Frictions of Distance

Frictions of Distance

Liminal: A Question of Position: Rivington Place, London

(Che-Guevara John &Phillippe Chollet) created a mediated interactive space linking two locations – the French Cultural Centre in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Iniva at Rivington Place, London to explore the issues of hybridity and telepresence.

Utilising social media messaging clients, physical computing and the internet – the work examines the notion of digital identity, cultural diasporas and the penetration of geographic boundaries.  It argues; to what extent are images and personal information distributed electronically via digital networks, seemingly in a neutral state of inconsequence, like migrant people – displaced/exiled seeking identity, or home.  Or is the dislocated icon like the human commodity, forced to travel by desires, need and demand? What happens when the ‘frictions of distance’ make escape or the journey impossible?

Frictions of distance evolved as a collaborative project, initially between myself and Philippe Chollet, a postgraduate student  now living and working in Phnom Penh. The objective of the work was to develop an installation that explored the notion of digital, mediated geographic borders & cultural and physical bounderies  – but, would also query the notion of  ‘identity’ within those spaces. Another important consideration was that of the interface -  the manifestation of the corporeal and the nature of telepresence in new media and communications technologies.

Production and design was very much a collaborative effort, with all the early physical prototypes for the interactive carpet/tiles being developed and tested by Chris Lane and students at London Metropolitan  University on the Digital Media Masters and Undergraduate programme.


Concept&Interaction Design

Philippe Chollet/Che-Guevara John/Chris Lane

Programming/Visual Design

Che-Guevara John

Database programming & MySql

Gauthaman Ravindran

Student project assistants

Angelo Russell, Benjamin Wullenweber, Ronan Durand