Reframing Videotelephony through coexistence and empathy in the Third Space

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Predicated on the telephone, the history of videotelephony has continually adopted a two-way model of communication between ‘newsreader’ participants, confined to boxes on a screen. This article identifies philosophical approaches and practical solutions to overcome this ‘horseless-carriage’ syndrome using a phenomenological methodology to reframe the concept of videotelephony as a third space encounter through the author’s telematic art practice. By reflecting on audience participation in the Installations Telematic Dreaming (1992) and Telematic Vision (1993) participants interact through a third-person self-image and transcend their physical vulnerabilities and self-conscious inhibitions to engage and identify through coexistence and empathy. These observations draw on analogies between Martin Heidegger’s ‘hammer’ and the television screen, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s ‘extension of bodily synthesis’ and the telepresent image of self. By drawing on these phenomenological approaches, the author’s AHRC research project Telepresence Stage (2022) responded to the mass entrapment of two-way videoconference apps during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the inevitable Zoom fatigue, to provide alternative fit-for-purpose telepresence solutions for the performing arts sector. The project exposes the flaws and misconceptions of conventional videotelephony by employing open-source resources and practical green-screen techniques to embody a shared third space between remote performers, arriving at alternative telepresence solutions for future coexistence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2024


  • videotelephony
  • videoconference
  • telepresence
  • third space
  • telematic
  • presence
  • empathy
  • phenomenology
  • coexistence
  • interaction
  • performance.


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