[-empyre-] Screens and monitors

Hi Helen;

Sorry for the delayed response. I have been seduced lately with different
experiments in antenna making out of empty food tins and other detritus.

Basically, if there is a television in a room, then somebody will watch
it. Screens and monitors have the tendency to dominate a space which means
that they have to be used strategically if that is not the intention.
Within a telematic experience the screen/monitor functions as a portal,
connecting one space to another.

This communication scenario is a common metaphor within the history of
telecommunications art and which first appeared in the precedent setting
'Hole in Space', by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz (as has already
been mentioned in a previous post). Now what happens when things start to
spill out of this hole, and inhabit a physical space? A different kind of
space is created, not entirely physical and not entirely virtual, but
something in between. It is this kind of hybrid situation that we are
interested in.

In this situation, the monitor does not go away, but becomes part of a
distributed environment. This is kind of the way things work in 'everyday'
living. Recently I've been spending some time hanging around Chinatown and
Kensington Market, an easy going multicultural market area in downtown
Toronto. Within these neighbourhoods, I have been paying a lot of
attention to what kinds of objects store owners arrange around their
surveillance monitors. Perola, a store specializing in Latin American
foods, has cans of beans, chocolate and piñatas. A Chinese kitchen goods
store has a Hello Kitty clock and plastic shrine. The Portuguese household
goods store has tea towels, frying pans and a calendar...

During the Telematic Dinner, we incorporated two types of projections. One
stream embedded into the table combined live aerial video feeds and live
chat from the  two cities with live chat. Another was projected at the end
of the table and showed the diners from the other space. Because I refused
to darken the room (I find dark rooms kind of sad), what happened was the
afternoon sun completely obliterated the 'hole-in-space' projection, which
forced everybody to focus on the other objects on the table and the other
embedded stream. This, for us, was a much more engaging situation since
the 'screen', was now functioning within an environment instead of
directing everybody's attention away from it.

This is the kind of situation we have continued to develop. An environment
where there is not one focal point, but several things that are
'attention-grabbers' but function together as a composition. Again, this
is how things normally work in our day-to-day and are much more indicative
of social environment.

Michelle Teran

Message: 1
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2005 15:03:01 -0400
From: Helen Thorington <newradio@turbulence.org>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Re: empyre Digest, Vol 8, Issue 15
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Message-ID: <BF080CA5.68E1%newradio@turbulence.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"

Hello Michelle (T) and all:

Recently I read ­in Cluster Magazine, an issue on interaction design -- that
there are  12 computer chips for every person on the planet and many are
connected through the internet.  The issue went on to quote Lev Manovich as
saying that computation, telecommunication and interface would soon ³be
incorporated into a variety of objects and space²  AND that ³one day every
surface may potentially function as a screen connected to networks.²

One of the wonderful things to me about your Telematic Dinner Party and
Picnics is how the screen and keyboard are used minimally, or not at all.  I
wonder if you could write about this?

-- Helen

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