Hyperessay #1 – Concepts in Social Broadcasting

Through this semester, we have reviewed the works of several video and media artists that contributed significantly in the revolution of media and the Internet. We learned about some of the key concepts that goes behind the creation of these works, and how they relate to the advancement of technology at the time. We also learned how media and technology is used as a tool to bring across important ideas, concepts and information from the artists. 

“If there is one word that defines Electronic Café, it is integration: integration of technology into our social fabric; integration of distinct cultures and communities, the arts, and the general public; and integration of art forms.”

From “Welcome to Electronic Café International” (1992)

This statement not only applies to the Electronic Cafe, but also to all other media artists’ works. Their creations greatly integrated technology into society, and bring people together through it. Many of these artists, notably the Videofreex, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, have produced works that greatly benefited the society and pushed the boundaries and functionality of media art.

The Videofreex (1969 – 1978) taught me about the beginning of social broadcasting, through their attempt to break tradition media that was corrupted at the time. They had the courage to challenge social norms and bring the truth out to the people through video recording and broadcasting. They gave a voice to ordinary people and took the very first step towards he individual broadcasting technology that we have today.

Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz (1980s) taught me the importance of being experimental through their playful blend of physical forms in the third space. They created art forms and performances in the third space that involved people who are physically separated, from all around the world. They connected people in physical spaces that were far apart, creating a seamless two-way interaction between the two sides and provoking authentic, sincere responses.

Jon Cates (2012), on the other hand, has a rather unique approach towards technology. He sieves out glitches and imperfections in our daily technology, and embraces them. Cates has taught me to appreciate the process and complications behind technology that are not always perfect. He breaks apart all these errors and reassembles them, to create glitch art that becomes more beautiful the ‘dirtier’ it gets.

Douglas Davis (1994 – present) linked people of the internet together, allowing them to collaborate and communicate with each other on one platform despite being strangers. His interactive websites, such as a World’s Longest Sentence, provided the public with an anonymous platform to express themselves freely and enthusiastically. He presented an archive of people’s behaviour and attitude towards the internet on the third space, and content of speech over the years.

Interesting trend over the years in both the artists’ and the viewers’ approach towards the art work:

As technology advances and becomes more accessible, the medium gradually shifted from TV broadcasting to video performances to internet art.

Participants’ disbelief and genuine surprise gradually shifted to a more comfortable form of self-expression as they get used to the technology.

Personally, I found Videofreex the most interesting and relatable to us today, despite being the oldest compared to the other artists. Through an informal medium, they inform people about issues ranging from political situations to entertaining everyday-life snippets. This is strikingly similar to the uses of popular social media platforms that we have today, proving that they were indeed incredibly forward looking.

One quote that stuck with me was:
“We are all Videofreex.”

David Cort shooting ‘Mayday Realtime’, 1971
Animal Right Protest on the streets of NYC, 2017 – screengrab of a video taken by a participant

Social media content is constantly going viral, with everyone sharing their piece and perspectives with the world. What amazed me was not only their scope of their video work, but also their attempt at establishing a two-way communication. (E.g. Instagram Live with commenting function, Facebook sharing and likes) This is perhaps the social aspect of social broadcasting, the part that attracts people and really sets it apart from traditional TV broadcasting.

We also see similar and more complex ways of two-way communication in works like Telematic Dreaming and the Electronic Café International.


The micro-projects throughout this semester also allowed me to explore different forms of concepts and self-expression through the media. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone, to experiment with internet art beyond the everyday activities on the computer. In the beginning, the idea of going live on social media was terrifying, and all I could think during my first live stream was how awkward I was behaving. However, after six weeks, I am able to approach live streams a little more comfortably and in a much calmer manner, and to focus more on the content created rather than how nervous I felt.

The desktop mise-en-scene and cross stream broadcasting were two of the most interesting micro-projects, perhaps due to the slightly more complex nature of it and how they seem to encompass previous assignments (real-time aggregation and video double) within them.

The Collective Body was also an eye-opening experience, as it increased my awareness of collective content on social media pages. I realised that collective bodies are everywhere, often unexpectedly; from newsfeeds to customised content to friend lists on social media.

