“Tele-Encounters” is an artistic research platform aiming to explore family relationships within the context of migration and to contribute to the development of telepresence (technologically mediated presence) as an artistic idiom. Based on interviews with Romanian migrants in Spain and Portugal, Spanish migrants in Portugal and Portuguese migrants in Spain, as well as their left behind families, we will create one theatre show and one 360˚ short film exhibition.
The theatre performance will feature the online interaction between actors located in Romania and Spain, connected in real time via video-conferencing and Kinect animations. In both countries there will be a physically present audience, while the performance will also be live-streamed on the Internet. Focusing on the relationship between a left-behind teenager in Romania and one migrant parent in Spain, the performance will facilitate a live debate on the topics of migration, family and the Internet, open to both audiences’ intervention at the end of each show.
The film exhibition will be created in response to a selection of interviews and will comprise five 360˚ short films (viewed in VR mode) on the theme of migration between Spain and Portugal. These will be commissioned to one director, four actors and one multimedia company in Portugal. VR immersion means that the person experiencing the work is no longer an outside spectator, but is surrounded by the video world created by the artist, which may engender greater empathy and identification with migrants and their experiences. Although created in Portugal, the films will also be accessible on VR headsets in Romania and Spain and on YouTube 360˚.
Our artistic research will be disseminated in the academic world through workshops and lectures for university students, by writing a book and organizing a symposium on telepresence. The non-academic audience will be invited to take part in the two exhibition conferences and access our online documentation.
1) We aim to explore telepresence as an artistic idiom, as we think it will have a major impact on how performances are delivered and produced in the near future.
2) We wish to diversify and widen our audiences by developing an online audience and by addressing groups that are underrepresented by cultural institutions in our countries (migrants, left-behind families and young people aged 16-25), thus facilitating social inclusion and cultural participation.
3) We wish to explore the dynamic of relationships between family members brought apart by distance, thus contributing to research in the fields of migration and Internet studies.
4) We aim to facilitate the creation of professional contacts and know-how exchanges between interdisciplinary practitioners interested in telepresence, while defining a digital model of international cooperation.
5) We aim to familiarize young artists with digital-based interdisciplinary work, thus helping them to meet the growing demand for novelty and technological competence on the international market.