23 Chunks of Being:
Gregory Grieve’s Experiments in Transmitting Pure actuality
21. The Hinge (2012)
Computer screenshots and pencil on paper
For these images, Grieve manipulated screenshots of avatars he composed in the virtual world of Second Life. A screenshot describes a digital image that displays the contents of a computer screen. Second Life is an online multimedia platform that allows users to create an avatar for themselves and have a “second life” in an online virtual world. An avatar is a personalized graphical illustration that represents a computer user, or a character or alter ego that represents that user in an online digital space. In this series, Grieve was curious to explore and understand further the poises between identity and religious practice in virtual spaces. Identity indicates the qualities, beliefs, personality traits, appearance, and expressions that characterize a person. It describes the distinctive qualities or traits that make an individual unique. Poesis (ποίησις) is the creative activity by which a person brings something into being that did not exist before. In the widest sense, it refers to a 'bringing-forth' — the blooming of the blossom, the coming-out of a butterfly from a cocoon, the plummeting of a waterfall when the snow begins to melt. Poesis tends to be comprised of threshold activities: a moment of ecstasis (those moments of insight when you stand outside yourself) when something moves away from its standing as one thing to become another. Religious Practice means attending worship services, praying, wearing religious garb or symbols, displaying religious objects, adhering to certain dietary rules, proselytizing or other forms of religious expression, or refraining from certain activities. These activities hold in common the practitioner’s motivation to engage with what they perceive as their ultimate reality. For the most part, practitioners are engaged in acquiring a set of skills that will enable them to have visions, unitive experiences, possession states, and so forth. In a few cases, however, and these were the ones Grieve is fascinated by, the purpose of religious practice is to produce personal transformation.