Final Project: Idle

IDLE – an interactive performance

My team, consisting of Kai, Si Qi, Desmond and I, planned to create an interactive performance set completely in IKEA. The idea stemmed from the location’s versatility, and the fact that there were many showrooms in the building that we could use to our advantage to blur the lines between reality and fiction. We would create a storyline with the different rooms and enhance the realness of it with Instagram live.

We created Instagram accounts for our performance and posted these two pictures to brief our participants on the rules and how to play before they participated.


We wanted to include the culture of doing-it-with-others in our performance. That is why we chose the act of saving lives as the goal for our players.

We also wanted to blur the lines between artist and audience and with our participatory performers, the audience would be performers too.

Idle was designed to be in the format of a game, where players had control over what the victims do.

The format of our performance and the medium we used gave room for error and glitches, whether technical or organic.


These glitches could function as disadvantages or advantages to the performance, creating that unexpected element when we decide how to respond to them.


We referenced Blast Theory as our main artist inspiration. I’d Hide you was one of their online games that we drew insight from.

The main idea for I’d Hide you was to embrace the thrill of being in a whole new world through the third space where they had control over their destinies.

The game consists of players guiding 3 hosts on the ground to get a shot of each other on camera. Each host would have a camera that live streamed everything they saw and heard. The objective of the game for the players was to guid host that they choose toward other hosts.

Similar to I’d Hide You, IDLE gets online participants to jump from different livestreams to guide a person who is physically in the space. IDLE aims to immerse its audience in a world that we created in the third space and for them to create/uncover events within that world.

To start off, we took on a room each, as shown below, using four IKEA showrooms to carry out our performance in.

Kai, Si Qi and I went down to IKEA three times to location recce and plan the clues for our performance. We had ice cream and meatballs every time.

These are the four rooms we chose:

After settling the rooms we could use, we held a test run with our friends using one bedroom and figured out some issues. Here is the breakdown:

Here is a video of our test, password: behindthescenes.

A week later, after confirming our players and working out what we had to change, we had our actual run with all four rooms.

Here is the trailer we created after the run:

There were quite a few points that we observed about the actual run.

First, we noticed there were three main types of participants.

We also experienced a few challenges that we learned to embrace as glitches.

On the actual day, we acted spontaneously and decided to burn the kitchen down in order to add to our story. It would give reason to the 30 minute time limit to solve the puzzle and save the victims.

Firstly, Kai who was in the study room, lost connection halfway and had to end the live video. Using this mishap as another dimension to our story, we told Kai to let the participants know that she blacked out because of the smoke.

Secondly, we experienced an extreme lag during the insta story which led to some miscommunication between audience and artist. However, this gave an extra point of contact for the audience which caused them to interact more closely with each other.

Thirdly, there were some customers that entered the showroom and disrupted the gameplay. However, this served to remind the audience and us that this was not an actual room and further blurred the lines between reality and fiction.

Fourth, getting confirmed participants was a challenge for us as we were still finding people on the day itself to participate. Since we did not have any incentives, not many people were willing to commit to the performance. This helped us create a more close knit community within our participants.

Lastly, we had players who did not comply or bother to read the rules, which led to a lot of confusion in the gameplay. This too bonded both artist and audience.

On hindsight, some things we thought we could improve were making the clues interconnected between rooms to create a more complex and intriguing gameplay.

We could also have concised the instruction list into one and added incentives to gather more people to participate in the performance.

Overall, it was a special experience to be able to organise a participatory performance in public and create something out of it. I think the unexpectedness of the whole performance brought about a thrilling and exciting element to it. I think we were all surprised at how both we and the audience responded to the glitches and unexpected events that popped up. It was interesting to see how everything turned out in the end and how little things could cause drastic improvements in how the game was played out. It opened my mind to the embracing of the glitch and how it can, more often than not, be a blessing in disguise.


Research Critique III

For micro project five, the art of destruction, my team (Fred, Teri, Jia Ying and me) destroyed a bunch of styrofoam blocks with a heat gun.

