YouMap is a project that intends to illustrate the disconnection of a person’s consciousness with the dependency of technology and emergence into the 3rd space solely. The YouMap project is not an end result but is the process itself. The start and end destinations are not as important as the travel of path.
I started the process of conceptualising with my objectives and what I wanted to grab out of this course. The objective was more like a question than a statement. I wanted to know if we are able to consciously depend on our 3rd space that we created through our technology and social media and to consciously resist the elements of our physical world. Instead of just focusing on our phones through the metro or bus, are we capable of adapting it such that we become dependent on them even on the go? I wanted to create a glimpse of how the world would eventually look like with social media and technology literally feeding all our needs, including the sensory needs.
The concept was ignited initially through the readings of Brian Whitworth’s Research Report. The report examines and compares the elements of the physical world with the virtual world. The conscious thinking of this concept and its acceptance eventually gets boiled towards the point of digital processing and information. The key words that I eventually grabbed that would encompass my process of YouMap are universality, identity, consciousness and physical-virtual transitions. These four elements became the key pointers that I needed to revolved around when conceptualizing.
“Things constituted the same way are substantial to each other, so likewise what is “real” depends upon the world it is measured from. To say a world is a virtual doesn’t imply it is unreal to its inhabitants, only that its reality is “local” to that world, i.e. not an objective reality.”
However, this should be an art installation and not a research paper. Hence, I reflected on and leaned towards the examples that were provided to us throughout the semester for inspiration. Jon Cates’ Bold3RRR was one good example that I grasped from the start of the semester. The idea of a first person viewership and the constant flipping of the image between Cates and his desktop screen. Jennifer Ringley’s JenniCam was the other example that I looked upon for inspiration. Ringley’s use of her personal life infront of the whole internet strongly represented the concept of universality and identity. Both were good starting points to absorb key factors but my objective was to reflect on the dependency extending to our mobility. Hence, I needed to go beyond.
After experimentation and few mock runs both in the day and night, I was able to consolidate my thoughts and my processes to create the final piece. YouMap will be a 10 minute live presentation that will be viewed on YouTube Live for the world to see. I would have myself navigated by the Google Map in one phone while the other phone captures the process through YouTube via Wirecast. The process had been rehearsed several times from Canteen 2 to the School of Art, Design and Media by me the days before the actual staged event. When it came to the actual streaming, it did not seem like the way I wanted. The resolution was too low ( for some reason ) and the Google Map had finished its navigation while I was physically half way to my school. It felt like it became a disaster.
Even though I had been through the same walkway for a million times in my 4 years at NTU, I literally felt lost and remorse. In the process of trying too hard and emerging myself deeply in order to stage my project, I lost myself when it prematurely finished. I started describing the scene. The panic just made me remain lost. Eventually when I found myself at the school entrance, my panic was gone and I continued with the process. When I entered the classroom to meet everyone I felt a sense of relief that it was over.
Upon reflection, I think it was a fantastic twist to my process. The objective was to question and hence explore the dependency of technology with my conscious mind in the 3rd space. The premature finish of the Google Map navigation allowed to experience the true meaning of dependency with my conscious mind. I was focusing so much on the process of getting it staged through skype and youtube ( 3rd space) that I never really considered the 1st space. However, when the 3rd space was abruptly taken away from me, it became a problem, both mentally and emotionally, to transit from the 3rd space into the 1st space. Hence, the answer for clear and evident. In opinion, the transition from the 1st space to the 3rd space is convenient and easy. However, the transition from the 3rd space to the 1st space requires time as the conscious mind needs time to adapt back the 1st space. This was very different from Jennicam or Bold3RRR cause their consciousness was in the 1st space and it was just being telecasted in the 3rd space. YouMap has its consciousness on the 3rd space while physically navigating through the 1st space.
Often we see the use of social media and the use of technology used in the form of aesthetic sense. However, YouMap uses the daily conveniences to illustrate it inconvenience in the physical world. YouMap attempts to clear up the blurred lines between what is the 1st space and the 3rd space, proving that we can’t consciously exist in both. My project intends to integrate the objectives and the use of technology as a contemporary art form by disintegrating the connection between the social mediums and the artist.
Hence, YouMap being a process itself has many elements that needed to be improved and to be appreciated. The unanticipated factors of premature finishing and spontaneity are elements that made me see the whole process as in an artistic viewpoint and not one that has looks like a investigation. The momentary adaption to the process itself is key to this being an internet cultured art, in my opinion. Mistakes are sins if we perceive them to be but through this process, there were numerous mistakes that eventually coordinated to become an art piece – leaving me to reflect on the idea of art forms such as glitch art.
It just proved, that mistakes are perfections in the form of imperfections if you accept them to be. I have grown to learn this important concept over the whole semester in this class. When we make mistakes, we learn, we appreciate but at the same time, we have the opportunity to perceive things differently. We expand with mistakes not contract through them.
In conclusion, the whole process has added a different value to my perspective as an artist. As an artist, the conventional forms of art are not good but if we stick to them too long, we just become craftsman. Going beyond the boundaries and breaking them keeps us in the form of an artist. YouMAP being the process with spontaneity broke those boundaries. The process is important and I think, for this course, writing is the essence for my development of the process. Each week, when we write and search for examples, we think and reflect. It becomes habitual. We look back on our posts for inspiration and re-write them to either evaluate them or expand them. Thus, I think, through YouMAP, I have been able to answer and my question and importantly to grow and expand as an artist.