Sharing, Trust & Reciprocity on the “New” Silk Road

How do we trust each other online?
Do you need to see my eyes? Or do we need to touch?
How do we trust as networking bodies?

Those are the questions that kickstarted the interactive project Tele_Trust by TEDxSilkRoad speaker Karen Lancel, who together with Hermen Maat, explores how in our changing social ecosystem we increasingly demand transparency, while at the same time we increasingly cover our vulnerable bodies with personal communication-technology.

Karen Lancel

The definition of “Presence” in the 21st century has changed. Presence is now something you cannot touch, creating an emotional and social tension between visibility and invisibility, and between privacy and trust.

Lancel and Maat created a “DataVeil”, a full body covering garment, gender neutral, that was inspired by eastern and western traditions, like a monks’ habit, a burqa, Darth Vader, and a ‘trustworthy’ chalk stripe business suit.

When wearing the DataVeil it functions as a second skin. Flexible, invisible touch sensors woven into the smart fabric of the veil, transform your body into an intuitive, tangible interface. It is a a membrane for scanning an intimate, networking body experience and allows interaction with a smartphone App:

By touching your body in the DataVeil, you meet strangers online through their smartphones. Inside the DataVeil you may be unidentifiable but before ‘disappearing’ your portrait is added to an online database. By gently caressing their screens, anonymous smartphone users worldwide can unveil your face online. In an intimate body experience and real time audio, you share emotions and statements of trust, about the questions: Am I here with you? Who is watching who? Who is controlling who? In what identity and in whose body?

Our changing social eco system increasingly demands transparency, while at the same time we cover our bodies with personal communication technology (mobile phones, wireless earphones, etc). Tele_Trust explores how do you build trust in telepresence.

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