report update

*I just lost all the information I’ve typed here. So upset 🙁 Trying my best to remember what I’ve written.

I wanted to spend more time on the report because I feel that my project is driven much more by the process that goes behind making the work, rather than the work itself. Over the weekend, I combed through my notebooks to see what I’ve previously written about my project since last year. There are a lot of ideas and each one of them is still relevant to my project at this point. So the outline below is an updated ‘system’ that I made to illustrate my thought process.

I feel that my project has become more than just a mere documentation of my teenage blogging journey, but also about what the Internet and the virtual community means to me and my artistic practice during those years. Beyond this, there is potential for a broader discussion and exploration on how that virtual network has changed, and expanded. The genre of Net art is constantly evolving, especially in communities such as Tumblr, where new virtual identities, phases and trends are always emerging. I feel that this is an evolved mode of self-representation and online persona, vastly different from the kind I experienced in my teenage years, where the lines between the virtual and real life identities are slowly merging together. All of this are really something to look at, and I hope that my project will, in some way, expand the discussion on what the virtual life means for the teenage generation now.




My project is an ongiong research about understanding my art practice and how I have lived my own life so closely with this process. The key concepts that surrounds my work is looking at the source material, raw data, and the process as a form of narrative and art. This report is a conclusive summary of the ideas that influence and drive the conceptual process.


My project is an ongoing research about understanding my art process through remixing and experimenting with the source material that is my blog archive.


My project is an ongoing research and exploration of the important of self-documenting through primarily virtual methods, using the soruce material that is my blog and making sense of the raw data that is the unedited voice of my youth. My personal art practice, my attitude and perspective on life and art is driven by the need to do a personal rebranding of the self, as a way to forget/move on/heal from the experiences of adolescence. Inspired by the literary genre of the bildungsroman, this project takes on a more experimental approach in narrating the traditional coming-of-age story. The bildungsroman refers to a novel dealing with one person’s formative years, focusing on the psychological and moral growth of the character. Writing in my blog actively for the last ten years of my life makes me attached to the memories and the experience of documenting my life in this virtual journal. The act of writing compulsively becomes both a liberal feeling and a burden to my memories. As my blogging activity declines in my university years, I have pinpoint the reason to be the need to fully rebrand myself, both internally and externally, in light of the experiences of my teenage-hood, in an attempt to move forward.


The source material is an art by itself. My objective in this body of work is to present a personal truth, maintaining an artistic voice that is true to the unedited and spontaneous nature of self-documentation and journal-writing.


My approach to the project is reflective of the interdisciplinary processes of my art practice, of skills I’ve learned over the years, combining a mix of traditional and digital methods to narrate this story of personal transition and also to place emphasis on the virtual, web-based nature of my story and my art.


My project is an ongoing research and exploration of self-documenting through primarily virtual methods, using the source material that is my blog, and making sense of the raw data that is the unedited voice of my youth. My art practice, attitude and perspective on life, is emcompassed by the need to reinvent and rebrand myself, in light of the negative experiences that i have been through in adolescence. Inspired by the literary genre bildungsroman (a novel that describes the formative years of a character), my project takes on an experimental and interdiscplinary approach to the traditionally linear format of telling this story. My objective in this body of work is to present a personal truth and maintaining a voice that feels as genuine as possible to the source material – my blog which I’ve written actively for the last ten years. The act of compulsively writing becomes both a liberal feeling in helping to alleviate some of the negative emotions, but also means that it becomes a burden. As my blogging activity decreases in my university years, I have pinpoint the reason to be a need to fully rebrand myself, to change my outlook in life and the way that I present myself, such that it doesn’t suggest any past struggle. The outcome of the project is reflective of the interdisciplinary processes that surrounds my art practice, combining a mix of traditional and digital methods, and aims for a further discussion on the impact of the Internet culture on today’s youths.



This section looks at an array of interconnected themes in my project.


Source material as art


My project is an autobiographical work-in-progress that involves mining the digital terrain for source material. My personal blog is a rich source of experiential content, a database that holds not only my own personal thoughts but also nostalgic virtual memories. This is a fundamental difference between the blog and the traditional journal. The multimedia nature of the digital space means that we are able to surf for information in a variety of formats, collect them and exhibit them in a space that is more than just a diary website (mark amerika ‘what is a blog). Looking through my blog archive, I am able to find traces of what I refer to as “virtual nostalgia”, of bits and pieces of certain websites and applications that have since shut down which were used by many like me, during their teenage years.


By highlighting this virtual nostalgia, I am learning to find out what these online data and activity means for our own experience of memory. Vannevar Bush said it best in his 1945 essay As We May Think: “…trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory”. Each Internet application, website or even devices have a sense of built-in obsolescence. For most average users, personal data that holds some significance for our memories are transient in nature. Technology changes quickly to better suit our needs: web applications become obsolete quite quickly, therefore we might not find traces of our virtual past as easily. There is also a shift in conversation: a gradual, increasing need to express ourselves without words. At the heart of this change, I find a need to rediscover what conversation means on the Internet and to examine the psychological impact of instant gratification, and the arbitrary concepts of acceptance and approval that comes along with such wordless conversations.

