Alain Damasio talks about his immersion in Silicon Valley – Frenchly

French science fiction master Alain Damasio is completing a three-week residency at the Villa Albertine San Francisco. The author, who has sold over a million copies of his three novelstook advantage of the trip to draw inspiration from the places and develop his projects. “I came to get information about Silicon Valley and feel the people there, understand how they live, feel the vibrations, the sensations” explains the writer.

Renowned for his imaginary stories, between political anticipations and futuristic intrigues, Alain Damasio has established himself as a leader of the technocritical movement. ” Silicon Valley concentrates everything I fight: surveillance, tracing, capitalism, transhumanism… And at the same time San Francisco is an avant-garde city where protest exists. The cultural exchanges offered by the Villa Albertine allowed me to nourish my thinking and discover the backstage he says.

Fascination and culture shock

Alain Damasio took advantage of the Villa Albertine network to meet many players in the tech ecosystem. Among them, French specialists in virtual reality, Metaverse or artificial intelligence. “ Rubbing shoulders with these brilliant creators, involved at the highest level and developing powerful systems for Facebook, Google or Twitter, it fascinated me. We really feel like we are at the center of the world, where the digital revolution is being made says the novelist.

But behind his fascination, this science fiction poet as he likes to present himself, points to a “ massive culture shock “. He describes it as ” a feeling of separation, particularly linked to long distances, the low number of people in the street, the lack of public places, town planning, seduction, life in general”. He also denounces the class struggle at the foot of the offices and the inequalities between those who live outside and those who accumulate wealth. And to conclude: mhe greatest discovery is perhaps to have understood that here, individual liberation takes precedence over equality. There is an implicit hierarchy linked to religion in which the white male dominates “.

The Metaverse, an emotional bandage?

According to the writer who likes to combine ” the intuitive aspect of words » and reflections with a philosophical tendency, « social distancing here is conjured by digital “. According to him, public life is indeed poor enough for the Metaverse to offer an alternative. “The Metaverse makes it possible to subvert human frameworks. You can be in several places at the same time, live several lives, go bowling without the weight of the balls or play sports without the smell of other people’s sweat…” he details before adding: we are moving towards dematerialization “.

At the same time, he emphasizes how “Silicon Valley doesn’t know what to do with the body”. A question which interests him particularly and which will be at the heart of the works inspired by his residency. ” I wonder about how to give the taste of encounters, of others, of nature. Without it being a simple decoration…”

Alain Damasio – © Cyrille Choupas (As the photo of One)

Sound creations, series and novel

From his residence, Alain Damasio has already written several texts. On the place of the car in Silicon Valley or on the Tenderloin district in SF for example. A radio series produced during his stay will also look back on his experience. As many creations soon available on the site of the Villa Albertine San Francisco.

The writer also met with American publishers. Because despite his success in Europe, his books are not published here: “ In the US, I’m nothing, it’s a cure for deep modesty! And a challenge to be translated… “. He continued in parallel to work on the audiovisual adaptation of his novel The Backwind Horde and on a television series around temporal migrants.

The artist, who has distinguished himself in recent years on stage during musical performances or in the creation of video game universes, also collaborates on an NFT card game (Cross the Ages), an activity in which he confesses ” have fun “. His residence in San Francisco therefore created links between all these activities and allowed him to expand his universe. A trip to American soil that will surely inspire him with the evils of his next novel.

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Alain Damasio talks about his immersion in Silicon Valley – Frenchly

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