Project Social Life. Project Social Life is an interactive online social performance. In this experiment, we test the power of social media in our lives and the effects of losing control over our lives. Our project revolved around Instagram. Instagram was our source, our outlet, and our dictator. To test this, we created a separate Instagram account and constantly asked the question, “What should we do next?” on our Instagram Story. There would be a poll attached to each question with two options sent in by our followers in the beginning of the experiment. Our group would then wait ten minutes and do the option with the most votes, following the idea that we have no control over our actions but social media does.
Tune in to curate our lives! Project Social Life is an experiment in social broadcasting which explores the effects of social media in controlling lives. "What should we do next?" As a viewer, feel free to answer the question by DMing us your suggestions. Two suggestions will be chosen at random and placed in an InstaStory poll, where viewers will decide which we should do! Note that: – You can send in as many suggestions as you like – Each poll lasts for 10 minutes only. The results of the poll will then be taken – Don't worry if your option has not been chosen. It may be chosen for subsequent polls across the day!
Our entire day was curated by social media and the decisions of other people we barely know. We wanted to show people the power of social media in our lives and how it feels to be puppets held by the hands of strangers. Much like Finding Uncle Roy, a Blast Theory work that focused around the concept of trusting strangers, we put our trust and life in the hands of strangers. We started off the experiment in ADM NTU but due to the demands of the people, we ended up in Haji Lane after a long subway journey. I like the rest of my group mates, was in charge of the Instagram account as well as one of the “victims” of social media and the lack of control.
While the entire point of our project was to embrace the unexpected and the unknowable, there were still certain aspects to our experiment that left us in a sticky situation. We were always stuck at a certain place for 10 minutes because we were unable to proceed without the say-so of our Third Space companions. And until we got a response we were unable to move because no one told us “what to do”.
For our trailer, we were inspired by Carla Gannis’s artwork, “Until the End of the World (2017)”. Not only because the aesthetics of Carla Gannis’s work is compelling, but also because the meaning behind her work relates to ours to an extent. “Until the End of the World” is about a girl who is engrossed in her handheld device (technology) to the extent that she has no awareness of what is going on around her; the girl’s dreams and reality have manifested within the cyber world. Due to the project, our lives have also become controlled by our handheld devices. We were constantly on our phones to see the results, post the results, and record our results. Even until the very end, we our lives were controlled by the theoretical third space and the physical smartphone. In modern society, our lives are dictated by the third space; it is not always negative nor always positive. It connects us by bridging together the restrictions made by geography but at the same time influences our behaviors and thoughts to accommodate to the collective whole. Project Social Life does exactly that. Through this we succumbed to the majority and did what others told us to do yet through this experience in the third space with other people, we not only learned to negotiate with these people but created friendships with them. Life is about balance. It is important to keep this balance regardless of the situation as this gives you the most successful and meaningful use of a situation. In the begininning of this year, my friends and I stepped into the first space known as the 4D room unsure of what to expect from the class. After one semester, we find ourselves in the third space; connecting with different parts of the world and working with entanglements that we face in our everyday lives with eagerness and quick-thinking.
For my second and last project of our Graphic Form class, we were tasked with creating a Zine inspired by a specific locale in Singapore. A zine is a “small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier” and can be short for “magazine” or “fanzine”. For this project, we were given the choice to chose any location (preferably a location we were unfamiliar with) and design a design according to our taste. The location I chose is Tiong Bahru. Tiong Bahru is located on the Green Line. Famous for their combination of old and new, hipster cafe joints, and serenity.
The name “Tiong Bahru” itself is a combination of two languages. Tiong Bahru translated loosely means “New Cemetery” with “Tiong” comes from the Hokkien word “thióng 塚” and “Bahru” comes from the Malay word “bahru – Malay. “thióng 塚” meaning cemetery while “bahru” meaning new. This compound word is the parallels the idea of Tiong Bahru being both old and new, quiet but lively. Originally, Tiong Bahru was a cemetery that later turned into a housing district that incorporated the European Streamline Modern (simplified Art Deco) and local Straits Settlement shop-house style. Tiong Bahru has always been about mixture and balance.
During my first visit to Tiong Bahru, I decided not to have a a specific focus as it was my first time there and did not want to miss out on anything.
