Subtle Technologies Opening Keynote Address

(Simulation and Simulacra in Plato's Caves)


Telematic Tubs Against Terror

2003 May 22

Initially the four panelists (de Kerckhove, Mann, Penny, de Sousa) presented from the back of the lecture hall, so that all the chairs were facing away from the panelists.

(Left to right: Simon Penny, Ronald de Sousa, Chris Aimone, Steve Mann, Derrick de Kerckhove)

At the front of the room, there was a wall made of televisions and loudspeakers, piled up, and all the chairs were facing this wall of audiovisual media. "Reality" is behind us (the past), and as we face forward into the future, we move toward a future world of simulacra. Like Plato's caves, we see the two dimensional shadows upon the television screen, in place of the "real" people that are represented thereupon. But, conversely, it was once said that something is not real unless it is on television.

(Left to right: Simon Penny, Derrick de Kerckhove, Steve Mann, Ronald de Sousa)

After the panel, there was the presentation of Telematic Tubs Against Terror. This involves a stripping off of our cyborg prostheses (clothing, eyeglasses, wearable computers, etc.), and then re-connecting in a collective deconciousness (brainwave electrodes for the generation of regenerative jazz).

All the above images are linked to more pictures, starting with pictures of the book table at the front of the gallery, etc., and ending with pictures of MC Lights in the rain.

The idea of having people in different places bathing in the same wave state (same temperature water, same wave patterns, etc.) is accompanied with projections of shadows on the translucent outer surfaces of the tub. Additionally, there is provided a notion of "hysterical relaxation". The hot tub is traditionally a place to relax, but in the age of bioterror, is a place to be free of contamination, free of contraband, and free of the liberty to conceal. Moreover, the word "hysterical" derives of the womb, which is further suggested by the umbilical cord formed by the electrodes worn by each participant. (Follow link, and see pages 397 and 398.)
See one of the sister-nodes that was connected, over the Internet, to the tub at DECONism