Telematic Dreaming: The Third Space

Telematic Dreaming by Paul Sermon is a video-based installation first produced in 1992.

Randall Packer describes Third Space as a space where both physical and imaginary or mental worlds collide, coming together into a network space which can be inhabited by multiple users. In the case of Telematic Dreaming, I would argue that the “third space” exists not as a place where the physical and mental worlds are combined, but rather a place where the 2 aforementioned worlds can be temporarily forgotten. 

To highlight my point, we can contrast Telematic Dreaming against the installation Hole in Space which was discussed several weeks back. In HIS, the third space is taken to the extreme in terms of the sheer number of participants who are roped into it. It is evidently very much in line with Packer’s interpretation of a third space, with his definition of it being a communal and shared space among multitudes of people from differing backgrounds. In contrast, as per Sermon’s synopsis, Telematic Dreaming aims to put two strangers into a very private and intimate setting, which is only possible through the following factors of the installation:

  1. The bed. A bed is an object which holds a range of connotations, of sexuality, intimacy, vulnerability and innocence. The mere act of being on the same bed as a person, even if fully clothed, holds a certain degree of togetherness and intimacy.
  2. The technology. Unlike HIS, the intention of Sermon was not to marvel at the technology behind Telematic Dreaming but rather for the technology to be invisible, focusing on the communication and shared moment between the participants.
  3. The out-of-body experience. Sermon described a “psychological lift” which the participants experienced upon entering the space. He stated that participants found it difficult to return to the consciousness of their prior state after being in the artwork. By entering the telematic experience, participants discover more about themselves and benefits from the “physical” interaction.

In my opinion this seems to be different from Packer’s interpretation of the third space. To me, Telematic Dreaming seems to exist in a fourth space, separate from what Packer described; in this space, everything ceases to exist apart from the moment shared between the 2 participants, leaving them with a unique experience which cannot be recreated in any other setting. Perhaps the fourth space exists as an offshoot of the third space, or it is something which we will need to explore further as artists to understand and define.

Research Critique: Open Source Studio

The open source system is a godsend for many artists and designers, keeping us in the loop on methods and topics that other creatives are touching on as well as helping us draw inspiration from the works of others. A misconception that many creatives have which pressurises them is that creativity is all about creating something that’s all new and never been done before. In reality a huge part of being creative is also about taking existing ideas and seeing them in different contexts and combinations. By exposing us to a plethora of concepts and ideas done by other creatives, the open source system also aids in our own creative inspiration.

Pinterest logo over home page, obtained from

However, as a human race our relationship with the Internet is a young one which dates back only 2-3 decades. Packer describes open source as “a quasi-utopian form of peer production”. As the term “quasi-utopian” suggests, there are cons to the open source system and one example is the lack of credit or outright stealing of artworks or collaterals. The imageboard Pinterest is an example of a widely used open source software and while it makes for easy sharing and compiling of images, there are numerous cases of people merely citing “Pinterest” as the image source rather than the actual artist or designer. While Packer states that artists must commit to releasing their art “not necessarily for profit, but for the common good”, how can we expect the general public to treat art with respect and dignity if we allow it to be manhandled like this? We definitely have a lot of learning to do as a internet explorers before we can fully utilise open source software to its best.

“Pinterest didn’t make that”, created by Eleven Gables