Rosa Menkman states in The Glitch Studies Manifesto:

As an artist, I find catharsis in disintegration, ruptures and cracks. I manipulate, bend and break any medium towards the point where it becomes something new. This is what I call glitch art.” 

Likewise in our project, we embrace discarded and incomplete pieces of art and created something new through the act of destruction. There were different stages of the destruction and at each stage we observed the change in the blocks and how textures were formed on the surface of the block.

Styrofoam blocks before the destruction
1st stage of destruction
2nd stage of destruction

It was a satisfying experience to watch the foam break down into nothing. We heated the foam until  we ended up with a few coral like scraps. There was some beauty in what the discarded blocks which had become a whole new piece of work.

Final outcome of destruction

With the embracing of the glitch, even discards can be considered art. In an interview with Randall Packer and Jon Cates, they also discussed the embracing of imperfections and the idea of “dirty new media”.

“They are not sterile, they’re imperfect, they are not clean, because they exist in the world, which is also imperfect. And so, I do believe that dirty new media as a way of life and as an approach to art making is a way of foregrounding these facts, these realities, of our lived experiences, and acknowledging how situated we are with all of these systems, and artifacts.” – Jon Cates

I guess “dirty new media” is a way to stay true and raw. It strips away all gimmicks and focuses on a single subject matter to drive a point home.

Take for example, Media Burn (1975) by Ant Farm, who staged an explosive collision of two of America’s most potent cultural symbols: the automobile and television. In this alternative Bicentennial celebration, a reconstructed 1959 El Dorado Cadillac convertible was driven through a wall of burning TV sets. The work addressed the pervasive presence of television in everyday life, affronting the same media they had invited to cover the event.

With works like these, we raise the question of “what really is art?”. In this new age of acceptance and open mindedness, glitch art is appropriate when exploring challenging and bold themes like these. Glitch art then becomes more of a method of artistic expression, especially when the artist has a message to convey.


Art of the Networked Practice Hyperessay

Social Broadcasting: An Unfinished Communications Revolution

Participating in the online symposium Art of the Networked Practice opened my eyes to the connectedness of creative dialogue and art in telematic space. It was structured like a lecture with a few speakers leading the talk.

Randall Packer introducing Maria X at the symposium, Day 1

As a millennium who practically lives in the third space, being part of the symposium was a comfortable and familiar feeling, though it was my first time going live with such a large group of people. This was not so for the group of older participants. It seemed as though they were extremely excited to have had just discovered the existence of live video chat. But, after two days of talks and performances, I understand there is good reason for this zeal.

Enthusiastic participants in the chatroom

What was interesting about the format of this symposium was that it allowed the audience to comment in real time. It was kind of strange because each comment would be seen by everyone in the chatroom, including the speakers, which made the audiences’ voice almost level with that of the speakers’ and performers’. This setting was different from a traditional lecture where you would whisper to your friend instead of announcing it to the entire hall. Perhaps because people are more inclined to type instead of speaking out loud, the participants did not hold back their comments in the chatroom, making the entire symposium feel informal and candid, creating an interactive, networked space. This effect of interconnectivity between the audience and the performer was probably intentional as it encompasses the entire theme of the symposium.

Participants responding to a performance in the chatroom on day three

Dr. Maria Chatzichristodoulou or Maria X, Associate Professor in Performance and New Media at London South Bank University (LSBU), who is also a curator, producer, performer, writer and community organiser, was one of the key people who shared about the idea of telematic practice at the symposium.

Screenshot of Maria Chatzichristodoulou speaking during the symposium

Maria mentioned live telematic practice, which she also emphasises in her article Cyberformance:

“Its being ‘live’ entails that performance ‘dies’ with its own enactment. Every single moment of a theatrical experience is entwined with the loss of a specific and unique relational experience that cannot be preserved or reproduced exactly so. – Maria X on Cyberformance

In addition to the temporality of a live performance, its live audience also adds to the value of such telematic practice. Maria X discussed many performance art pieces during the symposium. One of them was Telematic Dreaming (1993) by Paul Sermon, a live performance consisting of two people bouncing off each other’s projected interactions on separate beds. It was an improvisation in the moment that could not be replicated in the same way. Likewise, the performances we witnessed during the symposium could not be replicated exactly, making them each unique pieces of work.

