Posted by Clara Cheng on Monday, 29 January 2018
Included above is the recorded version of our Micro Project 3.
With Micro Project 3, I partnered with Nok Wan for the Facebook Split Screen Live Streaming exercise.
THE GAME: A Brief Introduction / Summary
Our micro project followed the concept of a video game, which is usually attributed to the typical roles of an online avatar as well as a controller and his/her remote. Video games are usually a form of narrative and typically consist of an end goal; an accomplishment to be achieved or gained towards the end. In our case, it was to reach a specific location within the School of Art, Design & Media. After much consideration, we decided upon the vending machine in the basement. The action to be performed at the vending machine was… buying food. The controller while having the power to direct his/her avatar, typically has a limited set of keys as their form of instruction in order to move their avatar.
In our case, we used very direct and simplistic keys to accomplish this task of ours. The keys included within our game were: Up, Down, Left & Right (drawn on a sheet of paper). Here, in our online virtual game using Facebook Split Screen Live Stream, Nok Wan was the controller while I was the avatar.
When Nokwan held her finger down on a specific ‘key’, it meant to continue performing that particular action. For example, if Nokwan held down onto the ‘up’ key, it meant to continue walking. If she tapped on the left key, it meant to turn left. To make our task even more difficult as well as resemble more like a virtual video game, we were not speak as a form of communication.
What Is the Third Space?
In MetaMoophosis which was presented by Rick Sacks in 1997, visitors could ‘…access a closet with ‘costumes’ for various characters,’ and these costumes ‘…were descriptions of the characters and came with built-in script: selecting a costume meant entering Gregor Samsa’s world as a dramatic character.
– Cyberformance? Digital or Networked Performance?
Cybertheaters? Or Virtual Theatres?
by Maria Chatzichristodoulou
Similarly to the above quotations, when I jumped into the role of becoming a ‘virtual’ avatar, I was forced into a position with a lack of control over my own actions. Simply put, I had no sense of being. That being said, I felt that only Nok Wan had a say about how I were to live my life from then on. My fate laid in her hands at that point of time and I felt like nothing but a puppet to his/her master with strings pulled.
In our case, our Third Space was a completely new dimension that Nok Wan and I had created just merely through new rules not conformed to reality. Although the game takes place within the physical environment of the School of Art, Design & Media, this does not necessarily make our actions and behaviours ‘real’. We jump into these new roles or identity that makes up our space, a third space; one that does not necessarily exist without our co-creation. The third space we have created follows in the footsteps of a video game. The same goes with virtual reality; with the aid of headgear equipment… it transforms the space that you are standing on into a third space. What you see is now an illusion of another world that has been created to exist.
Collapsing Boundaries, Connection, Closeness & Intensity in Third Space
“The laws of the known world have been all but abandoned in the third space: it is a space of invention and possibility, like lucid dreaming, where participants might assume their avatar identities…”
– The Third Space
by Randall Packer
Boundaries that were collapsed within this third space include emotional feelings. The fact that Nok Wan felt no sympathy that I was feeling for myself during the game meant that such emotional connectivity had to be broken down. By creating a virtual game, we could not interpret each other’s facial expressions and feelings because the focus was placed upon accomplishing the task set out as well as the controller’s power over the avatar to do so. On our screens I could only see the controller keys pushed by Nok Wan’s finger while she could only see the movement or direction that I was moving towards. As the quotation derived from Randall Packer’s reading mentioned, we have been led to assume our avatar identities… in this case, due to emotional and facial recognition limitations. You would often feel more and experience sympathy for another person if you are able to perceive it through their facial features, their tone and even through words such as that of a text message. Even so, experiencing a sorrowful expression in person becomes more intense than over text. Imagine having no form of expression… We were disarmed from all these forms of communication and self-expression, which might be why I was so caught on with assuming my avatar’s identity as my own. There was no other way I could let Nokwan know that I was experiencing problems within the interaction. My mindset was adjusted to think in the way of: the sooner we get this done, the sooner I will be able to experience freedom with my own movements again. I my as well follow through to the end.
Closeness and intensity is formed through this control method of controller to avatar since no speech is allowed as a form of communication. Instead, the actions forced upon the avatar allows for progress within the game which is fundamental to the third space.
A Third Body
In another way of words, Nok Wan as the controller, is using me as ‘her body’ through the physical aspects of the game. In a sense, ‘I’ or more like my physical body is used by Nokwan as a third body to accomplish the task within the third space.