Category Archives: Internet Art & Culture

Grand Theft Avatar by Second Front

In Grand Theft Avatar, there was a heist in the local bank, a group of professional robbers came charging into the bank with heavy guns. They exchange bullets with the security and after a very heavy fight, the robbers managed to get into the vault and escape with the money on a chopper. They liberate the money by throwing out helicopter, as if the money belongs to the people, which actually belongs to the people.

All this is happening, inside a game. Second Life.

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Second Front is a group of artists who collaborate in the virtual world of Second Life, creating digital performances influenced by the Theatre of the Absurd movement. Performing digitally, they have presented their work in Second Life. Basically, doing silly things.

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Grand Theft Avatar took place in San Francisco Art Institute as part of the “From Cinema to Machinima” panel and they performed a Grand Theft Auto skit to display an example of their work. The members of the group changed the appearance of their avatars and assumed the virtual identities of the members of the ‘From Cinema to Machinima’ panel.

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On my first time viewing the video of Grand Theft Avatar, I didn’t quite get it but after watching it about 3 to 4 times, I finally got the idea and I totally enjoyed it. I was amazed by the coordination of each player to come up with something so well planned like this. This was done together in one location, imagine all 7 players in their own country coming together to create a piece, i am sure that will be more hard to execute!

I feel that doing this in a third space like Second Life, this project is more accessibly to be done if compare to doing it in a real life sketch. I imagine if this was done in person, it would take much logistics and manpower to come up with something similar, plus, we would need many different camera angles to record it. Doing it online with the help of technology, everything is possible.

As much as the storyline/plot is interesting and playing with the satire of Grand Theft Auto, I believe that’s not their main objective. The goal is to create a world where everything is possible and having new life inside a new world and creating one own’s narrative.

It is the all-at-once concept of the abstract expressionists, in which everything is everywhere and the canvas became a total field of possibilities.

-Randall Packer, The Third Space

I totally agree with this statement by Professor Randall. Second Life is paintbrush, the virtual world is the canvas and everything is possible. The fact that one can create a whole new life in the third space actually emphasise the point of a third space. But how far the line is being blur from the real space and the virtual space might be an issue which is very interesting as mention as well in the readings of The Third Space. There are many news regarding how a game addict who go on a killing spree after playing a violent game like Grand Theft Auto. That is where I believe the player have confuse the real space and the virtual space. This is one such incident.

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Grand Theft Avatar not only critique the recent events that took place in regards of how games could affect one’s action in real life, they also remind us that justice always prevail(like throwing out the money of the helicopter). Turning the virtual space into a medium of expression call art, it is actually thought provoking to the people. The third space is a medium and the internet is the exhibition space, and we are the curator, curating every content that we surf everyday.



Right after Art In The Age of Colonialism class with Prof. Sujatha, I head to Canteen 4 for my lunch. My friends were already there as they head there first as they finish class earlier. It was my first time to canteen 4 as there was a new western foodstall called ‘dams’  that just opened recently. Moreover, it’s Halal, so I need to check this out! This video will show me walking towards the canteen, to looking at the menu.

Guess what did I order.

I took videos during my trip in Vancouver, edit it on my phone, uploaded on Instagram and now it’s on the net for everyone in the world to see. But back in the 70s, it was another different ball game.

Videofreex including Parry Teasdale and David Cort, fourth and fifth from left, Bart Friedman, third from right, and Skip Blumberg, second from right, gathered in their Catskills town in 1973. Courtesy of Videofreex

Videofreex including Parry Teasdale and David Cort, fourth and fifth from left, Bart Friedman, third from right, and Skip Blumberg, second from right, gathered in their Catskills town in 1973.
Courtesy of Videofreex

Reading up on Videofreex’s history online, I realise their story is worth mentioning and actually worth doing a documentary about. Actually, there’s already a documentary about the Videofreex! Here’s the link if you want to know more about it! And here’s a review for the documentary by The Hollywood Reporter.
Anyway, let’s start knowing who are the Videofreex by watching the documentary titled ‘Here Comes The Videofreex’ Trailer!

To understand Lanesville TV, I feel that we need to look back briefly at their history. After CBS hire them to do a show on counterculture, they went on to video demonstrations and even interviews Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers! They went the opposite direction of commercial television and were ahead of their time and thats what make CBS reject the Videofreex. That is where they decided to start afresh by moving upstate into Lanesville, NY. Lanesville TV was born.

