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The Last Supper And The City of Bits | Stanza

March 24, 2010

Stanza is a London based British artist who specializes in interactive art, networked spaces, installations and performances. Stanza’s artworks explore artistic and technical opportunities to enable new aesthetic perspectives, experiences and perceptions within context of architecture, data spaces and online environments and now we want to show his work The Last Supper and The City of Bits.

Stanza seeks the Soul in the Digital. Computers ‘talk’ in binary, their souls convey messages in 10101 (zeros and ones). A city of bits with an embedded coded message will be eaten by twelve disciples who will bare their souls to the city of bits. The City of Bits will also generate real time news feeds, random live city sounds, and live CCTV that is be culled from the internet and brought into the gallery area.


Questions posed to the guests at the last supper

1. What is the worst thing that’s happened to you, the single most damaging event that has had a corrupting effect on your soul?

2. What is the single event you can remember that has made you happy or has worked; that has given your soul a positive good?

Stanza quotes the following as related with his work:

In Theosophy the soul is the field of our psychological activity (thinking, emotions, memory, desires, will, and so on) as well as of the so-called paranormal or psychic phenomena (extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, etc.). However, the soul is not the highest, but a middle dimension of human beings. Higher than the soul is the spirit, which is considered to be the real self; the source of everything we call “good”—happiness, wisdom, love, compassion, harmony, peace, etc. While the spirit is eternal and incorruptible, the soul is not (ie the Soul is corruptible). The soul acts as a link between the material body and the spiritual self, and therefore shares some characteristics of both. The soul can be attracted either towards the spiritual or towards the material realm, being thus the “battlefield” of good and evil. It is only when the soul is attracted towards the spiritual and merges with the Self that it becomes eternal and divine.

An oft-encountered analogy is that the brain is to the mind as computer hardware is to computer software. The idea of the mind as software has led some scientists to use the word “soul” to emphasize their belief that the human mind has powers beyond or at least qualitatively different from what artificial software can do. Roger Penrose suggests that the mind is in fact not like a computer as generally understood, but rather a quantum computer, that can do things impossible on a classical computer, such as decide the halting problem (although quantum computers in actuality cannot do any more than a regular Turing machine, including deciding the halting problem, they can in theory solve problems that would require billions of years for linear algorithms on the fastest computers in the world in minutes or seconds). Some have located the soul in this possible difference between the mind and a classical computer. (from wikipedia)

Stanza asks himself: Can the analogue soul can be measured, by analyzing change over time? His researches drive him to look if the comparable DNA code and its evolution over time could illustrates or visualize the Soul. He uses a comparative analysis with software that might gather data about this change and hence the Soul and can be visualized and made real.

He says: “As an artist essentially I do three things. Collect assets data, visualize them and think of ways to display the outputs. In the The Last Supper, I am collecting (assets) analogue messages that have been translated and displayed simply in binary online in the virtual world. By experiencing this event in an art gallery we become the privileged, elite, set apart from the flow of visitors. We are participants locked inside this space, invited here, to experience an event and become part of the spectacle.  Whereas the online work can be seen globally, the work on show in the gallery is made for this select audience. A recent survey of my site stats showed that my websites gets 44 million hits 4.4 visitors.  A huge audience. Here inside the gallery for the last supper the audience is 12.”

The Last Supper portrays the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him.


This review over Stanza’s work was inspired by @ballardian this morning.

Stanza’s web-site can be visited here.

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