Month: October 2015

Project Update

I took a few videos this week using a GoPro, trying to figure out a way to show a different perspective or perhaps a different way to represent the idea of a network. In many ways the experiments did not work, however they served to lead me on to a better idea for my project.

Below are some very short clips of the videos I took. I did not include more because I found them too headache-inducing.


Anyway, as I was thinking about how to take the videos and how to relate to the idea of a network, I started thinking of my own video double project. I was also thinking about Jaysee’s navigation project, where I felt that by focusing entirely on the Google Maps, he was literally able to make the third space his only reality.

Before watching the videos below, keep in mind that there is no video editing of any sort being done, and the viewer should imagine that this is being filmed live. Anyway, these thoughts that started bouncing around in my head somehow combined into this:

2 Layers


3 Layers

I feel that this work is kind of like an evolution of my video double project. Last week during class, I was already thinking about the idea of a network; how elements can intersect each other or the interconnectedness of things. This, combined with Jaysee’s presentation, sparked off the idea to video myself in a video. I pictured myself recording a video of a video of myself, and perhaps interacting with myself to create some form of narrative.

I find myself really fascinated by the idea of communicating/interacting with myself. Even though I know it’s not real, it engages me in a strange way. I think that the nature of my idea strongly echoes and is perhaps very much influenced by that of Paul Sermon’s “Telematic Dreaming” and Annie Abraham’s “The Big Kiss”.

Some part of this idea also stemmed from our ‘Collective Body’ project, from seeing all the different body parts combine together. I initially wanted to only show different body parts, and maybe showing my face at the end, to sort of “conclude” the performance.

I think that I want to continue in this direction, and perhaps experiment with creating more ‘layers’ of video. I hope that there is some way of creating a relatable narrative in the context of ‘inhabiting’ different spaces, but at the same time.

Project Hyperessay 1 update


This project started out focusing on soccer boots, and below is a short experiment I filmed to see if I could get more ideas of what to do for the final broadcast.


This experiment involved me filming my soccer teammates during a training session. After editing and reviewing the footage, I realized that by focusing solely on the soccer boots, my teammates were essentially stripped of their identity. Because of this, I found myself unintentionally assigning various characteristics to the different boots in the video. This anonymous nature of my teammates led me to think about similar works we studied involving collaboration, such as Douglas Davis’ “The World’s First Collaborative Sentence”. 

After discussion with Randall, I managed to draw plenty of parallels between soccer and the way people work online. The Collective Artwork already highlighted a few works which involved people coming together to create or perform a work of art. In the same way, soccer requires each team member to understand their role and function together towards a single objective.

My broadcast will essentially be a live ‘game’ of soccer. Just like the video experiment, the whole video will only feature images of the soccer boots. However, I also intend to blindfold some or all of my teammates, thus forcing them to rely more on verbal communication. I think that this would allow viewers of the broadcast to listen to their thoughts as well as allowing the players to heighten their other senses to focus on their awareness of their surroundings.

By focusing entirely on the soccer boots, I want to evoke the sense of anonymity akin to that seen in Hasan Elahi’s “Tracking Transcience 2.0”. My broadcast will be like a webcam into the the game of soccer, to “open digital windows onto real scenes within the far-flung geographies of the Internet”, as Thomas Campanella argues in Webcams: The Subversion of Surveillance (p447).

Overall, what I hope to achieve with this work is to delve deeper into soccer than just the game, but furthermore explore the dynamic relationships between the players.

Project Hyperessay 1

I have experienced several conflicting thoughts when thinking about this project. Firstly, just like during my experience with Periscope, I feel a rather overwhelming responsibility as a creator to broadcast something that will appeal to the majority. I know that this is not possible, but I just get the feeling that my ideas are not good enough to create a broadcast that people will want to watch. In addition to this, I have also spent a considerable time trying to think of ways in which people can interact/respond to my broadcast. As of now, I feel that I do not have a very solid and cohesive idea, but rather several disparate ideas which, if I could somehow combine them, might be a good project idea. I will share these ideas and my thoughts/doubts below.

My current idea is to do a review about the soccer boot. However, this review would not just simply be me talking about the boot. The twist is that there would also be subtitles, but they would not reflect exactly what I was saying. Rather, they would act as my thoughts or the ‘truth’. I felt that with the right script, I could make this into a rather entertaining, maybe funny and a not-so-typical review of a soccer boot.  However, I could not think of a way to better utilize the third space to allow for viewer interaction.

As a solution, I thought about allowing viewers to access the raw footage used to create my review. In this way, they could remix my video and create their own review, without having the need to have the boot itself. In this way, perhaps there could eventually be a playlist of reviews about the same boot, creating a sort of collaborative review. Another alternative is that users can simply use the video clips to extend my video, thus also creating a collaborative review. This idea of collaboration is, of course, inspired by Douglas Davis’ “The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence”. I feel that this also allows people to feel some sense of ownership of the boot and that by making my videos available for everyone also highlights the benefits of open source.

I also have an alternative solution to get people to participate in my project. The idea is to use the hashtag #UltimateSoccerBoot on Instagram to allow people to create collages of photos that represent their ideal soccer boot. Using the hashtag, I would first post photos of elements of soccer boots to create a database of elements that people can handpick from to ‘create’ their ideal soccer boot. However, I don’t have a good idea about what material I can broadcast following this idea.

