“Wen De, out to get her”
Video link: https://vimeo.com/314509160
For this micro-project, we initially planned to do a sound piece where we each performed a series of spontaneous actions on different metal surfaces around ADM to make a “heavy metal soundtrack” collectively. After multiple takes however, we realised that the screen capture function could not record audio so our sound work was instead a silent piece. We could have given up with the limited time remaining and presented what we had as a sound piece of visual noise, but then I thought of making use of the fact that our screen was only split into 3 parts instead of 4 like other groups (because I didn’t have the video group chat function on Instagram), to recreate a game control kind of display recording.
The product we came up with involves Ayesha and I each displaying a left/right button control in the split bottom screens, which we pressed to move our avatar, Wen De, on the larger top screen. June watched the controls we pressed on screen while delivering instructions accordingly to Wen De and recording him. The inability to record audio was used to our advantage: June’s directions to Wen De could not be heard on video so Wen De could know what directions to take even though he was not looking at the group chat screen himself. Under our (spontaneous) control, we made the avatar navigate aimlessly with a sort of malfunctioning effect within ADM. The slight comical tone to the work was intentional, supported with the video game soundtrack we added in the edit.
I quite enjoyed making this piece with the others. There were multiple setbacks which we encountered: my phone not having the group video function, the discovery that audio could not be recorded, time constraints etc. All of which culminated in the final outcome we produced—and I loved that. This project which we supposedly had most creative control over, involved such a dynamic and unpredictable process of collaboration with others that its outcome feels more uncontrolled (in a good sense) than controlled.
Out of all the 3 Micro-Projects,
- which project did you feel you had the most creative control? Why?
We had the most creative control in “Together Split” since the outcome of the product was very much just the realization of a preconceived final vision and artistic decision I had decided collectively with my team. We came up with the idea and its execution was wholly dependent on ourselves, made up of our actions only and hence within our own hands.
Whereas for micro-project 1, the creation of the alternative space was an artistic direction constraint placed on us from the offset (instructions given), and we each contributed to the tapestry of images on Instagram as individuals of separate perspectives and occupants of different spaces. The creative control I had in this project was only insofar of my own contributions; I had no control (no individual had) over what others decided to contribute, nor the form of the space that evolved out of the individual contributions pooled together.
In micro-project 2, there was the least creative control. Although we were given free reins over the conceptualization and artistic direction of this project, unlike #1010adm, the outcome of the product was based on the crowd-sourcing of contributions from a targeted, but however open, group of people, participating in our artwork without even knowing it was one/awareness of themselves as participants/viewers. We had no control over how our participant viewers decided to respond and shape the work with their responses. In micro-project 1 at least, we were participants ourselves and could comment and respond to the contributions of others.
- which project had the most unpredictable outcome? Why
Curiously, despite micro-project 2 (“Survey With One Question”) being the project I had the least creative control over, for me it wasn’t the one with the most unpredictable outcome. Perhaps it was because I had certain expectations of the way participants would act; I had presupposed that people have little incentive to participate in surveys for inconvenience and the like—the work was conceived precisely to address this issue (/problem?). Hence the crowd-sourced responses, despite their variability amongst individuals (granted and predicted), fell somewhat within my expectations, with but some surprises.
The project I felt had the most unpredictable outcome was instead ironically micro-project 3 (“Together Split”) that as a group we were given the most creative control over. I think for me, the concept of “unpredictable outcome” rests a lot on the expectations I have over the extent of creative control over the work. In “Together Split”, we had literal control over the path Wen De took (the work’s outcome)—Ayesha and I controlled his left and right movements respectively, while June gave him the exact directions. However in retrospect, this “control” felt more like a guise/illusion for what was actually a much more spontaneous navigation of Wen De within ADM, that charted a path with an unpredictability I did not expect. Since Ayesha and I recorded the lift buttons of different floors, we had no communication/coordination also regarding the directions we’d make Wen De take. Arriving at the conceptualization and execution of this piece also, was an unpredictable outcome in itself, conceived only within the last 10 minutes. Our initial plans to create a “collective heavy metal musical jam piece” failed when we realised audio could not be screen-recorded. (So much for the illusion of predictable outcomes with greater creative control)
- which project best illustrates the concepts of DIWO & Open–Source? Why?
I think micro-project 1 #1010adm illustrates both concepts best. Both this and micro-project 2 relied on crowd-sourcing the participation of others. Both were tapestries of each individual’s contributions; the “tapestry” of “Survey With One Question” was the visualisation of data collected from individuals, while #1010adm was the alternative space/Instagram pages formed out of the individual posts. However in “Survey With One Question”, while individuals were allowed to view others’ responses, they were not allowed to react to them in a tangible sense (they couldn’t change their responses on comment on others’). Whereas in #1010adm, the freedom to respond to the posts of others—to like, comment and share—allowed the nature of space created collectively to take on another dimension and go a step further. In this way, I consider #1010adm to better illustrate DIWO than “Survey With One Question”. The extent of interaction between individuals, and the overlapping of each person’s spheres of influence, is much greater and powerful in the creation of the outcome in #1010adm.