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Presence/Absence Exhibition (Exhibition at ACM Multimedia 2005)

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Edited by Morgan Fritz · 25 resources · Last updated about 10 years ago

For centuries, artists and philosophers have explored the notion of presence from multiple perspectives, considering its physical, psychological, and cultural dimensions. In that exploration, technology has played an important role, not only in the development of the tools used for the “representation” of presence, but also in defining it: from the revolution in painting brought by photography, to the new concepts of presence brought by technological advances in the last sixty years (virtual reality, telepresence, immersive presence, experiential systems, etc.). Such technologies, and in particular those that combine multiple media (video, images, computer graphics, audio, haptics), seem to increase “presence,” questioning our embodied, singular sense of being in this world as the only way of positioning ourselves. That questioning is closely linked to cultural, social, and economic factors: presence can be used to reaffirm power or control structures; it can multiply our sense of being by erasing distance barriers and allow us to take on new, virtual identities, or it can be interpreted as leading to absence as in the belief in some cultures that photographs steal the soul.