For our final project called ‘Third Space Fallacy‘, we decided to set the context as a drama fight scene between two girls from our group, Bella and Daphne. Before we carried out our performance, which is the actual day of the fight at Jurong Point mall, the girls were each posting on their Instagram accounts, building up the tension and to spread awareness of their drama to their friends around in a subtle way. They would post contents such as screenshots of their ‘planned’ conversations and emotional posts to hint at their rocky friendship, while inserting some polls here and there to ask their online audience for ‘help’ for the next move.
What the audience did not know was that, whenever they made a poll or replied to their stories, they were indirectly affecting the choices of the two girls. We wanted to reflect this about real-life situations were people would turn to social media to get advice about their problems and sometimes, the opinions of these people actually fuel negative effects and result in tragedy unimagined.
Similarly for this case, we found out from the polls that they led to a conclusion to their fight, which result in Bella having to confront Daphne about their fight. We then bring the situation to Jurong Point mall, where an actual fight scene between the two girls occurred and it is even captured on camera. We note down that the people around them during the ‘fight’ actually stole a few glances at them during the process, recording their response to the performance.
On top of that, we also created a fake story, along with a fake Instagram account to leak to some of the online audience that we would be carrying out our previous plan of playing games at Changi Airport to gather greater involvement from the audience in our current project. We soon realised that during the polling period, many amongst the online audience actually felt emotionally involved in the drama because they thought it was real. While some replied with casual comments, most people actually private messaged the girls to check up on what exactly happened with a concerned tone. We wanted our project to exactly reach this stage of uncertainty, where people might actually believe that the ‘planned’ drama was real.
From there, we made a fake news kind of trailer to convey the entire planned performance, ending with a result that was voted by the online audience unknowingly, which was Bella’s ‘death’.
We wanted to make use of Bella’s third space death to convey a message that online and offline comment matters a lot. While the people voted in the polls and replied to their posts, they are unknowingly making a choice for the parties involved and this actually led to someone’s death. There has been many articles whereby people get affected by what they see online and resulted in so many tragedies and we wanted to bring that message across.
When we were done with the trailer, Bella and Daphne released on instastory about how this was a performance for our final project, apologising for any misunderstanding and clearing the air.
We then posted the link to our youtube trailer on our fake Instagram account so that the people who followed us there would also be notified of the outcome of the actual performance.
Afterwards, Bella actually sent us screenshots of what her friends messaged her regarding the project.
I felt like it was really interesting to note how many people felt so emotionally involved in this fake drama, along with the responses we collected. The whole process felt like a collective experience, because we gather responses from the online audience about the drama, there were also people who came up to the girls in real-life to ask about the issue, and we also noted responses from strangers at Jurong Point mall where the ‘fight’ took place. It was a success to us that many thought that it was real which was something we wanted to achieve from blast theory. The lines between reality and fictional is blurred and it made an impact in not just Bella’s and Daphne’s life, but the others who were involved indirectly as well, making them involve in this ‘game’ which came in the form of a friendship drama.
Last but not least, thanks to the team who made it all possible!!
A Third Space Fallacy is an experimental interaction performance on third and first space that combines the responses collated on the third space through Instagram polls and stories to curate the next move in a friendship conflict between two girls (Bella and Daphne). To make the entire performance as real as possible, both girls had to put up an act in the span of 1 week in the first space, when questions arises from the people around them. Also, to stage that this is not part of our project for Experimental Interaction, our group have created another Instagram account @abracadabrrun, collating uninformed decisions made by our followers, which is part of the narrative of the death of Bella.
We initially wanted the project to take place at Changi Airport, where we would make use of Instagram polls for our online audience to decide on the various missions to be carried out with real life audience like a game to eliminate our group members. However, upon further discussion, we felt that albeit the game can involve both online and offline audience in the fun, it was lacking in emotional investment whereby it would just be a game and nothing else. Audience involved would not feel a certain connection to it and it would be more of enjoyment solely for us, the group members. Thus, we came up with the above idea, hoping to make use of the idea of uninformed choice, and to get the audience emotionally and physically involved in a ‘realistic’ drama fight scene.
When I first heard about this project, I felt really apprehensive because I was really worried about my digital skills. I tried using photoshop before in the previous semester but it was like simple cut and paste work that I just attempted but I have never tried doing proper illustrations on the software at all. Furthermore, this time we had to use indesign which is yet another software that I was not familiar with at all. Hence, I was naturally very worried if I could produce a work even by the end of the semester.
