Art of Networked Practice Online Symposium: Hyperessay


I attended Symposium Day 1 and 2, and it was really quite eye opening. The Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium was an event, a gathering across the globe that presents the artistic works and technological breakthroughs that incorporates art as a practice. The symposium was completely free and brings people from across the gobe together. Granted, many of us were there because of Experiental Interaction, it was a beautiful act of connection because all of us were there for a specific goal- to share and to learn more about this. The Adobe Connect sessions were extremely informative, and it is the practice of the third space coming to life right in front of me, and people with the same passion sharing their hearts out. Through the two days, the DIWO and third space are very strongly demostrated and communication is talked about a lot- how it has been used in art, and how we can use it as artists.

We have all one subject, in fact, mine is communication and the difficulty to communicate at all.” – Annie Abrahams 

I found this quote particularly interesting. Through the live performance that we witnessed via Adobe Connect, we saw the entire performance play out throughout the different parts of the world and somehow still sync pretty much seamlessly through the whole maybe 30 minutes. The communication was beautiful even before the performance started- we witnessed the performance participants chatting to each other about when to start the performace, and I personally saw how in a sense, there were two ‘worlds’ in the same platform. One on the webcam and sound end, the other world on the chatroom. I believe Annie Abrahams also highlighted this point briefly when she was in the symposium, but seeing the worlds play out separately was interesting, especially when the topic on the chatroom can be completely unrelated to the webcam side, yet it can influence what happens on the webcam as the presenter still have access to the chatroom. Moving on the actual live performance on Day 1, it started off with the blacked out screens on the webcam, and the performers saying different amounts of time at the same time. It was completely random, and we didn’t quite know what happened behind the screen, yet we had an inkling of who was talking based on the blue outline that glows when someone’s microphone was recording some sound. Another part of the performance I found interesting is when the different performers said things like “excellent” and other sentences and phrases that were related to the political climate in their own home country. I loved how this part worked out because there were points in the performance where the performers sounded like they were replying each other, even though it was supposed to be coordinated to sound like that. It was unintentional, yet it added so much character into the work.

An interesting point to note is that Annie Abrahams later found out after the performance ended, that her microphone was wonky and may not have contributed to the work as much as she wanted, but she just went with it. Perhaps this was the glitch that we speak of, and how the glitch may actually shape the performance work to an unexpected way, but it wasn’t necessarily treated as a mistake. The glitch was great.

The second day was interesting, with Matt Adams. He shared about Blast Theory and some of the works that they have been doing. One of the works that caught my attention is I’d Hide You (2012). The work is a relatively simple concept- it was designed like a game, so the runners try to capture the other players on their camera while trying to be out of sight. As online viewers, you choose which team to be on, and you enjoy the privellege to speak to the players themselves. Somehow, you are also emotionally implicated into the game as you follow the runner and you communicate with them. This would impact the outcome of the performance, whether you try to sabotage or support the runner. This work takes vlogging (video-blogging, usually about their daily lives by Youtubers) to a whole new level, and makes communication with the video makers deviate from the usual. On Youtube, you can upload video and people can comment on it, or you can do live videos where people can immediately respond to. While on live videos viewers can shape the outcome of the video since the people can see the comments live, I’d Hide You makes the viewers emotionally connected to the runners since this is a fast paced live game. The communication to and fro the viewers and runners change the way the game can turn out. The DIWO is strong, as the runners interact with each other and with the viewers.

I am slightly bummed that I missed the last day’s session because I saw friends posting about happenings, but all through the internet I will be able to catch up on it via recording. :’) Overall, the entire symposium contributed to the redefinition of communication and technology in my mind. Technology is no longer just a part of the world but we can really incorporate technology into our lives and in our art, and this motivates me to somehow go into this direction as we continue on in this journey called life. The DIWO concept played so much into this symposium, and this symposium wouldn’t have been possible without the third space and DIWO.

an angry woman is vindictive beyond measure, and hesitates at nothing in her bitterness.