From left, Videofreex David Cort, Bart Friedman and Parry Teasdale filmed kids' programs and daily goings-on in 1973 at their Maple Tree Farm in Lanesville, N.Y. John Dominis/Courtesy of Videofreex

From left, Videofreex David Cort, Bart Friedman and Parry Teasdale filmed kids’ programs and daily goings-on in 1973 at their Maple Tree Farm in Lanesville, N.Y.
John Dominis/Courtesy of Videofreex

In a nutshell, Lanesville TV is believed to be the country’s first pirate television station. Using a transmitter, they were able to show videos they make to the public. Videofreex’s Bart Friedman remembers it as basically public access TV. This is huge actually! They have the power and technology to actually show things to the public! With huge responsibility, they did not disappoint.

“We got the kids to participate in the kids’ programs, we covered stocking of the stream, the firehouse, local residents, car accidents, gun club dinners, things like that,”

Bart Friedman (Videofreex).

Here’s a 6 minute sampler of Lanesville TV.

I found a video on youtube, showing full clips of their tv show.

Press Watch On Youtube! I particularly want to point out that they even use basic effect to enhance the viewing pleasure for the kids show, which I thought was pretty amazing in the 70s!

screenshot of Lanesville TV episodes.

screenshot of Lanesville TV episodes.

It would be amazing if the Videofreex were still active today and they will definitely participate in the NetArtizens Project. Videofreex’s vision for the world to see their own show was very forward looking but unfortunately, the internet wasn’t born yet during their time. I feel that given their restricted access to share their work, they did a pretty good job in making Lanesville TV happen. Imagine what Videofreex can do now with the Internet!

Skip Blumberg, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Parry Teasdale, David Cort, Carol Vontobel, Davidson Gigliotti, Ann Woodward and Bart Friedman We’re All Videofreex: Changing Media & Social Change from Portapak to Smartphone Friday, April 5 2013

Skip Blumberg, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Parry Teasdale, David Cort, Carol Vontobel, Davidson Gigliotti, Ann Woodward and Bart Friedman
We’re All Videofreex: Changing Media & Social Change from Portapak to Smartphone Friday, April 5 2013

I agree that the power of video is very much powerful. It doesn’t matter if its a short film, video art, internet tv or even videos on youtubes. With the help of the internet, videos are actually more powerful as they are able to reach the masses. Looking at Videofreex’s history and their project using videos, I am able to see that life doesn’t always have to be about commercialise like the NBC, CBS or ABC. It’s about pushing boundaries of what technology can do for us artists.

We strongly feel that the media arts have not fully embraced this potentiality, despite the progressive nature of the field.

-Catlow, R., Garrett M., Packer R., “The NetArtizens Project,” (2015)

There are currently full time bloggers out there who uses videos to actually share their life with their viewers/subscribers. They practically walk around town with their hands holding their digital cameras and talking to themselves. They will then upload it onto youtube and this make take a while before it reaches to their fans.

This is where the might help them or even us. By doing real time ‘vlogging’ (video blogging), the interaction between the audience and the blogger will be an instant and using the internet as an engine to power up people’s stalking mode. Imagine, me, Kamarul, wearing a google glass, with a camera facing in front, walking and doing my normal routine day, and anyone is able to see what I see just by going to a website. Now that’s technology.

Research Critique Assignments: Yoko Ono: Cut Piece

Cut Piece by Yoko Ono

To go straight ahead into critique Cut Piece and how it fits into the Collective Narrative, I have taken the summarize explanation of Cut Piece from the book of Art & Feminism for you to read and understand what Cut Piece is all about.

“In this performance Ono sat on a stage and invited the audience to approach her and cut away her clothing, so it gradually fell away from her body. Challenging the neutrality of the relationship between viewer and art object, Ono presented a situation in which the viewer was implicated in the potentially aggressive act of unveiling the female body, which served historically as one such ‘neutral’ and anonymous subject for art. Emphasizing the reciprocal way in which viewers and subjects become objects or each other, Cut Piece also demonstrates how viewing without responsibility has the potential to harm or even destroy the object of perception.”

Yoko Ono is an important artist in the Fluxus art movement and  her work fits in the collective narrative model. I was lucky to be able to visit Yoko Ono: One Woman Show in MoMA when I was in New York 2 weeks ago.