Worries aside, we started out by first selecting a location that was unfamiliar to us. Initially I thought I could do on the east side since it’s more like my comfort zone but we had to explore somewhere totally opposite of that. In the excel sheet, I initially decided on two rough locations-serangoon and Little India. However, eventually I went to beauty world because it was somewhere I was always curious about ever since I heard about the affordable yet yummy burgers in beauty world centre. I went ahead and travelled to beauty world along with my classmate, Esther, to explore the surroundings.
Initially, I really expected a pretty hip looking area since I heard about the burgers. I expected to see a mall with plenty of new starting businesses selling those hipster food you would see on the internet nowadays. However, to my surprise, the area had a few malls no doubt, but the malls looked like they were there for an eternity. The malls looked like they have been there for a pretty long while and the amount of people in the malls were also quite little. Although there were a few malls in the same area, the interior looked relatively similar. The same scenario could be seen in those malls where only very few stores were opened for business and there was no crowd either and the malls were generally quite quiet. I took a few shots and I do admit I kind of like the peacefulness I get from the malls, brings me back to the old Singapore a little and I liked how it felt.
The only thoughts I could gather was, how I wish all these stores could stay there permanently and there never has to come a day where they have to move out the area for some new residential plannings. The way how things in the mall looked like they came from awhile back makes me feel like time has temporary stopped the moment I enter, and I really liked the feeling. In particular, I always like to see the old-school barber’s pole, especially the ones that lights up, brings back some really nostalgic feelings. From there, I wondered what I could express in my zine regarding my exploration at beauty world. Since what I saw when I went to beauty world differed from what I expected, I thought I could express in my zine a contrast between the old and new. Something along the lines of how they can both coexist and stand out in their own ways for my zine. However, when I went to consult Shirley for this, she questioned how this was related to my personal experience because it felt like I was simply documenting the area rather than showing an interpretation of it. At that moment, I felt like it was hard to go anywhere with beauty world so I decided at that moment to change my location.
I did not have a clear idea about where was suitable because I rarely travel and the places I am more familiar nowadays would be the extreme east and west. I was talking to a friend and she brought up Bukit Panjang as a ‘rising star’ since many changes were taking place. Obviously, I did not know where it was until I looked it up on the MRT map. It was at such a central area, leaning slightly towards the west. The only way to get to Bukit Panjang MRT was only through the downtown line, either that or you have to take MRT to Choa Chu Kang and then change to LRT to reach Bukit Panjang. Honestly, despite the downtown line, the Bukit Panjang MRT still felt very inaccessible for me, it was literally like in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, my friend recommended a bus which I could take to reach Bukit Panjang from Boon Lay bus interchange to save the hassle of changing MRT lines, but it was still a really long journey ahead. However, since I have never been to Bukit Panjang before, I thought I would go ahead and explore to see what ideas I could get from a new area.
On the same day, I briefly explored Bukit Panjang and the surrounding areas, and I also went to different places such as Cashew and Chinese Garden. I took the weekends to also explore Paya Lebar and MacPherson, just to expose myself to different areas to gather more ideas for the zine.
I brought my discoveries to show Shirley, however it felt like I had too many ideas ongoing all at once. Since I was not sure what I wanted to do for my zine and I explored so many places, it was delaying my time from actually focusing on what I should do. Hence, at that moment, Shirley knew I had to decide on a location at that point of time and just go for it rather than still considering a whole lot of places. I eventually decided on Bukit Panjang’s playgrounds to work on after I got the inspiration from the sandpit playground near Cashew and I moved on from there to gather images of playgrounds in Bukit Panjang.
This time, I felt more reassured because I was working along a direction rather than moving aimlessly. My goal at that point of time was clear, which was to gather images of interesting looking playgrounds in Bukit Panjang that were uniquely Bukit Panjang. Hence, I made a second trip back to Bukit Panjang and this time I decided to move along the LRT line since it was all in the Bukit Panjang vicinity. On the MRT map, I actually moved along the right side of the LRT line, which starts from Senja LRT to Petir LRT. I decided to walk, following the LRT tracks and photograph any playgrounds I come across. This whole process was really exhausting to be honest, I spent around five hours trying to finish the whole journey and finding certain playgrounds that I researched to finally get a collection of the photos of the playgrounds.
From there, I was trying to come up with an idea for my zine and while I was working, an idea came across my mind to make a teleportation theme. I thought it would be quite interesting since Bukit Panjang indeed changed a lot from the past from what I researched, hence I thought about how the playground could be a channel where teleportation takes place. From my observation of the playgrounds I took photos of, I also realised that three of them were more outstanding in a sense that they looked more unique to Bukit Panjang in my opinion because it is a design I have never seen elsewhere. The three playgrounds were transportation themed, with one being a fire truck, one being a train and one that was a ship. With this, I decided I could play with the playgrounds and connect it to the past of Bukit Panjang with my teleportation theme. I read up online and there are a few who actually shared blogposts about how much Bukit Panjang has changed and they are reminiscing certain memories from the old Bukit Panjang. People also replied to the posts and commented about how they shared certain sentiments as well in relation, hence this all the more proved to me that making a zine to allow teleportation seemed like a logical and fun idea which could be relatable.
