Deep Third Space

Pandemic Encounters development in the Deep Third Space with Randall Packer & Paul Sermon

Pandemic Encounters: being [together] in the deep third space is a participatory networked performance installation by Paul Sermon in collaboration with Randall Packer, Gregory Kuhn & the Third Space Network. Pandemic Encounters is the kickoff Leonardo Global Laser and takes place Saturday, May 23rd, 12pm EDT. To register and access the event, visit the Third Space Network Crowdcast platform.


For years I have been exploring audio-visual disembodiment in the immersive environment of networked space. I have been referring to this strangely malleable space as the post reality, detached from the laws of the rational & logical: a liminal region that lies between what is real and what is not. I have taken my cues from the lineage of cyber-navigators, VR pilots, and tele-collaborators who have submerged themselves into these gravity free spaces to test the creative potentialities of otherworldly spatial theaters of imagination & play.

I have come to the realization that this penetration into the spatial and creative possibilities of the network has gone well beyond my theories on the post real, or even my concept of the third space as a shared merging of the local and remote. No, these tele-explorers have been mining the medial, cognitive, sensorial, social, and experiential dimensions of what I now refer to as the deep third space, a particularly fluid and immersive networked zone of flux & transformation. The deep third space has been an ideal research laboratory for experimentation, a place to rethink online social interactions, virtual touch, remote intimacies, distant movements, networked presence, and the dispersed gaze, a place that more than anything resembles lucid dreaming, free from the constraints of the physical laws of the known world.

And now, in this perilous time of Covid-19, this research seems all the more prescient & urgent, as we are witnessing the global phenomenon of a migration into the third space with unknown existential ramifications. We find ourselves, en masse, in a strange new world, a new medial landscape, like a hall of mirrors, gazing at reflections of ourselves + others through the lens of the ubiquitous Webcam. We have been forced into this telematic world to remove and isolate ourselves from the hellish outside reality of the pandemic. The third space has become for many a safe haven from a world turned upside down, a safety net, a buffer zone to salvage and resurrect human contact, virtually, while remaining separated by distance and geography.

We need to collectively grasp the implications of this migratory movement into the third space. Even when we return to the so-called normal, we will be changed, when social interaction & human engagement will have undergone a radical transformation. Who knows what this new world will look like, and who knows to what degree our social behaviors, interactions, intimacies, and creative actions will have been forever altered & reconfigured.

During this time of crisis, while retreating to a third space liminality of change – in between separation from the norm and the return to the new normal – there is an opportunity for the performance of ritual actions in the deep third space to process the meaning & significance of our transitory condition. To quote the anthropologist Victor Turner:

“Liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt & between the positions assigned and arranged by law, custom, convention, and ceremonial. As such, their ambiguous and indeterminate attributes are expressed by a rich variety of symbols in the many societies that ritualize social and cultural transitions.” – Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure

I envision the performance of ritual actions in the deep third space as an in-situ methodology for the search for meaning, a laboratory experiment for achieving catharsis, understanding, ideas, hypotheses, and new theories that grapple with the implications of our current and future third space existence. Each of us performs from a unique point of view: an artistic expression, a scientific analysis, a poetic rendering, an anarchic breakage, or perhaps just a lonely call in the night from some distant corner of the world. To open up the deep third space in the here nor there, is as an invitation to enter into a telematic encounter with yourself + others, to reflect on being[together] in a time of unfolding metamorphosis of the human condition.


Pandemic Encounters: being [together] in the deep third space is a participatory networked performance installation by Paul Sermon in collaboration with Randall Packer, Gregory Kuhn & the Third Space Network. Pandemic Encounters is the kickoff Leonardo Global Laser and takes place Saturday, May 23rd, 12pm EDT. To register and access the event, visit the Third Space Network Crowdcast platform.


 

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