The original plan for my zine was to incorporate the idea of hybrid/mixture/combination in my artwork and then eventually link it to myself and how my mixed upbringing has made me the person I am today. For the cover of the zine, I wanted it to make it quirky and different, much like my personality. I created a character called “Nost” who is a Korean Dragon and her friend “Bah” who is a sheep. I wanted to incorporate these two in the cover of my zine as sneak peak into my zine. Though I did not specifically plan my layout for the pages within, my initial concept was to create a coloring page or mad lib page. Coloring pages and Mad Libs were a big part of my childhood and I felt that it was fitting to add a bit of childhood to not only express myself but also to make the zine more interactive for the reader.
(Insert sketches and examples)
However, upon further development and revision, I decided to focus more on my characters Nost and Bah and their trip to Tiong Bahru.
This cover shows a mixture of traditional and modern medium of drawing. Though a little unclear, the background is a photograph taken from a disposable film camera of a floor painting. While the two characters in the foreground are created on my laptop using Adobe Illustrator. My cover shows a close up on my two main characters, Nost and Bah holding a teacup will exclaiming the word “Roo”. This character idea came from the word “Tiong Bahru” itself. I wanted to express my quirky personality by joking around and saying that Tiong Bahru sounds a lot like “Tea-Yong-Bah-Roo”. After some deliberation, I told myself why not and developed on the idea of using “Tea-Yong- Bah- Roo”.
“Yong” sounded like “용” which is the Korean word for dragon.
“Bah” was the sound sheep’s make.
“Tea” means tea and I thought that it would be a nice beverage the dragon and sheep could share together.
“Roo”, eventually became the sound the dragon would make, much like how the sheep would go “bah”.
This led to the cover page of a sheep and dragon side by side holding a teacup and teapot as the dragon exclaims “Roo”. Nost is a Korean dragon who has come to Singapore with her best friend in order to visit Tiong Bahru for the first time. I myself was born in Korea to Korean parents, though I did grow up overseas. My decision to create a dragon was due to the fact that the “iong” in “Tiong” sounds much like “용” the Korean word for dragon. Making my dragon Korean was more of a homage to my home country and culture. Nost constantly ate at Tiong Bahru Bakery in other locations but was unable to visit the Tiong Bahru itself. After many years she has finally come to the decision to visit Tiong Bahru. Bah is Nost’s faithful bestfriend who has stayed loyal since their childhood. Many believe that it is crazy that a sheep and dragon could be friends but Bah has always been Nost’s support system and helped her through the hard times.
My first spread paid homage to my childhood by doing the entire spread in a coloring book format. The right side has a black and white with a contour of my favorite street in Tiong Bahru. The picture I chose for my coloring book has a linear perspective that ellicits a sense of movement and depth. I feel as if I was being pulled into the main street by a seductive force. Even the street itself exuded this pull. I captured the elements that made this street Tiong Bahru, from the Streamline architecture to the pipes running on the exterior of the walls. While the left side of the spread has an introductory page that explains the “Tea-용- Bah-Ru”. Everything on this page is black and white so that the reader can color whatever he or she wants to.
I removed certain elements (the buildings in the background) from the line drawing so as to focus our attention to the essence of Tiong Bahru which can be found in the piping along the walls and the clean cut streamline architecure. The lines (especially the floor) have no end so that we can use the implied lines to create a sense of openness and curiosity. Like coloring books, what is beyond the line is up to the artist with the imagination.
This page is like the beginning of Nost and Bah’s adventure as it is not only the path to the main street of Tiong Bahru but also because it was the place I fell in love with Tiong Bahru.
For the second spread I focused on mixing two different media, Adobe Illustrator Vector and Old School Collage. I chose to use mix media as it alludes to the idea of mixing the old and new. Though collaging is still used today, it is considered an older technique and is commonly associated with either ransom letters or vintage art. Drawing from the idea that collaging is old, I paired it up with another technique used to create a whole image– Illustrator. This juxtaposition of the two techniques create a sense of harmony yet jarring difference due to the solid color and clear lines. The background deals with a multitude of perspectives and tones while the vector is limited to an one point perspective with minimal tonal ranges.
