Internet of our dreams

Digital Panel


Internet of my dreams was Anthony Antonellis' solo show at Transfer Gallery, in March 2014. At the conclusion of the exhibition, a digital panel convened around a series of topics that had informed the exhibition. Eleven panelists were invited to participate by moderators Anthony Antonellis and Arjun Ram Srivatsa.

The discussions took place online over the course of two days in the form of written submissions and video chats conducted from the gallery. Each panelist was able to address topics raised by previous panelists in a linear format similar to a comment thread.

This website contains the result of those dialogs along with additional resources provided by the panelists.


Clicking a name will jump to response



  • Arjun Ram Srivatsa
  • Anthony Antonellis

Daniel Rourke

Audio narration of text


Present Perfect

In 1956 Philip K. Dick had a short story published in a brand new pulp magazine. Entitled, Pay for the Printer, [1] the story contained a series of themes that would come to dominate his work.

On an Earth gripped by nuclear winter humankind has all but forgotten the skills of invention and craft. An alien, blob-like, species known as the Biltong cohabit Earth with the humans. They have an innate ability to ‘print’ things, popping out copies of any object they are shown from their formless bellies. The humans are enslaved not simply because everything is replicated for them, but, in a twist Dick was to use again and again in his works, as the Biltong grow old and tired, each copied object resembled the ‘original’ less and less. Eventually everything emerged as an indistinct, black mush.

Saved from the wreckage of the nuclear apocalypse, a host of original items – lawn mowers, woollen sweaters, cups of coffee – are in short supply. Nothing ‘original’ has been made for centuries, sustaining a static cultural epoch, devoid of change. The Biltong must produce copies from copies made of copies. Each replica, seeded with errors, eventually becomes what Dick would later call, ‘kipple’:

[H]e saw the dust and the ruin of the apartment as it lay spreading out everywhere – he heard the kipple coming, the final disorder of all forms, the absence which would win out.[2]

Not only do the Biltong ‘prints become blurred and lose definition,’ [3] the entire human social order has blurred beyond recognition, lingering as a poor image of the golden era the populous nostalgically yearn for. An ‘object-world tend[ing] to disintegrate under its own momentum’ [4] :

No one can win against kipple… it’s a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.[5]

In another Philip K. Dick novel, UBIK, (1966) [6] humans on the brink of death are cryogenically suspended in a state that allows the living to continue communicating with them. Within this extended stasis the last ebbs of their life are compelled to slip away over a long, drawn out, period of time, limited only by how often they are contacted from ‘the outside.’ Within the dying, virtual world the dead share, objects begin regressing through a series of forms towards what appears to be a primary, Platonic ideal. The protagonist Joe Chip, attempting to watch the news on his 3D projection television, is greeted instead with ‘a dark, wood-cabinet, Atwater-Kent tuned radio-frequency oldtime AM radio’. [7] Credit cards slowly change into handfuls of rusted coins, impressed with the faces of Presidents long since deceased. Turning his back for a few minutes Joe Chip’s hover vehicle has degraded to become a bi-propeller airplane. Rather than reverting ‘to formless metals and plastics’ the television, credit card and hover vehicle exist as universal forms within which ‘the past is latent, is submerged, but still there, capable of rising to the surface’. [8]

In kipple, Dick captured the process of entropy and put it to work to describe the contradictions of mass-production and utility. Captured in celluloid under the title Blade Runner [9] Philip K. Dick’s vision of kipple abounds in a world where mankind lives alongside shimmering, partly superior, artificial humans. In director Ridley Scott’s 1982 cinematic retelling the latent power of objects is captured in one iconic, and visually stunning, scene. The protagonist, Rick Deckard, collects clues from a series of snapshots. By slipping a dog-eared photograph into the cumbersome, noisy machine in his shadow of an apartment Deckard is able to manipulate the scenes they depict with eye watering clarity. The process is so phenomenal, so hyper-affective, that additional angles and unvisible details are exposed. Looking back at this scene from our vantage point one may laugh at its clumsy rendition of a futuristic photo economy, but in many regards its breadth of vision is still beyond our current reckoning. Deckard’s machine is a paradigm of sci-fi futurism, in that it illustrates a prediction from within the field of experience available at the time. It retells the myth of all technological fortune-telling, a myth told through two comfortable fictions:

Firstly, that there exists some abstract distance, unbreachable by humankind.

And secondly, that technological prostheses will one day be capable of reaching farther beyond that distance than we could have expected.

