Zone is situated in the ground floor of The Evelina Children’s Hospital,
known as Ocean. It provides patients and their friends and family members
with a chance to be transported from the confines of the hospital waiting
area to imaginary and fantastical virtual worlds. It is the first teleporter
to have been developed for a hospital.
enables children to perform and interact on ‘television’ and
aims to distract them (and their families and carers) from the worry of
being in hospital. Children
can see themselves on screen in a variety of settings: on a pirate ship,
in an aeroplane, in a spaceship, in a king and queen’s throne, in
front of the Taj Mahal, in the ocean, surrounded by cuddly toys on a sofa,
floating with the clouds, on the beach and in a circus tent. Each sequence
last two minutes enabling children to have fun and interact with their
Paul Sermon, Professor of Creative Technology at the University of Salford,
the installation relays live video images between two spaces so that visitors
sitting in different places can be seen on the television screen in the
same virtual environment. It uses ‘chroma keying’ technology
– the technology used to present newsreaders and weather forecasters
in front of maps and graphical backgrounds.
recent release of the Arts Council England publication “Arts
in health: a review of medical literature” (Staricoff, 2004)
presents a comprehensive evaluation of research into the influence
and effects of the arts on healthcare between 1990 and 2004. This
review includes 385 references from related medical literature and
offers strong evidence of the value arts and humanities have in
enhancing patient recovery. However, many studies undertaken concentrate
on the influence of audio and music, with the remainder focusing
on literature, poetry and visual arts. The review concludes by recommending
that different art forms need to be integrated and evaluated in
the healthcare culture (Staricoff, 2004).
the development of shared telepresent virtual environments (Sermon,
1995) it is possible to relay live video images between two sites
and combine audience participants within the same telepresent installation.
This technique has been used successfully in a variety of installations
consisting of tables (Sermon, 1999), chairs, sofas (Sermon, 1993)
and beds (Sermon, 1992) as a means of interface, and have been exhibited
widely in Japan, America, Australia and Europe.
of the key features of this work, and its relevance to the context
of an outpatients waiting area has been children’s compelling
desire to embody a telepresent performer role presented on ‘stage’
in front of them (Sermon, 2004). After entering the installation
the participants become completely uninhibited by the public surroundings,
as if they were themselves no longer present in that space. This
phenomenon is defined as ‘telepresent escapism’ (Sermon,
2004) and is considered a means of ‘extending consciousness’
Zone is one of five permanent artworks incorporated within the outpatients
waiting area of the new Evelina Children’s Hospital at St
Thomas’ in London. Envisaged by healthcare strategists “Rawlinson
Kelly Whittlestone” and designed by “Hopkins Architects”,
this hospital has been proclaimed as one of the UK’s foremost
and innovative NHS projects.
new Evelina Children's Hospital has been designed around the needs
of children and their families. Its underlying philosophy is to
create 'a hospital that does not feel like a hospital', housing
a gallery and performance space, a café and hospital school."
on this philosophy, The Teleporter Zone is designed to relocate
outpatients to a different time and space. It will help to move
outpatients away from the confines of the waiting area and speed
up the time spent waiting. An ‘S’ shaped curved wall
will ensure that children on either side will not be able to see
each other. However, video monitors on each side will show the participants
sitting together within computer animated background scenes that
suggest the content of their communication, and further relocate
the interacting children within entirely new telepresent environments.
by Guy's and St Thomas' Charity