the digital sublime


The term “Cloud" bears a metaphor of something which is intangible and untouchable, which floats above us and is both omnipresent and omniscient. At the same time, it also stands as a contrast to materiality itself (hard drives, cables, hardware) and contains an ideal of endless grandioseness, where its bounding limits are unclear. Much like a fantasy—or even a fiction, if you will—the Cloud allows us to hide aspects of our digital cultural memory embedded in material reality. In such a way, the cloud carries a sublimity which compares it to the imagined, a dream, revealing an ethereal realm which is both a mirror of reality and a departure from it.

So what divides the physical world from the digital sublime? Here we mean sublime in terms of an uncanny experience, overwhelming and unfathomable, as well as in an ironic sense. How does the cloud affect us irl and what is our relation to it? Dwelling between on-demand resource and the depletion of natural resources, between the ephemerality of documents and the eternity of data storage and digital debris—if you pay the price—, its computing power provides a new paradigm to our virtual daily lives and the way we operate. By connecting various pieces of a greater puzzle, the Cloud remains a footprint of our digital existence.

Delving into the various approaches to the Cloud, The Digital Sublime is divided into two parts. In its first part, Chiara Kristler brings insight into what separates the digital and the real world by questioning artificial intelligence and bots; Francisca Roseiro and Margarida Morais speculate on the phenomenological mechanics of The Cloud Cycle; Léo Raphäel expands on the large-scale consequences of the cloud through an eight-part system; and Iulia Radu, featured in two moments, takes on the concept of birdwatching in the digital stage. In the second release of this issue, Filipa Combo explores our technologic existence in different realms; Ada Popovic proposes the appropriation of the territory of the Cloud as a forum for discussion; and Andrea Badia creates a digital funeral rave of her own designer persona.

Hiatus Collective.

Notions of time and space are altered. A disease spanned the globe, and its consequences are unprecedented. We are witnesses to a Global Pandemic crisis. Putting on hold the debate on borders as a physical and geographic limit and its implying crises of identity and conflict, countries turned to fences and walls as a means to mitigate an inescapable quandary common to all worldwide. It is no novelty that millennials and Gen Z are characterised by distancing and alienation, but the new order imposed by the pandemic has imposed a revival of the "bedroom generation" in the post-digital era. Everything is reduced to the display screen and the simulated reality within it.

A digital magazine entitled RIFE—initially created within the discipline of Editorial Design in the MA of Communication Design at the Fine-Arts Faculty of Lisbon—emerged as a response to the pandemic condition and its global effects on the individual, social, political, ambiental and cultural levels, raising questions surrounding what we know as our reality at this day in age. These questions are made and answered by designers, now being opened to a greater spectrum of creatives. This is pertinent as we creatives operate within our contexts, and in order to render ethical alternatives to realities presented, we must investigate and understand them. At the moment we were quarantined, we were physically inhibited to circulate freely, so we turned to question how to circulate content digitally—not by option but by necessity—, thus revealing a doorway to cultural production in the digital world and simultaneously embracing the democratic distribution of the open source medium that is the internet.

RIFE Magazine — Issue 6, The Digital Sublime

Ada Popovic
Andrea (nddr3)
Chiara Kristler
Filipa Raimundo Combo
Francisca Roseiro & Margarida Morais
Iulia Radu
Léo Raphäel

Social Media Management
Beatriz Pinta 
Nádia Alexandre
Rafael Cavaquinho

Editorial Board

Creative Directors



Manuel Silva

Development Support
Gil Silva
Rui Sampaio

Collective HIATUS does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of all information. Reproduction of whole or in part of the published contents requires written permission from HIATUS.

RIFE Magazine believes in freedom of speech and thought thus, it does not exercise censorship on its contributors. Signed contributors do not necessarily represent the opinion of the collective HIATUS.

© 2021