As the idea of The Collective Narrative is about social interaction and exchanges of conversation, ideas and information, I feel Cut Piece is a good example. Cut Piece does not work just by Yoko Ono, Cut Piece needed the audience participation in order for it to happen. However, as the idea of the collective narrative is more than just audience participation, it is also about sharing and exchanging of thoughts and hearing other people voices. In this case, Cut Piece does not comply with this. I personally feel that Cut Piece has only one voice and that is Yoko Ono’s. The audience participation only makes Yoko Ono’s voice heard louder. By allowing the audience to cut her dress bit by bit, she radically critique the role of women in society. But what if the audience do not want to get involved? Will the meaning of Cut Piece change then? I think the Cut Piece was force due to the fact that this performance need an audience participation. If nobody in the audience wants to cut Yoko Ono’s dress, then I think Cut Piece won’t be discussed much today. DSC08502 copy

As I was viewing the video at MoMA, there were a few crowd looking at the video of Cut Piece being projected onto the wall. As I already knew of Cut Piece, I briefly explained it to my girlfriend who is with me. Our attention was short as we need to cover more space within a short period of time. But I think we stayed for a good 30 seconds and I feel that is good enough for one to understand what Cut Piece is all about though.DSC08503 copy

Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece reminds me of Marina Abramovic’s Rhythm 0 where the audience are free to do whatever they want to Marina with the items that were available such as a loaded gun, knife, hammer, saw and there’s even a condom. Marina’s Rhythm 0 makes Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece seems so conservative and small though.

As audiences gets more brave with time through out both performances, things get escalated quickly. As Marina Abramovic isn’t worry about getting nude, Yoko Ono was holding her bra after an audience member cut her bra strap. This makes Yoko Ono more conservative unlike Marina. This means Yoko Ono is preventing full audience control of the performance.

In Summary, having a Collective Narrative concept in any art is important if the meaning involves other people’s participation, be it the result is exactly how one think it should be or not. Even though Cut Piece deserve some respect for its avant garde and a first of its kind during its time, Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece is actually thought provoking and it makes me wonder, what are the thoughts going through the audience mind when they are cutting Ono’s dress. Are they happy about able to keep a piece of history or are they just a representation of how men view woman as objects rather than subject.






The date is 6th August 2008. It was the last day of school for the first semester during my First Year in Republic Polytechnic. It was a time where I still have no direction in life. Honestly, I wasn’t really happy to be thrown into this school because I have no other choices as I didn’t get to the Polytechnic that I want. Instead, I was donated to Republic Polytechnic, with a diploma in Design for Interactivity. DSC06954

So that day, we have to make a presentation. I can’t remember the topic of the presentation but I remember it was some kind of entrepreneurial module. So anyway, our Facilitator, his name is PJ, is a very fun and engaging teacher. That day, right after our first meeting, suddenly, PJ announces that he is giving out awards! Awards with funny categories! And guess what! I’ve won! But it was a weird award, it was for the Ultimate Slacker Award! DSC06963

I’m all smiles in the photo above but actually, I might be feeling dampened and embarrass maybe. Okay maybe not embarrass but sad that I got such a degrading award. But I know it was all fun and games! Actually, I think I kinda deserve that title. Okay, I am not really a slacker in class but that’s what the impression my classmates have of me I guess. For my defence, I am a chill person, not slacking. I manage to complete any task that was assigned and guess what, I have a GPA of 3.5 out of 4 for my first semester! I did even better than most of my classmate.DSC06974

W36J was my class and being our first year and this is our first batch of classmates we have, we were pretty close actually. Everyone knows how I can be goofy and such but I do get my work done. From this point, I still wasn’t sure what I want to do in life and have not yet discovered ART/DESIGN/MEDIA.DSC06972

While my other classmates get awards as well, their awards were more decent for example, most comical, most talkative, most irritating and etc. While I got the weird award of Ultimate Slacker Award, it kinda pushes me to be better actually. Sometimes in life, you have to put up a fake front to show people that you are interested in things. Sometimes, even though I am into something but I won’t show so much enthusiasm, because like I said, I am a chill guy. DSC06978 copy

So here’s a class photo with our loving Facilitator, Mr PJ!

Anthropomorphic Objects by Ana Jofre

At Vancouver, I attended an artist talk. All these artists are actually professors and professionals working in university all over the world. One of the speaker was Ana Jofre. Dr. Ana Jofre. She’s currently in OCAD University doing a research position.


She was sharing her project on anthropomorphic objects which she is interested on and large based on her artwork and practice.IMG_3440

Her first artwork she shared is titled Monster Jofre. See that little hairy guy there, that’s Monster Jofre. Basically, Monster Jofre is an interactive sculpture that responds to people’s presence. When one comes up next to Monster Jofre, the head will turn and face you. Below is a video that shows just that


Right after she showed us that video, she went on to explained the rationale behind her practice and work. She mention that the lagging of Monster Jofre’s head turn create an awaited anticipation for the viewer. Personally, the lag works for me as it shows normal human behaviour sometimes.

Ana also mention that her work is based on a human form because the human form is uncanny and furthermore simplistic form that is relevant to all of us; being able to recognise another human form.