An angry woman is vindictive beyond measure, and hesitates at nothing in her bitterness. -Jean Antoine Petit-Senn

This quote seems relevant to the work we analyse this week. Annie Abrabrams’s Angry Woman (2013) is a work done over the third space, where she invited 22 other women of different nationalities to be on an online platform where they all vented their anger, demonstrating it in different forms such as yelling, speaking throughout, or staying silent. They spoke in different tongues, which makes the work that much more interesting because the viewers don’t necessarily understand the language, yet are still able to comprehend the level of anger they experience. In other words, the emotions transcended the language barrier. We see it through their tone, their facial expressions and their body language.

So, how did Angry Women use the medium to its advantage?

So instead of dwelling on the frustrations of the network connection, she finds inspiration, and perhaps more importantly, she sets up compelling situations that allow her and others to make critical observations about connection and disconnection. –Randall Packer

This work is done online, through an social broadcasting site like Adobe Connect. Through Angry Woman, we see Annie Abrahams still moving through the work, even as some of the participants get frozen up because of the bad connection. It somehow works to her advantage, as the faces get frozen when the participants are looking particularly frustrated. According to the article by Randall Packer, she asked the participants to purposefully switch their webcams off, which created a ever changing collage of videos happening simultaneously, and makes the composition of the collage continually changing. Without the medium of a online application like Adobe Connect, this kind of work wouldn’t have been possible. Annie Abrahams uses the glitching network as part of the work, and it adds to the work rather than distracts from the work. She manages to show the community of angry women and weaves them into a cohesive narrative to show the process of the women getting worked up and cooling off (in Take 4 I think). In a way, the women’s energies bounce off each other and they react to each other’s actions, making the work out of the artist’s control, and that’s whats interesting in Angry Woman.



Face to Facebook is an installation piece that highlights the problem with the lack of privacy because of the influx of social media, in this case, Facebook. The work takes one million Facebook profiles from the database  (and processes them through a facial recognition software) and creates an online dating platform which then allows users to ‘date’ these profiles and connect with them. This proves how secure (or unsecure) Facebook is and how odd it is that we are simply allowing ourselves to be so vulnerable online.

In the Face to Facebook website, they mention that the website is a ‘goldmine for identity theft and dating, without the user’s control’ which I agree with. On Facebook, many people overshare about their lives- what level they are on on Candy Crush, what they have been doing on their weekend and many rants about schoolwork. I assume the people on your timeline are important to you, that’s why you bother to look through their many statuses. But what if it isn’t important to you? It ends up being a waste of your time (and leads to unnecessary scrolling and procrastination) Many people have different uses for Facebook, for me it is a place where I go to only find and stalk my primary school friends (backstory: I haven’t been on Facebook since about 8 years ago, and I was a very different person then.) Unfortunately, when you overshare, identity theft is very possible because it makes it easy for people to hack their accounts. I have had friends have their Facebook accounts hacked through their emails (don’t know the details, I’m guessing through the security question?) and it does deter them to continue using the platform in the long run.

This indeterminacy allows us users plenty of space to make things mean what we want them to. -D.E. Wittkower (A Reply to Facebook Critics)

I guess that is the beauty of Facebook as a social media website. You determine what it is for yourself. For me, it used to be a place where I would talk to classmates online, and join groups that I was interested in and my class groups. It was a place where I would reconnect with old primary school classmates. Even then, I never posted a photo of myself for fear of identity theft. However, a whole 8 years later, I use other social media platforms for connecting to friends, and I don’t necessarily want to talk to old friends. The indeterminacy of the website allows you to do what you want it to be.

Do it with OTHERS


The DIWO culture is very apparent through all the works we have done throughout the past couple of weeks, not just in the third space but also in the first space. the third space makes collaborating even more possible because of the accessibility of the internet, though I believe that there are traditional ways of collaborating as well.

DIWO is a gift of resistance in the 21st Century, exploring relational and hybrical realizations. It is socially informed, constantly adapting, intuitive and grounded. It can collide with mainstream culture but also exist deeper in the networked shadows, in accordance to the needs of who ever participates at any given time. –Marc Garrett (2014)

I think it is interesting to think of DIWO as a ‘gift of resistance’. Instead of having everything made to be aesthetically pleasing, I see how the exquisite glitch can be an art in itself- the process that the image goes through to become the way that it ends up at, how each person gives the image their own personal touch, whether it is scaling the image, pixelating it or liquifying the image. It is basically resisting the idea that the picture must be perfectly framed or taken at a certain time of day, and makes it socially and artistically acceptable to have a different aesthetic. The work adapts to whatever situation it is placed in, no matter the social context it was initially taken in. As the image gets passed through the different hands, the image is manipulated to form a different kind of aesthetic that reflects the person’s frame of mind at the time, and the end product is much more interesting as you look at the different stages that it had gone through to reach the end point. You end up with a collective narrative.

