Multiple Choices
Fri, March 22, 2002 – Tue, May 07, 2002

„Life under today‘s conditions is life in the plural, that is: life at the crossing-point of different forms of life." Wolfgang Welsch

„The expansions of virtual worlds have become a conditio sine qua non of every ‚real system‘." Manfred Faßler

Identity today can be defined as spanning the space between disintegration and multiplication of the self. The body is the interface between real and virtual world. The body, not technology, provides the connection between cyberspace and reality. The increasing digitalization of the body, our hooking up to electronic networks, invoke the body‘s uselessness and negation. In virtual worlds it is possible to leave behind our own body‘s restrictive biological limits, but without actually abandoning the body, and moving as an avatar in the electronic universe. The experiences we gather in the electronic net no longer tally with our own physical reality. Such virtual experiences do not mean loss of physical existence but a doubling of it. The cyber body serves as a vehicle that allows remote presence. In electronic networks identity becomes a matter of options. The virtual space of the World Wide Web enables every user to adopt and generate totally new identities in his interactions with others. Visiting electronic networks heightens our perceptive abilities and increases the likelihood of our choosing new identities. In virtual chat-rooms communication does not take place face to face. Identifying features valid to date such as appearance no longer count, and are replaced by features of our own creation such as linguistic description, name and so on. We take our models from the media world, which offers a wealth of clichés and identities for emulation. Liberated of individuality, they function as projection screens, as models for transformations in the real, living world. Media reality ousts reality and has an effect on the latter; the real body becomes a copy of an original, whose perfection can only be achieved in the media or in cyberspace. The real embodiments of Lara Croft become copies that refer back to the virtual model. The medial image of the body influences the real body.

The exhibition aims to provide an insight into artistic methods that address a host of topics: the disintegration of the subject; the loss of the subject‘s delineation at the threshold between real space and virtual space; the establishment of fictional identities in cyberspace; of identity in an age where genetic engineering effects manipulations; the progressive shift of the border between man and machine, and the effects on and implications for the real body.

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

Accompanying program