25 - DADARA (Art, Virtual Realities, & Flow States)

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This week we're joined by Daniel Rozenberg aka DADARA for a thoughtful discussion about Art in Virtual Realities, Information Overload, and Flow States. The creator of Exchangibition Bank, Like4Real, and the upcoming Solipmission installation at Burning Man, as well as countless concert posters and album covers, DADARA has been one of my favorite artists for a while - in no small part because of how his works combine deep, challenging investigations with light-hearted play. Click here to learn more about the Indiegogo Campaign for Solipmission We discuss his work's overarching philosophical explorations and our age of proliferating realities… • The breakdown of narrative and consensus reality in the virtual spaces of new media; • Virtual Reality as the new frontier, now that we’ve mapped the surface of the planet – and the potential problems of considering a space a “frontier” (especially if it is already inhabited); • The twin archetypes of the “Black Box” and the “Tabula Rasa” as they appear in science fiction, religion, technology, and philosophy; • The relationship between Virtual Reality and psychedelics, and the consideration of VR as a psychedelic in its own right; • What replaces narrative structure in VR storytelling, and how it relates to neuromarketing, cybernetics, and mind control; • How humankind is struggling to maintain coherence in the barrage of contradictory realities online; • How the sciences are coping with increasing specialization and the explosive proliferation of data, complicating the establishment and communication of expertise; • The relationship between VR and floatation/isolation tanks, and why floatation tanks are more necessary now than they have ever been; • Flow states and nondual awareness as a possible solution to information overload – and how we may have come to the end of the ego’s evolutionary usefulness; • Does Virtual Reality as a medium for philosophical inquiry even stand a chance in this commercial environment? Books We Mention In This Talk: (Buy any of these books through these links, and Amazon will pay me a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.) • Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernst Cline • Neuromancer by William Gibson • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley • Sex, Ecology, Spirituality by Ken Wilber • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly • The Deep Self: Consciousness Exploration in the Isolation Tank by John C. Lilly • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi • Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal Other References: • Neuralink (brain-technology interface currently in development by Elon Musk) • Inside Out (Disney movie) • WNYC’s Note To Self Podcast • Nathan Jurgenson, Social Media Theorist for Snapchat • Maria Popova’s Brainpickings.org • Android Jones & Anson Phong’s Microdose VR DADARA Quotes: “Imagination is this endless unknown territory. We think we might have discovered it, but if we look, I don’t know…” “Nowadays we think a photo shows how something really is. That that’s reality. But it’s just a surface. And that’s something that I love. Maybe stories show reality in a more realistic way.” “People twenty, twenty-five years ago thought the world would be more defined [with the Internet] because we could find all the facts. But what’s interesting now is that it’s almost impossible to find any facts that we agree on, on the Internet.” “Inside the box [of the Solipmission installation], it may be more Burning Man than the outside.” “When people go to a city, they take photos of all the touristy [stuff] – it’s like the bucket list – but if you go to a place, and maybe if you haven’t seen any building but you’ve met this amazing person or gone through an amazing experience, doesn’t that give you a better understanding of that city than just seeing everything that’s there?” “I think floatation tanks now, in this period of time, are probably more important than ever…we’ll have implants [soon] and how can you be in a floating tank when the Internet is in your brain?” “Do you actually exist when you don’t Tweet? It almost feels like people, sometimes nowadays, if they haven’t posted that they’ve been somewhere, then they feel they haven’t been somewhere. But I think often, if you post that you’ve been somewhere, I don’t know if you’ve been there. Because you somehow were distracted. You only go to places when you DON’T post about them.” Coinage of a new term: “information potato.” “Art is about focusing our attention, and entertainment is about distracting our attention.” “Zapping [TV remotes] and scrolling [social media] at the same time is probably also a kind of flow. It’s just not MY flow.” Michael Quotes: “Much as we, in the United States anyway, marched westward under this insane banner of Manifest Destiny into what we were calling the ‘frontier,’ it wasn’t actually a frontier. There were people living there already! And what was unfamiliar to us, what was unknown to us, was already this mature ecosystem. And so there’s this relationship between virtual reality and psychedelics that people like Android Jones have been exploring, that makes me wonder if, in our exploration of what it is that we can manifest into these spaces, if we aren’t somehow causing an ecological catastrophe of the imagination. You know? That there’s stuff there already, and we’re paving over it.” “We assume that life is just given, but we’re actually involved in it, in its creation.” “We’re in the machine already, and so the machine entering us is not that big of a leap.” “Maybe a floatation tank isn’t enough. Maybe we need a Faraday cage, so you can go into this room of your house where it’s actually blocking electromagnetic radiation from entering the room and you can have your own thought for the first time in your whole life.” “Maybe the problem is that we’re so preoccupied with narrative, so preoccupied with history and prediction and who we think we are…that there is a ‘real real,’ but it’s not something that can be understood through the interpretive lens of the self.” More Links: Reality Sandwich Interviews DADARA about Solipmission About DADARA’s “Art as Money” Project from 2012 Hanging out with DADARA and his son at Boom Festival 2016

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