s age of transition, can be fraught with risk.

15. Cyberspace frees the body of its constraints: weight, history, institutional authority. Sometimes called a new frontier, cyberspace is represented as an unknown space, untamed and destined for colonization. Its very emptiness is seen, paradoxically, as representing individual liberty. It is true that the new media technologies are a source of new freedom, guaranteed by interactivity, the liberty to choose. But when we know that all the possible variables are already recorded in the interactive programme, what does this freedom of choice really amount to? The increased liberty that supposedly came from glass buildings was eroded by the knowledge that the most free were not those inside the building. And similarly, free access to information is conditioned to a point where it must be asked: what liberty can there be when there is a good side and a bad side of the interface? And what kind of democracy are we talking about when socio-economic conditions found categories which are more and more remote from each other: the info-rich and the info-poor.