Still from Telematic Dreaming, 1993 by Paul Sermon

“Entanglement” by Annie Abrahams involved 6-7 individuals and was made unique by improvisation and how they observed each others actions and responded or reacted to them live. Furthermore, the response in the comment section, whether positive or negative, would affect the artists’ performances subconsciously. Although it may look like a weird conference call of people playing with household items and fingers, the ideas and intentions behind the interactions is what brings depth to the performance and makes it unique.

Screenshot of Cyberperformance Day 1

Screenshot of Cyberformance Day 1

The symposium taught me to embrace the candid, especially in an interface like Adobe Connect, where there is so much room for glitches to occur. Throughout the three days, we experienced multiple glitches, right from the get go with Maria’s inability to hear any of the other speakers. The audience improvised by telling her what was going on in the chatroom and she could communicate because of that. In a way, the glitch in the audio increased the interactivity of the audience and speaker. I realise that interactions are hinged upon improvisation and we are able to increase connectivity in people by embracing the glitch, just like how both performers and audiences did in the symposium. Especially in the third space, where physical human intimacy is lacking, the connectedness of creative dialogue and art in telematic space can still be made possible.

Micro-project 7: Bedroom Performance

My alter ego is a bedroom performer. I am jiving to Clairo, whose music video titled ‘Pretty Girl‘ is the inspiration for this video selfie.

Password: bedroom

Clairo is one of many young ‘bedroom’ or ‘dream pop’ artists, including the likes of Frank Ocean, Gus Dapperton etc. who make lo-fi music.

“My TV ain’t HD, that’s too real.” – Frank Ocean

The common goal is to produce minimal music with no frills and containing low-bitrate samples.

Clairo has a low maintenance YouTube channel where she posted a low res webcam video of her in her bedroom mouthing the lyrics and lazy dancing to an original song she wrote. She had no makeup on, greasy hair and a messy background. She played with silly glasses and ugly toys while mouthing the lyrics. The video was grainy and the audio was distorted, and everyone loved it.

By recording my video selfie with Photo Booth, I could alter my identity to take some form of Clairo’s. In the video, I am me, portraying elements of someone else. Like Clairo, I went barefaced with a towel headband, messy room in the background. The overexposed sleeping cat on the bed was unintentional but adds to how I am different from her, despite trying to imitate her video.

In a way, my identity is concealed because I am not speaking in the video. My voice and speech mannerisms, which are part of my identity, are concealed from the audience. The low res video and grain does not give an accurate portrayal of my physical features and environment.

The video is extremely grainy as the Photo Booth camera does not work well in low light. I have a few unsightly props – reflective sunglasses and an ugly pink toy. These items are similar to the ones Clairo uses in her video, but they are my version of those things, which shows some personality of mine.

We have a lot of control over portraying our alter identity, yet so little because of our current identities will still peek through in some ways that are uniquely us.

Group 1: Super-participation Micro Project

In this micro project, we (Kai, Samantha, Bryan, Niki & me) kept a five person Facebook group updated on our lives for 24 hours. There were only two rules to the posts; our 24 hours began at 8am on a Wednesday and we agreed to update every time something changes. What we ended up with is an almost intimate yet casual documentation of a day in the life of five individuals.

View our posts here:

The things we shared in the group were intuitive and straightforward, whether we were waking up, heading out, being late or sleeping in. Something new happens, we update. Sometimes we shared how we were feeling, even if were just to say, “I’m sleepy” or “this egg tastes gr8”.

Throughout the day, I realised we posted more frequently, like we were getting into a familiar motion. I soon felt it was second nature to pick up my phone before doing any small thing and say, “wait I need to take a picture/video for my Facebook page!!!”. In a span of 18 hours, I used a full bar of battery three times over, made possible by the portable chargers of my accommodating friends.

