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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 69 | volume XII | November-December, 2009



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 69November-December, 2009
Essays

The Word versus the Picture

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Vesna Mojsova-Čepiševska, Duško Krstevski

The terms like virtuality, virtual reality or virtual realism are related to the time marked by the end of the XX century, and the are directly related to the new computer technology[1]. However, the problem of virtuality did not become only a technological, but also a deeply philosophical and culturological issue, especially on the turn of the XX to XXI century[2]. The author of the well-known proverb: The medium is a message, as well as the syntagm global village, Marshall McLuhan distinguishes between “warm” and “cold” media. ”Warm” are those which offer the senses more information on reality (for example, photography is warmer than the drawing), and “Cold” are those which serve small amount of information, such as the telephone. Based on this general division, Michael Heim distinguishes two types of virtuality: “Strong”, so called technological, and “weak”, symbolical virtuality. If these distinctions are moved backwards, to where the western culture started, with Plato and Aristotle, with some courage one can say, as Oraić-Tolić stresses, that Plato is the father of the “warm” and Aristotle of the “cold” virtual realism (2005: 210)[3]. By proclaiming Aristotle the first virtual realist, there is not only a hypostasis of a historical term in a universal category in the theory of literature and art, but it is enabled that the phenomenon of mimetism is enlightened once again, and thus the position of the literature itself within culture. Literary realism is always “cold”, i.e. it is facilitated by language, and it is never “warm”, i.e. directly corporal, stresses Oraić-Tolić, concluding that history of literature as a cold virtual medium is filled with a yearning for the hot real worlds… so it can barely wait for modern technology to start fulfilling its fiction (2005: 212).
    The western culture has become a pan-aesthetic culture at the time of globalization. It has more and more turned into an endless field of game and simulation. The post-modern at the time of globalization has realized the basic modernist and avant-garde project, which is a total esthetisation of the world, as well as erasing the differences between fiction and reality. Art no longer imitates reality; on the contrary, reality imitates art, its autochthonous determinant – fictitiousness. We live, fortunately or unfortunately, in the world of an “upside-down/opposite” mimesis (2005: 214). The zone of real from the well known Lacan's triad Real – Symbolic – Imaginary has become narrower and narrower, so it

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1. The syntagm virtual reality was promoted by Jaron Lanier, a president of the Visual Program Languages company (VPL) from California. Competitive terms are: virtual surrounding and virtual worlds, and close terms are: virtual realism (Heim: 1998) and cyberspace (Gibson: 1984). What Jean Bodiar described in his philosophy as simulation and simulacrum became a real experience and fast approaching future which transforms into present before our very eyes (see Dubravka Oraić-Tolić. „Vitrualni realizam – hrvatski post-postmodernizam” in Muška moderna i ženska postmoderna. – Zagreb: 2005, 207-265).
2. If man exposes more and more his bio-body to the direct encounters with the bodies of the machines, cyborgs, if this man can dive into and truly reside in the unreal reality of the cyberspace which is both real and primary, then we seriously encounter the issue of the constructiveness not only of the cultural, but more and more of the biological identity. In this context, not only the symbolical world but also the real one becomes constructive (2005: 209).
3. The basis of this positioning is seen by Oraić-Tolić in the seventh book of Plato's State where he elaborated his ontology via the developed metaphor coming from the retold story of Socrates about the cave. Plato act paradoxically. He takes the metaphor of the cave and via this poetic image he discovered all the symbols and images as a falsely reflected reality of the real world of ideas. If we replace some details of Plato's cave we can see ourselves glued to the TV screens. The cold or poor virtuality, according to Oraić-Tolić is described by Aristotle in his Poetics, when he speaks about the differences between the poetic and historical description. While the historian describes the events as they happened, the poet does not want to convey the real events, but to point out what is possible according to the probability or necessity (2005: 210-212).






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