Host’s diary. Teleshared action OPO, MAD, NY. Telepresence and telecontrol by Twitter


Created by INTACT Project




CONTEXT: Refest. Festival anual de innovación, organized by Culturehub, Nueva York.

EXHIBITIÓN: La MaMa Galleria (Galería de arte Nueva York)


- House located in Velázquez street (Spain).

- Una habitación dentro del Teatro Mala Voadora (Oporto, Portugal)

Date 21, 22 y 23 de Noviembre 2014.

Time: 01.00 (Madrid) / 19.00 (La Mama Gallery, NY) / 00.00 (Teatro Mala Voadora, Oporto)


 Maku López in collaboration

Special thanks to Concepción Abánades


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?



The work consists of 48 hours of permanent action. An apartment in Madrid (Spain) was technologically involved in order for the lights and other electronic devices can be turned on and off by any users on twitter simply by sending hashtags. The people of this household (Sara Malinarich, Manuel Teran, Jorge Ruiz and Whoun) will have to live during these 48 hours with the unpredictable intervention of foreign agents, which can both facilitate and/or complicate things. Therefore, our hospitality is to grant certain permissions to people outside our apartment, so that they can intervene in our dynamic. Our schedules and actions will depend on the unpredictable interventions. Our "everyday" will have to adjust to the dynamics caused by our guests. In addition, the work includes collaboration with two other spaces, one in Porto (Portugal) and one in New York (USA).

PORTO, Theatre Mala Voadora

The space in Porto corresponds to a room of the Mala Voadora Theatre. In our fiction, this space belongs to our "roommate" the artist Daniel Pinheiro. A wall of our apartment in Madrid has a life-size projection of the space in Oporto, as if it were an adjoining room. This wall is attached to the kitchen, so that, through video-conferencing, we can have breakfast, lunch or dinner together. Also, one of the couches in our living room is the one of the “roommate”: he has a couch in Porto, and when sitting down, his image is projected on the couch in Madrid. So we can enjoy his (tele) presence.

NEW YORK, Hub Culture, Refest-2014

The space in NY is called Culture Hub, technological arm of La Mama Umbria mainly dedicated to the performing arts. The 48-hours that lasts the artwork matches the same dates as the Refest-2014 festival. Our colleagues there are Billy Clack, Jesse Ricke and OS O'Brien. For our intervention, they have provided a space at La Mama Galleria, so that there is an installation that is set up and that all visitors of Resfest-2014 can see. The installation consists of a box closed by a door with a doorbell. Pressing the doorbell, we will hear it in Madrid, and we can talk with them through an "intercom". Then, we can open from Madrid the lock of the box in NY, and visitors will find inside a screen video conferencing with the living room in Madrid and have a joystick with which they will be able to move the camera to inspect our space a bit. Also, inside the box, they should find something to drink and snack, as a good host should offer something to their guests. The table supporting the box must be covered by a cloth, and tucked under the skirt we have our "dog" that is hidden: a small robot that we can control from Madrid, make him go out and bark at the foot of newcomers from NY.

Broadcasting and documentation

In this project the artist Jaime de los Rios from San Sebastian (Spain) has also collaborated, creating an interactive visual that changes colour and appearance depending on the activity produced on Twitter during the event. This visual will be on a monitor inside the chimney of our apartment in Madrid, and a camera will broadcast the fireplace on streaming for the 48h (it will be accessible on the website of INTACT). On the other hand, all the action will be recorded on a minute by minute Twitter account. There are three fixed cameras which monitor the entire apartment in Madrid. Each time a guest takes an action via Twitter (turn on a light, for example), a camera will snap a picture and post it on Twitter, citing the user. Furthermore, by themselves, the cameras will generate a photo every minute and will also post it on Twitter. This will generate a continuous record of the activity of this open home on all four sides. And this record is, of course, the "Host Diary" (also available on the website of INTACT).