It was an intimate experience in the sense that the five of us knew exactly where each individual was and what they were doing (given that we were all completely honest). Because the target audience of our posts were each other, we felt more inclined to comment and interact in the group. The level of interaction and information exchanged was high compared to real life where we hardly speak or text. What added on to this interaction was the crossover when Bryan and I met in the morning and when Kai and I met in the evening.

Kai was the realest in the group. She woke up hours after everyone with lots of scheduled posts to remind us she is still in dreamland. The pictures she uploaded were completely unedited and even out of focus. Take for example the ice cream posts from the exact same moment. I took a boomerang (twice) and she took a slanted picture with everyone’s ice cream in motion blur. Our personas are different in the way that I like to portray a more curated version of my life while she just wants to get the point across that she’s having ice cream and she doesn’t care if the audience enjoys her image or not. Then again, maybe she does care, just not for this assignment or this day.

Bryan was the responsible workaholic. When I woke up and checked the group chat, he already posted about getting a head start on his assignment. In the afternoon, he met me to do more work and later in the day he posted about freelance work. It showed his focus and how he got very practical things done in one day.

Samantha was the free spirit. Her posts were generally positive even though bad things were happening. She was comfortable with sharing her thoughts and activities freely, like her getting breakfast even though she was late and videos of herself acting and getting water poured over her.

Niki was the clown. Her posts always included an amusing emoji of sorts and surrounded her getting into sad but funny situations which led to a lot of us leaving comments on her post with encouraging words.

I guess whether we intended to or not, each of us portrayed a digital identity in the group. Analysing each others’ personas from 24 hours of digital interaction may not be accurate, but  perceptions were definitely formed. Since my Wednesday was extremely packed with activities, I met with 4 different groups of people that day with many tasks to fulfil. At the end of 24 hours, my group mates concluded that my life is very “happening” without taking into consideration the day after that – a boring day when I would probably have nothing much to post but a few pictures of my cat and the pink sky. Nonetheless, there is accuracy in the sense that my days can get really busy. Take for example Artist Amalia Ulman who fooled thousands into believing that her as the persona she created was real, purely from her Instagram posts. This shows how easily people form perceptions from personas we create online.

This digital medium may allow people, especially shy ones, to be more comfortable in sharing their thoughts since they don’t have to physically say it out and they are able to edit and curate their words. On the other hand, it still doesn’t allow some people to express their thoughts if they are generally closed up and private people.

Glitch Me

Original Image

1st Glitch: Sihui

2nd Glitch: Me

3rd Glitch: Reuben4th Glitch: Siqi

Glitch Art

Describe how this process of collective image creation and decomposition creates a glitch transformation.

The final collective image was a result of four individuals distorting an image taken by me. We played with Hue/Saturation, Liquify, Line Distortion, Posterise and layering to create the glitch effect at each stage. Randall Pecker describes Glitch Art as the embracing of chaos. The more you mess up, the better. At each stage, we let loose to mess up the image given to us as much as we liked. The transformation can be observed through the four images, how there are some traces of the previous artist’s glitch elements that the next artist decides to retain.

How is each transformation creating a new form of its precursor?

Each transformation builds upon its precursor, whether the artist chooses to retain elements from it or to distort it until its precursor is unrecognisable. A new form is thus created at each stage, no matter how subtle the difference as it is not exactly the same. For example, from stage one to two, the difference is quite huge as the liquify and line distortion are new elements introduced. From stage three to four, the images look mostly similar except for the change in hue and saturation. Therefore, as long as a change is made to its precursor, a new form is created with each transformation.

Research Critique II

I think the third space is a bridge that connects two physical entities into one reality that is virtual and unbound by time or space. The third space can arguably achieve a level of intimacy close to that of two parties being a single setting, while being in completely different locations.

In his article, Randall Packer describes this phenomenon as “the pervasiveness of distributed space and the degree and myriad of ways in which we are constantly connected”.

