The Feeling Internet

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23 May 2014

 "Computers are simply mirrors. There's nothing in them that we didn't put there. If computers are viewed as evil and dehumanizing, then we made them that way."
- Mark Pesce

Melanie Bonajo wonders: will touch become a form of radical communication in the near future? How do we remain in harmony with our environment? An environment which is technological and evolving rapidly, both in cyberspace and in 'real' space.


The Feeling Internet, by Melanie Bonajo - Image created for The Feeling of Internet, by Melanie Bonajo Melanie Bonajo

The Feeling Internet

The Feeling Internet addresses the reformulation of presence, touch, healing and spirituality — the possible shape of non-verbal communication in digital spaces. How can we shape urban rituals through technology in a world where the boundaries between the virtual and the "real" are increasingly porous? The exhibition focuses on the spiritual side of technology and questions the connection between the inner space and cyberspace and the use of symbolism from popular culture in spiritual contexts on the net.

We are moving from interconnected networks to entire environments of distributed intelligence in which the human can move beyond the confines of the physical body. How do we move inside this landscape? Our minds are mostly being colonized by an electronic cloud of advertisements, cheap entertainment, our 'friends', and generic information pushing humans toward overstimulation and disembodiment. The provider — a capitalist system of corporations who pretend to serve us with free social media and other web based communications — arguably remains aloof to the question of actual connection in the race to market popularity. One-to-one communication systems, such as the telephone, seems a device outdated and close to irrelevant. In this time of hyper-connectivity many people in the U.S. don't pick up their phones anymore. The sound of a voice has become too intimate. On the other hand short text messages are too limited for sincere and intimate conversations. How can we embrace an alternative reality in our daily struggle and need for sensitive and sensible communication?


During The Feeling Internet , the benefits of the net are reclaimed and used for new modes of conviviality, sensuous and non-commercial communication, everything outside of you, everything inside of you, and everything in between. A series of performances reflect on how digital communication in a non-material space can be used to increase our connection with our so-called material reality, our body, our planet, nature, each-other and the cosmos, to shape a more intimate and interconnected view on our life in this all-too-human epoch.

Six performance artists are asked to use social media platforms and digital tools as a medium to create an answer for feelings on the internet. Alternative forms of performance art presentations are explored by the idea of extending one’s physical or mental faculties by means of real life avatars. The performances are interactive and created for a single viewer or a small group at the same time. They will perform their piece through a webcam.


The evening will start with a lecture by  Egil Asprem Magic and the Metaverse: From Imagination to Technocalypse followed by performances of Bianca Casady & Bryn Mkay (Wanda’s World.Healing Time. Excellent ), Maria Guggenbichler (Play Date for Laptops and Mobile Phones), Labanna Babalon (Muse me; The Virtual Reality of an Internet Goddess), Valentina Desideri (Political Therapy; A Cyber Session), Maia Lyon Daw (Virtual Initiations: Hacking the Metaverse for Primordial Purposes)and Jasper Griepink (All Access) Backstage Sweatbath Ninja Re-Birthing).

Maria Guggenbichler

Artist Maria Guggenbichler likes to talk to people, and sets up situations which make it easy for people to talk to people. Her work is idea-based and discursive finding its form in events and gatherings which allow for the fluid circulation of knowledge, non-knowledge, silly jokes and slow dances between people. Guggenbichler primarily works in self-organized and independent contexts, and thinks (produces) with other amateurs–of–life in friendly collaborations, dialogues and networks.

Play Date for Laptops and Mobile Phones

Maria Guggenbichler hosts a dinner. During this dinner, a chain skype video call will be initiated connecting all mobile phones or laptops, which the attendees of the dinner brought with them. The devices can talk to one another without us, so we can have an actual conversation.

A play date for laptops and mobile phones: while the technological devices talk to one other without our interference, while they produce and exchange communication, befriend each other, like, post and share, entertain, distract, bore, spam each other, eternally mirroring, reflecting and resending automated scripts, we can take a break from providing and maintaining (breathing life into) the existence of technological mediation, or – alluding to Lucier – refrain from being the room which articulates the speech of communication capitalism. While we leave it to the machines to do the labour of "networked relations" in a feedback loop of the same same, we can sit in the same room together and have an actual conversation. "I want to touch the irregularities of your speech, and I want you to touch mine".

Bianca Casady + Bryn Mckay

Wanda's World. "Healing time. Excellent"

Bianca Casady is an artist and musician, plays in the American band CocoRosie. Equally prone to expressing her thoughts and stories in music, poetry, prose, fashion, drawings, and sculpture, Bianca Casady is a wholistic artist. In the inventing of characters and personal myths Bianca often questions the social constructs of religion, gender and associated taboo symbols in Baudelairian-like collisions of the beautiful and the ugly. CocoRosie delivers artful performances, which often incorporate Bianca’s video art. She runned a gallery in Paris called’Mad Vickes Tea House’and exhibited internationally at The Sunday Issue Gallery in Tokyo, Deitch Projects in New York and the Moscow Biennale. In 2013 Bianca initiated the feminist magazine G.A.G. published by Capricious.

Bryn McKay is an artist, healer, student above all else, and world traveler who collaborates in many different artistic manifestations all circulating around themes of transformation, astral existence, and the Devine feminine. She claims nothing more than gratitude for love and life.

