Experiencing Lag : Tad Ermitano

A few weeks back, we had a lecture from a multi media artist Tad Ermitano via a webcam. There was a funny irony of him sharing his work on manipulating surveillance through a surveillance-like application, Skype. It brings light to the many conveniences we use now and how absurd they are if you take a few steps back and look at the interactions as a whole.

As we move into the age technological advances, we create cameras and processes that are able to capture and project live with almost no latency. It becomes the norm to have “no lag” and “1080 HD pleas” in the things we use. Ermitano plays with that expectation we have in his work Twinning Machine (2012) .


The project had multiple reiterations and also included choreographed pieces with dancers. The version I saw was the one at the Singapore Art Museum, where the the audience sees their reflection in the screen as if captured from a cctv. One would expect it to just be a recorded image playing back in real time. Ermitano however glitches and warps the timeline to replay the captured image in random times. This abstracts the audience from their conscious view of themselves on the screen. Just with the act of manipulating the replay of the recorded clips, he creates an alternative version of the audience. The project image does not move the way the audience expects it to as it creates a identical copy of them that behaves at it’s own will. I feel this simple manoeuvre puts the audience in a spot when they find out that they have no control on how the image is moving. And just with this simple manipulation of recorded image, it makes you question how recorded data can warp the understanding of what you see.

Ermitano also created sound art and ambient music projects. It prompted my curiosity behind how sound artists actually intend their projects to be appreciated. There’s rarely a hook, beat or rhythm for audiences to follow when it comes to ambient sounds compared to the structure of music we are used to. Ermitano replied that curiosity by explaining that when creating a sound scape, he creates a medium and a space for the individual to explore. Everyone comes into the space with their own background of knowledge and experiences with sounds, therefore each approach is unique to the participant. Although I agree to the idea of having personal experience, I still find the gap of introducing such works to people who are new to them. I often have peers dismissing such projects to just noise or a random montage. I guess it boils down the the approach on experiencing art. The participant has to put in work to get an equal rewarding experience out of it.

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