Another separate idea that I was toying with is the idea of being blindfolded in front of the camera. This thought came about when I was thinking about Jennifer Ringley’s “Jennicam” and the notion that although the audience is aware of the presence of her, she is totally unaware of them. I feel that being blindfolded and perhaps performing some kind of action will serve to highlight this idea. Once again, though, I feel that there is not much room to allow for viewer interaction.

The last thought I want to share is inspired by the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ exercise we studied and tried out in class. Using the auto-complete feature of Google, I could essentially write a whole story just by typing the first part of the sentence into Google and choosing one of the auto-complete options. I like this idea because I feel that it ties in closely with the ideas of Glitch and random chance composition. I think it could perhaps also allow for viewer participation to create a collaborative story. However, in regards to broadcasting a video about this, I feel that it wouldn’t be particularly interesting.

Overall, I think that I’m still having some trouble trying to figure out what exactly will work for this project.

Research Critique: Hasan Elahi – Tracking Transience 2.0

In this work, Elahi presents us with a website initially showing us his exact whereabouts through the use of GPS tracking on the bottom half of the page and a photo on the top half.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.43.04 AM

As we can see from this screenshot, the GPS map also includes the day, date, year, time and time zone. The photo is more ambiguous; we can only assume due its relation to the GPS map that it has been taken at the same time and place.

The context of this work is a reaction of the artist to being monitored by the FBI as a suspected terrorist. He was actually stopped at the airport and interrogated.

“To prove his whereabouts, Elahi showed them his Palm PDA, a device that yielded enough information — from calendar notes of appointments and classes he teaches at Rutgers University — to placate his interrogators.

But shaking off the feds would not be easy. In the months after the first round of questioning, the FBI subjected Elahi to more interviews and to a lie-detector test.” – Dawson, J. 2007, May 12. The Washington Post.

Elahi thus began documenting his actions and locations to track himself; in this way he is creating alibis for himself and by publicly posting this information, mocks the FBI’s efforts to trace him. Elahi himself said, “”I’ve decided that if the government wants to monitor me that’s fine. But I could do a much better job monitoring myself than anyone else.”

The website then refreshes and an image now appears on screen. I noticed that there are different variations to these images, as shown in the screenshots below:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.45.34 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.45.54 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.46.19 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.51.25 AM

Most of the time, an image simply appears with no text at all. However, in some cases there is a time/date/location or other information. The images constantly refresh and change, and clicking on an image causes the page to load a whole grid of images:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.45.45 AM

I believe that the images have been tagged in some way, because sometimes the images shown have very similar subject matter, such as this:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.46.27 AM

However, due to the ambiguous method of navigating the website, I could not find a consistent way to find a set of photo or a single photo of a particular subject, for example food.

As a reactionary piece of work, I think that the artist has conceptually outwitted his perpetrators. The use of GPS location mapping and his meticulous recording of his daily activities serve to negate the intentions of the government in tracking him. The simple and clean presentation of the website also credits the artists’ aesthetics. In fact, every individual photo gives a sense of candidness; they are not staged or presented in a particular manner, they represent the nature of ‘documentary realism’ (Dixon, S. 2007. “Webcams: The subversion of Surveillance”, p 443, Digital Performance, 2007)

However, I also feel that the artist has left some gaps that makes the work a bit too flimsy. For one, there is no way for us to know whether the GPS is tracking him, or whether the photos are taken by him. In essence, what is crucially missing in the work is the presence of the artist himself. He could also, for example, take many photos of the same place and simply upload them on different days. Another issue with his execution of the piece is the lack of information provided. As I mentioned above, not all the photos come with the date/time/location which leave some doubt. The work gives a sense of ‘liveness’, but it is not ‘live’.

I assume that the artist has deliberately left some aspects of the work ambiguous, because after all the work itself is questioning the ambiguous nature of the FBI’s tracking methods and hows and whys they suspected him as a terrorist. This work then invites us to question him; is he telling us the whole story or just what he wants us to see?

Final Project Update 2

For my final project update, I’ve been taking photos of my soccer boots and posting them on Instagram together with a few sentences to try and build some kind of narrative. As I was doing that, I’ve also been thinking of how this can relate to the internet and how I can turn this small photo project into my final project. Below are some examples of my photos, and you can see them all here.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 4.48.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.31.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.32.38 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.32.56 AM

With this in mind, I thought of a way to incorporate these elements in relation to how the internet works. One issue I noted is that even though I would source for many boot reviews before I decided whether or not to buy one, I’d notice that every reviewer would give his own personal opinion regarding that boot, and in some cases where the reviewer is sponsored, I wouldn’t be too sure whether it was an honest opinion.

I think that this issue of honesty/genuinity is something that is prevalent throughout the networked space. After all, there is little or no way for us as individuals to hold these people accountable for what they say or do; rather it is up to us to decide who we want to believe or put our trust in.

My train of thought at this moment is that I could do a video of myself reviewing one of my soccer boots. This review will include a detailed explanation of all the technical information and specifics regarding this boot, as well as my own personal opinion. It will involve a voiceover together with subtitles. However, the subtitles will not reflect the words of the voiceover. I intend for the voiceover to vocalize a very positive review of the boot, while the subtitles tell a very different – and negative – aspect of the shoe. In this way the viewer is contradicted as he is confronted with two different opinions at the same time (yet both opinions are legitimate and have to be logical).

I think it would be a very interesting video, one that might come across as confusing and contradictory, but I think that it would be a pretty accurate reflection of my own personal experiences with the internet with regards to this issue.