So after pestering my friend to watch this render by Jon Cates with me, she came up with a conclusion just past 15 minutes. The conclusion was simple: it was were weird and she couldn’t understand how this was art. She had more questions to laid out to me about this video in the next 5 minutes than a SAT exam. She was clueless and I could understand why.
Basically, this video is about Jon Cates who decides to sit infront of his desktop and do what he does, perhaps, everyday. But the difference is that he would be be doing in in front of a audience and it would have effects of what we call ‘white noise’ in between. To some, it would be painful experience if you are not used to hearing it over 5 minutes. The remixing and blending would sound gross and mucky. It definitely is far from the conventional methods of what we would interpret as a well documented everyday life perspective.
However, let’s not underestimate what is being done here. Sitting in front of his desktop and showing us glimpses of what he is doing on his computer is definitely not the main content. The content is the linkage to it being live. If we think about this, how many of us are able to do live remixing, blending or any one of the techniques that he is doing as we stream it live? Live streaming with different techniques is not easy when we start to do it ourselves. On one hand, we need to make the techniques work while on the other hand we need to make sense of these techniques.
So I have explained what makes it different. There’s more to this that makes it notable. Today when we Skype with someone on the computer, we see the picture and sound clearly yet we are complaining about the delay ( because of speed) and the resolution blah blah blah. Actually we are seeing the perfect image yet its not perfect for us. But if we really dig into the process behind this, we realize that through the networks that we are connected and linked, we are actually getting good images and are even secured. In actual fact, the structure of the network is so complex that every bit of an image gets spilt and travels to different points around the world and gets back its destination in one piece. That is so complex yet it seems like with technological advancement, we don’t seem to appreciate this.
So when I look at Cate’s live project, it reminds me of the completeness and greed of technology. The people who tend to complain for more are mostly the people who have never experienced less. Remember loading a picture with dial up? More over, we used to have lots of glitches and life was still fine and I think that’s what Cates is trying to mainly bring out.
The white noise is one of the factors that we constantly hear together with the distortion of image. To us, these glitches are problems but they will constantly be present – just in a different form. And that form is something that Cates uses to his advantage to make it an art and convey what I supposedly think is his motive – imperfection creates the perfection in you ( the reflection ).
“Chicago has been a hub for the glitch art movement for years, even before glitch art became a term. Electronic and noise music, the punk rock scene, as well as improv jazz circles, all helped influence the artistic subgenre. The spirit of sharing digital media and the network of DIY art galleries in Chicago also played a part… Influential glitch artists have emerged from Chicago and onto the international scene. One of them, Jon Cates, coined the term Chicago Dirty New Media, a catch-all term that describes how digital tech can elevate an experience. Even if a glitch artist doesn’t physically hail from the Windy City, she might attribute her style to Chicago’s Dirty New Media.” – Inside The Bizarre Phenomenon Known As “Glitch Art” – Tina Amirtha (2014)
This piece reminds of another art installation that I came across 2 semesters back while doing a communication module at NTU. IT was called Memoir by Andrea Kleine and collaborated with Bobby Previte.
The difference is that this is a live performance to re-enact an old performance the actors did that was recorded on tape 10 years back( it was quite old scenes that were re-enacted) but the re-enactment was scripted but was done by recalling their memories from that performance.
Both these performances ( Jon Cates and Andrea Kleine) touch on the topic of communication through isolation. Nothing is constant and things are also changing ( the beauty of live networked streaming). Remote communication here is the essence towards networked live streaming.
Hence, to sum up my long review, this installation has so many elements to explore. Communication through isolation, glitch art etc. So much so that I had to rumble at times to make my point seem comprehensive ( Sorry about that) . I didn’t like it at first but when it started having loops, I realized that there was more to it than what we see. Perhaps, when I have time, I will be able to write a more structured and well organized essay on this. Its worth my time!
3 thoughts on “Research Critique: Bold3RRR by Jon Cates”
Hi Jaysee, I agree with your point on how we take things so granted now with fast internet. Behind every post on Facebook, there are someone who is doing all the codings and is wired in(reference from the movie Social Network). This act of coding might have glitches but we as user don’t see it but as a coder, they might experience it more visually than us.
I have the honour to meet Jon Cates and talk to him last year in NTU. He mention that he is not a purist when it comes to his art making but instead, uses different methods and ways to make his work. I can appreciate this and it seems to reflect life, on how things in life is not always one direction but instead, there are many pathways to go and live broadcasting is one of them.
Jaysee, this is a remarkable essay. I want to explore in class the nature of “live-specific” art, why the live adds a dimension that recorded media do not have, and how specifically, Jon Cates exploits the live and the intimacy of his desktop to render for us his process of making.
Hey Jaysee, I enjoyed your review a lot. When I first looked at this work, I found it confusing too, and like your friend, I thought about how it is an artwork. I also agree with your point on how we take fast connections for granted. Being used to such high-speed connection, things like white noise throws us off. But in live media performances, it is necessary to embrace these ‘glitches’.
I also like your perspective on how this work is not a conventional documentary of everyday life. That’s one way of looking at the work. Our virtual life is rarely documented, and conventional ways of sharing our lives online often involves simply sharing a cleaned up, edited version of what really happened. I think sharing the process of how that came about should be rather interesting. The truth is, isn’t it kind of creepy and weird to know what we really do on the computer? I once read an article somewhere about the ‘clear search history’ function on Facebook. It describes many users’ disgruntled discoveries: how many times in a week (or day) one stalks his ex-girlfriend, etc. It definitely shows a different side of things than we are used to.