Landscapes for Ghosts

For Web Residencies No 13: Muntu Maxims, we propose a series of browser-based virtual landscapes for contemplating disembodiment, cosmogenesis, and potentially becoming a user. They’ll also be homes to ghosts. Each landscape is a proposed site for new rituals of virtual spiritualism: an online gamified 3D landscape that the user can explore and extend into with their keyboard and cursor, uncovering text, content, and artifacts made for and by ghosts.

Esben Holk / Berlin, Germany — Nov 16, 2020

The ghosts, polysemically both referring to the gaming user and invented inhabitant of the virtual space, are the guides toward – and/or denotation of digital transcendence – an idealized (or actual?) state of disembodiment. N.K. Hayles reports a posthuman conception that »implies that embodiment is not essential to being human« and conceives the individual subjectivity as a collectivity of autonomous heterogeneous dynamics, only partially controlled by the self. Desperate from experiencing a loss of control, the project becomes about articulating possible sites for spiritually understanding the hypercomplex aggregate of self and its connections. With our own composite of esoteric practices as well as learning from a global plethora of culture and meaning, we will ineffectively attempt to absolve ourselves of this ontological uncertainty through rituals and anthropomorphizations of the unknown. »I ain’t scared of no ghost,« I whispered to myself as I looked into the unresponsive eyes of the world I had decided would reflect me.

Esben Holk is a Berlin-based artist and curator working with web development and programming, both as thematic query and as tool and platform for their latest projects. Exploring the subjective production of meaning online, they use text, video, and code to create new myths and fictions for internet natives. HOUSE OF KILLING is a weaponized anti-essentialist art collective who disallows meaning. Maybe.

Find more contributions in the archive