This online symposium has been an eye opening experience as I was exposed to works of different artists, all the way from Chicago. The way they portrayed societal issues in an abstract form made me re-think social conventions and the symbolism of the objects used.
I attended the first and third day of the symposium, but I felt the third day resonated better with me as the installations were more engaging and controversial.
The first installation featured xxxtraprincess. This duo personified themselves using snapchat filters to depict themselves as a range of animals, from a deer, to rabbits. They also made use of Snapchat Avatars as a way to create an embodiment of who they wanted to represent, or be seen as.
(Credits to Brendan)
This duo engaged topics such as patriarchy, misogyny and the sensationalisation of violence towards black and brown communities. They are using the third space to drive their message across and to educate the audience of the on-going societal issues which are rampant. It was interesting to see them make use of the avatars on Snapchat, as well as a moving background which resembled someone passing through space to make the space more immersive and engaging for the audience.
One argument or query made during the question and answer session was why was there a use of multiple platforms while delivering the message? The inquisitor felt that it was redundant and confusing for the audience as people on Snapchat may not be able to view or understand the collectiveness of the project as they are only seeing it through the secondary platform which is Snapchat.
The rebuttal xxxtraPrincess gave was, with the use of more modern and accessible platforms of networking, it would indeed draw a larger audience to the discussion on these heavy topics which is commendable. I felt that the aesthetics of their set up also helps with attracting attention.
The second installation was much more abstract and gruesome as there was an individual who willingly had leeches placed on his face as well as other parts of this body.
As time progressed, blood started to drip from his face. This could signify suffering as the blood trails resembled tears. There were many interpretations for this installation as one of the commenters pointed out that it could have been how Social Media is stealing our lives away from us by consuming our time.
As the installation progressed, the man was tasked to engage in movements with the aid of a pole.
This particular movement struck a chord with the audience as many of them related it to a crucifixion. It could mean the punishment of mankind or the patriarchy as feminism grows?
Towards the end, this individual was assisted by a lady to remove the leeches as well as to clean him up. This could represent the compassion of the female. Others also suggested that we, as users of the internet, are actually the leeches, mindlessly consuming social media or information on the internet, leaving us susceptible to bearing negative emotions or characteristics as depicted by the man.
I felt that the question and answer towards the end of the discussion could be more in depth as they did not interview the creators of the installation and their rationale behind their works, but rather a very brief summary. Randall did however point out his objective for this session, which was to create meaningful connections – both virtual and real, in this 3rd space. With the use of the live chat, the audiences were able to engage better with the art, taking us one step closer to the interaction we experience when we are in a physical space among others.
Randal also highlighted the differences between viewing such an event during real time, as opposed to a recording. A recording can be skipped forward, or even edited to make it more seamless. This however, skews and distorts the original difficulties which the exhibitors may have faced during the setting up of the installations.
Viewing the event live would provide a much more immersive experience and the audience is able to actively participate among others, bouncing theories and questions with each other, sparking a more impromptu and genuine conversation.