«Telematic Dreaming» (1992) turns a bed into the support of high-resolution images that might show a partner, intimately alive although being thousand kilometers away. The light-intense projection of the other results in a remarkable suggestion which turns the touch of the projected body into an intimate action. Sermon aims at expanding the senses of the user, while it is obvious that the other cannot really be touched but that only swift, decisive, possibly tenderly reactive movements can experience the suggestion of touch—a moment of contemplation, as many users observed. The synaesthetical, sensual impression lets the hand and the eye fuse, and it is this effect that characterizes this work as well as the works to come in the following years, in collaboration with Andrea Zapp.
TELEMATIC DREAMING – STATEMENT
Telematic Dreaming was originally produced as a commission for the annual summer exhibition curated by the Finnish Ministry of Culture in Kajaani, with support from Telecom Finland, in June 1992. The title and theme of the exhibition was derived from the notion of “home” as Jean Baudrillard understands it in his essay “The Ecstasy of Communication”. In describing my installation I begin with a quote from another Baudrillard essay that presents the starting point for “Telematic Dreaming”, through which it interprets itself as a critique of the essay.
The celibacy of the machine brings about the celibacy of “Telematic Man”. Exactly as he grants himself the spectacle of his brain and of his intelligence as he sits in front of the computer or word-processor, the “Telematic Man” gives himself the spectacle of his fantasies and of a virtual “jouissance” as he sits in front of his “minitel rose”. He exorcises “jouissance” or intelligence in the interface with the machine. The Other, the sexual or cognitive interlocutor, is never really aimed at – crossing the screen evokes the crossing of the mirror. The screen itself is targeted as the point of interface. The machine (the interactive screen) transforms the process of communication, the relation from one to the other, into a process of commutation, ie. the process of reversibility from the same to the same. The secret of the interface is that the Other is within it virtually the Same – otherness being surreptitiously confiscated by the machine.”
Jean Baudrillard “Xerox and Infinity” pages 5. 6. ISBN 0-33701-88-9 Touchepas. Originally published as Le Xerox et L´Infini, Paris 1987
Telematic Dreaming is an installation that exists within the ISDN digital telephone network. Two separate interfaces are located in separate locations, these interfaces in themselves are dynamic installations that function as customized video-conferencing systems. A double bed is located within both locations, one in a blacked out space and the other in an illuminated space. The bed in the light location has a camera situated directly above it, sending a live video image of the bed, and a person (“A”) lying on it, to a video projector located above the other bed in the blacked out location. The live video image is projected down on to the bed with another person (“B”) on it. A second camera, next to the video projector, sends a live video image of the projection of person “A” with person “B” back to a series of monitors that surround the bed and person “A” in the illuminated location. The telepresent image functions like a mirror that reflects one person within another persons reflection.
“Telematic Dreaming” deliberately plays with the ambiguous connotations of a bed as a telepresent projection surface. The psychological complexity of the object dissolves the geographical distance and technology involved in the complete ISDN installation. The ability to exist outside of the users own space and time is created by an alarmingly real sense of touch that is enhanced by the context of the bed and caused by an acute shift of senses in the telematic space. The users consciousness within the telepresent body is controlled by a voyeurism of its self. The cause and effect interactions of the body determine its own space and time, by extending this through the ISDN network, the body can travel at the speed of light and locate itself wherever it is interacting. In “Telematic Dreaming” the user exchanges their tactile senses and touch by replacing their hands with their eyes.