‘Hole in Space’ by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz was a Public sculpture installed in 1980 for three days at the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in New York City and The Broadway department store in a shopping centre in Los Angeles. Unlike in today’s society, the idea of a two-way visual communication device available to the public during that time would have been astonishing. This technology was able to connect two communities on opposite sides of a country together as if they were right next to each other. Not only did it bring communication between the two groups closer, it also displayed how humans can develop a machine that can easily warp time and space by using rules and codes programmed into a piece of hardware.
Although the concept of being able to see and hear other people or places in a different location in real-time is revolutionary, we need to consider all of potential problems or errors that could occur during the transmission of data from both ends. Some of the issues that must be addressed at the time of this emerging technology could include (but is not limited to):
- Determining when to start and stop the transmission (Handshaking)
- Ensuring there are not errors in what is being displayed and making sure it is accurate (Parity Bit Check)
- Ability to send and receive data from both sides (Encoding and decoding)
- Method of blocking out noise to prevent a gap in the transmission.
These points may have caused some issues at the beginning, but over time we learn how to improve for all forms of communication. This form of communication is identified as revolutionary (as said by a man who partook in the sculpture), but do we in today’s society still believe it is a revolutionary technology? Some might say yes, some might say no, and that is because it has become so common in our day-to-day lives that it does not have that special ‘one of a kind’ feature that enhances its aesthetic like video teleconferencing had all those years ago.
The improvement for the transmission of data for the use of video teleconferencing in today’s society has improved at such a rapid rate that we are now accepting any new updates and not batting an eye at the consequences of this technology. This technology is seen on almost every form of multimedia device and consequentially, businesses and companies are using this feature to break through your privacy (they have access to your camera so they can see everything around you). As much as it wouldn’t be right for these companies to spy on you using this feature, it follows some of the principles of Neil Postman’s 5 points about technological change, specifically “All technological change is a tradeoff” (trading privacy for comfort and ease) and “Technological change is not additive” (we change the way we act when we communicate with others).
Although, even if this piece of technology provides a new form of long distance communication, we cannot be naïve while using it. Video communication uses transmission of data via the internet and this can spark online predators to hack into these lines and further breach your privacy. To quote Daniel Rushkoff, “If you don’t know how the system that you are using works, chances are the system is using you”, this reflects to the majority of users who do not fully understand how to use this type of technology to its full potential. Videoconferencing is an extension of our body (an extension of our eyes, ears and voice) and just like any new device or machine, we must learn how to use it properly instead of attempting to use it blindly. The complexity between this technology and humans must “not be regarded as a limit to be transgressed so much as a boundary to be traversed.”(Grosz, 1995, ‘Space, Time, and Perversion’).
To conclude, the introduction of live video teleconferencing truly is a remarkable revolutionary technology that created a bridge between people and countries all around the world. This technology, like many others similar to it follow the same types of issues when it comes to transmission of the data, they can be addressed but it must be carefully solved to not boost other issues lined to it. Video teleconferencing is constantly upgrading, but to those that do not understand it full, it can become potentially dangerous if the wrong people has access to them through this form of media.
- Deleflie E, 2015, ‘Art, Craft and Technology’, PowerPoint Slides, MEDA102, University of Wollongong, 13th August 2015
- ‘Hole in Space, 1980’, Electronic Café International, Accessed 17th August 2015 http://www.ecafe.com/getty/HIS/
- Larry Press, 2008, ‘Excerpts from A Hole in Space — the mother of all video chats’, Youtube, viewed 16th August 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSMVtE1QjaU
- Grosz E, 1995, ‘Space, Time and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies’ Routledge, New York
- Rushkoff D, 2010, ‘Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age’, Bookmodile, USA.
- Matt Novak, ‘A Brief History of the videophone that almost was’, Paleofuture, 28th August 2013, Accessed 16th August 2015 http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/a-brief-history-of-the-videophone-that-almost-wa-s-1214969187