Virtual Matter. The Fading of Flesh


If the city fades away in indistinct territory, and if landscape only survives through simulation, the human body reproduces the stages of that journey through the dissolution of the naked body in a virtual crowd, the fleeing of the figure towards the digital realm and the reduction of the symbolic image to commercial fiction or artistic simulacrum; as a happy and painful mystery, the growing shamelessness towards the body and sex in the western world seems inseparable from its devaluation of meaning. Libidinal liberation has turned the guilty body into an archaic residue of collective history and individual memory: the right to pleasure has been replaced by the duty of pleasure, sexual preference has been transformed into a basic element of personal identity, and new forms of intimate relationships have subverted the immobile structures of conventional marriage and traditional family. However, this exhilarating process of sensual independence has also produced a dramatic decay of the transcendence of relationships, blurred in the murmur of ephemeral contacts, and a symbolic impoverishment of love and friendship encounters, multiplied and trivialized within a thick net whose light threads both trap and connect the cluttered universe of individuals...

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