Collective images on my Instagram recommended page – collaged based on user’s preferences
Collective body of profile pictures of friends on the Facebook Birthday page



Cross Stream Broadcasting (with Hannah)

For our cross stream, our goal was to explore various sources of water around the ADM building, and transport water between these places. Some of these locations include the sunken plaza, fountains, sprinklers, washrooms and water coolers from different levels. Influenced by Videofreex’s attempt at bring attention to certain issues through an informal broadcast, we wanted to document water-related issues and activities. Chemicals, no chemicals? For cleaning or for drinking? Water wastage, perhaps?
However, due to the weak connectivity when travelling between zones within the building, our footage was still choppy at some parts. Perhaps, this relates to the importance of good bandwidth, as emphasized by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz in A Hole in Space. In an attempt to increase the interactivity of the project through desktop mise-en-scene, I played around with the collage of underwater sponge bob gifs on the desktop, resizing and moving them according to the water flow. I also toggled between the layers of kaleidoscope effects and the video.

The time lag between the two live videos was about 2 minutes – it took quite awhile for our computer to sync up.
Overlaying of a move kaleidoscope effect to mimic the mesmerizing quality of water.
(It’s dark but –) Transferring water from level 2 washroom to the sunken plaza.
Interactions in the comments section during the live streaming – communication between Hannah and I and also from friends



This module has truly pushed me out of my comfort zone and exposed me to important works affecting the evolution of technology. I have also learned about different ways of communication – one to many or many to many, and as we live in the third space today, the line between virtual and reality is blurred. I have become more aware of the abundance of technology around me and their potential beyond everyday communication and hopefully, I would be able to integrate these concepts and techniques into my future projects.

Device of the Week #2 – NOTCH 3D MOTION SENSORS

Notch is a wearable sensor technology that tracks 3D body motion. It comes in a pack of six small triangular waterproof sensors, weighing less than 10g each. They can be attached to and worn using thin elastic straps, on key areas such as elbows, knees, ankles and torso. Its small and comfortable design allows it to be used anywhere, without hindering movement during activities or being visually obtrusive. Unlike traditional trackers that can only be worn on the wrist, Notch is able to capture much more precise body movements and is suitable for sports or activities involving full body movement.


You can try out the configured 3D visualizations here!



The sensors can be calibrated through the Notch smartphone application, and users can pick a configured movement or create their own. Fit with an accelerometer, gyroscopes and compasses within each device, users can also collect data and replay movements through the app, to check for correct postures and monitor their progress. Sensors can be controlled by tapping to toggle between recording and pausing, to allow movement capture to be continuous or only on specific postures. Users are not restricted to the number of sensors that they can wear, depending on the range of movement tracked.

Screen grab from Notch 3D simulation of motion visualization on their website

Notch is not only an input device but also an output device; a haptic feedback function is included, where a vibrator motor is triggered when a good or bad move is made, acting almost like a ‘personal trainer’. This device is aimed at profession athletes, coaches as well as therapists, making it easier to identify problematic physical habits and to correct techniques. Its waterproof features also benefits synchronized and competitive swimmers.

While it is currently being used mostly by professionals and developers, the Notch kit can be purchased by anyone who wants to try it out, at 379 USD per kit.

Not only is it for sports players but can also greatly benefit healthcare sectors. This device can help injured or disabled patients in physiotherapy, to monitor their movements and track their healing progress. Professionals in various other fields have also expressed interest in the technology: martial arts, climbers and even animators. As they plan on releasing an API for third party users to build additional uses for Notch, the potential uses are endless:

Sports – Sensors act as their personal guide in preventing unnecessary injuries and correcting techniques based on their motion data.

Healthcare – To enhance recovery during physiotherapy.

Entertainment – For dancers and models to perfect their moves, aid 3D animators in creating characters.

VR Gaming – Replace VR controllers to provide a more natural and physically immersive gaming experience


Technical testing with Hannah

Testing 1 (Hannah’s phone, Joan’s laptop)

The first test run was still pretty laggy despite the change of location especially during the first half of the video. It might be due to weak internet near the toilet and fetching of the live video through OBS was very slow. Despite the interrupted connection, the live footage from the phone was very smooth. We then decided to exchange the devices and conduct another test.

