Pavel Seldemirov
THE BECOMING
Once inside the room with the installation, a person sees an area outlined by a circle. Outside the circle, at the recommended social distance (1.5 m), they can see some text written in a leak-proof unknown language. Captions inside the circle are mirrored as a GET request in different programming languages that include languages from three paradigms in equal proportions: functional, object-oriented, and procedural. There are plants inside the circle: fragments of the forest and black mirror portals (displays). Three vertical displays, two special spots for VR immersion. (the position of the displays can be adjusted and depends on the exhibition space) Forest. For me, it's something very personal. It teaches you that everything can be read as a relationship between different objects (an opposite view to hierarchies and morals). Development of Compositions and Decompositions. Spinoza's Ethics. On the other hand, the image of the forest in culture is something that opposes order and the known. It's a perfect metaphor for the environment we are in.


By entering the circle, you make a contract on entering a new zone. This is the second time the installation affects the viewer. We grab VR sets and controllers and find ourselves in a virtual space that we have previously seen on the display. There is forest in front of us. And behind us, too. It rhymes with the plants inside the installation. Behind us. In the world we have just been to. But the next second the forest stretches all the way to the horizon. Moving through the forest, we find cultural artifacts, traces of 2020. The year of 2020 saw the first planet-wide event in the history of information culture. That event helped strengthen the synchronization between all cultures through mass media, supported by the discipline of self-isolation. One information field united by a single event that had a huge influence on everything. Isolating without the isolation. The forest is filled with sounds, objects, and their metamorphoses that affect us. A rock connected to a lung ventilation machine, a lake with its surface breaking like a store window, coronavirus in the river like a naval mine, a chart of the stock market crash as the outlines of mountains on the horizon.
It's like a collective dream made up of things reminding of this year's events that make us different. We can manipulate objects by manipulating the illumination around the installation through them. For example, by adjusting the settings of the ventilation machine, we can change the lighting, and if you overload the device–the lights in the «real world» will start flickering. Just like in April the humanity «overloaded» the offline world with the online panic. (The truth is that there are no double realities anymore. There is only one, with numerous access options) We meet other connected users in the VR space. They look like singular sets, whirling masses, clumps of elements that circulate inside them. The shapes of their bodies change as they run into objects and triggers. They are as equal participants as are you. The project is called The Becoming, indicating the processes that happen to us. The processes we will later see as a line separating before from after.

A magic circle was chosen as the shape for the project's border to highlight the act of transitioning from one state into another, and also to create the feeling of a ritual that invites the viewer into the research process. The circle also alludes to new materialism, specifically to Eugene Thacker who makes the same comparison between the immanent God and the simulation hypothesis. The meaning or the center of the project is just as difficult to express as the meaning of changes that are currently happening. There is just a multitude of potentials and differentiation between them, a constant metamorphosis of the network. Right now we are at the borderline.

It's common to perceive the border as a watershed between one state and the other. But if you look at the border in retrospective, you will see that moment as time duration, as intensity by which the object has been changed. A1 turned into A2. The borderline separating A1 from A2 is a condition, a convention, a discreetness we have agreed upon and that doesn't actually exist. All that exists in practice is time duration, the intensity of the event that pushes us forward like a wave, leaving behind the people we used to be. The Becoming is a mechanism. It invites the viewer to cross the border between what we call the real, the imaginary, and the virtual worlds. It refers us to ritual practices, where the participant of the action crosses the border, and, because one is immersed into the ritual, one is unable to get out of it. The tissue of the imaginary is woven from the threads of the real; the external reflects the internal, and the internal is made from the external. With lines of intensity, the real and the virtual affect each other, changing the overall reality that we all live in.

On the one hand, the VR universe I am creating can be easily read using the everyday language, but on the other hand it is leak-proof. Similarly to Bacon's pictures, it flickers between what can be identified and what cannot be formulated. It does not dictate a specific interpretation. It gives the viewer the freedom of intellectual action by creating the affect. Affect is an important concept to understand the becoming and the perception of the borderline. Gilles Deleuze calls affect a duration, based on Spinoza's work. A transition. Spinoza, in turn, derives from the Stoics for whom the entire world was in development, in a continuous rearrangement of borders. Deleuze calls borders the limits of compositional integrity, and recalls the questions of the classics: «What is the border of an object? Where are those borders? And what if it's a forest? Where is the border of the forest? A forest is defined by its potency, its intensities. How far can you go?» Stoics «Where does the light begin and end? The light goes as far as its potency» Neoplatonists Therefore he criticizes the concept of the «borderline.» He introduces that concept into situations where it becomes no longer valid. In this project, I suggest my own interpretation of the «borderline» as a state of increased intensity. It doesn't exist in the logic of becoming, but it is present in the logic of difference where A1 does not equal A2. We can feel it right here, right now as The Becoming.

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