Cody Pallo


Hyper-Togetherness: Physical Art meets Digital Media

March 26, 2023
By Cody Pallo

We are currently working on a new project: an XR computer that allows for making and sharing things in a private local area, regardless of the device you're using. It is interactive and connects people more deeply while in physical proximity. This device is similar to the internet, in that many people can use it at once, but it still incorporates the space you are occupying and the people around you. In a sense, it is a new form of art.

Personally, I don't think we acknowledge digital media as art these days because we cannot touch it, smell it, taste it, or overall share it properly. It's as if the universe said: you can communicate via long-distance technologies, but never mistake it for the intimacy of the true sensory experience of physical presence, or else you won't come together properly. Smell and granular touch are irreplaceable sensations, and people who don't experience them are at a disadvantage. It's an unfortunate reality that technology cannot replace with true integrity.

I feel our invention brings digital media into the realm of artistic usefulness through its utilization of physical space. People can still share it in proximity to one another. Sure, there are monitors or movie screens for us to all view artists' work at the same time, and that works. But it does not create a truly deep interactive connection with everyone in the vicinity. Don't get me wrong, physical art viewing is a beautiful thing to behold, but it has never given digital media the justice it deserves.

Think of it this way: video games were cool when they first came out. They tap into a happy part of our brain, they're interactive, and when played together, they help us bond. It was the start of something, but I remember some people not liking it. If you were playing the game, you weren't interacting with all the people around you. They felt left out, in one way or another, and back then, only 2-4 more or less could play at the same time while everyone else just watched.

Physical art and digital media are similar in that they are both an illusion. Yet, when we share physical art in person, it gains greater impact. I feel art is togetherness. It's an act of compassion through self-discovery and sharing. Making art is more about the satisfaction you get from entering a fantasy where you don't need other people's help in the moment to sort out your problems. It's meditative and rewarding in a productive sense. Creativity is like our imaginary friend that understands us when we need help.

Eventually, we need to share our work, and that's when it can get complicated. Some people hate it, and some people see it and it helps them work out the same problem the artist had to some degree. But how many people get to share their thoughts with the artist in person, and how many people get to share their own creative work in return via interactive conversation?

Just through experiencing this creative thing in its immediacy, people form bonds in their brains in that moment that are beyond words. Digital media is similar, but often to a lesser extent because it often has more difficult hurdles to overcome. Physical art absolutely gives back to society in this sense, even if it is on a person-to-person basis. We want digital media to enhance that exchange, not take away from it.

I feel we are all sick of technology pulling us apart, trying to solve this "bridging the space divide" dilemma that we all seem to be so hyper-focused on since the dawn of video games. We want to bring all the world's minds together while staying apart, too. We'll solve more global problems that way, but interpersonal stuff has suffered in recent times as a result. We just need bridging intellectual gaps to not be at the expense of physical togetherness.