My zine will hence be like a fun guide book to introduce people about the three playgrounds and how each of them can allow teleportation back to a time period to experience how life was in Bukit Panjang in the past.
I started with the idea of each playground occupying a page, so that the playground is halved at every page and continues to the next to give an explanation about it along with some illustrations. I cropped the images of the playgrounds out to fix the composition in place first. I also tried to do some illustrations on photoshop which are supposed to be the ‘memories’ part of the zine. The zine becomes a narrative where readers can follow one playground and be brought back to a point in time to old Bukit Panjang and experience- be it the Singapore Kranji Railway days, the old Bukit Timah fire station or the kampong days in Bukit Panjang.
I then added the illustrations and tried to experiment with the colours.
This was how the composition looked initially, I really liked how the illustrations turned out but it was an issue bc the background white was not removed so I had to redo the illustrations. I redid the illustrations for so many times I can’t even keep track haha. Shirley also commented that it looked quite boring and plain so she helped to add some shapes for more interesting composition and colours.
From there, I edited more and came up with the final composition that you can see over here.
The final composition has a plain white background because I felt that the colours of the playground which were primary colours were too overpowering for me to add more colours in. There was initially a texture layer on the background however I eventually removed it for the final because it came out looking weird in patches on the pdf so I knew it would not work out despite the fact that I already arranged it to the back of the work. I wanted each playground to bring out a certain type of experience for the reader to travel back to the past and I wanted it to be a fun zine to look at. The colours on the final work is very loud and eye-catching and I thought it worked well with the concept of playgrounds to convey the idea of fun. I also added a map at the back so that people can locate the playgrounds if they want to experience the time travel themselves.
Thank you to the classmates for all the constructive criticism!! If I were to make amendments to my zine, I would probably redo my illustrations and make them neater. I would also reconsider the font types and sizes and probably choose a colour scheme to follow throughout the zine to make the zine look more colourful without that many empty white spaces.
Here’s the end of my locale zine process, hope you had fun reading!
When it comes to social broadcasting, we can see the many changes that it has come to adapt and grow throughout the years. Many artists have experimented with the medium, using it to produce works and attempting to push the boundaries where it involves a greater audience and it becomes a work which encourages active interaction. Although it may seem like there are plenty of explorations done with social broadcasting already, I still see the potential of going further, using social broadcasting as a platform to connect with the possibility of this third space evolving into something as common as the first space for everyone.
It is important to trace back to the history of social broadcasting to show the progress that was made thus far. It dates back to artist challenging the norm of traditional television broadcast as referenced from Randell Packer’s blogpost titled Social Broadcasting: An Unfinished Communications Revolution. There was a sentence which I particularly liked and thought it was truly revolutionary for that idea to be generated. He mentioned that the exploration has resulted in participatory work, leading to changes to the definition of ‘broadcasting’.
“Broadcasting not as a monologue, but as a dialogue.” -Randell Packer’s blogpost titled Social Broadcasting: An Unfinished Communications Revolution.
The idea of a dialogue rather than a monologue meant that more than one person would be involved and this was rather intriguing to think about. An example would be the Wipe Cycle by Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider, which allowed the audience to immerse themselves in their video installation and influence the work with their participation. This concept of being more than just a one-sided way of conveying information was really new and it was a thought that was never pondered upon. This gave the audience a fascinating experience that they never had before. From there, the concept kept expanding and this was crucial to the further advancements that were made from there. Another crucial change to note was also Videofreex, a pioneering video collective, which eventually examined the idea of interaction through their work whereby they hacked the television channels and promoted communications amongst the audience.
“This simple exchange of homespun programming essentially transformed the medium of television into an interactive medium of two-way social broadcasting.” -Randell Packer’s blogpost titled Social Broadcasting: An Unfinished Communications Revolution.
In order to sum this up, I quote from Randell Packer about how the notion of broadcasting shifted, and it became far more interactive than it was before.
Moving on, I would like to bring in points mentioned from Maria Chatzichristodoulou in the symposium on the first day. She talks about works which makes use of broadcasting to create collaborative art, mentioning works from various artists, to highlight how the idea of being live at the same moment with others allows active transmission of ideas and also records the ability of both parties to respond at that moment.
