Quantum physicists will tell you that there is fundamentally no difference between the real and digital worlds, and of course they are probably correct, but there is a difference between What We Know and How We Live. When we are online, it *feels* different to how it feels to be walking down the street during a thunderstorm or picking apples in an orchard in late summer. A physicist might tell you that is because the information content of the ‘real world’ is so much greater than it is online and processing that information is what makes it ‘feel’ different.
The promise of ‘digital’ is that we can make pristine copies. There is no degradation if you make exact copies digitally.
Yesterday, I grabbed the first image from the e-flux website. I duplicated it digitally 10 times without even changing the name. There is no difference.
Copying it digitally at the lowest resolution 10 times doesn’t result in much degradation.
However, displaying the image on a screen, then capturing the photons – a material property of the physical universe- projected from the screen into the ‘real world’ on a digital camera, sending that digitally from the camera to the screen again and capturing the photons from that image, again and again 10 times causes degradation.
Perfection or even ‘near enough’ perfection is destroyed when the real world interacts with the digital world. What happens to Us when we, as material beings, enter into the digital realm over and over again…?