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Research Critique IV: Jon Cates ‘Bold3RRR’

It takes me a while to understand Jon Cates’ work, though from my own understanding of it, I see it as a theatrical piece of sort: specifically a monologue theatre. I am drawn to his dialogue, even if the screenshots is at first hard to understand. His spoken word is deliberately paced, and almost poetic at times “I want to reflect, I want to reflect, I want to reflect…” His inclusion of the noise and feedback sounds also contribute to the idea of this piece being a reflection of real-time: it represents the whole idea of “lagging” and how apparent it is in real-time video conferencing. I think it’s interesting he has chosen to embrace this technological error and include this in this piece because we inevitably go through such errors when engaging in these forms of communication. For example, we get that a lot in our Adobe Connect meetings in this class – such glitches are all part of what this is all about.

Another thing I’ve noted from the work is the idea of anonymity – similar to what Adriene Jenik mentions in her essay: “in virtual space, spatial and temporal bodies are masked and shrouded from view; it was fascinating to discover that shrouding ourselves instigated an emergence of people from behind their shadow online selves.” The image of Jon Cates is ambiguous and blurred, and even though we can see his screenshots and his actions on the computer, it does not offer the full picture. The images are monochromatic and so highly contrasted that they are whited out. Despite being denied of the physical identity, what is crucial is still being able to see his actions on the virtual space.