Joan’s laptop:

Technical test

Posted by Joan Li on Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Hannah’s phone:

Technical test for assignment

Posted by Hannah Kwah on Tuesday, 19 September 2017


Testing 2 (Joan phone, Hannah computer)

Both the phone and computer were streamed from the same location. The second test was slightly smoother probably due to newer devices and stronger internet connection. We figured that we have to decide on a new location for the phone user for smoother broadcast.

Joan’s phone:

Technical test 2

Posted by Joan Li on Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Hannah’s laptop:

Technical testing 2 for assignment

Posted by Hannah Kwah on Tuesday, 19 September 2017


Research Critique – The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence

Douglas Davis is a new media artist known for his satellite video performances and interactive websites. He experimented extensively with advanced and traditional technology, linking people (mostly in the 80s & 90s, with little access to the internet) to the third space. Some of his most notable works include The Last Nine Minutes, where he attempts to physically interact from the third space to the second space where the audiences are, and the World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence.

The Sentence

“The Sentence has no end. Sometimes I think it had no beginning. Now I salute its authors, which means all of us. You have made a wild, precious, awful, delicious, lovable, tragic, vulgar, fearsome, divine thing.”
—Douglas Davis, 2000

The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence by Douglas Davis is an internet art based solely on participation, consisting of massive collaborations from all around the world. Users can contribute to the never-ending sentence and write anything in any language, but without periods. The concept behind the work is to connect people in the third space through the contribution of their thoughts.

The content is entirely made up of these inputs by people from everywhere, and without these contribution, there would be no content. The original sentence attracted more than 200,000 contributions from 1994 to 200 from all around the world. The sentence not only connected people from different geographical locations, but from different time periods as well. As one of the earliest forms of iconic Internet art, this work perhaps served as a historical archive of our relationships with the third space throughout the years – with the increasing accessibility to the internet, increasing collaborations, interactions and sharing. The sentence compels people to contribute their piece and let their voices be heard, encourages energetic participation and intensive interactive within a single sentence.

We have sentences written in CAPS or bold, phrases in large point sizes, personal thoughts, short stories blending into one another, and even people trying to communicate with those messages in the same page. This creates a waterfall effect as participants often react to those before them even though all messages are anonymous. The sentences seem to grow increasingly animated with the restricted use of periods, as everyone’s emotions melded together in one single sentence.

The Sentence is a massive collaboration that is never-ending, with the potential to be kept alive forever – but in the case, has crashed due to poor conservation. Some of these included shifting of the work between servers, improperly formatted text and corrupted characters, causing the sentence to be essentially obsolete.

 “For instance, when a Web-based work becomes technologically obsolete, does updated software simply restore it? Or is the piece fundamentally changed?”
– Melena Ryzik, The New York Times

While I do agree that the work is fundamentally changed by the updated technology, I feel that it is not necessarily a negative thing. It’s true meaning is not lost, as the concept and functionality still remains. As technology advances and changes a little every day, the software should be kept updated to provide an easily accessible platform to people. In this way, the flow of activities can be optimised and the most authentic third space interactions can be recorded through decades to form an ever-growing collective narrative.



Desktop Mise-en-scene: Facebook Live

We were tasked to do a 10-min desktop mise-en-scene:


For my desktop live, I switched around with music tabs and my natural desktop activities, but mainly played another live stream from Sweden, as I wanted to experiment with a live within a live. The lag time was doubled; from Sweden to my computer and then to Facebook. It was interesting how there were webcam overlays and desktop streaming from two different people and computers, altogether in one screen (even if the other person doesn’t know about it). While there wasn’t much feedback in my stream, I thought about the possible audio feedback that could be produced through linking several computers. As I watched the playback of my stream, I also thought about the possible interactions between me and the other party, and got reminded of the video we watched in class, of two people synchronising their movements through time lag.

One of the differences between desktop streaming and live experiences from the previous weeks (apart from the desktop aspect), was that I couldn’t see myself this time. The webcam window is displayed on OBS, but not on our desktop when we begin streaming. Toggling to OBS during the stream would disrupt the flow of the video, and since we cannot see ourselves, it was more difficult to interact in the physical aspect.

I do agree that we live partially in the third space and our desktop is an extension of our personal space, much like our physical home. There was a certain unease while streaming, and an increased awareness of not only our physical selves (in the webcam), but also of our actions in our virtual home. We need to ‘check’ before going live, because our desktops are an extension of our personalities and behaviour. This perhaps highlights how ‘human’ our desktops can be, from the way we organise our files, to our preference for the number of tabs opened, even customised content on social media pages.

