Babak Ahteshamipour is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and musician based in Athens, Greece, with a background in mining and materials engineering. His practice is based on the collision of the virtual vs actual, aimed at correlating topics from cyberspace to ecology and politics to identity, exploring them via MMORPGs, video games, internet, and pop culture while focusing on themes of coexistence and simultaneity.
He has presented and published works and performed at CTM Festival magazine (Berlin, Germany), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), New Art City (online), The Wrong (online), UNT (University of North Texas), The Networked Imagination Laboratory (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario), Biquini Wax ESP (Mexico City, Mexico), Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago, Illinois), Milan Machinima Festival (Milan, Italy), [ANTI]MATERIA (online) and elsewhere.
He has released music on the independent cassette label Industrial Coast (Thirsk, North Yorkshire) and on the cassette label Jollies (Brooklyn, NYC). His music has been played on radio stations such as Noods Radio (Bristol, U.K.), Radio Raheem (Milan, Italy), and Radio alHara (Bethlehem, Palestine). He has performed and shared the stage with artists such as HELM, Ioannis Kotsonis, Alexandros Drymonitis, acte vide, Kiriakos Spirou, Aucotsi, and more.
The primary objective of this research is to critically analyze the ways in which digital objects are commodified, consumed, and projected with materialistic values in virtual spaces. In online games such as World of Warcraft, Second Life, Diablo, and The Sims, players are immersed in virtual worlds where the acquisition of in-game resources, such as gold, becomes a means to attain new gear, items, and rare objects. These virtual possessions hold symbolic and material significance, providing a sense of uniqueness, power, and status for the player's character.
By examining the interactions between real-life objects and their digital counterparts, this research seeks to uncover the underlying mechanisms that drive material consumerism within these digital realms. It delves into the ways in which these virtual objects are represented, consumed, and valued within gaming environments, shedding light on the complex interplay between materialism, digital culture, and the formation of identity.
Moreover, the research extends beyond the realm of material commodities to explore the subjugation and alienation of non-human beings within digital environments. It examines how these beings, inspired by the animal kingdom, are commodified, reduced to products to be consumed, and incorporated into the cultural fabric of virtual worlds. Drawing parallels to real-life contexts, the study also highlights the commodification of non-human species in the physical world.
Through this exploration, the research aims to foster critical thinking and reflection on the relationship between materialism, digital realms, and the treatment of non-human entities. It seeks to challenge dominant narratives and invite a more conscious engagement with virtual environments, highlighting the ethical implications of our interactions with digital objects and non-human species alike.
By unraveling the complex dynamics of material consumerism within digital spaces, this research contributes to a broader understanding of the intersection between digital culture, capitalism, and identity formation. It offers insights into the ways in which virtual environments shape our perspectives, desires, and behaviors, ultimately prompting us to question and reassess our engagement with digital realms and our treatment of the non-human entities they contain.