Society of Simulations

Simulations are now more meaningful than the reality they represent

The media have become our filters through which we survey the world around us. We see more images every day than a person living in the Middle Ages in a whole lifetime. Plastic surgeons sculpt flesh to match retouched photographs in glossy magazines. Virtual computer worlds are becoming increasingly ‘real’ and blended with our physical world. People drink beverages with non-existing fruit flavors. We wage war on video screens. Birds mimic mobile–phone ring tones. Do we still have genuine experiences at all, or are we living in a Society of Simulations?

Essay by Koert van Mensvoort

A Society of Simulations

An interviewer once asked Pablo Picasso why he paints such strange pictures instead of painting things the way they are. Picasso asks the man what he means. The man then takes out a photograph from his wallet and says, “This is my wife!”. Picasso looks at the photo and then says: “Isn’t she rather short and flat?”.

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'Our brains have only limited capabilities for understanding media'

Koert van Mensvoort

Sight: As Second Life becomes First Life

This short, created by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo, portrays a speculative future wherein we all walk around with contact lens-like devices that augment our reality.

Out of Network

When we type “Flickr” or “Facebook” or “YouTube” into a browser, we seek to enter social networks and enjoy secure communication and interaction with a vast number of online users from around the world. Most of us take for granted that these words are understood by others in the same way.…

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Michael Najjar – High Altitude

The rock formations in the High Altitude photo series don’t exist physically, yet they are very present in our society of simulations. The photos visualize the development of the leading global stock market indices over the past 20-30 years.

Each stock market index, such as the Dow Jones (shown above), Nikkei, Nasdaq or the more specific Lehman Brothers stock quote downfall, corresponds to a impeccably rendered unique mountain range.…

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Norwegian Boy Saves Sister from Moose Attack Using World of Warcraft Skills

Hans Jørgen Olsen, a 12-year-old Norwegian boy, saved himself and his sister from a moose attack using skills he picked up playing the online role playing game World of Warcraft.

Hans and his sister got into trouble after they had trespassed the territory of the moose during a walk in the forest near their home.…

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