Sometime in the third week of February this year, a physicist friend and teacher from Brooklyn, pondered the probability/possibility/paradox of locating an event (perhaps even as an alternate reality) at a distance using mathematical relationships between space, time (and therefore the velocity of light) and treating an eventuality (happening) as a measurable metric at a “distance.” In some ways it had to do with the possibility of reconciling quantum mechanics (if at all) to predict or contemplate a non-local event and even to explore the concepts of telepathy, projected consciousness and remote happenings. What was remarkable in this exercise was that “human observation” (by its very act of observation) tends to ratify or validate a steady neutral state. Otherwise, the non-steady state or unstable “mirror state” is not “valid” or non-existent, because it is non-observed, unless it is traced to the dispersion of photons. So when two distant events conflict with each other (reverse spin velocities in their electronic orbit) they do so by some uncanny transmission which happens at the speed of light. But is it inherent to their neutral state? Recently, some scientists in Europe were able to teleport data over 10 meters, “instantaneously.” Now they are working on doing it over 100 meters. This would be a poser for strong believers in relativity and energy-mass transfer fundamentals.
I have a small, very intelligent and stubborn dog. As a species, he is reportedly color blind. In other words he sees the red-orange spectrum as shades of yellow and the black white spectrum as shades of grey. His world, as viewed by him, must be quite different from mine. But he is not blind. He never bumps into anything, willfully. I am of the opinion that he sees a mountain as a mountain. Or does he see it as a large dog?
When we decided on having an issue on the theme of “Virtual Worlds”, we were quite confused ourselves. Some of us were legitimately concerned about the growing lack of face to face contact in the FB / Twitter world and the resulting neutering of relationships and passion in the world we are growingly getting accustomed to. On the other hand some of us were naturally incensed as activists about the world of Wikileaks/Snowden/Assange and others where cyber-snooping and unreal surveillance was becoming a growing reality!
In this issue, we have several significant contributions from Serai regulars on the theme. To start off, there is a compelling piece by Patrick Barnard on Mimesis. Life or Death is the issue with Virtuality. Barnard takes on Franklin (“the dark lady of DNA”) , Baudrillard and Snowden in one sweep. This is followed by Nilambri Ghai who interviews her own son, a young contemplative futurist and engineer on imagining a world fifty years hence, complete with virtuality as a given. Montreal avant-garde musician Paul Serralheiro contributes two distinctly beat poems on social media. Shubhobroto Ghosh interprets FB postings. Pietro Ferrua traverses the film world from Pontercorvo to Resnais and describes the experience of changing reality through revolutionary renewal. Sujata Dey covers the past few years of dissidence in the streets of Canada and the extraordinary use of hashtags to organize the student strikes, the occupy movement, Idle No More and others. It seems like the petit gavroche of the Victor Hugo days are back with a vengeance and their smartphones. Oleg Dergachov’s SMart Lee is a brilliant work of animation-simple and yet incisive about what interaction with virtuality can lead to.