She talks about ‘Hole in space’ by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinkwitz which was previously discussed in class. It was a public communication sculpture where a large screen was situated in two different countries each, allowing people from the two different locations to meet and communicate. They showed excited responses because it was captivating that this kind of broadcasting was possible. This piece is definitely evident of how social broadcasting allowed high levels of audience participation and relies heavily towards the interactivity in the work.
Another work by Paul Sermon called ‘Telematic dreaming’ also shares the same concept. Two strangers were allowed to interact, despite one being on a screen and the other on a real bed. Conversations went on between the two parties as they engage in social broadcasting.
Annie Abraham’s work titled ‘Shared Still Life’ involves sharing the third space with others on their webcams to show the happenings in reality. It explores communication and exchange of ideas with others in real life, about how it may not be fully comprehensive.
“This was a piece about connectivity that was as fully functional in connectivity’s absence, as it was in its presence.” -Maria Chatzichristodoulou, If not you not me. Annie Abrahams and life in networks.
I would also like to mention about the Station house opera at home in Gaza and London work in 2016. This piece allowed artists to occupy each other homes and social spaces for them to wonder over how life would be if they were in the same space together while live streaming in the process. This allows interactivity between the two parties as if they were physically next to each other in the space.
These examples really stretch to present collaborative art forms making use of social broadcasting to make the most out of it. Continuing, the performance by Annie Abraham during the symposium also projected her usual style of testing the limitations and presenting it on her social broadcast performance itself. The project titled “Online En-semble-Entanglement Training” starts with her team saying latencies and the word ‘excellent’ with a covered screen.
Numbers were constantly thrown out and the screens were revealed.
There was silence then followed by sounds such as humming, clapping and sounds which seemed to come from the clicking of the tongue. This continued to actual sounds that sounded like ‘ah’, along with some noises from the dripping of water and the harmonica.
The different individuals then started to make comments whereby some were repeated. Examples of the comment includes
“Take me to your leader”
“I’m sorry I’m afraid I can’t do that”
“The machine repeats when its told”
“What’s the point, you belong to devices”
“Being perfect is kind of constant”
“Resistance fully supports you as our leader”
“어디야?” (where in korean)
After this, the cameras show all the members’ face, with their eyes closed as they stop reciting the comments. They also had their earpieces on, as if they were imagining this whole performance in there head and are now listening.
One by one, they opened their eyes and shut their cameras off until only one member was left, and the performance ends. Apparently the protocol given for the part where the different members threw out comments was to choose 15 political phrases each. The performance showed how different individuals would interact without any interference with her rather general protocol instructions and also how Annie Abrahams played with the possible obstacles in the process.
“We all have one subject, in fact. Mine is communication and the difficulty to communicate at all. Everything I do is around that.” -Annie Abrahams
As mentioned by Annie, she makes use of the online platform to perform negotiation and working along the interruptions in the third space to produce a work that displays human interaction socially with others, allowing us to reflect upon the essence of this third space.
Going back to the point where I believe that the potential of social broadcasting can be pushed, I want to mention about Blast Theory which was shared by Matt Adams in the second day of the symposium. Blast Theory is a group which focuses on creating interactive art such as performances and interactive games, with great emphasis on the participation part on the audience.
For their work “Kidnap“, it involves kidnapping audience who had granted prior permission for this action to be carried out and keeping them for 2 days in their secret room, with a live webcam in the rooms for the audience to interact with the online users.
“Once you put a bag on your head, it all becomes very real” -One of the member from the audience who was kidnapped
This created an experience for the audience who were kidnapped because it felt very realistic as they combined performance with this concept of social broadcasting since it was not an actual kidnap.
Their game called “Uncle Roy all around you” was also a rather interesting piece since it combines social broadcasting with the structure of a game. It involves interaction between street players and online players to eventually find Uncle Roy. Both the street players and online players have to work together and converse in order to solve the game. The game eventually also ends of with a question to the players, “Do you want to meet a stranger?” and this brings confusion as to whether it is a serious question since it feels like it is part of the game, hence playing with the relationships created as they get involved in the work. For a general idea of the game, click here .
I particularly like this work because I feel that this work is the epitome of a breakthrough in explorations of the concepts of social broadcasting. This incorporated both social broadcasting and gaming together so perfectly since games was a good approach to allow interactions between different parties. In comparison to social broadcasting where the interactions only involve communicating, I feel like bringing the idea of games into this would make social broadcasting a lot more enjoyable since it feels like there is a mission to complete together with the other parties.
To conclude, I do feel that the idea of social broadcasting is constantly being challenged and pushed by artists. Communications via the third space are constantly altered to fit into different categories, hence I believe that social broadcasting can reach out to even more areas which can bring a new light to social broadcasting itself.