The imaginary group of artists, consisting of Clemente Pestelli and Gionatan Quintini, known as Les Liens Invisibles, accepted Share Festival’s invitation to produce the Special Project 2010 with their usual creative cheekiness. Specially designed for the sixth Piemonte Share Festival, the project musters all the surreal and virtual imagination that lies at the centre of their work to invade Turin’s urban environment.
R.I.O.T. / Reality Is Out There is a series of urban strikes that are invisible to the naked eye, but for that no less tangible than the so-called augmented realities that surround us every day – from SatNav directions and context-aware tourist guides, to all the various situations in which technology provides extra levels of information (virtual and multimedia elements, geo-localised data, and so on) which overlap our quotidian experience. Deconstructing the natural association that has existed ever since the Stone Age, between reality and the tools we build to control it, R.I.O.T. turns this relationship on its head by using reality as a tool, a means through which we move to explore a universe visible only on our smartphones, creating a sort of paradoxical tourism.
The new project by Les Liens Invisible takes as its starting point the theme of this year’s Share Festival 2010, smart mistakes/error, which the collective interprets as an alteration of reality – a reality that thanks to technologies has been ‘augmented’. Already in its project “Google is not the map”, Les Liens Invisibles traced out an imaginative journey across maps and territories of paradoxical inspiration, in the tradition of Magritte, presented by Google. Les Liens Invisibles challenge the assumed equivalence between resemblance and representation, arguing the point that Google Maps is just a representation of the tangible world, which has nothing to do with the actual world. As the world slowly fades away into a multitude of self-representations, map-making, missing the mark of a real reference, loses all sense of meaning, becoming an abstract exercise. In an effort to spread the word of this contradiction, or perhaps take a paradoxical look at it, Les Liens Invisibles explores the globe at various self-referential and techno-linguistic levels at http://google.isnotthemap.net/.
R.I.O.T. / Reality Is Out There is a fun, interactive event and occasion to experience firsthand the alienation of our daily reality via the construction of an infinity of possible worlds.
A desecrating collective shows no mercy in its manipulation and recontextualization of reality via an inverse process compared to the past, intervening in reality so as subvert the map. Intervention will take place in symbolic locations around town, creating a hybrid event at the crossroads of digital art, urban space and hacking. the meaning of the work lies in its title R.I.O.T. / Reality Is Out There – which alludes to the possibility of a return to the exploration of reality, and the overcoming of traditional antitheses between the real and the virtual by using ‘low cost’ reality-browsing technologies. This time round it is augmented reality that is in the artists’ sights, or rather that which augmented reality promises.
Here, real and virtual space interact so as to create a single social environment, made possible ever since digital space became an integral part of the city itself. the game is therefore an urban hack, the reappropriation of public space via intervention directly on the streets, squares and roads, and under monuments, porticoes and buildings. It is action in the collective digital sphere to create an unexpected gulf, cultural jamming, a guerrilla attack on communication in the global city. As a symbolic act, Les Liens Invisibles’ urban hack is really an aesthetic overexposure, an exercise in the subversive use of augmented reality, which becomes unreality, a vision, an augmented dream in subcultural practices. It is less about public spaces, and more about destruction, interruption and aperture, in an effort to crack open standard mechanisms of closure.
At the heart of the event is an exhibition of invisible virtual sculptures, an imaginary exhibition that can actually be accessed via a reality browser available for the smartphone platforms most commonly used (iPhone and android). The city of turin has been invaded by imaginary installations that will take up their posts in key spots of city life. the aim is to bring people together and guide them as they roam about the city in search of the installations. Besides aspects tied to virtual squatting in the territory, the event gives an ironic take on augmented reality media, which instead of being used, as is normally the case, to help tourists on their sightseeing tours, are a tourist magnet themselves, effectively alienating us from reality. http://www.realityisoutthere.net