SIGGRAPH 2011: Tracing Home in The Age of Networked Techniques



  • Mona Kasra -
    • University of Virginia
    • University of Texas at Dallas
    • California State University, Northridge

Art Show Overview:

In recent years, our highly mediated and networked communications environment has further connected us, overcoming physical distances and territorial boundaries. The telematically assisted interplay of physical and virtual within our lived experiences has gradually transformed our engagement with the world, made us less dependent on physical space, and enabled us to reside, simultaneously and discontinuously, in a multitude of deterritorialized, ubiquitous places at the touch of a button, echo of a voice, or nudge of a sensor. Not only has this degree of virtual interconnectivity and hyperconnectivity altered and dematerialized our sense of body, space, and time, but it has also reconfigured our relations with ourselves, with one another, and with the physical and digital environments we inhabit. As we embrace the new dynamics of the 21″ century’s connectivity and existence, we begin to wonder: where – and what – is home?

The juried selection for Tracing Home, the SIGGRAPH 20II Art Gallery, exhibits a diverse range of digital artworks that explore the concept of home in the age of networked technology. Inspired by the new life trajectories in an integrated global community where human relations and perceptions are conceived through various manifestations of a non-physical world of connections, the participating artists respond to the main theme of the exhibition and examine current cultural, emotional, structural, or metaphorical definitions of home, or construct new realities, experiences, and meanings. They creatively plug into the variety of mediated reality sub-themes and draw attention to the shift in humanity’s sense of identity, place, and belonging, and offer new interpretations for familiar concepts such as intimacy, loss, and desire.

Whether tracing home as a personal or a universal concept, the artworks selected for this exhibition utilize a combination of digital and analog technologies to mediate fresh perspectives and consolidate different discourses around home in the 21″ century. Together, they either alter time and space by eliminating physical distances and transporting viewers to faraway locations, or stir a sense of nostalgia through virtual recollections and simulated objects and interactions. In addition, they respond to various issues of our time, such as surveillance, privacy, control, disasters, immigration, spirituality, and companionship in order to comment on the social, political, and cultural attributes of the contemporary home apart from its physicality.

A significant commonality among the artworks assembled for Tracing Home is their preoccupation with the interaction between physical and virtual, actively trying to blur the line between the two – at times even attempting to occupy or operate both. They trigger viewers to question the reality of what they are confronting without fetishizing or celebrating one realm over the other. For these works, virtual and physical are only different representations of a single hybrid reality, and separation of technology from culture, or virtual from physical, is perhaps nothing but a hopeless task.

Mona Kasra, University of Texas at Dallas


Art Reviewers:

Exhibition Artworks: