|Adam 001: The Story of Virtual Human Being by Yuli Ziv|
Adam started living in my imagination a few years ago until one day, when he was translated into the 3rd dimension - the virtual! He was made of digital pictures, digital sound, digital motion. The perfect virtual world resident!
Since Adam was born about 20,000 people have visited him. About 5,000 of them came from porn or bizarre websites! It started one day, when I noticed unusual traffic on my website. I remembered that Adam was linked from several Art portals, but I suspected that hundreds of visitors couldn't come from there. Opening my website statistic page, I discovered [Bi-site.nl] taking the first place. Visiting the site I saw Adam, right on the homepage, on the prestige Flash Bizarre section!
My feelings were confused. What is it now? Art? Porn? Or maybe both? I wasn't sure about the answer, but since then Adam has been presented in Digital Art exhibitions all over the world, including Spain, Russia, Israel, Thailand and SIGGRAPH2004 Art Gallery in Los Angeles.
What actually makes Adam appealing to such a diverse audience? From porn fans to art critics, - he is actually reflecting all these feelings that we hide in our lives and uncover in the virtual world - sensitivity, pain, nudity. His body and mind are totally revealed in front of hundreds other virtual world residents - us. He is talking our common language - the language of the senses. He is coming from this exposing world of internet communities forums, blogs and such, but going much farther with this. He exposes his voice, his thoughts and his body. Adam comes and says: look at me, listen to me and even touch me.
This new sense, the touch, that is usually not involved with the virtual world, taking this Net experience step forward. This very intimate journey on his body affects our senses and brings different kind of reactions. What do you actually feel when for exploring the next part of Adam's mind you have to find a point on his body? And when you "touch" him - are you excited, disgusted or embarrassed? Do you actually feel something? Does it mean that we so got used to this virtual world, that for us rolling over the mouse is equal to a touch?
If trying to imagine the situation - on the one end we have a virtual character, created with simple digital tools and on the other end a human being sitting with his personal computer, usually alone, usually at home, usually late. And they both interact with each other, touching, pressing, listening, feeling.
This virtual interaction process, possible only on the Net, involves a high level of intimacy and helps to create this personalized art experience. This unique contact that Adam has with each one of his visitors is actually the most important. That's what makes for me the art object valuable. Does it touch as much people as possible? Does it speak their language? Does it make them sharing this experience with others?
That might raise a question “Why should you actually care about user's response?" Don't we create art to fulfill our own needs? That is true, but not nowadays, and not if you are a Net Artist. A painting presented in the Art gallery is considered being art, even if nobody is visiting the gallery. Although uploading your project online, to your own gallery, doesn't make it Art yet. So what actually does?
Adam's phenomenon is that being an Art Project he is still mostly spread by people, referring to him in their blogs or forums. This community world is actually a great engine serving as the best "marketing" tool for everything from commercial products to even Art. It's crossing boards, countries, people, and makes the Net Art some new kind of Mass Art.
For me good Net Art project is measured by its ability to talk to the large audience of Internet communities, being able to receive response from as many users as possible, to make these people experiencing something new and, hopefully, touch their heartsâ€¦ And it doesn't matter how they look, where they are coming from, whether they are young or old, gay or straight, bizarre or religious, if they usually go to the galleries - or like Art at all, in short, as soon as they can feel.
Yuli Ziv, August 2004
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