Packer likens the third space to the fourth dimension, where “spatial trajectories have no boundaries”. Not to say there are no boundaries in the third space, but the extent to which we use the third space can open up new channels for communication and interaction.

In my third micro-project for example, Desmond and I performed an interaction using Facebook live as our bridge to the third space where location was no longer a boundary. We planned to use the third space as a portal to transport an object from my location to his.

The plan was for me (in Location A) to throw a piece of roller coaster snack into Desmond’s mouth (in Location B). I would throw the snack through the “third space”, or out of frame, and we got our friend Samantha to throw the snack to Desmond in his location. This created the virtual illusion of it passing through from my end, and transformed the snack into a third body.

This project allowed us to recreate the intimacy of two people passing items to each other in the same physical space, despite being in separate locations. We connected by speaking to each other over the live video, counting in time so that we were all in sync with the movement of the object.

A project that also transcends locational boundaries through the third space is Hole-in-Space. According to Maria Chatzichristodoulou’s article on Cyberformance, Hole-in-Space was “one of the most celebrated pre-Internet telematic installation/performance works”.

The artists themselves described it as a “public communication sculpture”. People in a certain location were confronted by large, virtual images of people in another city, who they could see and talk to, severing the distance between both locations and creating, like the artists said, an “outrageous pedestrian intersection”.

Micro Project III

Posted by Kwok Quan Rui on Wednesday, 31 January 2018

In this micro project, my partner and I planned to transport an object from one location to the other, using the third space as the portal for that teleportation. The plan was for me (on the right) to throw a piece of roller coaster snack to Desmond (on the left). I would throw the snack through the “third space” and we got our friend Samantha to throw the snack at Desmond in his location to create the illusion of it passing through.

It is challenging to throw a snack into someone’s mouth under normal circumstances, so throwing it through the “third space”. We decided to rotate the phone around and drop the snack into Desmond’s mouth instead. This worked better and we succeeded after a few attempts. I guess what we could have done better was make the object more visible like choosing a bigger object or pouring a larger amount of snacks through the portal. Another challenge we faced was the lag of the video so the snack might have appeared too slowly or quickly through the portal. Even though we counted to three before I dropped the snack, there is still an evident lag in the journey of the snack.

Ultimately, the snack wasn’t really “transported”, rather, there were was a snack double that appeared on the other side. But this project aimed to recreate that intimacy and illusion of an activity across two locations. The intimacy created by the third space can be seen in how two people are coordinated despite being in different locations.


Micro Project II

In our Instagram poll artwork, the viewers’ role is to participate in the decision making of the outcome of an artwork. Viewers get to vote between 2 options at a time and slowly see the artwork come to life based on what they picked.

To a certain extent, us as primary artists are controlling the outcome of this piece of work. We provide the viewer with 2 artistic options at a time – sun or moon, black or white etc. 

If we were to give the audience total control, we would probably ask them to reply to the insta story post with a suggestion or a sketch element of their own. This way, it isn’t just one person controlling the entire artwork. What we did was less interactive because the only people physically making the artwork and providing the options to choose were us.

According to the article, DIWO means that ‘source’ materials are open to all; to remix, re-edit and redistribute, either within a particular DIWO event or project, or elsewhere. The process is as important as the outcome, forming relationally aware peer enactments.

However, our artwork was still social as people got to have their vote change the outcome of the artwork. Sun or Moon as options for example, split the voters into metaphorical team sun and team moon, even though none of the voters knew each other.

In this case, the artist and the viewer each get the chance to take hold of the same canvas; and see how different people can affect the direction of the work.

A similar project to our exercise is Swarmsketch, an ongoing online canvas that explores the possibilities of distributed design by the masses. Each week it randomly chooses a popular search term which becomes the sketch subject for the week. In this way, the collective is sketching what the collective thought was important each week. A new sketch begins after one week, or after the previous sketch reaches one thousand lines, whichever comes first.

Similar to our microproject, Swarmsketch relies on user response in order to complete an artwork. This open source method of continuing an artwork with different artists creates a challenge and renegotiates the power roles between artists and curators, like Marc mentioned in the article.