fiInspired by the works of Blast Theory, a UK-based performance group that creates interactive performances that engage the public community in site-specific locations, we were assigned to re-create similar collaborative performances using Singapore as our stage. We will be using the social media, Instagram as a secondary platform. The performance that we create aims to stretch art into life, breaking the boundaries between the artist and the audiences. Introducing our on-location performance project, “Let’s Play Stranger’s Art,” which will devise a narrative that plays off interactions with strangers and the media. The players will be the artist of the game by collaboratively drawing a portrait. #DIWO
Our game plan will be to first approach a random stranger around the chosen location to help us draw a facial feature starting from the face shape. This will connect to the next stranger to draw another type of feature chosen and so on, building a chain of artists drawing a face. The facial features will be chosen in random by the player from a mystery box filled with different types of facial features. Once the face is completed, another stranger will be asked to guess who the drawing portraying. The stranger can guess any identity without restrictions (any cartoon, celebrities or influencers). We will be filming the process, as well as documenting it on the performance’s Instagram to see the evolution of the portrait. Of course, there will be rejections from the crowd along the way; this adds to the unexpected mess and glitch towards our performance. We will represent this glitch by posting a black blank post on Instagram. Towards the end of the performance, we will have a collage of the process, the final portrait drawing, the ‘look-alike’, and black glitches along the way.
The incentive that these players get is that they will become part of the performance as co-artists, creating a collaborative art piece, hence creating a sense of shared experience and community. Our performance will create a connection between the players found in the location, building a bridge between them, us and the performance. The performance will be carried out around Nanyang Technological University (NTU), a space that is vibrant and spontaneous. The safety and privacy of these participants will be taken seriously since we understand that some of them would not be comfortable taking part in this performance. Overall, we simply want to create a performance that is fun yet thought-provoking. More importantly, we want to apply what we have learnt in Experimental Interaction into it!
In the 90s, the dominance of Britarts in the 90s led a small number of high profile artists to degrade, shrinking platforms and the representation of their work. UK art culture were hijacked by the marketing strategies of Saatchi and Saatchi of the advertising world. This motivated Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow to create a platform where the community were able to share enthusiasm for particular artworks towards the global public – an experimentation and collaboration for the community arts, street art, pirate radio and activism.
It was first established at Backspace an informal production space. It encouraged the idea of sharing ideas and technical resources in both physical and across the globe via the web. This space also acted as a place to advocate DIY consciousness and encouraging users to get their hands dirty with technology and the new culture. It aimed to cultivate the community to interact and experiment with each other. This enabled participants to retrieve and manipulate pieces that have been uploaded to the platform
“Furtherfield provides an informal creative space that supported learning and fruitfully connected established practitioners with newbies acting as a “container, connector, and root node for artists and performers wishing to virtually get together and ‘jam online’.”
Furtherfield, a not-for-profit company, connects the global community into innovating new possibilities, critical thinking and exploring out-of-the-box ideas, with the hand of technology. It also examines and questions today’s important topics through art. They strive for new ways for artists, academics and technologists to work hand in hand, sharing possibilities in the field of artistic, social and economic. It challenges debates and enhances open engagement with people advocating the process of ‘Doing It With Others’ (DIWO).
“DIWO means exploring the potential share visions, resources and agency, through collaboration and negotiation across physical and virtual networks maintaining a critical consciousness…”
Nonetheless, Marc Garrett mentioned that having individualism is crucial, it allows us to differentiate ourselves. However, we as a community too, need to know how to collaborate as it could create something extraordinarily rich in culture and ideas. DIWO culture takes individualism and combines it with others in order to turn it into something unique. Marc Garrett mentioned a collaborative project using Blockchain, where the public sends in a variation of instructions and characteristics for how a plant is going to look like. The artist sets out in the instructions given and constructs the piece. It frame the plant to be a shared co-curated art piece by the community instead of the sole artist.
A renowned example of DIWO would be Yoko Ono’s Cut piece. Through this art performance, the outcome was unpredictable and were decided by the characteristic of each audience. In this interactive collaborative piece, the audience became part of the artwork. Another example would be art installations such as Hole in Space by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, and Telegarden by Ken Goldberg made use of real time and technology enabling people to interact across a Third Space. It also transformed the audience into co-directors and the artwork itself, thus, resulting into unpredictable outcomes and a non-curated artist performance.
In relation to DIWO and our micro-projects such as, “The Collective Body” displayed a feed of different body parts and faces on a Flickr group page to create a ‘metaphysically diversified body’. This allows each of us to co-curate the direction of the piece through our posts in different time and context. Micro-projects such as the tele-stroll, telematic embrace, social broadcast and exquisite glitch all embodies the idea of collaboration with peers and the public. For example, through the use of adobe connect, our class were able to communicate and negotiate together in order to perform mini-objectives to create a joint movement. Given that it was carried out in the third space, everybody was able to come live together no matter the location (just like how we connected and communicated with the artist, Marc Garrett). The main idea of these micro-projects were to encourage peer engagement and emphasise the idea of collaboration.
Furthermore, Marc Garrett commented that artists can bring positive influence and change towards the society. Whilst making art, Furtherfield practices environmental sustainability and aims to reduce their carbon footprint through the project, Cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency where each encryption techniques are used to regulate units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, or operates independently of a central bank. This leads artists to be more conscious on the decision we make towards the society.
To conclude, the concept of DIWO allows artists from all over the globe to create something unexpected. It enables the capability to break the wall between the artist and the audience, exploring new mediums through experimentation. The media does not matter but the idea that is communicated towards the public is the key point. DIWO breaks down the individualism in DIY into collaboration. The DIWO culture has taken shape in the micro-projects that we did in class, in which enables the participant to achieve an outcome that would not be able to achieve through individuality. It is important for the society to know how to collaborate in order to move forward together as a community and build a better future for us, and not for one. However, even though the aim was to advocate DIWO in the new culture of technology and art, can we create something together, a new art culture perhaps off technology? Can we as a community physically collaborate and create together without the use of the web? Or are we all just stuck in the practice of new web culture?
Introduced to the world of Adobe Connect, it was the first time I have heard and experienced this application. In class, we experimented and immersed ourselves into the Third space as a team.
We talked about emotional bandwidth expanded over the years, from simple texting, to calling, to Facetime and social broadcasting. Through the development of this, we are able to view the expression the other party holds and the movement they display through the video, fully engaging in the conversation and response. As a class, we were all in one place (first space), and stepped into the virtual world of third space. We played and interacted with different type of movements and objects through the third space, connecting us together.
Here are some of the things we did through screenshots:
As a class we worked together as a team through connection, negotiation and compromising each other in order to achieve these masterpieces shown above. We were all involved and crossing the borders of our screen in order to connect with one another. This is an absolute example of DIWO (Do It With Others)! I had an incredible time playing in the third space with my class and this experiment. It is definitely an important skill and realisation to have in the future where we have to interact and work with clients across the border, TOGETHER.