Research Critique 4: The Big Kiss


And from this ubiquitous state of shared presence we have come to inhabit an entirely new way of seeing via a fracturing of perception. The window through which we view the world is multi-layered, composited, and non-linearily re-arranged.

The Third Space, Randall Packer

Annie Abraham’s The Big Kiss demonstrates a sense of intimacy between two people from their remote locations, showing the audience the possibility and impossibility of intimacy via a network. It is fascinating to watch them trying to “kiss” each other by trying to align their lips on the big screen. It also highlights the awkward difficulty of trying to evoke that sense of physical touch via a network.

The Big Kiss can also be viewed as a collaborative work. Despite the intimate nature of the ‘kiss’, what is formed on the big screen is an effort of both kissers, a display of utmost concentration. I refer to the quote above from the reading. The screen becomes this shared space, composited, and it breaks down the barriers of locations and perceptions. It is seamless.


Final Project sketch:


Here’s a draft outline of my final project:

Title: (might change this as my project progresses…)
Description: An internet TV channel broadcasting web episodes, documenting my life on the computer, by sharing the computer screen publicly.

main ideas

  • documentary style web episodes (webisodes) of what I do online/offline
  • using Quicktime’s screen recording function to capture footage from my desktop.
  • each webisode can focus on a specific topic, for example: how to waste time, how to get shit done… etc.


Jon Cates, Bold3RRR

I have a renewed appreciation for this work. Last semester I was still quite baffled by the idea. But I have a better idea of it now and following the discussion in class, I am also quite inspired by the idea of desktop sharing as a form of communication and personal documentary.



Modern Family, Connection Lost 

I watched this over the break while catching up on my TV shows, and I was rather surprised by this episode. The whole story took place on the desktop of one of the characters, Claire. It shows how she uses various apps like Facetime, Mail, Safari, to communicate with her family while in transit at an airport. It is refreshing and fascinating to see how the desktop can be used to tell a story, and that is used for such a popular and mainstream TV show.



Adventure Time, A Glitch Is a Glitch

This episode of Adventure Time also incorporates the glitch as part of the story, and the whole episode is designed to be “glitched”. The character designs looked raw and deconstructed, and the landscape reveals the grid work. I thought it is interesting because in this episode, the “glitch” was a kind of monster than the main characters Finn and Jake must help to destroy, and having the environment set up like that creates a sense of authenticity.

A common idea that I can derive from these pieces of work and apply to my own final project is that it really exemplifies the term ‘virtual reality’ at its most literal definition. It is a face of reality that follows the movement of a user’s click and touch on the computer. This method of storytelling, if I can call it for my work, can be a mix of thrilling, engaging and entertaining.

In terms of content, I am not sure what it is I will be presenting in my webisodes just yet. I’m making use of Quicktime’s screen recording function to make 10 minute videos of myself working on the computer, everytime I am online and doing something. For starters, I will make some videos first, and then once or twice a week I will look through what I’ve recorded and then sieve out some potentially interesting segments to put together.


The final project involves some live streaming. For the live streaming part, I will perhaps just show whatever is on my screen while I go on to do stuff. But I will have some pre-recorded segments made, just to give viewers some context about the work and what it is about. This can be a couple of pilot episodes I think, just to get it started.

For example, one episode can be dedicated to getting distracted online. Then I’ll look through the footage captured each week and sieve out the bits that captured me when I am trying to do work, but command+tab to another screen to look at lame youtube videos or chatting with my friends. Something like that. I think it might kind of be funny.


Mobile Cam Exercise 3

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For my part on the symposium performance, I decided to focus my camera on this area, which is the wall that is next to the basement lift lobby. The wall consisted of posts written by many students, which I found to be quite interesting as they are all part of a big conversation.

It also hints at my location (the unknown “here”). Audience may catch sight of keywords that will give them an idea of where I might be. It is interesting to note that my username in Adobe Connect during the symposium was “here”, an automated name given to me once I log on.

w r now[here]: Cyberformance critique

Having a chance to participate in this cyberformance is definitely one of the highlights of Media and Performance class. By being the key performers of this segment in the symposium, we can better understand some of the concepts illustrated in class regarding performance art and the third space.

