The Great Escape has finally been performed on the 12th of October 2015 at approximately at 9.05pm.
The Great Escape is a live interactive performance of audio-visual that explores the idea of escaping reality in a live streaming broadcast network. This improvisation performance by Kamarul seek to question the role of live television and the effect it has on the masses. Inspired by Glitch Art and live performance, the artist has combine recorded videos and live element into the performance to inject the presence of the artist into the piece.
It was an amazing experience to see the development I took from the first day of ideation to the final performance! I still remember vividly the first idea which is using the traffic camera on the causeway bridge as part of my final broadcast. I been having this visual of traffic camera in my head for quite some time and I thought I could make something out of the final broadcast.
Well that leads to the idea of escaping, escaping Singapore for a chance to be free from the restriction the country is known for. I took the bridge as a metaphor gateway for a departure out of Singapore and towards something or somewhere much fulfilling to live for. From that point onwards, I was thinking of all the vehicle that will be transporting me through this escape of my, be it in a car, a bus, plane or even just walking. That thought make me came up with a video that help to visualise the idea that I had in my head.
From this point onwards, I clearly knows that my final broadcast was going to be about Escape but I would need to define Escape in relation to Internet Art And Culture and how it will fit into the final broadcast. So I took sometime to reflect and realise that Escape could mean different things to different individual. I even took some photograph to illustrate what Escape means to me.
While I took sometime to reflect about the idea of Escape, I also did a couple of readings and research in relation to this module. One of the standout readings that i had was the idea of the ‘Third Space’.
Nowadays, our sense of being and presence is scattered throughout the third space. We are everywhere.
-Packer R. “The Third Space,” (2014) in Reportage from the Aesthetic Edge
I think it is amazing how the thought of being everywhere in the same time is now possible in the Third Space. However, I also realise that I could be everywhere when I actually live stream my final broadcast! Just like the Videofreex! I feel it was a fate that allow me to look at the Videofreex and their works of live broadcasting on their own network. That is the future of television!
I also contemplate on how my final broadcast has to reflect my own presence and personality in the Third Space. As I like the style of glitch art and the imperfection of visuals, I look into Glitch Art and in Rosa Menkman’s Manifesto, especially number 6 which is relevant to what we are doing in broadcasting.
6. Force the audience to voyage the acousmatic videoscape.
Create conceptually synaesthetic artworks, that exploit both visual and aural glitch (or other noise) artifacts at the same time. Employ these noise artifacts as a nebula that shrouds the technology and its inner workings and that will compel an audience to listen and watch more exhaustively.
-Glitch Studies Manifesto, Rosa Menkman
This statement made by Rosa struck me as it emphasise on my point about making my audience feel something during my final broadcast. I want to make my audiences feel a sense of Escape with my visuals and i think Glitch might just do the job for me.
Meanwhile, I was also looking at different artists work for inspiration and ideas to push my concept of Escape. One particular artist was Nam June Paik. Being called the father of video art, it was only right to look to him for inspiration. I really like how the idea of Good Morning, Mr. Orwell was broadcast live and the scenes were shown back and forth from the US and France. On top of it all, the TV graphics was done live all by Nam June Paik. This was particularly what I wanted to do with my final broadcast, to be able to manipulate my broadcast live on the spot.
I also like the visual that Nam June Paik have for his TV Garden installation. The bright hue colours with different form resonate with me as it reminds me of moving particles when looked through a microscope.
Another artist that I look also was Jon Cates. His work titled BOLD3RRR. I like how Jon Cates put element of himself into the video. Moreover, he performed this piece live so it is relevant to what I am doing. He goes back and forth to his desktop screen which create a sense of what goes on behind his screen. This work was important to me in terms of putting myself and the process into the broadcast.
Right after reading articles and looking at artworks, it is time to get back to my process of my final broadcast. Firstly, I know that I want to depict the sense of Escape in my work. Secondly, it is up to the audience how to interpret ‘Escape’. Lastly, I wish to make my final broadcast an improvisation on my performance. With this three thoughts in mind, I create a video to visualise what my final broadcast will look like.
Using Max/MSP to play my videos, I am able to manipulate the colours, texture and even create patterns to them. This effect adds another element to it and this aim to create some form of a glitch. I also use my Arturia Beatstep to programme each button and knob to adjust the effects. With this set up, I am able to manipulate videos and visuals live.
Now comes the part where I need to structure my performance. I would name my performance The Great Escape. Like every performance, there will be a beginning, the middle and an end. I was looking to find ways to create narrative in my performance as well. After planning and doing some notes, I decide to make The Great Escape into a 3 part act. The first act would be called The Trip.
The Trip consists of 3 different recorded videos that I have compiled. These videos are actually videos recorded when I am in a vehicle of escape, such as in the car, on a plane and on a boat. These vehicles take me on a trip to Escape but when being overlaid to each other, this trip seems never ending. This was the first part to my broadcast as it highlight the irony of wanting to Escape but it leads to nowhere and in a loop of limbo.
The next part was called The Light. The Light consists of 3 different layers. Firstly, pre recorded clip of flashing lights. This lights is in a blinking state suggest the subconscious mind and symbolises a dream state. Secondly, a jit.desktop button to show my screen wherever I bring my mouse cursor around. This will be able to show the process of my max patch. I have also includes some text which adds another element where the audience are able to read as well. Thirdly, i add a webcam camera of my self. This adds the element of live and in this second part of The Light, I wanted to show the process and journey that I took to find the escape that I need in life. By showing patches and behind the scene, it shows the process and steps that is required to get out of the cycle of never-ending limbo.
The last part to my performance is titled The Escape. It consists of 3 videos. 2 videos on a compilation of moments that bring me happiness and 1 video on scenes that i took when I am on a vehicle. Putting them together, I want to bring out the message that I Escape when I found happiness which is reflected in the chosen clips that I have put together. I also add bring hue and colours to emphasise on the mood as well. At the end of the broadcast, metaphorically, I found an escape. Through out the performance, I am going through a journey of self discovery and I want my audience to feel the same way as well.
Putting them all together requires a lot of patient and rehearsals before the final performance. I was glad that it was finally over after my performance. Below is the clip.
Looking back at my performance and the time spent through out this module, many lessons can be learnt. Randall is super open to any idea that we have and have no trouble moulding it into something better at the end of the day. I think you’re right when you said that it is okay to make mistakes, it is okay to break the rules because rules are mend to be broken as soon as we all get bored doing the same thing. My final broadcast as a live art performance, relates to the idea of the third space and the use of the internet as a platform. Being able to perform live manipulation across the internet is actually a powerful statement. As it is stream on youtube and its open for everybody around the world, I can be anywhere and still able to manipulate those visuals, this goes back to the quote where Randall Packer mention that we are everywhere when we are on the internet.
Despite using pre-recorded clips for my live broadcast, these videos are actually being used for a live act during my performance. In addition, my performance was an improvisation on my behalf as how much I change the effect on his second of the performance. That improvisation aspect also adds another layer of what it means for a live broadcast.
In conclusion, The Great Escape sums up Internet Art & Culture. I tried my best to include as much learning experience I have into the final broadcast. As the internet is still relatively young, we have many things to explore in the world wide web. Making a video performance live on the internet was equally nerve wrecking compare to the one I did live during my performance in Arizona State University last year. Nevertheless, I had fun and I take pride in having fun while learning at the same time.
This is Kamarul, signing off from the third space.