Janet Cardiff Reading Analysis and questions


Thoughts from Class

I think Kee Yong’s comment in class , that is his opinion that he feels that her work isn’t interactive. Was a much needed question to get us to think. For me if it is one thing I have learnt in my previous IM classes, is that Interactivity (and so many other things) aren’t an on/off switch. Its a spectrum with a whole gamut of things in between. For me , some elements within the spectrum would be

  1. Non interactive, like reading a traditional book or watching the TV. (even then this statement is a bit iffy, because we are rarely 100% passive when consuming media as we internalize and  think about the things that we see.”
  2. Participatory. Works where we have no control over but will not happen if we do not activate it.
  3. Semi Interactive , works where we have some control over how the work happens and how the work ends.
  4. Fully interactive, works where we have full control over ( In my opinion there is no work which is fully interactive as an artwork can only exist within the boundaries and rules set by the artist. We perceive it as interactive when we are given some control over the chaos that is presented to us. The only thing that is fully interactive I guess is life)


Thoughts from Readings

I feel like her works are a commentary of us cyborgs, on  our relationship with technology and how it affects the way we tune or perceive our environment. And she does this through the use of videos and sounds masterfully layered together. I think what is most unique about her work is that when we participate in her work, we are not only cyborgs at that point of time (as that experience requires the use of the technology presented to us and without it, it can’t happen.), but also chimeras in a sense. Because at that moment, we are experiencing both our own surroundings and the memories and surroundings of Janet and a strange an interesting mixture.


Also, at the end of the reading she mentions in her interview “No. I Love it. I think computer, cell phones and Discmans are about taking us to different worlds. It doesn’t dull your senses, it just increases them because you have to experience things in a more multi dimensional way.”

I think this is a very interesting point of view as it’s an interesting counter point to ” Technology causing us to tune out of the world” narrative. I mean, we all do it, use music or our phones to tune out on public transport so that we don’t have to “be there” jammed between other people. But Janet’s words ring true and it made me realise at the same time, yes music has helped me experience the day differently. Like for example how I would start the day with shonen anime music to pump myself up and add a spring to my step. And this extends to other forms of technology and art too, not just music.  like how we learnt in last Semester’s Issues in Media Practice class with the use of screens to affect how we tune in to place. Just yesterday I was at Tampines Hub and I was amazed at how their frequent movie screenings there have brought back the communal gatherings where everyone watches something together. (granted they were screening Avengers end game).


Questions and Other thoughts

I feel like the screens on our MRTs are severely underused. They could do much better than just showing the mrt line and local attractions located around that MRT stop. Also, I feel the same about the screen at Northspine. No one actually listens to it or pays more than a glance at it. What can we do do improve this ? I am not sure yet,but awareness is always the first step.

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