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INTIMACY IS THE THEME we use to ask the question:
OUR PREMISE is that the advent of mobile technologies and other new forms of communication has brought intimate activities out into the open. Intimate relationships once nurtured in seclusion, in enclosed spaces of the home, are now occurring out in the public, in open spaces where they are witnessed by onlookers and passers-by. We find that:
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CONNECTING took place on 1 April 2005 in the café and wireless network at De Balie Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam, in homes in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and online at www.debalie.nl/connecting. Taking to heart the 9-hour time difference that separates Los Angeles and Amsterdam, the event begins at 15:00 (3 pm) in Amsterdam and ends at 15:00 (3 pm) in Los Angeles. Our aim is to demonstrate intimate communication across distances, and to question the revised geographies produced by "instant" communication.
Instant messaging, video conferencing, and mobile phones connect Marianne, Jeff, and Jonathan, from their apartments in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, with Joseph, Katherine, and Aneta, in De Balie's Café. By projecting our personal desktops on the windows and monitors in the Café, and streaming them online, we invite viewers to experience our "real time" communication with us as it unfolds in "real" time.
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AT WALEM CAFE we connect a laptop computer and a video beamer to the cafe's public wireless internet. A second laptop is located off-site in a private apartment. Using live video conferencing and instant messaging, as well as pre-recorded video loops, we share images, blurring the boundaries between locations. The video beamer projects in a window facing the sidewalk to invite pedestrians to view our video conferences from the street side.
AT REMBRANDTPLEIN we mount a laptop computer and webcam to a bicycle. Literally "roaming" through the plein with the bicycle and a mobile phone, we use local wireless internet to transmit video and text chats to an apartment in a residential neighborhood. There, a beamer projects images and messages from the plein onto a picture window. Live video conferencing, instant messaging, SMS, and pre-recorded video loops, are exchanged between locations.