My second spread is depicts my main characters debating on where they should go. There are so many places to visit in Tiong Bahru, from its cafes to its restaurants to even bookstores. Bah is taking his usual position on Nost’s head, resembling a thinking cap. Proving that these two are two pieces to a puzzle. They balance one another and help each other do their best. In this case, they are helping each other strategize on where to go and what to see.
For the last full spread, I chose to take inspiration from the Mystery Book Vending Machine, which I felt best embodied my thoughts as I got ready to go to Tiong Bahru. I did not know what to expect and was open to anything that happened, whether things went according to plan or not. The vending machine itself is etched with hand-drawn marks relating to the two characters. The black markings are inspired by the scales of the dragon while the black orbs are a nod to the 여의주 orbs that the dragons in Eastern mythology carry. The white markings refer to the sheep and the shape of its body. Originally, I intended to put as many pictures on the vending machine and show the entire vending machine from top to bottom. However, I realized then I would not be able to see the images clearly and this would obscure the focus of the page. To counteract this I consulted my instructor who recommended that I spread this across two pages and crop the vending machine so that I focused on the top two or three. This allowed the focus to go on the images and showed the places clearly.
After struggling to come to a conclusion, Nost and Bah stumble across the Mystery Vending Machine (based on the Mystery Book Vending Machine in front of a book story called Books Actually). This vending machine dispenses post cards for travellers to help decide where they should go next or even as a souvenir. In the end Nost and Bah use this machine, much like I did, to help them discover Tiong Bahru. This symbolizes that there is so much more to Tiong Bahru left (as you can only see a portion of the vending machine) meaning that the two main characters (and myself) have yet to even break the surface of Tiong Bahru. Possibly setting up for a sequel *wink*.
Throughout highschool, my art teacher always talked about wanting to make a zine for the class or even for ourselves but due to money restrictions and time constraints, we were unable to make it. However, after this project, I can successfully say that I have created my own personal design. And far from a perfect zine as there are always room for improvement, I am proud to claim this zine as mine. It was a fun experience as I felt that it introduced us to the world of book making and illustration, giving me a taste of what making a children’s book or even a zine in the future would look like. I enjoyed being able to visit Tiong Bahru not for just pleasure but work and creating a piece centered around my interpretation of the place.
Curating Them is an interactive performance piece that explores the control of social media over a person’s real life decisions and our willingness to let it happen and shape our digital identity. This will play out over Instagram Story, using the poll function as our voting system. There will be two parties posting pre-determined questions at the same time. However, the choices will be decided by the other group and the audience will decide between the choices. The outcome will then apply to the other party. As such, the party will have no control over their day, which is solely determined by the choices the other party provides, and the choice chosen by the audience over Instagram Story. Our decisions and actions for the entire day is dictated by social media and ultimately the people behind social media. In the end people effect people, and use the form of social media to do so. This can be seen all across the world in television when a company wants to sell us a product by convincing us we need it or when movies alter our worldview or perceptions of an actor.
Throughout the semester our Experimental Interaction class has dabbled in a concept known as the Third Space through media like Adobe Connect, Facebook, and videos. We have also been introduced to different artists and artworks that have further expanded our knowledge of the affect and use of the Third Space in Blast Theory, Furtherfield, connecting a boundaries, and creating a new world. And for three days straight, we will be doing an online symposium organized by Randall packer, ADM, and other guest artists. Each day invites different people to present a keynote and further explain the works in the case of Maria Chatzichristodoulou and Matt Adams; or people to perform an online performance in the case of Annie Abraham and the School of Art Institute of Chicago.
Throughout the online symposium we discussed many artists and related it back to the overarching themes of interactivity with the audience and the artists, connecting the world separated by physical barriers, and embracing the idea of a new alternative world. Companies like Blast Theory have been working on ways to make an interactive media that creates novel forms of art that engages the audience throughout the internet. Blast Theory focuses on putting you in the center of the work by making you the main character, the “player one”. People like Annie Abraham have been breaking through the entanglement created in order to bridge the gap between human relations and the geographical boundaries. The idea introduced to us by Gene Youngblood is the big umbrella idea that encompasses everything mentioned above. His idea is that that we should create an entirely new social world. preferably built upon Television. This social world will be “liberated” from the conventional practices of the media and instead embrace community activism, radical theory, and artistic experimentation. There is so much opportunity for humans to “liberate” ourselves from the customary to embrace the unexplored that surround us. We see in this symposium the people who have seized these opportunities and created something beautiful from it.
