Saturday, December 07, 2013

A Hole in Space -- envisioning and demonstrating video chat in 1980

Product development often begins with a speculative vision like Vannevar Bush imagining a global network of scientific workstations (see this presentation) or the work of artists and storytellers.

But, most visions are no more than that -- visions. The critical next step is building an engineering prototype demonstrating the vision -- "demo or die." Think of Daimler's early autos, the Wright Brothers' Flyer, or Doug Engelbart and Ivan Sutherland's work in our field.

Artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz combined vision and prototype when they created a "Hole in Space" by linking bigger-than-life displays in New York and LA with a NASA satellite feed. It was the mother of all video chats -- they showed that size and bandwidth matter in communicating presence and emotion.

Galloway and Rabinowitz documented the installation in a video. Below you will find links to both the full video and selected excerpts. If you like the excerpts, you will love the full video -- it is full of emotion and humor.


More information on:
Excerpt video (4m 49s):
Full video (29m 44s):