This project by Dutch artist duo Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat in collaboration with V2_Lab, explores the emotional and social tension between disclosure and invisibility, and between privacy and trust, in our changing social eco-system.

How do we trust each other as networking bodies? Do we need to look each other in the eyes? Or do we need to touch each other?

In TELE_TRUST Lancel and Maat explore how in our changing social ecosystem we increasingly demand transparency, while at the same time we increasingly cover our vulnerable bodies with personal communication-technology. TELE_TRUST opens a hybrid play zone for a vulnerable process, of balancing between fear and desire for the other. In a visual and poetic way, Lancel and Maat look closely into the contemporary emotional and social tension between visibility and invisibility, and between privacy and trust. 

TELE_TRUST takes place in dynamic public spaces, where it functions as a social lab in which participants from the audience act as co-researchers. The audience is there invited to wear an interactive data-veil as a second skin, as a membrane that scans an intimate, networked, body experience. 

Everyone can wear a data-veil. The data-veils are a full-body covering garments, combining visual elements from both eastern and western traditions, and are inspired by monks’ habit, a burqa and Darth Vader, as well as by ‘trustworthy’ chalk stripe business suits. When wearing a data-veil, the body of the wearer becomes a wireless interface, as flexible touch sensors are woven into the smart fabric of the veil. By touching his or her body in the data-veil, the wearer connects with other people via the central TELE_TRUST website. Via the network they meet in an intimate bodily experience, to exchange stories on horror and beauty: Am I here with you? Who is watching who? Who is controlling who? And in whose body? 

In an ongoing process, six data-veils form a network with user generated content, which is continuously growing on the website. Stories from different cities and countries weave together into a narrative and distributed tapestry - creating an engaging agora on the notion of trust. 


Sensors for a DataVeil

Lancelmaat asked V2_Lab to develop special sensors that could be incorporated into the fabric of a veil. These sensors would not only have to be flexible enough to be added to the fabric, they also would have to be so sensitive that they would respond to the mere proximity of the electromagnetic field of another object/body.

Simon from V2_Lab says: "For Tele_Trust we worked on transparent ‘touch sensors’. These sensors are made from conductive fabric and cut-out printed circuit boards. At FabLab Protospace the circuit boards were cut from thin copper foil using a vinyl cutter. Once the components have been put into place these thin, flexible circuit boards can be pasted onto the fabric. The touch pad is activated by approaching the sensor or by touching it lightly.

We have also done some work on a second type of touch sensor that is also partially embedded in textile. This sensor uses the natural electric resistance of the skin, which is measured by a conductive wire woven into the TeleTrust DataVeil. As soon as the sensor is activated stories are made audible within the DataVeil. At the same time, information about the contact is relayed to the central TeleTrust website."

The DataVeil also includes a netbook that continuously transmits the GPS coordinates of the DataVeil to the TeleTrust website. Along with the coordinates, a photograph made from the DataVeil is transmitted at regular intervals.

Tele_Trust is developed in collaboration with: V2_Institute for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam, De Balie, Amsterdam en fashion artist AZIZ

With generous support of: Mondriaan Stichting Interregeling; Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst; De Balie; Amsterdams Hogeschool voor de Kunst; ARTI, V2_Institute for the Unstable Media; Waag Society Amsterdam.


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