With The Value of the Present Moment, the internationally active media artist Marc Lee (b.1969, CH) connects the spiritual moment of the present with the form of media in real-time. This relates to the hippie movement of the 1960s, in which meditation was practised as a path to self-knowledge.
Current media developments on the Internet celebrate real-time as the promise of an eternal now and an apparent spatial accessibility. The media phenomenon of the temporal modus in real-time demands unlimited contemporaneity. The media-based now – the process of the immediate transfer of information and the prompt exchange of image, sound and text – can, in this context, be brought into association with improving efficiency, user optimisation and the illusion of transparency. Marc Lee contrasts this with a spiritual idea of the now. In various spiritual teachings, a conscious ‘living in the present moment’ is described as a condition of knowledge and enlightenment, transcending both space and time. The hippie movement of the 1960s had a particular affinity for meditation, which promised salvation through being in the now. Lee considers real-time images to be an unfiltered reproduction of reality. In his work, thus, it is less the real-time transmission and much more the real-time mode that is put in context with the spiritual ideas of the hippie movement, which championed an anti-authoritarian and anti-hierarchical world and world orders. On the day that it went online, there was a post hippie performance, during which the webcam switched between the persons who were present and transmitted the images to the website of www.collective-view.ch. During the following weeks, the webcam was suspended upside down in the trees above the performance location, and traces of the performance were still visible. During this time further performances took place, spontaneously and unpredictably.
Text: Damian Jurt