The Third Space, a concept common people might find it hard to digest, but in fact, it has become an integral part of our everyday life in the technologically advanced 21st century. But has it messed up our minds? A technological illusion of real life?
The Third Space as defined by Randall Packer in his article on The Third Space is a space that “represents the fusion of physical (first space) and the remote (second space) into a third space that can be inhabited by remote users simultaneously or asynchronously”.
The Third Space, a virtual yet real realm we often come in and out of has no doubt become part of our everyday life. From a simple phone call to a short text message, the Third Space is activated in almost all parts of our lives. What is almost as startling is the fact that the distinct difference between the real and virtual world is almost blur and grey. The virtual world is part of our real world.
In this particular piece called Telematic dreaming by Paul Sermon, it explores deeper into the idea of the Third Space, stretching the potential experience we can gain from it. Telematic Dreaming is a live telematic video installation that uses a 2MB ISDN telephone line to link two locations. The bed has projected screen that enhances the entire telepresence.
The choice of site for Telematic Dreaming is intriguing for me. The bed is an intimate, private place, yet it is used for the interactive video installation. It is an interesting choice, to take advantage of the nature of the setting, a place to let your guard down to enhance the experience of the video installation. It brings the audience experiencing the entire experience closer and more intimate with the artist, even without physical contact.
This piece eliminates the subconscious existence of the Third Space bringing in reality into the virtual world. The addition to what technology can provide is the perceived haptic engagement. Telematic Dreaming incorporated the illusion of the sense of touch, a step closer to bringing the virtual world into the real world. I quote from the synopsis of Telematic Dreaming
“When the user reaches out with their hand they interact, not in the local space, but in the distant one, and when they cause an effect to another physical body in the distant location it is evidence that is where their consciousness resides.”
In this case, the consciousness of the user is in the Third Space where the projected screen on the bed enables the sight of the happenings of the other person in another location. The combined engagement of the two person concludes that their consciousness are located in the Third Space, a virtual world, in real time. Our fascinating and dare I say almost foolish brain connected everything seen on the projected screen to be perceived as real, as in in real life. Yet, the Third Space is the fundamental of human engagement these days with the ease of technology and the luxury of mobile phone devices. The Third Space, a virtual place we come in and out of, a place we interact with our loved ones, a place we communicate when all else fails.
A piece I thought is worth mentioning is an episode on Black Mirror called Be Right Back, that uses artificial intelligence to communicate to the deceased using information of them online to imitate their style of communication.
Below is a trailer of Be Right Back:-
This shows the potential of the Third Space interaction and how much it can impact us physically, emotionally and mentally. The episode goes about showing how Martha, the widow, goes about her life trying to accept the fact that her husband is dead by constantly communicating with “him” through phone calls and text messages. What stretches the limit was the possibility of a silicon made “human” of her husband to replace his physical being.
The virtual world has become such an important part of our life. It aids human communication and interaction. Technology has eased our form of communication, could it also mess up our minds?