Re: telematics

Scott deLahunta (
Sun, 30 Mar 1997 10:29:30 +0200

Thanks all for sticking with the telematics thread -- the different
suggestions regarding possible starting points for the telematic workshop I
may be involved in are all very helpful. I hope the workshop happens now --
it's a bit up in the air. I like Mark's suggestion which extends Terry's
ideas on not being techno driven... that I hold off on the technique until
it's needed. I like Dawn's suggestion that people work out something in
their own 'real' space, before turning to the 'telepresent' group to work
out the same thing... and see what happens. Imma has suggested I take a bit
of text to work with -- so I'm looking at the well known Baudrillard's well
known 'The Map Precedes the Territory'... or maybe it's enough to just
start with one of his quotes from 'Xerox and Infinity' -- "The machine (the
interactive screen) transforms the process of communication, the relation
from one to the other, into a process of commutation."

Paul Sermon sent me a paper recently describing some of the ideas behind his
projects Telematic Dreaming, Telematic Vision and his recent Heaven In it he quotes the bit from Daniel Dennett's 'consciousness
explained' about blindfolding yourself, taking a pencil and touching various
surfaces with the resultant overwhelming feeling that one's nerve endings
actually extend to the end of the pencil. Paul uses this idea to describe
the extension of ourselves into telematic space through sight.

I quote:

"This is what I would term the process of sensory shift - touching with your
eyes, but reaching the same cognitive conclusion as touching with your hands
or the stick. Dennet's wand experiment is the exact process by which a blind
person will use a white stick to visualize and navigate space. By paying
special attention not only to how the stick feels, but also how it sounds,
the loss of sight is compensated by improving and fine tuning the sensory
inputs of sound and touch in parallel. In the same way you visualize a space
with your hand via the stick, you are touching with your eyes in Telematic
Dreaming, via your remote body, and just as some of your finger nerve
endings were in the tip of the wand, they are also in the telepresent body,
as the image of your own body is the ultimate sign of the self."

... Paul, as you may know, created his first two telematic works using
chromakey techniques which makes for the possibility of seeing yourself
projected into a very close proximity to another -- so that you have the
illusion of reaching out to touch someone, you see yourself reaching to
touch and the person sees you touching them. This is quite a bit different
from the situation I'm going to be in -- with projections on the wall of the
other room. While it would be exciting, we won't have a chromakey
possibility. However, I thought to be sure and have cameras and monitors set
up which will capture the image of both screen and actuals in the one room
and send it back. So you are able to see an image of the room where your
image is being projected. I am curious what level of noise or inceased
funcitionality this might present to the communicating commuted...

Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
tel: +31 (0)20 662 1736
fax: +31 (0)20 470 1558