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By Rhizome


Pop culture's current obsessions with 'reality' television and fictional 're-enactment' coincides interestingly with debates currently transpiring in the new media community regarding the nature of simulation. Some argue that many digital media both reference real events and surpass them by presenting images or experiences that never really happened. This confluence of ideals has triggered a number of special publications, listserv discussions, and exhibits on re-enactment. Most recently, the show, 'Playback_Simulated Realities,' open through November 5 at Oldenburg's Edith-Russ-Haus fur Medienkunst, seeks to investigate 'the influence and impact re-enactments and simulations have on society,' raising 'questions about the function of... substitute worlds developed in computer games' and discussing 'the yearnings for authentic experience which are also addressed in reconstructions of past eras.' The show includes a number of artists who are, themselves, quite legendary, including Ant Farm and T.R. Uthco, Christoph Draeger, Omer Fast, Lynn Hershman, and Eddo Stern, among others. Each selection carefully constructs a symbiotic relationship between the simulated scenario and the media employed in these (re)constructions. The organizers argue that 'the works shown in the exhibition examine... how experiences and memories are at once individually experienced and culturally construed,' thus reminding each of us of our binding role in these mediated charades. - James Petrie

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