Naomi Bennett, MFA, PhD
dist[Sense] Play #1: Eda + Greg
N. Eda Erçin (left) and Greg Langner (right) dance in dist[Sense]. Video by Cynthia Sampson.
a virtual experience in zoom space
Developed collaboratively with N. Eda Erçin, Irina Kruchinina, Greg Langner, Johanna Middleton, and Cynthia Sampson.
HopKins Black Box, Louisiana State University, October 2020
Born out the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders that quickly swept the globe in early 2020, dist[Sense] is a performance experience that seeks to discover new ways to connect beyond the confines of the Zoom Box.
As a mixed methods performance-as-research project, dist[Sense] was developed through physical ensemble work exploring the possibilities of Zoom Space, coupled with anonymous survey data of global experiences of connection and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An experience for two, dist[Sense] is as a collaborative effort to connect in a time of social distancing, an exploration of what it means to be physically present in virtual space, and a moment of focus in an increasingly unfocused world.
dist[Sense] is whatever you make of it, and hopefully whatever you need right now. Thank you for creating with us.
N. Eda Erçin (left) and Emily Graves (right) dance in dist[Sense]. Photo by Cynthia Sampson.
Ryuta Iwashita (left) and Greg Langner (right) share space in dist[Sense]. Photo by Cynthia Sampson.
Taking place in Zoom Space, dist[Sense] is a virtual performance for one audience-participant and one performer-participant without dialog, exploring moments of connection, isolation, and the ways in which we can come together to experience across time and space.
Greg Langner (right) touches hands with his partner through the virtual space in dist[Sense]. Photo by Cynthia Sampson.
Building off of "telematics," a general term for technology which allows individuals to interact remotely in real-time, Zoom Telematics was co-developed by myself, Twyla Kowalenko, and Ray Louter, to distinguised telematic connections that occur when two Zoom boxes are merged, either through the use of a projector or OBS software. This merging allows for a virtual physical connection in a single Zoom box.
Working in conjunction with senses of sight and proprioception, virtual touch describes the embodied experience of touch felt through non-tactile sense response.
dist[Sense] seeks to discover new ways to physically connect in virtual space, arguing that digital performance and everyday connections have the ability to create a sense of intimate connection, touch, and digital embodiment.
Performer-participants and audience-participants explore Zoom space in dist[Sense]. Photo by Cynthia Sampson.