The semantic intensity of the bed
The bed is an object that is understood in all social and cultural contexts. Its semiotic language vary from the childhood context of security and play to the more complex context of privacy, intimacy and relaxation. When such a "charged" object is used as a telematic interface the user is confronted by the complexity of the object/interface and not the complexity of the technology. The telematic experience of communication is heightened when the technology involved is secondary to the primary point of importance, the bed interface. The technology disappears and becomes invisible. The bed is a very intensive object. The users are sometimes reluctant to enter "Telematic Dreaming", not because of the video technology, but because of the potential interaction on the bed in the public space.
The media is invisible
Technology of the media becomes invisible in the same way the technology of language is invisible. Reality has always been perceived through technology. Not the technology of silicon chips and binary code, but the technology of language. French linguist Ferdinand de Saussure explained that reality does not exist before language defines it. In the same way reality does not exist before media defines it. The technology of language is invisible, and can only be attempted to be deconstructed by the efforts of semiology, an analyses that is its self defined by language. The technology of media is in the same process of disappearance and will become increasingly harder to visualise and deconstruct.
Cause and effect
Wherever the body is causing an effect is definition that is where the body exists and within it consciousness resides. Therefore wherever the body is interacting is also where its consciousness exists. This definition is sometimes hard to take on when we refer to the cause and effects of an individual via texts, sounds, and images on a computer network, nevertheless the definition is the same. As an example, "Telematic Dreaming" is far easier to follow because it presents the interactions of the body at a distance in a physical form. When the user reaches out with their hand they interact, not in the local space, but in the distant one, and when they cause an effect to another physical body in the distant location it is evidence that is where their consciousness resides.
Entering and exiting
It is sometimes difficult for the user to break their concentration and return to the consciousness of their local body when leaving the installation. In the reverse - as hard as it is to enter the installation when onlookers are observing your consciousness enter it. Entering and exiting "Telematic Dreaming" are the most uncomfortable points for the user. But after a short period of time on the bed the users consciousness is no longer concentrated on the immediate environment but on the distant telematic one.
In all the 10 occasions that "Telematic Dreaming" has been exhibited since its realization in Finland in 1992. It has only been connected via ISDN telephone lines, in the way it's intended, twice - In Finland and Tokyo. The ISDN connection allows the installation to be connected via geographically distant locations on a global scale. It is for two main reasons a far better option. Firstly because the user is very aware that they will not bump into the same person they previously interacted with, in the next room. Secondly because of the inadequacy of the ISDN telecommunications to do exactly what it should. Its not absolute real-time, there is always a slight delay between the two locations. This means the user has 1.5 seconds between the moment of cause and effect, requiring a higher level of concentration, created by momentary lapses of time when the user consciousness is racing back and forth between the local and the distant body. The user obtains a better understanding of the installation and its purpose.
Touching with your eyes
In "Telematic Dreaming" a process of sensory shift occurs. The sense of touch is made with your eyes. Sensory shift is nothing new, A person who has lost there sense sight will compensate by improving there other senses, most frequently the sense of hearing. Human senses, inner and outer, are far more complex and adaptive than we realize, when explored leading to transcendental states of mind. In "Telematic Dreaming" the user observes the movement of their body from outside it on a monitor that presents a telepresent replica. The eye acts as a sensory receptor of the movement and the cause and effects of touch.
The silent movie
Audio contact is never used in "Telematic Dreaming". The reason being, as soon as you let the users communicate by speech they will resort to that means of communication alone - as speech is a dominant form of communication between complete strangers. Without speech the two users have to discover new ways in which they can interact. Communication that is akin to the melodrama of the early silent movie.
The side affect
Users in previous
exhibitions of "Telematic Dreaming" have expressed a psychological lift
from their experience. The sensitivity of human contact is a very enriching
and rewarding experience - everyone needs it. However certain cultural
and political obstacles in western culture prevent many people from obtaining
such a lift. "Telematic Dreaming" is not an alternative, its a learning
experience, where the user discovers more about themselves and benefit
from physical interaction that does not rely dominance or oppression but
on the sensitivity of human contact.