Virtual Memory: Time-Based Art and the Dream of Digitality
The Powers of the Virtual
This chapter begins with an exploration of Deleuze’s concept of the powers of the false, which has inspired a group of contemporary works of art that fuse fact and imagination, documentary and fiction, and analog and digital media. This power is better understood as “virtual,” having less to do with outright lies than with the capacity to forge something new out of preexisting material. These artworks engage in a chiasmatic gesture, virtualizing analog media, revealing its hidden potentials, and unvirtualizing digital media, reinserting it into worldly settings and relationships. Four works are discussed that remake, reuse, or restage “old,” analog media in new works that rely in part on digital technology: Eric Baudelaire’s The Makes (2009), Ming Wong’s Persona Performa (2011), Erin Shirreff's Roden Crater (2009), and Matmos’s For Alan Turing (2006). These artists exercise the power of the virtual to create images that are actual and substantive.