Overall, it was a great experience and was a feature with many aspects to explore on. Desktop wasn’t as easy as it seems, having to toggle and keep everything in check. It’s a wonder how Jon Cates was able to produce such a noisy/mess/dirty/glitchy, yet somehow kind of seamless performance.

Device of the Week #1 – DRING SMARTCANE

Company: Dring Alert System & Fayet, a French company specialising in handcrafted canes
Technology: GSM and GPS network, accelerometers, gyroscopes

The Dring Smartcane is a walking cane with strategically-designed build-in smart technology around its handle. It is embedded with several motion sensors such as an accelerometer and a gyroscope, programmed to detect any signs of unusual activity from the user, such as falling. It activates with the user’s grip, which is also a factor that triggers the alarm system for any falling activity. Caregivers and family members are automatically alerted when such instances occur, through the integrated GPS system. Signals can also be sent back from the caregiver, to let the elderly know that help is on the way.

Smartcane by Dring: Winner of the Innovation Award CES 2017

The Smartcane also features artificial intelligence algorithms that compiles user movement data and compare them with external data, to learn user habits. Unusual changes over time (such as reduce activity, strange patterns or even tiredness) can also be detected and monitored, helping the user and their families identify possible worsening health conditions. The elderly may not even notice that he/she has been less active over the past month, but the cane would know!

With the lack of elderly health aids in thee high-tech industry, the Smartcane’s user friendly design is a perfect fit into the senior community.


Jérémie Bennegent, AI and Software Engineer for Nov’in

With falls as one of the leading causes in fatal and non-fatal trauma injuries among older adults, I personally feel that this product could truly bring about positive changes in the health of seniors and should be integrated into every society. These incidents could occur anywhere and are very threatening to the fragile frames of the elderly. Perhaps this innovative device would lead us to the future where the fears of falling may no longer be a threat to the elderly. 🙂

Do check out their official site here!

Video starts at 0:30

Research Critique – Bold3RRR by Jon Cates

The beginning of the video was rather calm and understandable, as Jon Cates talks about what he wishes to achieve through his desktop mise-en-scene.

“I want to reflect on real-time. I want to reflect on real-time renderings across international time zones, in fragments, errors and overlaps. I want to play with recursivities. These feedback loops merge personal data and swim in associative form, from Chicago to Taipei to Boulder and back again.”

Jon Cates

He experiments with fragmented visuals of his desktop, switched between several tabs and programmes, and produced audio feedback. Past the 4:30 mark, however, the white noise and visual glitches get increasingly intense. On the first watch, it felt random and chaotic, and I didn’t fully understand its artistic qualities.

After reading Randall Packer’s interview with Jon Cates, I could better appreciate the glitch art that was presented in the video. I found Jon Cates’ take on glitches very refreshing and unique, as compared to the conventional perspectives. We often get annoyed when encountering lags and errors (faulty screens, poor internet connection, choppy displays, etc), and have never seen glitch in a positive light. We take all advancements in technology for granted as we send emails, stream videos and browse the net everyday. Jon Cates, however, is the exact opposite. He brings attention to all the complication that goes on behind our technology and breaks them apart.

Screen grab from BOLD3RRR – Audio remixing by Jon Cates

While a giant mix of everyday desktop activities is what makes up BOLD3RRR, it is certainly not the main point. The difference between this and conventional desktop streaming (games, vlogs, etc) is that it is a real-time performance art that seeks imperfection, the push and pull between human and machine language. It pulls us away from our endless pursuit of perfect technology, and instead questions us on the processes that goes behind glitches.

What kind of mixing and rendering technology did Cates use? How did he transit seamlessly from one glitch to other while streaming live? To me, it appears Cates produced imperfection, perfectly.

Screen grab from BOLD3RRR – Streetview and overlaying text

It was interesting that Jon Cates’ responses in the interview was also full of glitches, even in textual form. ‘d1Ɍ+y̶ ̶N̶3WWW_M3DI∆’ had strange symbols, along with errors like ‘faxxx’, ‘exxxperience’ and ‘&&’. While I personally found it quite difficult to read, it did connote the sense of playfulness and informality that glitches encompass.