Neopets Retrospective


I normally talk about movies and cartoons from the previous decade but I feel it’s time that’s time to discuss something that’s more  exclusive to the 2000s, and that’s the popularization of the internet. I know it’s been around since the 90s, but back then it’s mainly used for pornography and black market goods. I know that’s still the main use to many but as the 2000s decade was progressing, all these new websites were coming along, many of which was for social networking that wasn’t something most kids were going into, so what kids really had then was this wonderful browser-based animal RPG called Neopets. It’s where I went onto the internet when I was young. Neopets was probably riding off the super popularity/success that was Pokemon. Neopets was a site where we could have virtual pets, and there was a large world there that we could do quite a bit in… it was just a quirky early internet site made for college students…

A transcript from the video which I found earlier today about Neopets, and I want to write a bit about it as I think it’s a good starting point/back story to the virtual part of my project.

I think is the virtual equivalent of a physical childhood play thing for some people my age. If you asked them what is their earliest internet memory, perhaps it will be Neopets. Like Pokemon, Neopets is made up of fictional world that is richly inhabited with creatures, items and many more. I didn’t own a GameBoy when I was a child, but once in a while when I meet my cousins, I would borrow their GameBoy and play Pokemon on it. We would take turns playing it and while it was quite fun, I never fully experience the fun of being a Pokemon trainer. But I had a computer at home and my cousin got me onto Neopets. I became so obsessed with it, and I was absolutely enchanted by this rich world. That was in 2004 when I was ten years old.

Anyway I could go on about why I loved Neopets so much, but it is quite embarrassing and I remembered being called a ‘Neopets freak’ in primary school, and it’s not the main idea of this entry… But what I eventually took away from my Neopets-crazed days was learning how to code stuff. There was a page on the website that taught users basic CSS and HTML (things couldn’t get that complicated on a web browser then anyway), which they could apply on their user profiles to beautify it. Looking back, I thought this was a very interesting way to get users to personalize their profiles. I’m not sure what was the reason behind encouraging players to use coding to change their colours of the text and add web links. As a young girl, I was drawn to making my user profile pretty and stuff, so I had to learn these basic tips and I think that really got me interested with web pages and web design. I didn’t have a topic that I was interested in, so I dedicated most of the web pages I made to my dog. I took pictures of my dog and put them on the web page, and accompanied the photos with stories about her. neopetshtml

Anyway, I got really carried away making all these web pages. But it was all in good fun, and I eventually quit playing Neopets, moving on to making more of these webpages for good.

I wish I had screenshots for all these stuff. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to embark on the virtual part of my project. The Internet is brilliant, and with it, we are able to keep track of data. I quoted Deyan Sudjic previously about the immortality of data on the virtual reality, but I sometimes feel that paradoxically, all of these data is quite ephemeral, as objects of memory. They are more fleeting than physical things: a piece of Post-It someone left for you, or a piece of jewellery your aunt gave you. The concept of time and relevance on the Internet is perceived differently than in reality. Once something is updated, and new things come along, you can’t really find an old version anymore. Things get old quickly on the Internet. Servers and domain spaces have a time limit. My old websites can never be retrieved again because the free web hosts I were using were either gone, or were developed into something else. I tried to keep backups of my artworks on the Internet on a thumb drive, but I lost it ages ago. Amongst various attempts of rebooting my virus-infected computer also leads to the loss of data over the years. What I have now is my blog, my Internet journal. Even the media I upload have a shaky, unpredictable life span. Old pictures from 2005 cannot be retrieved, because the servers have died. I thought my blog would be the most appropriate thing I can use to talk about this ephemeral nature of Internet memory, because I have been using my blog for a long time, and given it’s time and space on the virtual realm, it is quite a relic. The rest of my Internet ventures have been very short-lived, relevant for the time that it was popular.

Neopets’ rich fantastical world also retains the nostalgic and innocent quality of childhood playthings, albeit on a digital space. When it became really popular back then with children, it was labeled as a website with ‘sticky content’ that got children to spent hours and hours per week on it (children like me). Comparatively speaking, the effects of Neopets on young people is nothing compared to websites like Tumblr and applications like Instagram, both of which are used widely by many young people. Tumblr is also a rich world full of content pertaining to real-life and popular culture. It is a mass Internet media of unfiltered content, which can be a good and bad thing. For example, pornography .gifs are a popular thing on Tumblr. Skinny inspiration is also popular on the website.  I mean, I’m no prude or anything, but I find it quite worrying that such content are so easily accessible to anybody. Along with the few other popular social websites, it generates and feeds a culture that thrives on these images for envy and jealousy. Tumblr’s (in)famous endless scrolling function means that you’re constantly, forever, addicted to this stream of content.