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 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.
I feel like there is just so much to say regarding our digital identity because it is something so relevant to us right now in this time and age. We all hide behind social media platforms with an identity that we put forth on the web for everyone all around the world to see.
If we choose how we present ourselves, and we choose who we present ourselves to, don’t we risk just falling into a collective just-so-story about who we are and what we ought to believe? This is why so many of the chapters to follow are about authenticity in various forms—authentic selves, authentic relationships, and authentic communities.
–D.E. Wittkower (A Reply to Facebook Critics)
How do we truly know someone if all we might know of them is only a part of them that they choose to show? What is worse is that the part that they show might not even be close to who they are because that is just how free we are on online platforms, we have the power to decide whatever we show!
In Carla Gannis’s work ‘Until the End of the World’, she questions about the hybrid nature of identity, of how our identity online and offline intersect in this time and age. The creation of the video was inspired by a film by Wim Wenders where a woman is addicted to watching her dreams in a small handheld device, hence Carla Gannis converts it to be more applicable to the current age to discuss about the digital identity politic issues. In the video, imagery of the mobile phones can be seen and there is some sort of narration that goes on in the background to narrate the changes as time passes from year 4545 to 5555 to 6565 and so on.
There was this particular scene which I felt was quite thought-provoking to me. The phones are buried on the ground and it resembled tombs on a cemetery and I wondered if this was meant to convey the message that we are all trying to portray a certain side of us online that we bring it to our ‘deathbeds’ because that is how we want people to remember us as. Then again, this is just something that came across my mind haha!