'The Departed' is a performative artwork that attempts to reconnect the digital and physical realms through the medium of séance.
The pandemic has been a paradoxical experience of connectivity and isolation, of loss and rebirth, as the shattering of our way of life has led to new ways of thinking. We’ve become disembodied from the physical, as our fallible bodies are confined to 'safe spaces,' isolated and hidden away from harm. We are the Supervirtual, wandering cyberspace for a sense of connection.
Lockdown has disembodied us from the physical. Ubiquitous electronic communications leave us connected but unsatisfied. We are supervirtual phenomena, wandering cyberspace for a sense of connection. At the same time, we have listened to new birdsong and to the silence of carless streets.
'The Departed' by Tim Kindberg and Sarah Selby is a performative artwork that attempts to reconnect the two realms through the medium of seance. A blended virtual and physical piece, this interactive artwork connects IRL and virtual beings in interactions that can be eerie, funny, sombre, and warming. Part séance, part installation, 'The Departed' guides us through open communication between physical and digital worlds.
Created for the digital art festival 'Control Shift' during the 2020 lockdowns, 'The Departed' explores the fractured state of communications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of our face-to-face contact with one another and with the physical world has been lost (or, paradoxically, gained, as in the increased presence of birdsong), and ubiquitous electronic communications leave us connected but unsatisfied.
The audience at the physical event was greeted by a "medium" who offered an electronic Ouija board as a means of reconnecting to whatever they had lost. Unseen members of the public online—who could see and hear them via a live video feed—responded to their question with their own experiences of lockdown, conveyed through the illuminated letters and symbols on the Ouija board: a symbol of what has departed from our lives.
Images of the performance. Image credit: Ibi Feher