Fortune Telling Live Broadcast
Posted by Christopher Lee on Thursday, 8 November 2018
This social experiment aims to find out the boundaries of personal space and explores the idea of privacy in the third space. We often open up to people when we are talking one to one as inhibition is broken down due to the presence of comfort and personal space. What if this conversation is taken to the third space and placed in the limelight of online viewers and netizens? Will the conversation be the same as how it is in the first space? Or will the third space break the boundaries of comfort?
The idea of live fortune telling was inspired heavily by Paul Sermon’s Telematic Dreaming. In essence, two participants lie on individual beds in remote locations but they “share the same bed” in the third space. Even though they are not physically together, there is still a strong sense of intimacy and presence amongst the participants. From this, I wanted to see if similarly to Paul’s Installation, if deep conversations could be held through the third space and if, these conversations are held, will there be a presence of intimacy despite knowing that the other person is just some random stranger and the best part of all he or she is not physically with you?
My Installation required an enclosed space and the Truss Room was perfect for that. In addition, I felt that the best timing for the fortune telling live stream was to be held at night/midnight as this is the time in which people are tired and exhausted from the day’s activities and tiredness results in a loss of inhibition, making oneself much more open to sharing personal stories.
Viewers will be invited onto the live stream and then I’ll introduce several topics for them to choose – love, work or friendship. After choosing I will tell them their fortune.
Along the way, I had the help of Sheryl and Mark (Really appreciate that) for the props and the setting. Fairy lights, candles and practical effects such as movement of the lights were done by my assistants and without them, this fortune-telling would have been a failure. The silver ball in the foundation room was the last touch as it fits perfectly in this setting.
For the method of streaming, I was using Facebook Live on my phone as tested previously, the Facebook Live on the laptop cannot do a split screen nor invite people to come on to the video. I was quite disappointed by the quality of the reception as there were especially a lot of people in school that day but I still made do with the circumstances.
I started the stream by introducing myself as Christella the fortune teller and that I am inviting online viewers to participate in the live fortune telling by joining my stream. I invited one of my friends, Kai, to join the stream. He was relatively happy and enthusiastic about joining and he chose the Love choice. After harnessing some from the silver ball, I was able to foretell his love life. 5 years down the road and he will be able to meet the love of his life. Her name would start with the letter “V”. There was an initial brief barrier when Kai entered the conversation as both our conversations were being heard by other viewers. I tried to keep this performance something light-hearted at the start to try and make the environment comfortable for the viewer. I realized it was still hard for Kai to open up or in fact, time was the limitation as to how much information we can share. However, I had this feeling that if the conversation lasted longer, we would both have forgotten the presence of viewers and might share something more private. This seemed to resemble Paul’s Sermon Telematic Dreaming in which the participant slowly forgets the stares from the onlookers and becomes immersed in the virtual
The second participant was another of my friend, Charmaine. In her case, the reception was relatively bad because some other friends were also streaming in the same location and this resulted in a poor quality communication. Now that the participant is in first space and third space simultaneously, this highlights the idea of privacy erosion and that personal space is lost completely because now the participant is in the same space with her friends and also live on the third space.
Social Experiments provide a platform for criticism (Discovery)
When we expose our lives on the Internet, it is also a platform for criticism because of what you say and act, which results in the judgment and
critique of people. This was evident in the comment section of the live broadcast as people commented about unrelated topics. This highlights the idea that people are expressive in nature and they take on the role as both a spectator as well as a commentator.
That is the current situation in third space.
Even though I felt that this experiment was incomplete due to technical factors such as reception, it has made me realized the difficulty for people who share their stories on a live stream or tv show interview. They have to go out of their personal space and become immune to an invasion of the privacy from both the audience and the interviewer as well.
To conclude the learnings from this experiment, conversations through the third space can break privacy and personal space boundaries but factors of time and comfort have to be present in order for this to occur. When a person is comfortable, he or she will tend to lower their situational awareness and hence be less inhibited in sharing their own private stories.