Valentina Tanni

Exit Reality (English Edition)


“The Internet is an alien life form,” declared David Bowie in 1999: today, the prophecy has come true, and our digital tools have become magical portals with mysterious properties, windows that overlook a dimension bordering between dream and reality.

Beyond the screen mirrors we comfortably carry in our pockets, we have discovered a region haunted by strange presences—sometimes threatening, sometimes surreal, occasionally fascinating, and other times nonsensical. These are the same presences that, over the past fifteen years, have shaped what we now recognize as “internet aesthetics,” that ensemble of subcultures, popular narratives, and visual and auditory languages through which the alien entity has finally revealed itself to humanity. The net then reveals itself for what it truly is: a threshold as physical as it is mental, where bizarre things happen, time is warped, and we find ourselves inhabiting an intermediate dimension, a territory that is “neither here nor there.”

Exit Reality marks the first attempt to map a world imbued with disorienting hallucinatory qualities, a realm that appears as a parallel planet that has emerged from the depths of code-space. Starting from the advent of vaporwave, which infused the network’s native imagery with spectral qualities in the early 2010s, she takes us on a descent through the levels that traverse the silent horror of the Backrooms, brushes against the obsession with sensory stimulation of ASMR, delves into the algorithmic surrealism of weirdcore, and lands in the exploration of pseudomagical practices such as reality shifting and memetic rituals. All the while, we remain comfortably seated before our screen, inside a battlestation ready to take off for a one-way astral journey, eternally trapped in the liminal space born from the now inseparable bond between human visions and Machine dreams.

Valentina Tanni (Rome, 1976) is an art historian and curator. She is interested in the relationship between art and technology, with a special focus on internet cultures. She teaches at Milan Politecnico, NABA – New Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, and John Cabot University in Rome. She is also the author of Memesthetics.

Tanni’s new book is a guide to learning how to navigate internet aesthetics. It’s also an explicit invitation to art criticism to take artistic productions created online seriously.

This book is jointly published by NERO Editions and Aksioma | Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, in the frame of the Creative Europe research project .expub – Exploring expanded publishing.

Exit Reality is available for pre-order until 24 May 2024 via the websites of Aksioma and NERO.  Apply this code in the coupon box at the checkout and enjoy a discount on Postage & Packaging: exit-reality

  • 10,5 x 16,7 cm
  • 264
  • EN
  • 2024
  • 978-88-8056-254-2