For #TheSocialGraph, I proposed a look at the next step in social media — telepresence, which, in its simplest form is a large-scale video chat meant to mimic the presence of someone in the room, and at its most complex can take the form of a roving, camera-enabled robot.
Since almost as early as the invention of the telephone, human beings have imagined the possibilities of video communication. How amazing would it be to see each other over the phone? That technology now exists, as cameras become embedded in our computers and our smart phones. But even Apple has had trouble pushing it past niche uses. Video chat, for most people, is just too weird.
Beamed in from somewhere in Los Angeles, I was able to attend the opening virtually through Skype video (though I was a bit of a wallflower) and a large projection of myself. I chatted, took pictures, even traded cards, all via the screen, and I then posted the images onto Facebook.
By exploring this issue in the social setting of an art opening, where alcohol flows and certain social mores dominate, I hoped to explore the challenges of telepresence and the social uncanny valley of video conferencing technologies.
See the rest of the images at the Hyperallergic photo album. Did you take pictures with me? Link to them here and I’ll be sure to place them online.
For an interview with the artist, please visit our post last week, “An Xiao Talks #TheSocialGraph, Social Media Art & Ai Weiwei.”