w r now[here] allows us to work with a real cyber performance artist, Helen Varley Jamieson. Rehearsals and preparations were connected through Adobe Connect, in true virtual fashion. For two weeks, we went through rehearsals using our mobile phones, testing webcams and our connection settings. Even though the performance takes place online, it is also crucial to take into account real-life circumstances. One of the most important points to take note during our performance was not to show our faces or to show each other. Taking that into consideration, my classmates and I had to make sure that our starting point, the “nowhere” are relatively far away from each other. There were a few of us situated at every level and corner of the school. Eventually, we have to meet in the lobby to slowly make our way to the theatre. This part of the performance was rather tricky as we were already gathered in a group. Yet, we took care to remain out of each other’s viewfinders. It is quite fun and required some improvisation: some of us pointed our cameras to the ceilings, some focused on other people in that area, and then some of us kept our cameras focused on one object. I think we succeeded in this area, after looking at our performance on Vimeo.

Another key point to note is definitely the technical difficulties faced. The university network was down just minutes before the performance was to go live, and we had a little collective moment of panic. Thankfully, the technical situation was fixed quickly. During our rehearsals and our mobile cam exercises that led up to the performance, we also encountered various technical failures such as unable to log in to Adobe Connect. Fortunately, all of us performers were located in the same space during the day of the performance and we made use of the same connection during the actual performance, so we didn’t have these issues.

One important takeaway from this performance was my understanding of some of the artworks discussed in class. For weeks, we discussed about cyborgs, the body as an instrument, the telematic embrace and the third space. One of the works I critiqued in this class was Robert Whitman’s American Moon. After the performance, I felt I could understand Whitman’s work better. Here’s a description of the work from the syllabus page:

“Whitman created a multi-dimensional theater environment that gave viewers differing perspectives on action taking place in a central theatrical area.”

I would liken the sectioning of the audience in Whitman’s work to our webcams during the performance, especially during the moment when we gathered together at last in the theater space, our cameras pointing at the audience.cyberformance1


The audience became part of the work, forming an interesting multidimensional collage. I felt that all the concepts covered during the first half of the semester culminated in this moment during the performance, and I thought it was an absolutely amazing to see how it all came together to form such an interesting piece of networked performance.

Project Hyperessay 3: Conclusion

Project Link


g.r.f.e experiments with the idea of having the ability to manipulate and eradicate certain areas of our personal history on the virtual realm, using glitch art and the aesthetizing of errors to break apart and censor fractions of content.


Working on my archiving project while taking Media and Performance class reveals that active participation in the third space even before I realised what it meant. I live most of my teenage years online and on the virtual space, and actively documented my life on my blog. Having a large part of my personal history stored away on a cloud server and being permanently there is like a massive time capsule. Every episode in my life is a click away on my archive page.

Looking through my history of blogging reveals my relationship to the virtual space and how it had shaped me, as an individual and as an artist.

As a visual artist, I ask myself, what can I make out of this archive, of the raw, unedited content? My main focus working on this archiving project is to re-present this content again in a fresh manner that gives new meaning to old identities. It is a bridge that illustrates the transition from adolescence to adulthood, to remember and also to let go.

performative chance art

Each collage created in this webpage is by chance. They are unplanned works of collages. First I begin with a page from my blog or my physical journal. The content is chosen based on how the memory that is recorded on the page made me feel. Some of the entries describe some embarrassing memories in school, some documented certain experiences of loss, anger and sadness from my adolescent years. These are words that painted my teenage self portrait. Then, I manipulated the image in Photoshop, repeating/highlighting text, cancel words or blank out areas completely.

Each collage is also performative way of acknowledging the temporal nature of these issues, and above all, a kind of celebration.

This project experiments with the idea of having the ability to manipulate history and eradicating certain points in that history. It also helps me to find the ability to look at it from a more controlled and mature perspective. Glitching helps to break apart and censor fractions of words that are too confrontational.

long form content

The final work is presented on a webpage built with basic HTML, just tables that help to align the images neatly. This is an open ended project that I will continue to work on as part of my final year project, adding new collages as I sieve through my virtual archive.

The nature of this long form content alludes to my blogging practice as well, a beginning with no end.


Working on this project had been really fun and I enjoyed the performative and experimental quality of making the gifs out of these collages. I am rather pleased with the outcome of the project as it had come a long way from the ideas that I first presented in the first hyperessay. At first, the scope of my project is quite large: I want to talk about the changing landscapes of social media, from sites like Myspace, tools like MSN Messenger, virtual nostalgia, and the relationship between myself and these sites, but as the semester progresses, I realised that my blog is a better source for me to examine my relationship with the virtual reality.

