Maria Chatzichristodoulou on telematic

Maria Chatzichristodoulou also known as Maria X  broadly defines telematic as a use of a telecommunication network to establish links between two different places at the same time.

Maria then began highlighting key art movement the Fluxes during 1960 to the 1970s. Some of the key work she highlighted was Hole in Space by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, where they took telematic communication to the unsuspecting public. There the public encounters video live streaming for the first time in two different spaces, Los Angeles and New York City. This performance leads to both planned and unplanned meetings between the coast. Hole in space is celebrated as the most successful telematic performance in the 80s. Hole in space is a great example leveraging on the Third space where the distance between Los Angeles and New York City was suddenly served.

Another work that she highlighted was Paul Sermon’s Telematic dreaming. In this work, the artist body is projected onto a bed, where he invites the public to lie down with him and interact with his projected image. in this work, the telematic space is longer a screen but on the physical and intimate environment the bed. According to the artist, the ability to exist out of the user own space and time and space creates an alarming sense of touch. it is almost as if the projected image is real. Many audiences avoid sitting on the projected image as if the “body” is real. Maria X also highlight the ethical concern of telematic abuse where the audience abused the projected body in one of the runs.

Maria X then ties telematic communications together by drawing references to modern uses of telematic communications. Where telematic communication has permeated our daily lives without us knowing. applications such as Skype, Facebook.

The third space is a fluid matrix of potentiality and realizable connections to the most far-reaching remoteness. – Randall Packer

The third space refers to the imaginary space binding two remote physical locations together through the use of telematic communications. This fluidity of the third space is well embodied in the above performance art. Before the invention of the third eye the camera, the image was tied to a specific place and location. Along with the improvement of telematic communication, the physical space is now liberated. The two performance art above overcooked geographical distances and linked the two locations together in the third space.

Annie Abraham telematic performance art

Afterwards, Annie Abraham does a performance art with Antye Greie, Hoong Hao, Soyung Lee, Igor Stromajer, Helen Varley Jasmine and Daniel Pinheiro. For this performance, Annie created a protocol which can be found here!

I found it amazing how their voices overlap while the keep in-sync with each other despite being in totally different spaces around the globe. Having done performance art together with Annie, I truly understand how difficult it is. In our run in the classroom, I was constantly, making eye contact with Yue Ling and belle trying to coordinate our words and actions. In addition, Professor Packer was also directing us with visual cues.

phase 1

phase 2
phase 3
phase 4

Annie also reviewed later that none of the performer revealed their political statements before the performance. This truly expresses the interactiveness of the performers where anything can happen and they are just reacting to each other.

Blast theory

Blast theory was founded by Matt Adams, a  pioneer in creating interactive art to explore social and political questions, placing audience members at the centre of his work.


“Entrants paid £10 to enter a lottery in the hope of being kidnapped. Ten finalists were chosen at random and put under surveillance. Two winners – Debra Burgess, a 27 year old Australian working as a temp and Russell Ward, a 19 year old from Southend working in a 24 hour convenience store – were snatched in broad daylight and taken to a secret location for 48 hours. The process was broadcast live onto the internet. Online visitors were able to control the video camera inside the safehouse and communicate live with the kidnappers.” – Blast theory

This performance art was a commentary on two events the rise of lottery culture and the Spanner Operation in the United Kingdom. A group of homosexual men were convicted of assault on bodily harm for their involvement in consensual sadomasochism over a period of ten years. The court argued that consent is not a valid legal defence for wounding and harming the body. This conviction sparked controversy on how the state justification of controlling one person body in private scenarios. Kidnap address this issue head-on, acting out a kidnapping on the premise of consent.

Another key point explored by the performance was power relationship. How power was disclosed to people, the audience and the performance. The audience (dominant) in this case was given absolute power as they had the ability to interact and survey the “victims”, through panning zooming and tilting the camera found in the room. On the other hand, the “victims” (submissive)  were left in the dark as they had no contact with other.

Because once when you put a bag on your head it all becomes very real … I Don’t know whats going to happen. – Deborah participant of Kidnap.

The line between pretence and reality is blurred in this performance. The isolation, plus the fear, cause the “victims” to lose the sense of time and awareness. I was really shocked by this project. I cannot fathom being left alone in a confined space for more than a few hours. Studies have shown that prolong isolation may have damaging effects on the social capability as well as the mental health of a person. Luckily there was a phycologist on site at all times.

In addition, I find it intriguing how consent is given, but the Participants still feel threatened by the reality of it. This lead to me thinking if consent was given in the beginning, but the participants regret their decision and want out. Is the kidnap still justifiable through consent? For me the idea of consent is very vague, is silence consent? or is Yes consent? The idea of consent is still being debated today in rape cases. All in all, I believe that this is a very successful work highlighting the notion of consent.

One thought on “Symposium”

  1. Rei, good description in particular of Kidnap. You brought up important ethical points about control, capture, and the way we are willing to participate in these kinds of situations. How do you think a piece like Kidnap relates to our use of social media? Perhaps all of us who participate in Facebook and other platforms are also giving up a degree of control of our data, our identities, our virtual relations. This is something to consider in your analysis.

    A comment about structuring an essay. It is important to begin with an introduction that states the main ideas you are about to discuss, one of which of course is the idea of an online symposium, but another would be more specifically the concept of social broadcasting. You do bring up the third space a little later in your essay, but perhaps it might be good to introduce that idea earlier so that your examples can reference the concept.

    Same with the conclusion. You want to resolve any ideas you raise, and bring them to closure by summing up the main points. These are essential elements of essay construction and hopefully you can think about how to provide more structure.

    Otherwise your descriptions and research are well done, and you demonstrated that you were highly observant during the course of the Symposium.

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