Or how to have eye contact during video chat by using a low tech screen addon.
The concept of video telephony is quite old. It has been around in any Sience Fiction movie or book and different telecommunication companies tried to establish such a service in the 90s or earlier. They all more or less failed. The german Telekom offered i.e. a very expensive ISDN video phone in ’97 but had to draw back soon. But in the meanwhile cheap web cams and fast internet connections made video chat on the computer quite popular. (And it’s also possible to place video calls on all new mobile phones and networks but i ve never seen anybody using it. It’s still just to expensive.)
The general idea of video telephony is quite obvious and seams to be the next step after the good old telephone wich has been around for someting like 100 years. But is the image really a usefull addition to the voice? Is it maybe more interesting to see what the telephone partner is seeing? In fact I am myself not a very big fan of video chat. It does often distract me, there is certain loss of privacy and some people do look more at their own image than to the other person. I am sure there have been a lot of discussions, researches and PhDs on video telephony but I am not going into all these details and relations of sound, voice, image, no image etc.
I think there is one very crucial moment about the video image showing a portrait. If we talk to a person face to face (and this is what video chatting tries to imitate) you normally do have eye contact. You just look at each other, not all the time and depending on your personality and cultural background, but you do have certainly eye contact. And this is very important for communication. I believe one of the main reasons why video chat doesn’t really appeal to me is the missing eye contact. Both participants look at their screens but the web cam is next to the screen. Video chat today is more like observing your friend while he/she is looking at the screen. Even the tiny cams very close to the screen in notebooks don’t really help. Your partners view seams still a bit offset.
“Here is looking at you, Kid.” is a low tech hardware work around for this serious problem. The simple screen addon is made of a mirror, some glass with spy mirror foil and an piece of card board and will bring the full experience of eye contact to you. The video image of the partner is literally detatched from the screen by two mirrors and shifted in front of the integrated notebook cam. While the viewer enjoys the vido image he/she is now looking at the same time exacly into the camera behind the spy mirror. In the field of TV industrie this setup is well known as a telepromter. Screen and notebook manufacturers should consider this phenomenon and should work on an idea how to integrate the web cam within/behind the TFT screen.
I’ll try to manage a full DIY manual ASAP but I assume you can already figure out by the pictures how to get this going. Please note that of course both participants need this screen addon to make the effect work.
Thx to Holger for bouncing ideas and photo shooting!
All pics on flickr.
Ah ok, there is a product like this already http://www.bodelin.com/se2e/ …
Thx for letting my know and thx for the MAKE post, Jonah!
Ihr Paket ist abholbereit
On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the Kunsthalle Osnabrück is showing Aram Bartholl’s most comprehensive solo exhibition to date. Aram Bartholl is one of the pioneers in Germany who deals with socially relevant conflicts of digitality and automation through art. Originally coming from the field of architecture, he uses his performative interventions, sculptures and workshops to question our current media behaviour as well as the public economies that are linked to social networks, online platforms or digital distribution strategies. He puts socially relevant topics such as surveillance, data security or dependency on technology up for discussion by transferring the gaps, contradictions or absurdities of our digital everyday life into spatial settings.
For the Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Aram Bartholl transformed the Kunsthalle´s church space into a walk-in recycling yard for electronic waste. The scenery is illuminated by three sculptures hanging from the ceiling, reminiscent of chandeliers that are made from recycled televisions. The result is a sensual as well as functional installation of complementary exhibition parts that invite us to reflect on the cycles, consequences and future perspectives of our daily consumption of media and goods. The walk-through parcours made of piled up electronic waste makes the amount of recycled material of our belongings visible and creates a unique environment for a diverse art mediation programme including workshops, plena by local climate activists, repair cafés, excursions, lectures and film screenings. Oversized QR codes on the church walls frame the setting and raise critical questions about our handling of energy resources, raw materials and labour rights in the digital society. Opposing the electronic waste, the exhibition contains a 30-metre-long DHL Packstation, which is put into operation during the exhibition period. Osnabrück citizens and visitors are able to pick up their parcels at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück and drop them off in the respective lockers.
Curators: Anna Jehle and Juliane Schickedanz
Curators public programme: Louisa Behr, Joscha Heinrichs, Anna Holms and Christel Schulte.
Funded by the Stiftung Niedersachsen (Foundation of Lower Saxony) and the Niedersächsische Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture). The VGH Stiftung (VGH Foundation) is funding the accompanying exhibition’s art mediation programme. With the kind support of Deutsche Post AG, Lerec Elektrorecycling GmbH and Osnabrücker ServiceBetrieb.
Curated by: Anna Jehle, Juliane Schickedanz (duo team, directors of Kunsthalle)
Curatorial assistance: Anna Holms
Public Programming: Aram Bartholl, Louisa Behr, Joscha Heinrichs, Anna Holms, Christel Schulte
Installation team: Norbert Hillebrand, Timo Katz, Andreas Zelle
Exhibition office: Natali Märtin
Visitor service: Frank Berger, Ulla Brinkmann, Harcharan Gill, Sina Lichtenberg, Kaan Ege Önal, Josef Wegmann
Finances: Viktoria Puskar
Janitor: Wilfried Wienstroer
Janitorial assistance: Frank Berger
PR: Kristina Helena Pavićević
Art mediation and education: Christel Schulte