– touching the heavens and Earth
Paper at Slovenian Society of Aesthetics, 41st International Conference Space and Aesthetics at Cultural Center of European Space Technologies (KSEVT), Slovenia, 2013.
By Stahl Stenslie. Summary of the text.
Today space might be out of reach for most of us, but not necessarily out of touch. The lecture will present a some aesthetical framework for telehaptic communication between space and earth. The presentation also proposes to build a panhaptic (from: spanning between the worlds) network that physically and corporally connects objects in space with earth. Such a network opens up for an embodied, living and sensual communications that contribute to greater proximity, sense of presence, emotional connectivity, nursing and care between earthlings and aliens/astronauts. Human touch is needed for the successful and sustainable colonization of the Heavens – both in terms of orbital space habitats and other planets like Mars.
The proposal builds upon established telehaptic technologies exemplified through the many experiments of Stahl Stenslie. A telehaptic communication link between space and earth is not science fiction, but already demonstrated via the same technologies and networks that audio- visually connect space and earth today. Current haptic art experiments have both developed the necessary bodysuits to experience touch as well as communication protocols and a functional haptic language. The next stage is therefore more about implementation than innovation of the technology. So how does this influence our notion of presence, humanity, the strange and alien? What can such communication effectuate? Will we have telesex with cosmonauts just because we can? What are the dark sides of panhaptic communication?