Research Critique on ‘The Big Kiss’ (2007) by Annie Abrahams
‘The Big Kiss’ (2007) is a performance installation by Annie Abrahams. Using webcam technology, two performers engaged in the act of kissing through a split screen. Annie Abrahams is intrigued by the ‘possibilities and limits of communication in general and more specifically investigates its modes under networked conditions’. Hence, her works uses the Internet as a medium to explore how the third space collapses time and physical distances, and what effects this has on the human behavior. ‘The Big Kiss’ is no exception.
It is a known fact that the third space is a ‘hyperspace where spatial trajectories have no boundaries’, hence it is able to connect two people even if they are in different places. However, ‘The Big Kiss’ shows that the third space does not only collapses physical boundaries, it can collapse emotional boundaries as well, presenting opportunities for people to engage in intimate acts such as kissing. However, since the performers were not actually physically kissing anybody, it is unknown if watching themselves ‘kiss’ another person had the same effects as actually engaging in the act of kissing.
We cannot deny that ‘the third space is simply an integral fact of everyday life in the 21st century’ because we communicate through the third space more than anything else. After watching ‘The Big Kiss’ and re-evaluating our modern lives, I concluded that the third space has indeed reshaped what ‘intimacy’ mean to us. For example, a family member or close friend leaving for another country now is lesser of a deal as compared to the past. In the past, snail mail was the main mean of communication. With the Internet, we know that we are still connected through the third space no matter where we are. Even though our loved ones may not be physically with us, we are still able to communicate with them in real time through Skype or FaceTime, it would be as if they had never left at all.
Image source: The Verge. (2018). The Kissenger simulates kissing your long-distance lover. [online] Available at: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2016/12/28/14105688/kissenger-message-kiss-app-device-abroad [Accessed 27 Jan. 2018].To collapse the emotional boundaries even further, researchers from the Imagineering Lab at City University London created a device called Kissenger. It markets itself as ‘the world’s first mobile kiss messenger’ because it ‘mimics a real kiss using pressure sensors and actuators’. This gives long-distance couples a chance to experience kissing each other despite their distance. However, this does bring up the ethical question of whether such inventions would eventually replace actual physical contact.
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- The Verge. (2018). The Kissenger simulates kissing your long-distance lover. [online] Available at: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2016/12/28/14105688/kissenger-message-kiss-app-device-abroad [Accessed 27 Jan. 2018].
- co, C. (2018). Kissenger. [online] Kissenger.mixedrealitylab.org. Available at: http://kissenger.mixedrealitylab.org/ [Accessed 27 Jan. 2018].