August 18, 2004
Touch at the Speed of Light
Telematic Dreaming [1992, Paul Sylvester Sermon], with its connotations of intimacy and dream states, extends telepresence beyond the screen to spatialize the site of interaction and transform it into a live theatrical event in which visitors are key performers. The work explores presence, absence and the psychology of human interaction within technologically mediated communications. Read an essay by Paul Sermon; more telematic works by Paul Sermon.
...Sermon uses video-conferencing to connect people in different places, which enables communication with mime and gestures and results in astonishing, almost intimate encounters. In Telematic Dreaming a bed is the medium for high-definition images; images of a partner who is perhaps thousands of kilometers away, in live and intimate proximity. The clear projection of another person, who is able to react almost in real time to the other's movements on the bed, is so surprisingly suggestive that to touch the image of the body that is projected onto the sheet becomes an intimate act. Sermon's declared aim was to expand the user's sense of touch: obviously it was not possible to actually touch the other virtual bedmate, but one experienced the suggestion of touching through rapid and vigorous or tender and reflective movements. Many users said that they found it a very contemplative experience; a sensory impression achieved synaesthetically where hand and eye fuse. This quality distinguishes both Telematic Dreaming and other works that Sermon produced in subsequent years.
Posted by jo at August 18, 2004 05:11 PM
Machiko Kusahara has written a short article, A Topology of Body and Space, on Sermon and his series of telemantic performances during the '90s. (http://www.artdes.salford.ac.uk/sermon/ess_3.html)
"Telemantic Dreaming surely has the most powerful impact because of the dissimilating effect of the bed...putting audience participants in that familiar situation from TV drama of getting into bed with someone one has just met."
Posted by: helen at August 19, 2004 10:53 AM