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What is the Telematic Embrace Research Project?
The Telematic Embrace research project is an on-going exploration in developing the narrative possibilities of telematic performance. The research was conceived and developed by Andrea Paciotto and Jared McNeill, with support from the Seoul Institute of the Arts, the Arko Foundation, and CultureHub.
Telematic performance...is that a thing?
It sure is! Imagine a performance where, using current technologies, artists are able to interact with one another from various locations. Experimentation with telematic performance has been around just about as long as the technology which makes it possible.
So what makes you so special?
Well, perhaps nothing. Ours is an experiment like any other, but perhaps it is based on a unique proposition. You see, most experimentation in live telematic performance has been conducted in the fields of music and abstract performance art. Some of this has to do with the need to embrace certain technical restrictions of the telematic medium. Some, rightly so, has to do with the desire to create something which tests the boundaries of a new technical and audio-visual possibility. Our own approach is one that might be called "deliberately lo-fi," essentially focused on the traditional narrative elements of story, play, and theme, with limited or no use of special effects or audio-visual manipulation.
Where's the fun in that?!
Over the course of a year, we've interviewed numerous individuals around the world, from Asia and Africa, to South and North America, and we asked them about how and why they use telematic applications like Skype and Whatspp in their own lives. A fascinating picture emerged: that people, despite varied backgrounds and beliefs, are driven by similar needs in their use of these modern tools. It may seem obvious, but for us, in a world beset by borders and differences, to see how dissimilar lives respond to similar vulnerabilities, perhaps it wasn't always fun, but it was something.
From the interviews conducted in Phase 1 of this research, we've adapted a series of short "episodes", stories that we feel encompass a recurring theme: the Digital Diaspora. Phase 2 will involve testing practicalities of producing these episodes, as well as testing various notions of live, remote, and interactive online audience spaces.
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The ubiquitous efficacy of the telematic medium is not in doubt,
but in human terms, from the point of view of culture and creativity,
the question is:
Is there love in the telematic embrace?