HEAVEN 194.94.211.200

Artistic Statement by Paul Sermon & Joachim Blank, Edited by Timothy Druckrey
 

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-- CU-SeeMe Reflector 194.94.211.200 --

-------- http://194.94.211.200 --------

Suppose we told you about a machine that receives live images from Heaven - would you believe us ? and if we said you can connect to this machine via a CU-SeeMe reflector - would you try it ? Can you believe in a machine that connects you to the globe any more than a machine that connects you to heaven ? In the latter part of 1996 a group of international scientists were successful in developing such a machine. The output of this classified technology has now been made available for public viewing via the Internet. A CU-SeeMe reflector will now bring live images of Heaven directly to your computer screen. This reflector has unrestricted access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Download the necesary CU-SeeMe software and connect to Heaven 194.94.211.200 today. Heaven is accessible in two forms, combining the live videoconferencing environment of a CU-SeeMe Reflector with a reverential (that's referential) WWW site - both on the same server. In its entirety, this project contextualises the two systems, mirroring the content between them.

The concept behind Heaven 194.94.211.200 concerns the notions of faith and belief in the Internet as a presence in the world beyond your screen. Claiming to put you in direct contact with Heaven via the net, the project aims both to suspend disbelief and to challenge convictions that situate users in an omnipresent, immaterial, and virtually theological predicament: Is a live video image of a person on the net any more believable than a live image from Heaven ? Is the boundary, as Albert Camus once suggested, between "sanctity" and "idiocy" simply a matter of degrees ? Is the pious electronic bond between dedicated computers a kind of Turingesque transubstantiation in which the penetent (that's penitent) users are lulled to unite through benevolent hosts ? Is the border between the techno-logos and the theo-logos so resolute that they cannot share in the joys of tele-logos (that's teleo-logos) ? Is the notion of virtualization so different from the equally vague evocations of so-called visionaries ? And whilst most people would not confess belief in the irrational claims of a direct Internet link to the angels on cloud nine, they would assent to the tel-imaginary rationality of a talking-head video window that chats "Hi, Iím Bob from Sydney, how ya all doing ?" at 1.5 fps. Indeed, this is the Turing test with a twist, an electronic "other" whose plausibility is rooted deeply within the system of technology, a kind of irrefutable image - perhaps a shroud of Turing - in which identity and representation are joined by an act of faith. So, the belief in CU-SeeMe, no less in technology itself, is as much a desire for intimate communion (that's communication) - between private and public spaces, as it is a measure of an increasingly destabilized idea of subjectivity and materiality. It's tenuous digitized image and text are encoded signifiers of an "other" whose presence is hinged in a system in which the indistinguishablity of person and machine is less and less clear. Nobody wants, or expects, to find CU-SeeMe-bots here, and least of all in Heaven. Yet, CU-SeeMe has become a sacred image of cyberspace, caught between so-called "truth" and so-called "fiction". Many years ago Abel Gance wrote:

"All legends, all mythology and all myths, all founders of religions themselves look forward to their luminous ressurrection, and the heroes are jostling at the doors to enter..."

Welcome to HEAVEN.

Heaven 194.94.211.200 images 56K