Fight is a VR-experience by Memo Akten, commissioned by STRP, in which the viewer’s eyes are individually presented with radically different images that trigger ‘binocular rivalry’. Presented with rival signals, the conscious mind ‘sees’ – or perceives – only one of the two images, and unpredictably alternates between them with unstable, patchy transitions. Which of the two images the viewer perceives, how and when they alternate, depends on the viewer’s physiology. Everybody will ‘see’ something unique, despite that fact that they are presented with the exact same images. The picture we see in our conscious minds is not a direct representation of the outside world, or of what our senses deliver, but rather of a simulated world, reconstructed based on our expectations and prior beliefs.
Fight is part of a broader line of inquiry set up by Akten about self-affirming human biases and our unconscious tendency to selectively only see what we would like to see and the social polarization in which this results. Originating from Turkey, these ideas have become increasingly relevant to Akten, but are also worth taking into consideration when we look at recent developments in the western hemisphere. During Conference for the Curious, Memo will talk about working with information technology as a medium, and his exploration of contemporary clashes between nature, science, technology, culture, ethics, rituals, tradition, and religion, as well as his fascination for co-creativity of humans and machines.