Research Critique 3- Glitch & The Act Of Destruction

As described by Menkman, R. (2009) in Glitch Studies Manifesto, ‘The glitch is a wonderful experience of an interruption that shifts an object away from its ordinary form and discourse’.

For micro project 5 ,my group decided to used styrofoam as our medium. Using a few discarded piece of styrofoam from the recycle box,  we connect them and form our own artwork. We used 2 hot guns and heat the foams, the medium is then transformed from its original form. The outcome of this work is unpredictable.

The process of destroying and destruction could usually be done in a few secs. However, if you watch the video, you will realised that the styrofoam takes some time for it to disintegrates.  It started by forming uneven textures and after a while, it slowly disintegrates. In order to take better notice of the changes, we had to fast forward the video.  Another thing that I found interesting was that the styrofoam disappeared, we thought it would leave some bits and pieces.

I felt that destruction refers to the process of causing something to change from its ordinary form, be it good or bad. For our case, the end product was a pleasant surprise.

According to Randall Packer, Conversation with Jon Cates (2014) Hyperallergic they mentioned “They might be glitched, and they might be imperfect and noisy, and that might be what attracts us or me to those systems.”

I thought that this is very relatable as glitch art is more widely seen in recent years.  Glitch is no longer rejected by people, in today’s world, we are more open to art. We do not need to have a perfectly painted work for it to be art. What we once understood as glitch is now a new form of art.

Research Critique 2- The Third Space

The third space has been compared, by Randall Packer, to “a space of invention and possibility, like lucid dreaming, where participants might assume their avatar identities, engage in post-human, cyborgian manifestations, or perhaps reinvent the world in the image of their own making”.

The third space refers simply to the “networked-ness” of relationships – be they in the form of interpersonal relationships or virtually collaborative performances. To “assumer avatar identities” and “reinvent the world in the image of their own making” is, in less bombastic language, simply called imagination. It is human nature to imagine – in fact humans are distinguished from other sentient creatures by our ability to project unto the future, a process that would be impossible without imagination. So to suggest that it’s “post-human” and “cyborgian” is sensationalist at best, and at worst, simply inaccurate.

We don’t behave the way we are around friends when we are around our in-laws; we don’t behave the way we are around our spouse when we are around our boss; we don’t even behave the way we are on Facebook when we are on LinkedIn. These are all different ways in which we “assume an avatar identity”, and herein lies the criticism of Packer’s article, because the inhibition of the third space should be viewed not in absolute terms, but along a spectrum.

Of course there have been cases of people living their lives on Second Life at the expense of their real lives to tragic consequences, but these are at the extreme end of the spectrum and should be viewed as what they are: anomalies.

Reading Packer’s article, with his apocalyptic declarations that “the laws of the known world have been all but abandoned in the third space”, one gets a foreboding sense of pessimism; that society today is at a sorry state of evolution. But i would argue that to live in the third space, to have the ability to “inhibit a swath of networked space, no longer constrained to the singularity of a single moment or place” should be viewed instead as a great enabler that has allowed us to collapse previously insurmountable boundaries

As i type this in my room, i am looking at my boyfriend who’s in Taiwan via Skype while messages are constantly coming in on Whatsapp from friends scattered around the world. Just the other day, I “attended” Jay Chou’s concert despite being at home in my pajamas because it seemed everyone at that concert were posting live stories on Instagram.

In that sense, I would align my views more closely with those of Maria Chatzichristodoulo as her article on Cyberformance paints the “third space” in a more optimistic light.

Written in 2012, she is prescient in her prediction that streaming platforms will “become more ubiquitous and embedded within our daily lives”, and that there will be greater “use of Skype, VOIP and other internet telephony protocols to converse with family and friends”. In fact, the most popular messaging apps today (WeChat, Line, Whatsapp) all have call functions and they have proliferated to the degree that we take the closeness and intimacy that this third space provides for granted.

From having to wait for a myriad number of factors to converge before we could meet a loved one residing overseas, we are now complaining when the Facetime connection is poor. The extent to which we are able to touch, feel and connect with another person remotely is so embedded that it is no longer possible to imagine a world without it.

Where her prediction falls short is with regard to performances moving towards a virtual world. Performances have been increasingly consumed online, but a live performance being streamed online is still not the same as a performance that exists solely in and for the virtual world.

And as for collaborating with one another remotely in the third space, it is telling that Paul Sermon’s Telematic Dreaming does not sound dated despite it having been conducted 25 years ago. While the technology has so greatly advanced that anybody can easily do it now – for our micro project 3, Kai Ting and I made a symmetrical drawing despite being in different locations – the demand for such performances have not kept up.

That’s because performances are emotive experiences after all, and the feel of a live performance will never, in my opinion, be exceeded by that of a virtual one. The knowledge that “very single moment of a theatrical experience is entwined with the loss of a specific and unique relational experience that cannot be preserved or reproduced exactly so” is irreplaceable.

So I am, in Packer’s words, a “digital native”, and I am proud of it. But i reject his notion that we “cannot separate the real and the virtual”. The third space is indeed “an integral fact of everyday life in the 21st century”, but just because we embrace it does not mean we are consumed by it.


Research Critique 1: CrowdSourcing (Micro Project 2)

“It can collide with mainstream culture but also exist deeper in the networked shadows, in accordance to the needs of whoever participates at any given time. It is creativity with a radical edge, asking questions through peer engagement, as it loosens up infrastructural ties and frameworks. It is a contemporary way of collaborating and exploiting the advantages of living in the Internet age.”

Inspired by the above quote from Garrett, we aimed to pursue his interpretation of D.I.W.O. in the most literal sense.

For our project, we decided to collaboratively produce a simple piece of artwork with an Internet audience. The mechanics of our project was simple: starting with a blank canvas, our Instagram viewers will – through a series of votes on our account – choose what is the next item for us to draw.

The voting between 2 simple choices – examples included “moon or sun”, “sand or grass” – could only be done via Instagram. This in turn meant only those viewing that Instagram account at that point in time were able to participate. We were literally “asking questions through peer engagement”, with the final artwork created being “in accordance to the needs of whoever participated at any given time”.

With Instagram being arguably the most influential social media platform for millennials right now, it is the most “contemporary way of collaborating and exploiting the advantages of living in the Internet age.”

As the voting progressed, we realised that while we have ceded the decision making to the voters, we still retained a large amount of creative control of what was actually drawn.

For instance, while the voters might have decided on “moon” instead of “sun”, there were many ways we – as the artist – could have interpreted this. While we eventually drew a simple crescent moon in the sky, ideas brainstormed along the way included using the surface of the moon as the setting for our artwork; drawing a rocket on its way to the moon; and even aliens.

Final Artwork

That prompted us to realise this effort was truly collaborative in the spirit of Garrett as it has flipped art making on its head. Whereas traditional art making installed the artist at its head and with it – full autonomy and control – this project ceded the decision making to the audience.

Yoko Ono’s Conceptual Art Performance

While not to the same extent as Yoko Ono (her’s involved ceding total artistic and physical control), she remain motionless and the audience had the freedom to cut off as much cloths as they wish. I would argue that our project is more in line with the spirit of what Garret has described as it is more collaborative.

After all, D.I.W.O. stands for Do-It-With-Others, so it is imperative that the artist also has some artistic license and creative control. Otherwise, the artist would just be another cog in the machine producing exactly whatever was dictated of him, which would tragically be the very thing that inspired the emergence of D.I.W.O. in the first place.