Research Critique: Virtual Bodies in the Third Space

Telematic Dreaming was a telecommunication project, originally commissioned for summer exhibition by Finnish Ministry of Culture in Kajaani, and supported by Telecom Finland. This piece was first exhibited in 1992.

Telematic Dreaming is an ISDN installation. Two participants would share the same virtual bed via ISDN video conference technology, one being projected to the other’s bed through a live video. The two participants hence perform and interact with each other’s virtual bodies. An example of an interaction would be that, in a room, there would be a projection of Paul Sermon lying on the bed in the center of a dark space. The audience would naturally go closer to the bed, to get a clearer view. Paul Sermon, situated in another room, would be aware of their presence due to the conference system. He would gesture to them assuringly to come closer to the bed. There are also speakers underneath the pillows, enabling a live voice connection between the audience and Paul Sermon. An conversation between Paul Sermon and the audience can thus begin.

The installation questioned the physical presence and telepresence. Though they are separated by geographical locations, this piece allowed the users to exist beyond their own time/space and create an alarming sense of touch. Also, the use of speakers allowed intimate conversations to kickstart. A vivid interaction between Paul Sermon and the audience was thus created, giving an out-of-the-world experience to the participants.

When the movement moved through us in this way, based on openness and trust, the distinction between which bodies were real and which were virtual became irrelevant – pg 217, Virtual Bodies

Hence, Teelmatic Dreaming was an interesting piece that drew parallels between physical and virtual reality.

1 comment

  1. Gladys, good work on the research critique. In response to your quote, do you agree? Do you believe the distinction between the real and the virtual becomes irrelevant in the third space? In fact, do we forget about the distinction as we become more at home in the third space, more accustomed to interacting virtually with one another?

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