TELEPRESENCE IN POPULAR CULTURE

A study of portrayals of presence

Being There

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ABOUT THE WORK

MEDIUM:

Film 

YEAR:

1979 

WRITER(S):

Jerzy Kosinski (story) 

OWN COPY?

No 
 

ABOUT THE STORY

SUMMARY:

A simple-minded gardener named Chance has spent all his life in the Washington D.C. house of an old man. When the man dies, Chance is put out on the street with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television. After a run in with a limousine, he ends up a guest of a woman (Eve) and her husband Ben, an influential but sickly businessman. Now called Chauncey Gardner, Chance becomes friend and confidante to Ben, and an unlikely political insider. Written by Scott Renshaw.  

ERA/YEAR:

Present day when produced 

CHARACTERISTICS
OF WORLD:

Chance. He is a brain-damaged orphan. He talks about gardening and what he says is interpreted as metaphors, metaphors about contemporary society. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE-EVOKING TECHNOLOGY
NAME:
TV 
DESCRIPTION:
“He sank into the screen. Like sunlight and fresh air and mild rain, the world from outside the garden entered Chance, and Chance, like a TV image, floated into the world, buoyed up by a force he did not see and could not name.” (p.6)  
NATURE OF TASK OR ACTIVITY:
Anything can be done that can be physically done 
PERFORMANCE OF THE TECHNOLOGY:
Works very well 
 
ABOUT THE CREATORS OF THE TECHNOLOGY
DESCRIPTION:
TV manufacturers  
MAJOR GOAL(S):
Entertainment 
 
ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE PRESENCE
DESCRIPTION:
Chance. He is the viewer of the TV programs. He is (an example of) an simple-minded individual; an individual that do not analyzes or reflects on the difference between the face-to-face world and what is presented on TV. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE EXPERIENCE
TYPE(S) OF PRESENCE:
Both spatial and social presence 
DESCRIPTION:
Quite realistic. He experience everything just as a person in the face-to-face world is doing. 
USER AWARENESS:
yes 
VALENCE:
Enjoyable 
SPECIFIC RESPONSES:
Higher involvement. Copying behavior 
 
ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF PRESENCE
LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES:
is misleading. The choice or judgments are based on fake, not on reality. 
 
AND FINALLY...
OTHER INFORMATION:
 
CODER NAME:
Ingvar Tjostheim  
CODER E-MAIL:
ingvar@nr.no 
CODER AFFILIATION:
Norwegian Computing Center 
DATE CODED:
3/31/2008 

 


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