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The play between mediated and live presence lies at the very core of the Cellbytes project. Because the two spaces are connected in two ways (data and stream), we were able to explore notions of the emotive and empathic qualities of image as compared and contrasted to the abstraction of presence as manifest in the data travelling between the two spaces. One question that came up was whether or not abstracted data traveling in real-time represented presence more effectively than a video streaming image travelling at an 8 second lag. If presence is assumed to be part of a two way communication between audience and perfomer -- then a further set of questions need to be developed for the streaming web presentation.

Questions and Answers:

Question #6: why might one prefer to hear gene's heartbeat (see stethoscope) in the other space rather than a simulation?

Answer #1: As far as wanting to hear the real Gene heartbeat in the second space...everything is already virtual, why connect the spaces if you can pre-record the heartbeat...I suppose hearing the "real" heartbeat is important in that it is just that, the real heartbeat. The actual sound of a living breathing human body, the computer can never synthesize anything as beautiful as human life... (Kristy Topham Petty)

Answer #2: The real heartbeat sound is immediate and human sounding, being mediated only a small amount (simple amplification). Unfortunately when this sound is streamed it loses this "natural" sound and becomes something else, a pale representation of what is available in the immediate space. (John Mitchell)

Answer #3: The heartbeat of the human has a cliched romanticism for most cultures - we think about it and we subconsciously link it to birth, death, love and romanticism. We also see hospitals floating around in - zig zag lines on screens - will the zig zag continue - or will it flatline? Suspension implanted from too many movies and hospital series. For Gene his heart is one that needs care and attention - so a serious concern and a deep understanding of the need for its pure function in his life - to make his body exist.

For the CellBytes project it became a symbol of existence in the detailed debates that occurred around the need for his heartbeat sound to be purely transferred from one space to another - a sound icon of pure existence. A clean and simple means of enabling us all to believe in the existence of Gene in both physical spaces and on the web - inhabiting all 3 at one time.

Sound is the one form that does totally inhabit any space - you cannot shut it off in a corner behind a screen like a monitor, you can have several sources in the same space at once, but they cannnot be singularly heard ( other than on headsets). Sound travels and migrates, mixes and melds all on its own. Try to contain it and it seeps out somewhere.

To hear the sound of Gene's heart in all three spaces would therefore have backed up our perceptions of sound as a flowing signal - telling us what is beyond us - stating ahead of our visual senses the perception of presence - and the warm thump ensuring us of life.

Sometime - somehow, we will be able to do this and then our unsureness of what it is that lies the other side will be calmed - our usual and recognised perceptions and sensations will return ??? Maybe not. (Ghislaine Boddington)