“they are not sterile, they’re imperfect, they are not clean, b/c they exist in the world, which is also imperfect.
+ so, i do believe that d1Ɍ+y̶ ̶N̶3WWW_M3DI∆ as a way of lyfe + as an approach to artmaking is a way of foregrounding these faxxx, these realities, of our lived exxxperiences, + acknowledging how situated we all are w/ all of these systems, + artifacts that we have made, unmade && remade together.”

Jon Cates

Wherever there is technology, there is glitch. Glitch shows that nothing is of perfection, no matter how much we seek it. It is all around us and perhaps we should learn to appreciate it at times, just like how Jon Cates take advantage of these opportunities to make art.


Adobe Connect – Experience

Having a class through Adobe Connect was definitely a unique and enjoyable experience that felt surprisingly different from physical lessons. While we were physically situated in different locations, we were still very much connected through the little windows that is our webcams.

It was interesting how it was both private and exposed at the same time. When our webcams were switched off, the only way of interaction was through the chat box. It did feel a little disconnected at times as we could not see each other (perhaps only a few of my classmates’ faces), and have no idea what everyone is actually doing. It felt especially so when my internet connection broke down a few times. However, it was definitely a fun and engaging experience when all of us turned our webcams on. Unlike a physical class, we formed a real-time collage of all our faces and interacted through the windows despite being alone in the physical world. It was comfortable because we could decide what will be seen and what won’t, but uncomfortable because we would never know who or when someone is watching us.

Research Critique – A Hole in Space (1980)

A Hole in Space (1980) by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz consists of two large projection screens, one at the Century City in Los Angeles and the other at the Lincoln Center in New York City, both screening real-time footage of people from the other city. As such technology was rather advanced at the time, most people were foreign to the idea of real-time video communication. Without any signage or description, this work came as a surprise to the public. It was interesting how the public responded to the work over the three days – first with confusion, then with amazement, and finally immersing fully in the communication experience.

“Who are we talking to? Are they actors?” – 0:40 of the video

Communication between the two sides of the screen erupted as soon as they realized the truth. The gradual realization and build-up of excitement from everyone formed a collective narrative for this piece. In this case, the participant is also the artist. Every unfiltered human interaction (cheering with beer bottles, flirting, ecstatic family greetings) and personalities contributed to the art work’s narrative. The traditional distinction between the artist and his/her viewer is now blurred, as neither party has full control over the outcome of this work. It is unique and unpredictable, similar to the collective body of photographs we did last week.


Screens from two groups of people placed side by side, forming an interactive narrative.

Interaction between two sides was made immediate, enhanced by the incredible bandwidth and transmission speed used by the setup. This effectively collapsed the distance between the two states, connecting two groups of distant people onto one space.

“Where am I going? I’m staying right here with you!” – 1:48 of the video

It is evident that a collective third space has already been established in the participants’ minds.


“If there is one word that defines Electronic Café, it is integration: integration of technology into our social fabric; integration of distinct cultures and communities, the arts, and the general public; and integration of art forms.”

From “Welcome to Electronic Café International” (1992)

Much like other works by Galloway and Rabinowitz, A Hole in Space served not only as an art form, but also as a communicative tool that involves societies on an international, multicultural scale. It is a convenience for people living in different geographical locations who want to connect and socialise virtually without the trouble of travelling physically. While Skype and FaceTime are not considered art forms, this was perhaps the earliest forms of such technology. However, one difference between the past and the present is perhaps the aspect of honesty. With easy access to advanced technology today, people often exhibit only the best sides of themselves on social media. People in the past (without access to live video feed), however, are awed and focus on the communicative aspects of works like Hole in the Space and Electronic Café. Hence, the interaction found in these works are truly genuine and shows the most authentic sides of people.

These interactions may not be as “real” as face to face conversations, but are the closest alternatives in remote communication. The emotional effects, however, are just as real. People act as they normally would in their physical space (1st & 2nd space) and naturally expect an emotional feedback from the other party, and live video streaming is able to translate just that. Furthermore, people tend to be braver and more experimental in third space interactions as the virtual world is just an extension of themselves, shielded from any form of physical harm.

Perhaps these works have slowly translated into online dating and social networking of today, where social media acts as a tool that widens our reach and connect with like-minded people whom we might never encounter in the physical world.