Blade Runner is a particularly successful piece of future myth-making, taking design cues from a point 30 years in the past, and moulding that design as an apparition of 30 years in the future. Suddenly the film takes on the features of an augmentation: an interface between the two realities of noir fiction and dystopian fiction, establishing a third reality, this very moment, as its most unvisible projection. In one end of the machine we slot the kippleised remnants of our past, whilst on its screen spin a series of possible futures we could never have expected. As Frederic Jameson has noted, Dick’s imaginary worlds ‘render our present historical by turning it into the past of a fantasized future.’ [10]

So here we are, in Philip K. Dick’s historical present: a fantasy destined to degrade. Only the objects we craft, carry and use can sustain the past, objects we desire to augment, to scan and 3D copy; their digital renditions spinning down a thousand miles of optical cable. The contradictions in this enterprise are worth repeating, for as the digital seems to shrink our world, so the past recedes further into a distance contained solely in the present: a place we have yet to visit.


[1] Philip K. Dick, “Pay for the Printer,” in The Philip K. Dick Reader (Carol Pub. Group, 1997, 1956), 239.

[2] Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Random House Publishing Group, 2008, 1968), 197.

[3] Fredric Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (Verso, 2005), 347.

[4] Ibid., 346.

[5] Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, 56–57.

[6] Dick, Ubik (Madrid: La Facoria de Ideas, 2004).

[7] Ibid., 132.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ridley Scott, Blade Runner, FIlm (Sci-Fi/Thriller), 1982.

[10] Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future, 345

Jeremy Bailey

Carla Gannis


Further videos expanding on the topics: quantified self, digital materiality, and preserving identity online.


Quantified Self


Digital Materiality


Preserving Identity Online

Anne Horel


Today, all types of representation are stirred continuously to create constantly new types of representation, re-combined together to build an infinite sampling sensation.

The computer acts as a shield screen, a "window" that can be opened or closed on oneself and its privacy. Personality is split, between oneself and oneself deferred, oneself staged. There is interface.

Webcasting is conditioned by the presence of the virtual world.
With the fast dissemination of information of all types that is happening nowadays, modes of phenomena or « trends » find their roots in "virtual reality" to become gradually "social phenomena".

The social network is not only a new medium that might be used the same way as we use software, it is also and mostly a spontaneous and immediate exposure platform.

The « fan » notion is fundamental. By fan, I mean people who follow, people who like and share. The Internet is made of fans (and cats).
One can’t create if there is no stimuli on the other side. The Internet is filled with stimulus. We need each other to create and make  the Internet come alive.
This is what I love about the Internet and social networks in general. The Internet is a community.

Sociologists such as Henry Jenkins consider the "fan", not as a kind of "alienated receiver" of mass culture and products of massive mercantile success, that are most of the time considered to be mediocre, but as the generator of new codes of interpretation that are not submitted to an elitist cultural hierarchy and - therefore - restrictive.

More importantly, in addition to generating new codes and new comprehension of things, fans produce forms that are heterodox, transgender and polymorphic.
By using the codes of popular culture it is possible to clear areas of understanding: I, as a transmitter of a code, the "other" as a receiver or generator of the same codes.
The world is increasingly full of mode or trends, the Internet is becoming a scattering vector without frontiers and it is unlimited. UNLIMITED and absolute.

Where it starts to get tricky is when it affects the own privacy of individuals. Like any phenomenon, the Internet is full of deviations and various excesses that I do not want to develop here right now, but I’m open to debate.

What I'm interested in here is the reliance on the Internet. We give personal information, we upload, record, share ourselves by posting photos, thoughts, videos, without realizing that it enters the global public domain. Anyone can have access to the virtual identity of anyone.

When I meet someone on the Internet, his virtual passport says much more than if I’d have met this same person in the street. What I say here is not breaking news, but there is a real identity fracture and therefore a real fracture in others apprehension since the advent of the Internet and the spread of the concept of avatar.

Which happens to be profoundly exciting is that we can be someone on one side of the reality and its opposite on the other. Because I consider virtual reality as a reality itself. This kind of totally schizophrenic relationship with the world is incredibly rich.
Creating virtual identities encourages confidence and is an exercise in the practice of self. With egos laid bare or embellished, celebrities and iconic figures emerge from the Internet.

The Internet is the consecration of the tribe feeling and the feeling of belonging to a clan / group / a community. Finally, the Internet is a deeply young world. Moved by successive generations, that are similar and congregate.

By uploading an image, thoughts, videos, content in general, you can easily have the feeling of "being" someone.
There are artists who believe that art is built in life, as opposed to those who believe that art is built in art. I think this is one of the most interesting things that have been written about art and its process, and this is Robert Filliou who says: « Art is what makes life more interesting than art ».


