Around the world in 80 Mb/s

Around the world in 80 Mb/s

This project consists out of a journey around the entirety of planet Earth, from Legnano (IT) – the city where I was born – all around back home using a virtual representation of Earth (google Earth), a Virtual Reality headset, a treadmill and a sketchbook.
Due to its nature, the performance is developing over a long period of time as I am trying to literally live in and travel around this alternative version of Earth for as long as possible.
My physical “I” walks on a treadmill while my mind is virtually journeying around the world.
As the performance unfolds through the days, I record drawings, videos and thoughts on a blog: a carnet de voyage that functions as a dialogue between virtual and physical realities.
The aim of this work is to re-proportion the physical self to the virtual representation of Earth, challenging the relationship between a human being and its natural environment.
The project is about wandering and recording: the explorative act of following the horizon, documenting new experiences and cataloguing the physical and psychological effects that every long journey entails.
Google Earth is a software that accesses satellite and aerial imagery (and other geographic data) over the internet to represent the Earth as a three-dimensional globe on a 1:1 scale.
The present status of Google Earth 3D mapping shows Earth as a polygonal world, populated by realistically rendered landmarks, believable atmospheric light and surrealistic graphic glitches.
It is in this scenario that the performance takes place: a desolated and distorted version of Earth that resembles a metaphysical painting and a post-apocalyptic scenario without political borders. A reality whose only political, economic, cultural and natural boundaries are set by algorithms.

Virtual reality started very recently to enter into private households although its culture is decades old (for example: Walter Pichler’s “Portable living room”, 1967 or Jeffrey Shaw’s ‘Legible City’, 1989). Its devices are spreading within the artistic world with their illusive power of separating our body from our mind and eyes. My aim is to focus on this disconnection and to apply it throughout all the levels of the project.
A disconnection synchronised in two different realities: between presence (walking on the treadmill) and location (wandering across the Earth), between experiences (eyes that see) and their documentation (hands that draw).
Although I’m not modifying my physical position, the kilometers walked on the treadmill are increasing.
This triggers the question whether this trip around the Earth is taking place after all.
The only tangible clue lays in this “human vs. planet” diary:

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