Re: [-empyre-] real, Reality and Samual Taylor Coleridge

Simon hits the virtual nail on the reality head. Simplicity can in the
extreame be dangerous, but as he said it depends entirely on the
positioning of the Subject.
I write now in response as I just participated in an interesting seminar
yesterday on 'The Politics of Inscription' (Online stream here:
(it has to be opened within Real Player or go to; and click on "Producing Massively Multiplayer
Online Games". seminar is in English), and from this talk the line between
real and what is termed rather simplistically Virtual is being completely
blurred, that is if it ever really existed in the first place.
However, I question one point of Simon's. Many of the first wave of what
later came to be known as the Romatic movement (perhaps more accurate to
say Romanticism) were deeply involved with challenging the monolith of
'Reality' as prescribed by Church, State, Family and the puny facilities
we call our senses which were recognised by several as the devices of
recognition to cultural signs.
I quote Coleridge:

"The effect on my feelings, on the other hand, I cannot better represent,
than by supposing myself to have known only our light and airy modern
chapels of ease, and then for the first time to have been placed, and left
alone, in one of our largest Gothic cathedrals in a gusty moonlight night
of autumn. "Now in glimmer, and now in gloom;" often in palpable darkness
not without a chilly sensation of terror; then suddenly emerging into
broad yet visionary lights with coloured shadows, of fantastic shapes yet
all decked out with holy insignia and mystic symbols; and ever and anon
coming out full upon pictures and stone-work images of great men, with
whose names I was familiar, but which looked upon me with countenances and
an expression, the most dissimilar to all I had been in the habit of
connecting with those names. Those whom I had been taught to venerate as
almost super-human in magnitude of intellect I found perched in little
fret-work niches, as grotesque dwarfs; while the grotesques, in my
hitherto belief, stood gurading the high alter with all the characters of
Apotheosis. In short, what I had supposed substances were thinned away to
shadows, while every where shadows were deepened into substances.."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge 'Biographia Literaria' (1815)

This sounds like the beginnings of Simulacra to me.

> An extremely simplistic analysis. There is always a danger in trying to
> keep
> things simple as you end up falling foul of a reductivist ethic. Things
> are
> not simple, they are complex. Analysis involves tracing the nebulous and
> complex intertextualities in detail. Anything less is loose talk.
> To even suggest that one can experience the real, just like that, is to
> ignore the complexities involved. Who is the subject here and what are the
> defining factors in its (their) consitution? What is the object, the thing
> experienced? How is this consituted? What is the mediality of what you
> call
> "experience"? How is that mediality constituted? Can any of these factors
> exist outside culture(s)? Perhaps, if you are a 19th C romantic, you might
> think this possible. I find that possibility unbelievable as it is an act
> of
> faith.
> Best
> Simon
> On 07.03.05 22:21, "Edward Swick" <> wrote:
>> --- Simon Biggs <> wrote:
>>> I questioned whether there is a viable thing called
>>> the "virtual" in the
>>> sense that the notion of the "virtual" belongs to
>>> that set of ideas
>>> associated with "realism" in representation (eg:
>>> virtual reality).
>> To keep it simple one might consider virtual to mean
>> that a person gets enough information from the virtual
>> object to be able to experience as real.  That is It
>> can be felt as real- seen as real and perhaps heard as
>> real at the same time. Jargon can confuse reason so it
>> is best to keep it simple, which may or may not be
>> what artists do.  I prefer simplifying not
>> complicating. Said with no intent to insult or harm. Ed
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
> Simon Biggs
> Professor, Fine Art, Art and Design Research Centre
> Sheffield Hallam University, UK
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

Doctoral Student, Umeå University
Department of Modern Languages/English
+46 (0)90 786 6584
HUMlab.Umeå University.SE-901 87.Umeå.Sweden

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