Sebastian Schmieg


Further dialog in audio format


Links referenced and additional resources:

Art Without Work, by Anton Vidokle

Andy Warhol's Sleep, 1963

Softest Hard, sleep cycle tumblr

Spritz, speed reading app

Artworks by Sebastian Schmieg

Artworks by Johannes P Osterhoff

Politics of Sleep: Freedom, Protection, De-Networking

Pingo ergo sum: Brain painting, "The painting drops out of the head"

Rollin Leonard

LaTurbo Avedon

Carrie Gates


My Projects

  1. Psychic Armchair TV

    1. custom Max/MSP audiovisual system (made with programming assistance by Jeff Morton)

    2. shown in a psychiatrist themed interactive installation that is gallery-friendly

    3. translates brainwave data to control video selection and mix modes as well as sound

  2. modul8 demo module

    1. Python module for Swiss VJing software (made with programming assistance by Boris Edelstein, the creator of modul8)

    2. demo state

    3. can connect to any parameter in VJing software

Primary Concerns

I think it is much better to use mapping between data signals to create and reflect upon meaning, and not arbitrary assign meaningful, complex, interesting data strictly to aesthetic concerns. Of course, it is “cool” to make things that are controlled by our brains, because it is currently a novel form of interaction, but I think there will be more longevity in projects that harness, reflect upon, and problematize the relationship between the natural activity of the brain and how it can be used as a tool for rich and meaning-making interactivity.

I used to work as a researcher in the Human Computer Interaction Department at the University of Saskatchewan. Working with the other HCI researchers there made me very critical of arbitrary biometric data mappings when there is so much more potential in meaningful mappings that help create understanding and self-awareness...or at least more interesting puzzles.

What are we really measuring?

It is always important to remember what is actually being measured when dealing with biometrics.

EEG (electroencephalography) actually measures:

  • electrical activity levels in different parts of the brain

    • region

    • intensity

    • duration

Gamma waves - often linked to eye movement (irrelevant data that needs to be filtered out in my work), also can signify panic, flight or fight impulses

Alpha waves - highly alert and engaged

Beta waves - awake and relaxed

Theta waves - trancelike state, highly relaxed, falling asleep

Delta waves - deep sleep & REM

These measurements are not directly mapped to specific emotions, regardless of the desire for researchers and artists to assign these kinds of specific meanings to them.

It is only recently in the history of EEG research that we have been able to use measuring devices that are not subdermally implanted in the cranium to pick up these electrical charges. I am grateful for this :)

Another big problem in brainwave art is the fact that the raw data is extremely noisy and it needs to be averaged into a usable format, but part of the reality of the data is stripped when it is averaged. Part of the art of working with biometrics is in how the “truth of the data” is interpreted, and the averaging system is a major influencer, along with the representational assignments. This is tricky.

A Question for Anthony

"My interest lies squarely in verifiable and repetitive applications" - Anthony Antonellis

Why? the brain is more complex than that, real thoughts and emotions are never the same way twice.

Training brain to control things in a sort of compressed binary fashion is different than passive visualization or audiovisual feedback loops. I suppose that’s fine in a sense, and that method is great for things like navigating virtual terrains, but I think that kind of practicality compresses the raw data in a way that somewhat trivializes the richness and potential of the system. I’m not saying that the projects I have completed are the answer, but I think the my research and experimental work in this area have given me a good foundation to work from.


Brainwave feedback loops are often used like a training device for meditation and learning how to relieve stress and enhance mental insight. People often train themselves by watching their own brainwaves inside of software visualizers and observing their own patterns as they think. This creates a feedback loop where the user is influenced by their own signals to help them learn how their mental states work so that they can encourage more of the desired mind state to come into effect, by will.

I am interested in how you calibrated your device, Anthony...

I just learned watched by brainwaves for hours and hours and accepted it for what it is, which created a feedback loop that influenced how I use my own mind.

After many hours/days/months, I learned how to lower and raise my brainwaves at will with two exercises, which I will describe to you in our Skype chat.

  1. Random object flow exercise: raises brainwaves

  2. Displacement of self through vivid projection into another person's body: lowers brainwaves

Those exercises work for me but they may not be the most effective methods for other people, we all work differently inside. I developed these techniques so that I could quickly show people how the system works, although it usually takes a few sessions for people to understand how their own thought patterns are reflected in the data and how to manipulate this energy at will, which can be a problem for casual “drop-in” interactive installation environments.

Everyone has a "natural state" that they commonly slip into when relaxed or engaged in a task for a while and not looking at the system for feedback cues, and everyone's natural patterns are different. Mine is high alpha on the right, moderate beta on the left.

Coolest Project I’ve Seen

Brainball, competitive relaxation, shown in many science centres but not considered an “art project”.