Physical Presence Across the Mediaspace

2016.06.03 | Jakob Gaardbo Nielsen

Jörg Müller is a researcher based in Computer Science here at Aarhus University, and works on creating digital mediaspaces that interact physically with human subjects. He and his partners do this with, for instance, interactive monitors in public spaces that conglomerate distant bodies into one social experience. In Communiplay (embedded below), random passersby will notice their mirror image on a screen which also contains other subjects present on other physical locations. The social mediaspace represented on-screen thus becomes a hub for a social interaction transcending space, but because it is based on the immediacy of bodily movement and aesthetic presence, it defamiliarizes the subjects who, upon seeing other bodies present on the monitor mirroring themselves, look back, surprised, only to find that the other subjects are not present in their location.


These experiments are more than social media tricks. In a variety of ways, they probe the way our aesthetic sensibility is affected across public space, and illustrate how interactions between body and hyperspace influences our sense of community, unity and, not least, our awareness of physical space in hypermodern urban spaces. Check out Müller’s website for more enlightening examples of this.



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