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.


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.



Here Come the Videofreex

In the documentary film “Here Come the Videofreex”, many things said felt strangely relatable and applicable even to the social broadcasting situation of today. There is a striking similarity in the way the Videofreex were running about with portapaks in hand and us, almost 50 years later, with our smartphones today. The desire for personalized content (video tapes of happenings in the past vs social media today) and stigma of manipulative television from main TV networks remain.

David Cort shooting ‘Mayday Realtime’

One of the scenes in the video featured an informal interview with Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Black Panther Party, where he discussed about the corruption in the government and expressed his desire to educate and lead the people. He was murdered by the police shortly after, but the tape remained in existence even up till today, as proof of his character despite the political situation at the time. Their work served not only as entertainment for the people in the past, but as historical archives documenting bits and pieces of protests and strikes, from their unique perspectives and participants that would never have been shown on mainstream TV. They gave a voice to the ordinary people of the community and the chance for their opinions (be it towards the government or about mundane everyday things) to be heard. As opposed to TV networks featuring reporters reading off scripts in specific locations, the footage recorded by the Videofreex were raw and showed nothing but the truth. 

Their work opened up new perspectives and unfiltered channels in which people can have access to a different side of the story. Their relentless search for content and broadcasting means, and eventual success in building their own pirated TV network was a huge step towards the future of broadcasting.

Videofreex and their neighbours at Lanesville gerneral store

Instead of the traditional one-to-many broadcasting, Videofreex was one of the first collectives to open doors to two(or more)-way communication in broadcasting. It appears the birth of the third space was in Lanesville, 1972. During their tv broadcasts in Lanesville, people could call in through the radio and provide feedback about the broadcast in real time, and further interaction is encouraged through it. With this addition channel for interaction, there is an increased level of engagement in the broadcasted content, and perhaps build and stronger trust in the tight-knit community of Lanesville. The establishment of remote two-way communication through television and radio at that time was indeed a huge achievement, sharing similarities with the comment and ‘like’ functions of Instagram and Facebook Live of today.


Social Broadcasting – Alter Ego

I am an adventurer and photographer. I enjoy solo traveling, and backpacking around different parts of the world whenever I get the chance to. I love exploring the unknown, especially high ones, to capture new perspectives of its surroundings. In this live feed, I climbed to rooftop of an abandoned building to catch the sunset, and the view overlooking the city was amazing.

– Joan’s double


Is it, though? Video and social media is often used to alter one’s identity or to influence another’s perception. We often show others the best side of us, but not what’s behind it, or the process of getting there, for fear of judgement or otherwise. From social media posts and videos alone, one can never tell the real thoughts behind the owner. Perhaps, the videographer didn’t want you to know her fears of falling off or dropping her phone. Or, the rooftop of the “abandoned building” that she had to climb to could very well be just an elevator ride away from her doorstep, but who would really know?

Social Broadcasting – Real-time Aggregation

Social Broadcasting Experience:

Before the broadcast, I was rather nervous at the thought of going live for a full 15 minutes, with no concrete idea of what I was going to do. While I do enjoy taking videos and sometimes posting snippets of them on social media, I was completely unfamiliar with live broadcasting and what was to come.

As everyone started streaming in the class, I felt excited yet comforted as everyone was still huddled in one location. Nervousness grew again, as we all started setting out of the room and into different directions. I ventured into the quieter areas of the school, such as the carpark, loading bay and the sunken plaza. Unfortunately, the WiFi connection in these areas are particularly weak and I disconnected several times.

(graffiti along the walls near the carpark)

The beauty of most live broadcasts is that they are not choreographed; no one really knows what is to come. During my exploration, I discovered many little details around the school that I don’t usually stop to admire, such as the wall graffiti around the carpark and the serenity of sunken plaza on a rainy night. I did feel a little more relaxed while exploring and describing my experience/whereabouts to my viewers.

One aspect of mass live broadcasting that interested me was the interaction between not only the streamer and his/her viewers, but also from streamer to streamer. Almost all of my classmates bumped into each other at some point while streaming, a phenomenon called “cross streaming” which I later learned.

It felt rather rewarding to watch the outcome – a video collage of 16(?) live streams played at the same time. The effects of us converging in the room, diverging into different parts of the school, and then converging again in the room was evident in the video collage. It was very enjoyable to watch what my classmates had captured in their live video, the effects of cross streaming between each other.

Personal Thoughts:

The main reason for my insecurity was the fact that it was public and the majority of views during the broadcast was from unfamiliar people on Facebook – from acquaintances to ex-colleagues to past teachers and even strangers. This increased my self-consciousness and the need to maintain a certain kind of image in front of these people. Personally, I would be much more comfortable if the live broadcast was only to close friends and family, though I feel that would defeat the purpose of a live broadcast.

Unlike pre-recorded videos where we get to do retakes, edits, and watch them prior to posting them on social media, live broadcasting shows the world the most authentic side of the broadcaster. The assumption that a video needs to be well produced and edited to generate views is invalid with live broadcasting, as the number of views depend on the abilities of the broadcaster to entertain.

Overall, it was a rather refreshing experience that managed to push me out of my comfort zone, and hopefully, I would be able to explore deeper into social broadcasting experiences in future projects.

Text & Image: Final

Project title: To Whom It May Concern
Medium: Box containing 12 postcards


I did my layout in Photoshop (9 captioned postcards + 3 blank ones) and printed my postcards at Easy Print at Sunshine Plaza. I used 310gsm glossy card, which added a nice effect to my pictures. However, I felt that the glossy paper wasn’t the best of quality as they were a little bit patchy. Some colours were also a little off in the printing process.

As for the box cover, I searched for inspirations on google and settled for a simple, flat box with a envelope opening on four sides. I printed my title on an A3 sized pale brown card, and measured our the dimensions suitable for my stack of postcards. The thickness was about 6mm and I also left some extra room in length and width.

I was very happy with how the box turned out, as there were no errors and the material was sturdy enough and easy to work with. 🙂

MAX Assignment 5: Pixels


I wanted to add a little more colours into the pixel to make it look more lively, and i chanced upon this object called jit.scalebias.

Jit.scalebias is a tool that helps you adjust the hues of the imported movie/camera grab, through changing the values of RGB/A attributes like rscale, rbias, gscale, gbias, bscale, bbias.

Input different colours into each of the four matrices…