Monster Jofre is actually female with fur which explores the confusion of gender in the society as well. Ana proceeds to share with us how this artwork explores what it means to be human. From instant judgement of Monster Jofre to accepting how the sculpture looks like.


Her other human form sculpture also take her last name as this is something I am wondering about actually. I suspect that Ana Jofre is creating a part of herself into theses sculpture and by placing her name as part of the artwork, they are a representation of her. I wanted to ask her this question but I never got the chance to.


Ana then puts these sculptures into narrative sequence. Since they are taking in a human form, I guess it is only right that they too, have a story to tell about their life and personality. Even though Monster Jofre is just a big hairy fur, Ana Jofre mentions that these objects do have personality. Like a puppet, Ana Jofre directs them in situation for example, sitting in a bench at a park. IMG_3444

Taking selfie with Ana Jofre’s artwork has become an obsession for some in this selfie-digital world. Giving storyline to the photograph creates a reference and give life to the motionless sculpture, Ana proclaims.



I really enjoyed Ana Jofre’s presentation about her practice. By combining robotic, interactive and sculptural into her work, I believe each of them compliments each other to give a complete experience for the viewer. For example, a robotic sculpture usually takes no form of a human form but instead, bare and metallic. By making a human form robotic, it makes her work more relatable to us. Moreover, it is also interactive! A very friendly artwork that is accessible to all of us. I also feel that putting her sculpture into photograph which creates narrative adds another layer into her work. I have attached a photo of Monster Jofre which is more clear to see.

Monster Jofre

About the artist: Ana Jofre.

Here’s what Ana Jofre wrote in her website pertaining to her Artist Statement:

“I’m interested in the emotional response that anthropomorphic objects elicit, and in our desire to imagine life within them. My life-sized ‘people’ are the artistic output of playful musings on this idea, merging sculpture with puppetry and some robotics, with the intent of evoking a (pleasurable) sense of uncanny ‘presence’. The human figure, as a form with which to communicate, and the themes of presence and personality are key throughout all my artistic products, which include ceramic sculptures and pencil-drawn portraits.”

Her website:

There isn’t a website that feature this particular work though.

In her website, she does a lot of sculptural work which takes a form of a human. Even though her background is in Physics, she started pursuing art as a professional practice. Maybe her background in Science does help her a lot in determining the scientific backdrop of a sculpture and human features.



#iHeartRobotMusic by Steve A. Bjornson

An interactive project by artist name Steve A. Bjornson titled #iHeartRobotMusic which was done in 2012 and showed here today in ISEA2015  in Vancouver.IMG_5956 copy

This installation artwork was installed on the basement level of the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in downtown Vancouver. With that being said, is a pity that this installation work was place in the B2 level of the building where little or no human traffic was present most of the time. Actually, it was the only artwork to be place there!IMG_5956 copy

Anyway, #iHeartRobotMusic is an interactive artwork where people is encourage to tag a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #iHeartRobotMusic. The images is then translate into another image (as you can see on the right, below). It changes into a image which is able to translate into notes which triggers a motor that plays an instrument. In this case, the instrument is made up of motors that hit metals poles and bowls. With different notes being played at different time, it turns into a sound scape. So basically, an image has a sound, in this case, sound of metal clashing onto each other.

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The installation is build with a structure on its own which is used to make the hitting sound as well.

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Take a look at the video I took below with my iPhone. You can see the motors being trigger and hitting the bowl.

I find out more about this project and it was previously shown at another gallery. But it uses different materials for example, styrofoam cups, musical toys, box and bottles. In the video below you are able to see and hear what the artist explained about his work. I got to say that it is good that for different location and venue, the artist decided to use different objects as his source of sound. This project is flexible in a sense that any object can be used as a musical instrument because all you need is the motor and any object to make a sound. So I really like that flexibility and improvisation in this project.

As a whole, I enjoy Steve’s #iHeartRobotMusic. It is playful, interactive and yet engaging. However, I feel there is a lack of substance in it. Turning a hashtag picture into abstract sound of metal clashing is abit too simple for me. If you were to ask me on how to improve this, I would say this. I would choose a famous photograph that many people in the world can recognise, or even a painting. Then translate the image into notes through real musical notes like do re mi. Instrument wise, I would expect a symphony, then people would really listen to real music. I mean, Mona Lisa is just a visual, but what if, there is sound/music that reveals more about the painting?!

Anyway, there’s not much about the artist online and i can’t find his portfolio and website. Apparently, the video above I shared is one of the videos where you are able to know more about him and his work. It seems that he really love #iHeartrobotMusic so much!

Signing off from Vancouver, BC, Canada,