samples - stateless half life


2. Stateless Half Life

stateless halflife thumb2004
by Carmin Karasic and Rolf van Gelder


This artwork and humann express the same core concept: Our decisions have a global impact. Both works attempt to increase awareness which would hopefully influence the choices we make.

In my web art project Stateless Half Life refugee movement is visualized in dynamic trails. Refugees and repatriation are expressed as data points because without living the experience, our only reference is representational data – data that we are free to label and pigeonhole. Stateless Half Life engages you with interactive visuals, luring you deeper into the website, only to kick you out and forever deny you re-entry.

Freedom of choice is an assumed "right" within the context of hypertext engagement. Stateless Half Life is a uniquely limited WWW experience, because you are free to experience the entire site only once. This artwork attempts to evoke an unanticipated and illogical experiential loss of free choice. The project also takes advantage of internet technology to automatically permanently deny banished visitors re-entry to the website.

The artwork is inspired by the varied psychological and emotional impacts of being expelled from one's homeland. Exile obviously includes the trauma associated with being forced into adjusting to a new "life". Less obvious is the successive anguish of being denied physical connection to one's roots without recourse or provocation. After reading Edward Said's essay, "Reflections on Exiles", I tried to imagine the plight of asylum seekers. I wanted to invite others to think about refugees via an interactive interpretation of forced human relocation.

This piece successfully elicits a visceral response to an infringement on assumed rights within the context of cyberspace. The emotional response to the project is meant to cause further reflection on the plight of refugees. Ideally, the work would move one to action. We all have choices. I believe privileged people need to be made aware and or reminded of broad circumstances linked to the influence of our choices. Privilege is tied to power. Complacency masks privilege and obscures power. Increased awareness and personal empowerment informs our choices.

Stateless Half Life screen grab: symbolic refugees fleeing Afganistan

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