Host’s Diary

Posted on Posted in Installations, Interactive, Net.Art, Telepresence

This project of artistic telepresence reproduces the dilemma of the host.

In Spanish the term “huésped” is ambiguous, and so it was its latin origin “hospes,” a word used to refer both to those who host someone and to those who are hosted (this is why we chose the English term “host” which clearly comes from the same latin word). Such ambiguity remains effective in Spanish since, in general, “huésped” is used to refer to that one who is hosted, the guest, and it is also still used in the opposite sense when talking, for instance, about the host of a parasite (here the “huésped” is that one who hosts someone else). Thus, the act of hosting / being hosted always includes two sides: the host and the host, the one who is at home and that one who comes.

But this ambiguity does not end there. Following the etimologic trail of the latin term “hospes” we arrive to the Indoeuropean root “ghos­” related to the general idea of “foreign,” “strange.” Consequently, “ghos­” gave rise to “hospes” as well as to other words such as “hostal,” “hospital” or “hospitality,” but also to “hostile” or “hostility.” Of course, the foreigner has always had that ambiguous character, able to move bewteen two poles, hospitality and hostility, to help us and teach us crucial aspects, but also capable of disrupting or even invading us.

Such polarity, indeed, allows the reconsidertaion of the concept of “host” in connection to a wider issue; that of the “exotic” phenomenon, that is to say, contact among strange agents. In fact, the dilemma of the host takes place precisely within the uncertainity provoked by that ambiguity to which we have access through the “exotic” phenomenon. Once we open the door to the guest, anything can happen.

Description of art piece

In “Host Diary”, we use systems of telepresence and telematic control to produce the fiction that there is a space open all day to the arrival of others. In particular, the artwork raises the question through the “permissions” that mediate all hosting relationships. What is the guest allowed to do?