Day One of the symposium started off with a small introduction by Randall Packer explaining the purpose of the symposium and a short description of the guests. Shortly after the introduction, we moved on to our guest key-note speaker Maria Chatzichristodoulou (Maria X).
She introduced to us some artworks, artists, quotes that she believed best exemplified telematic art. symposium. She even dabbled in responding to difficult questions on whether Telematic Art has fully fulfilled its aspirations to connect artists and audiences across geographical the geographical landscapes. Later we were re-introduced to Annie Abrahams, a telematic artist who we had the pleasure of meeting and creating with. The performance itself consists of the members appearing one at a time, at first covering their cameras and each saying certain numbers with additional noise. The interesting thing to note is that though we could not see their faces, whenever they spoke, the border of their box would light up blue.
The Christmas lights synchronized with the beats of a Chirstmas carol, the boxes lit up with a rhythmic flow that harmonized with the voices of the performers. Soon we saw them removing the black screens and replacing them with objects, and started to voice overs of political sayings in a very dramatic tone.
We got to see in real time the genius of Annie Abrahams’ ability to organize and manage such an event where things could go according to plan and might go awry. Maria Chatzichristodoulou even stated herself that Abrahams’ work has the ability to concern itself in “both communication and miscommunication, absence and presence.” Annie Abrahams performance connected us with people from all around the world with different backgrounds- thus breaking down the geographical obstructions that divide the world. And in breaking down these geographical obstructions, Annie and her teammates have created an alternative world where it encompasses around a global village. about some of the artworks and then mention my opinions and feelings. This world is connected by its limitations, in the sense that bandwith and connection are the factors that allow people from all over the world to gather yet are the factors that also cause discrepancy during the gatherings.
Day Two began with another introduction by Randall Packer, for the guests who were not present on the first day. After this introduction, we were automatically ushered into the keynote speaker Matt Adams as he began to talk about the works created by Blast Theory as well as the history and technicalities that come with each of the unique works. Blast Theory is an adventurous group of artist who use interactive media to create unique forms of performance as well as interactive art that engages the audience individually or as a whole. Their performances are generally site-specific, live, digital broadcasts and come in the form of videos and games. Blast Theory has several notable works such as Kidnap, Uncle Roy All Around You, and Can You See Me Now?, and I’d Hide You. Kidnap and Can You See Me Now? are two fo the more video works that Blast Theory has made while I’d Hide You and Uncle Roy All Around You are two interactive games.
However, all works somehow find a way to engage the audience not only physically but also emotionally. This interaction happens in the third space (maybe not in the case of Kidnaped). However, analyzing Kidnap in more depth, I have noticed that though the interaction does not happen in the “third space” (the space created through the combination of the phsyical and media) but it’s own form of space. Kidnap finds a way to connect with the people on another level that is not just the physical space around them but in this bond that arises between the Kidnapper and kidnapee. I especially like the work I’d Hide You organized by Blast Theory that brought together four runners and through these runners we get to experience “the world through the runners eyes as they stream video: ducking and diving, chatting to passersby, taking you down the back alleys to their secret hiding places.” I would love to be a part of this game and found that the general feel of the piece reminded me of the action and adventure movie Nerve, where people are either watchers or players. The watchers must give the players crazy dares and the more dares the players do the more money they receive. Along this idea, I’d Hide You interacts with the audience as they are the ones who take the picture, hinder other players, and help their team. They are the brains while the runners are the body that we control to experience the world around us.
My afterthoughts of the experience was wonder. I wondered how it was possible something like this came to be and how smoothly this flowed for something held online. Even physical meetings in the same room have the possibility of falling apart yet this Online Ensemble managed to flow with out any major hindrances. I would like to participate in something like this in the future and maybe even play a more active role as well as it seems like a new and engaging way to interact with people in a completely new world. This world has shown me so much and I am eager to step into it once more.
The online symposium was made possible by the hard work of every single person involved from the online moderators to the performance artists to the those behind the scenes. These people each brought something to the table whether it be to introduce us an idea or share a piece of their passion with us.