Valerie Wolf Gang
Global shifts in the development of society and rapid response to the emerging pandemic have literally overnight pushed us into an even greater symbiosis of life with modern technology and digital solutions that allow us a virtual presence and thus, despite the physical limitations of movement and interaction, enable us to continue our everyday life, education, and business. Human, however, is still a physical and social being. This creates specific problems, limitations, and concerns about replacing or finding solutions that would satisfy all basic human needs. One of them is the primary human touch. With the research project Love Machine, Valerie Wolf Gang seeks a physical response to the primordial feeling of love with new media technologies. Love for a fellow human being, for a partner, for friends, family, and at the same time, the satisfaction of social physical socializing in “real spaces”.
The artist uses various tools of virtual, augmented, mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and other evolving new media technologies to explore psychological processes. She is interested in what happens to people’s love feelings and interaction with each other when a relationship lacks any of the elements. In this case, physical contact, when our daily social life regularly occurs mainly through virtual encounters, i.e., without physical contact with others.
With new emerging technologies, the intermedia project Love Machine seeks to compensate for the absence of sensory perception and offers possible solutions and alternatives that would re-place this vital segment of our existence. At the same time, it opens questions about the consequences of current global changes and lifestyle adaptations to the general public, at a turning point when the line between reality and virtuality is blurred. The main question is whether we are even ready for such changes. Are our brains even able to keep up with the ever-faster development of new technologies that put us on the threshold of a technological singularity? A singularity that already steps deep over the threshold with one foot and in its virtuality tells of the moment that many people experience nowadays: “I fell in love with the way you touched me without using your hands.”
Software developer: Žiga Pavlovič
Covid-19 limited edition
2020, which brought us one step closer to technological singularity, has ensured a windy era of digital presence and physical distance. In modern technology, the LOVE MACHINE research intermedia project seeks a substitute for the absence of sensory perception. It offers possible alternatives to replace this vital segment of our existence: human touch and physical closeness. Throughout the project, artist Valerie Wolf Gang looks for solutions. She raises questions to the general public about the consequences of current global changes and lifestyle adaptations, as we find ourselves at a tipping point when the line between reality and virtuality is blurting. The main question of this moment is whether we are ready for such changes and whether our brains can keep up with the ever-faster development of new media.
As the current socio-political situation does not allow the public to have physical contact with the artwork, the artist developed part of the project, which she called “instaLOVemachine”. It seeks digital rapprochement and audience contact: the public can enter the project through virtual worlds and literally “feel the embrace of the artist”. The instant solution, instant LOVE MACHINE.
With augmented reality technology and Instagram platforms, users can experience its virtual embrace while recording their response and interaction with the artist and the LOVE MACHINE art project. Interaction, virtual hugs, and genuine responses will thus become part of a digital collection that will tell the story of an era when we “felt and loved through digital screens”. Hoping that in the future, we will feel each other again and sit at the same table many times, without face masks and (digital) interfaces between us.