If I could improve on the project, I would make some of the gifs more engaging: perhaps screenshots of MSN chat windows that mimics a real conversation.

Mobile Cam Exercise: we R here again

Photo 18-3-15 4 09 06 pm Photo 18-3-15 4 10 56 pm Photo 18-3-15 4 11 03 pm Photo 18-3-15 4 11 06 pm Photo 18-3-15 4 12 49 pm Photo 18-3-15 4 13 06 pm Photo 18-3-15 4 13 08 pmDiana and I decided to try the mobile cam exercise again, to demonstrate the idea of being at the same place, but not physically together. This time we both set up a meeting during our respective classes. The connection is far more stable today (we did in the afternoon, the previous exercise was at night).


Mobile Cam Exercise: we r here[now]

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It was rather challenging to work on the mobile cam exercise due to connection issues. Diana and I have tried communicating at two different places: she’s at home and I’m in school. We both decided that we will try this exercise with wifi and not data plan to ensure a more stable connection.

The first screencap is from our communication which lasted for a few minutes before Diana disappeared (second cap). I also experience lag in connection. I was at the ADM cafe area and walking around a lot to test the stability of wifi. It is not too bad, and I hope this works just as well on the day of the symposium!

The next few caps were tested on my data plan on the bus to school. It’s pretty stable, although i must comment that the video quality is much more pixelated on data plan.

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.

Research Critique 3 — Paul Sermon ‘Telematic Dreaming’

Paul Sermon’s ‘Telematic Dreaming’ is a seminal interactive installation made in 1992.

In my critique of the piece, I feel ‘Telematic Dreaming’ is conceptually like a video conference call, although it takes the concept of a video conference much further: by projecting the video-image on a specific surface/location,  the senses of the participants are heightened and engaged. Participants are not merely viewing each other through a monitor. The projection of the video-image on a bed allows participants to simulate a physical form of communication. The work is able to recreate the sense of touch and intimacy that is enhanced simply by the setting and the object- the bed. In the reading ‘Cyber Bodies’ by Steve Dixon, it is mentioned that the telematics offer a fourth dimension where the physical body can do things like mapping itself onto another or disappear. “Our bodies seemed to be infinitely mutable, while they never ceased to be our bodies.” Such a dimension and plane of reality allows for the idea of conversation and metaphors to expand further by reinterpreting meanings of certain actions in the virtual context. To illustrate this point, I’ll refer to the experiences of Susan Kozel, what does it mean when a visitor presents her with a rose she is unable to grasp physically? Or when men jumped on the bed where her head is projected? The disembodied electronic body is interpreted differently across all participants: the metaphorical presence is either real or not real to them. Perhaps the visitor felt that the virtual conversation was real enough for him to present a real rose as a response, but the men feel that they are able to act out a different role because they will not actually harm the artist.

Research Critique 1 — Robert Whitman’s ‘American Moon’

Whitman’s ‘American Moon’ is a theatrical piece that takes into account the architecture of the space and transform it for the piece. The performance also interacts with the audience members, notably by “sectioning” them by partitions which are also part of his architectural transformation of the space. I think of these “sections” as some sort of channel, wherein different groups of the audience views the performance from their unique perspectives.

This audience-space relationship illustrates the idea of the “composite-image space” as mentioned in the reading “Electronic Cafe International” by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz. Both are interesting in creating the concept of a virtual space and networking before the advent of the Internet and technology as we are familiar with today. In the reading, the virtual space is understood as an area for collaboration and networking to take place, a place where social situations “exist without traditional etiquette”. Barriers and boundaries are broken down, people are freed of their physical identity and existed as an “avatar”. Why is this important? It helps to bring ideas and common research and ideas together, without being compromised by geographical issues.

In similar fashion, Whitman tries to emulate this shared space by transforming the theatre space into an environment that is quite multi-dimensional. By having the audience seated in these “tunnels” seem to replicate the idea of a network, of a common, unseen space: that each participant in the audience is holding on to a piece that is a part of a larger picture, which is what the virtual space is very much all about: the idea of a composite-image.




Apart from the research critique, I also find the above quote from the reading very interesting indeed. People did used to think of the telephone as a really powerful invention, but yet how many of us do actually pick up the phone to talk to somebody today? We are both very active and reclusive participants in this age of social networking, we know everything about somebody but we also know nothing — but that’s a discussion for another time 🙂