Valentina Desideri

Valentina Desideri was best defined by a friend who called her a 20 year old
on tour. Although this was meant as a reproach she found this definition more suiting than performance artist or anything like that. Lately she has also been called a psychic, which, if added to the previous description, makes of her a psychic 20 year old on tour. She trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre in London, she did a MA in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, she does Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, she co-organizes Performing Arts Forum in France and she writes biographies by reading people's palms. She writes other things too but mostly she’s around.

Political Therapy A Cyber Session

The person comes to the session with a political problem to be discussed. A “political problem” is any problem, thought or question that has a political dimension and that is experienced directly by the person. It may be something that bothers or preoccupies her, regardless of whether it is primarily lived out on a practical, personal, ideological, conceptual or existential level. Although it is a “therapy”, this practice is not aimed at solving problems, on the contrary any problem is treated as an occasion for language to develop, for speculation to happen and for politics to be felt. It is a form of therapy for those who neither need, nor want, to be fixed.

Maia Lyon Daw

Maia Lyon Dawn is a multimedia artist from central Scotland, currently based in California. Her work explores such themes as Nature, Ethics, Mythology and the Psyche. Her current inspiration is drawn from the idea that one can forge new realities and ways to experience the world through ritual, inner workings and active animism.

Virtual Initiations: Hacking the Metaverse for Primordial Purposes.

Virtual reality can be construed as a mirroring and outpouring of the psyche. Your avatar is an extension of your own body, a vessel in which you can interact with the simulated environment. This exercise is a virtual initiation into my psyche in which I will show you a window through which you can enter my inner world. I will plant a seed of my thoughts, ideals, my experience and my reality in your psyche as a gift to take away with you. I will guide you through a healing ritual and give you a precious stone.
It matters not that the experience and the object you receive is but a virtual token, it is in the intention that the power lies. After this the experience and the virtual object will exist as an intangible idea seed in your psyche.
You must reach down to that place in your psyche where the gift is stored. This is the place of MAGIC: the sacred space for the sculpting of new worlds.

Labanna Babalon

Labanna's work is very fluid. Her alter egos change frequently, and by using them as "avatars" on social media, she is able to interact with her thousand of fans, while parallel to investigating the platform of internet as an art context for new audience situations, and at the same time communicating and inverting the idea of the internet to be the tree of knowledge- now available for everyone to consume. Her understanding of it all has been derived from many paranormal events, and serendipitous symbols. Labanna first got recognized through a series of videos aiming at release of shame in the power of sexuality, - thus Labanna's obsession with her booty, and thus again she first hit the big headlines through her twerking avatar, exposing blood bathing, acid and orgy connotation events crossing the aesthetic of a ritual and rap's based culture, commenting on the rap industry and the construct of entertainment industry. Her work is also on a structural level commenting/imploding on the economic structure within the art field, making fluid the framework of the art object, the spectator situation, and thus the economic construct of currencies in the art market.

Muse me; The Virtual Reality of an Internet Goddess

Through the duration of the performance Labanna will use channeled methods of healing customized for each individual. Whether creating a personalized Youtube video, or instructing the ancient release in ass clap therapy, she touches the spectator. During the session she works on erasing the physical context and creating a situation of feeling. Her gift is in being able to down-load divine love from the cosmos and send it through the digital waves of the internet.

Jasper Griepink

Jasper Griepink explores the mutual relation between the inside and the outside of the body via the performance of sacred rituals. His works wash an audience in a stream of sound, scent, color and tactile matters in an honest search for joyful presence. As an esoteric stylist Jasper mixes and matches essences of meditation, breathwork, story telling and cleansing into installations that function as sites for contac. In installations such as massage-salons, health-spas and temple-complexes his audience is invited to take part in playful synergetic experiences that twirl the moment upwards into light. 

During the next 5 weeks Jaspers is based in a Geometric Biodome Sweatbath that he erected in Roodkapje Rotterdam. For Lightness: The Feeling Internet Jasper connects to Mediamatic directly from this warm and wet Body Center.

(All Access) Backstage Sweatbath Ninja Re-Birthing

With long days at his Geometric Biodome Sweatbath in Rotterdam we are very pleased to have a one hour all access live-feed with Jasper Griepink. A group-massage and sound healing concert has just ended as we connect to Jasper in the Dressing rooms of a shamanic bathhouse. As he is just about to unclip his hair-extentions, remove his body and face make-up Jasper will be able to guide several people through a Ninja Re-Birthing meditation. 

Though Spiritual Warriors are born in many ways it usually takes place in the uterus. Busy as we are with living life as agile human beings we take little time to connect to what took place before we were here. When attuning to the murmuring of an over-worked holisitic body worker over skype we will be able to re-connect to the moments in which this life began. Get ready to meet sides of you that you haven’t met before with an all exclusive backstage intimacy at Lightness: The Feeling Internet.

More information

Entrance €5 or free for Mediamatic members. Mediamatic, VOC-kade 10, Oostenburg Amsterdam. The event takes place during Arne Hendriks Starvation Experiment. As part of an ongoing project called Lightness. With a ticket for The Feeling Internet, you can also visit the rest of the exhibitions.