In the 21st century, it is also important to note how DIWO is relevant to the Third Space, since it introduces another dimension to DIWO. More than just doing things online, we can do things online together. The Telestroll microproject highlighted how we can use the internet to our advantage, as it can incorporate the first and third space together. Felicia and Bala’s collaboration on the Telestroll encapsulates this well, since they ‘collaborated’ with the people that they saw on the streets and interviewed, as well as collaborated with each other via the Facebook live. This would not have been possible if done alone or without the help of the third space.

Going beyond the paradigm is not easy when you do it alone, but when you collaborate, it is more possible. After all, two (or more) brains are better than one.



Image result for media burnAnt Farm is a avant garde art group founded in San Francisco by Chip Lord and Doug Michels. As a group, Ant Farm did Media Burn (1975) which addressed the pervasive nature of the television in many people’s lives. It confronts people directly as the work was made to imitate a real life event that would have been televised for all to see, and poked fun at what people usually would deem as a serious topic. It took something serious and brought it to the art context and changed the purpose of the ‘news coverage’ and the audience’s reaction.

I have to say that Ant Farm and Media Burn resembles the idea of Andy Warhol’s Factory (although their purposes are different) Andy Warhol’s Factory ran from 1962 to 1984 and it was basically a studio space in New York where artists gathered and contributed to the iconic silkscreen prints by Andy Warhol, as well as provided a breeding ground for the artists to collaborate. One famous group that emerged from the Factory is The Velvet Underground, which made the collaboration the Velvet Underground and Nico possible. Perhaps it is the fact that both of the groups are breeding grounds for collaboration and this is what is most important to both these groups: to do things with others. Another point where they resemble each other is that Andy Warhol sort of poked fun at the popular culture in the American culture with his soup can sales and print sales. The television culture was growing in importance and Ant Farm took it and poked fun at it. The funny thing is that the mainstream media covered it as well, without fully knowing the purpose of the artwork, and manifested the work further as it poked fun at the television culture.

(Sidenote: Singapore tried to get something like this happening, The Artist Village (TAV)! Founded by Tang Da Wu, in Sembawang, and it subsequently moved to Pulau Ubin because of the government reclaiming the land at Sembawang. The Artist Village is less active nowadays but the residency is still happening (I think), and one of my cousins is actually a member of TAV. It would be so powerful to see something like Media Burn happen in Singapore, but it probably wouldn’t be that feasible with the political and social stigma in Singapore.)

Truisms over the years


Jenny Holzer’s ‘Please Change Beliefs’ (1995) is an interactive work that is available to the public via the internet. Jenny Holzer has a list of Truisms that she came up with and as the title suggests, the viewer is invited to modify a common truism that they choose.

The viewer first arrives on the homepage that include one of the many truisms Jenny Holzer came up with, and she invites the viewer to click on ‘Please Change Beliefs’ which leads the viewer to the page with the list of Truisms that we can choose from. When we modify the truism, the new ‘truism’ ends up on a separate master list with everyone else’s truisms that they have come up with.

This dramatically alters the act of writing and narrative, from the singular activity of a very personal form of individual expression, to a collective activity that is highly collaborative: all publishable instantaneously to a global audience. -Randall Packer, Open Source Studio (2015)

I think this line from the article is really accurate. The truisms started off with Jenny Holzer’s (or the general public’s) consensus about an issue, which is the individual expression, and is morphed into an activity that many people are able to collaborate and contribute their own opinions and truisms. I love that the work will (theoretically) never end. The work started off in 1995; The people who lived in 1995 would have had different opinions as compared to the people who will live in 2045. It would be interesting to see how the master list of truisms grow and morph into a thing where we’ll be able to see the changes in the way people think over 50 years.


For example, maybe 50 years on, no one will even remember what One Direction is, or what a Barbie is and why it is so controversial. Hopefully all of us will live to see the day arrive, and log on to the website to see it for ourselves.

The Big Kiss: why?


