The Cambridge Garden by Tangible Media Group for Ars Electronica Festival 2020, we will be featuring selected projects that materialize the Presence of Absence. Our garden introduces the latest in Tangible Telepresence research to engage people who collaborate across time and space with synchronized tangibles. We also feature a variety of dynamic computational materials we call Radical Atoms that foster a new form of human-material interactions.
About Presence of Absence
Presence and Absence are the fundamental states of being; being present or close, and being absent, distant or lost.
Beyond Being There (Jim Hollan et al. 1997), a seminal work on designing the next generation of telepresence, maps out how to move beyond trying to imitate physical co-presence and face-to-face interactions. Imitation as a goal is a mirage; awareness of the physical separation of our bodies persists. In virtual space, the sense of touch, kinesthesia, and proprioception do not apply to interactions with others’ virtual presence and surroundings; thus, we lose the sense of others being there. The infusion of tangibility will enable the reinvention of telepresence.
inTouch (TMG 1998) physically embodies the concept of ghostly presence by making users aware of the other person’s existence through the sense of touch without representing the person through pixels (absence of body). By seeing and feeling a physical object moving on its own, we imagine a person’s physical presence even though they are physically absent. Absence is a new form of presence.
The Presence of Absence leads us to the Portuguese word “saudade”, which signifies ‘the desire for the beloved thing, made painful by its absence’ (Teixeira de Pascoaes 1912). We have an intense longing to meet and interact with loved ones who are no longer with us. *MirrorFugue* (Xiao Xiao 2013) exemplifies this by capturing an inter-generational duet through the tangible medium of a piano.
The Cambridge Garden by Tangible Media Group | MIT Media Lab will be featuring selected projects that materialize the Presence of Absence. Our garden introduces the latest Tangible Telepresence research to engage people who collaborate across time and space with synchronized tangibles. We also feature a variety of dynamic computational materials we call Radical Atoms that foster a new form of human-material interactions.
Guided Tour & Demo
by Prof. Hiroshi Ishii, Liang Zhipeng
We will host a live talk featuring some selected projects inside Tangible Media Group | MIT MediaLab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the end audiences are invited to have an open conversation with us.
Project Credits / Acknowledgements
Hiroshi Ishii, Zhipeng Liang, Paula Aguilera, Ken Nakagaki, Kyung Yun Choi, Hila Mor, Alice Hong, Jack Forman, Jonathan Williams, Deema Qashat (Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab)