You are the host now: On gathering in digital space

an online collaborative research project with Kei Franklin funded by Live Art Development Agency

Jemima is from Sarawak (Malaysia), but lives in London. Kei is from New Mexico (USA), but lives in Singapore. We met in eSwatini and have collaborated artistically there, in London, and in Singapore. As such, we are not strangers to video conferencing, and know well the moment when time differences and vast physical space collapse into the 2-dimensional digital realm of simultaneous closeness and distance.

As COVID-19 renders physical intimacy all the more improbable, we ask the question: How can hospitality be practised on digital platforms? What does it now mean to welcome guests into your space? What constitutes ‘your space’? What social cues and etiquette are appropriate for the digital sphere – how do we develop, learn, teach and normalise them?

Our hypothesis is that – through leaning into performativity, articulating the essence of ‘the ideal host’, embracing abstraction, foregrounding artifice, and moving away from the mimesis of face-to-face interaction – we may inch our way closer to hosting a energising and nourishing online gathering.


Using Format