Extending the senses with digital technology

We assume that we can extend our senses, bodies and presence using digital technology and different kinds of media. We are in one location, and we are represented, mediated and/or translated into another space as well as the other space/person is translated, mediated and/or represented “back” to us.

Each media delivers a specific point of view, aspect, sense from the other space. However it is translated. Some of the meanings and the senses of the other space are left out. Smell, condensation, temperature can only be described, even sight and sound are restricted to speakers, screen or a point or few points that present the other space/person.

Physical performance, immersive performance and interactive performance are performances that design carefully the usage of all of the 5 senses of our body. In the space we are at, we experience 360 degrees. But when a remote space and/or person is remote the sense is limited to the translation. Have you ever tried to translate a phrase from one language to another?

Last month I have seen the performance “Lo Al Halehem Levado” (Not only on the bread). The play shared with the audience the way blind and deaf people experience the world. The audience needed to have translator to understand the sign language, and the blind actors needed assistance to move on stage, and the deaf needed assistant to hear the ques  and to hear what does the other actors say, or later on also to understand questions from the audience.

In a sense I understood that Telematic performances have something in common with the blind-deaf performance. Let’s introduce two places A and B. Jo, a performer, is in room A and Peter, another performer, is in room B.

Peter is mediated in room A let’s say with skype. I can argue that he is a ‘disabled’ performer in the room. In order to move in the space, he needs assistance which also means that  he relies on the technology that he has i.e speaker, screen, robot (that may help to move in the space) etc. The same thing happens to Jo but in room B. Following this ‘disability’ their interaction with the audience on both sites is also limited and dependent on the technology and the access the audience has to the technology.

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