The Big Kiss (2007) performed by Annie Abraham. Two people, one of which is Annie Abraham, sit in two separate places in front of a webcam. Their two feeds go onto a screen split down the centre, and they ‘kiss’ each other through this screen. This screen is thus the third space which is discussed in Randall Packer’s ‘Third Space’ (2014). The two people seemed very ‘into’ the kissing, as if they were really in the same first space.  This kiss transcends the physical boundaries that they were once restricted by, even though the individuals cannot feel each other physically. Also, their emotions can be felt through the internet kiss.

rather, it is the pervasiveness of distributed space and the degree and myriad of ways in which we are constantly connected.

Interestingly enough, the Big Kiss does reflect a lot of people’s relationships nowadays. Many people now live away from their hometown and leave their love ones, and use internet means to keep in contact with them, no matter whether it is through Facetime, Skype or other platforms that enables us to see and hear each other in real time. We use texting platforms to communicate as well, albeit not exactly in real time so its asynchronous (which gives us the freedom and space to reply at our own pace.) The degree of communication is more intimate in the case of The Big Kiss, as they are forced to face each other in a very intimate (yet at the same time public) space, and not just communicate via their words but through their facial expressions and actions. This may not be the case for everyone who uses the same tools, but it leads us to question whether or not the third space allows the same level of intimacy and communication as the first space.

The penultimate paragraph of Randall Packer’s article pointed out something: that the third space can and may eventually become the new standard in the future. A point to note is the fact that Annie Abraham was born in 1954. She mostly grew up in a time where the internet did not exist. To have to fathom the fact that you can communicate with a person remotely (other than over the telephone) would have been difficult to understand. The increasing use of the internet and the tools that it lends in the 21st century, I imagine, would have been an interesting concept to explore for someone who didn’t rely on it in the past. The third space would have been difficult to understand. Whereas for the millennials, they grow up with the concept of a third space- the millennials don’t need to question how we are able to cross physical boundaries because it’s so commonplace. However, it would still be odd to see people attempting their own rendition of the Big Kiss on their personal devices in public in this day and age. This is probably because it is a very brave act of public display of affection, and would still warrant weird looks from people on the MRT or on the streets if you were to start looking very passionate kissing your phone. In the third space, maybe it would not look that odd, but in real life it would not get a good response from strangers.

This work was very intriguing, and does challenge people’s thoughts about the virtual realm- how does intimacy work virtually, and can it transcend the physical space into the third space? I believe that through this work, we have been able to get some answers to these questions, but I think this concept still requires some smoothening out in my mind to fully comprehend the purpose of the work.

OpenSourceCulture: summary


Open Source Culture, from what I understand is the system where people in the community share resources so that we sort of bounce ideas and information off each other. This used to be used exclusively to describe software, but since then, has been used to describe various other things such as the idea of having an open (virtual) space for people to interact and work together- the DIWO idea instead of DIY.

I think this video is pretty useful in summarising the open source software bit in the first article. (I was honestly slightly confused with the first article and had to reread it a couple of times and google quite of few terms before understanding it.)

Having an Open Source Studio space allows the artist to move out of the ‘romantic notion of a solitary artist’ as Randall Packer says, and move into the world where everything is available on the web. Working alone is going to be a thing of the past, and the future is collaboration. Especially in a time such as this, we are able to communicate seamless over the web to people across the globe, and discuss about the ideas and influence artistic decisions. The open source concept challenges the proprietary model that has been working for a long time for monetary gains (because of the monopoly that the company holds in the market), and tries to change the perspective where we should work to improve and collaborate to create a inclusive space.


An example of an open source space is the concept of co working spaces popping up all over major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Although this is different from a virtual collaborative space that we are currently on (Open Source Studio), we do see the element of collaboration in this physical space, rather than the typical office space where people are in individual cubicles. ‘Hot desks’ are places where you share a large communal desk with fellow co workers, and you will never know who you are going to end up next to. These co working spaces are especially useful for people in the start up business, as they are able to meet other people from different industries at the same place and there is a potential of working together in a future project, and there is an element of collaboration there! (i personally love the sound of a co working space, and one of the first places that i heard of is Colony in KL. you can take a look at the space here!)


(Sorry i forgot to tag it in Experimental Interaction, posted it last night!)