Research Critique: The Big Kiss

“It is the all-at-once concept of the abstract expressionists, in which everything is everywhere and the canvas became a total field of possibilities. The third space is a fluid matrix of potentiality and realizable connections to the most far-reaching remoteness.”- Randall Packer

Annie Abrahams explores the possibilities of the third space in her work The Big Kiss (2007).

In this piece she kisses another person within the third space despite their physical separation using webcams. To the viewer it feels like they have a meaningful connection and It makes me wonder if it feels the same to them. Does she fell so absorbed in the third space that seeing herself kissing someone on the screen collapses their physical distance and make it mentally like she’s kissing them?

“Machine mediated kissing in a performance = drawing with your tongue = taking pleasure, while constructing an image = a way to be superaware of the other = never totally abandoning yourself = ???????? = not at all like real kissing, it is better! This might be a female point of view.” – Annie Abrahams

She says it make her superaware of the other, perhaps it is like when you take away the physicality of touch you become more connected in the mind, like connecting mind-mind rather than mind-touch then touch-mind. Or perhaps it’s like how if you lose your sight your other senses will become heightened.

In 2009 she repeated this performance however this time it was done in a home environment rather than a studio. Even though they are further distanced from each other, the intimate and relaxed scene of the homes increases feeling of  intimacy and connection between the performers. It feels a lot more voyeuristic, like you are intruding on a personal moment rather than an art piece. The fact that these are live performances would have made me uncomfortable if I was there, as if by watching the screen I would also have been included in kissing within the third space.

This also makes me consider whether or not this counts as kissing and by further extension whether or not a relationship over the internet is real if you have never met the person in the first space. Coming from my perspective I would say it is, in fact one of my best friends actually dated a guy from america that she had met online in a MMORPG she had already been friends with this guy for a year or two before they started dating. Every night they would skype each other or play games online together, it was another year and a half before they actually met in person.

“energy and emotion are generated from the tension and interaction of
male and female, natural and artificial, human and machine”- Roy Ascott
This piece also reminded me if the website smule which allows users to sing a ‘duet’ with the singer of the song, I found it interesting how the users interacted with the recorded piece as if the artist was really live performing a webcam duet with them, they talk as if friends or in other cases scream in a fangirl/boy moment as if meeting in real life.

Research Critique: The Pirate Cinema

“In the context of omnipresent telecommunications surveillance, “The Pirate Cinema” makes the hidden activity and geography of Peer-to-Peer file sharing visible.”- The Pirate Cinema

The pirate cinema is created by an automated system that downloads continually the most popular torrents and shows snippets of these video files which are being shared peer-to-peer throughout the world from The Pirate Bay on a screen.


In the Installation it allows you to sit and watch the data flows in real time. It make what was previously invisible, visible and allows the viewer to almost become a part of the flow. To sit and watch the dubiously legal sharing of files and see where they come from and where they go to and what is being sent, is like a kind of surveillance, spying on other people’s activity without them knowing.

When I watched the Online Version I ended up watching it for at least 10 minutes. I felt it was so fascinating and it put me in a trance like state, reminding me of switching between tumblr, facebook, emails, and youtube to find something new or updated, or perhaps flicking through the channels on a TV. It was also interesting to see how it is so global, people from the US sharing to Serbia without them even knowing where exactly it’s going. It also made me want to download a torrent and see if I could get my IP address to come up.

“The geographical aspect of the project is key in activating the imagination, but also in developing a critical view of consumption areas by file. A text indicating both the geographical origin of the peer who issued this fragment, and the geographical destination of the peer who received it is overlaid on each video excerpt.” – Nicolas Maigret

I felt this quote was particularly interesting as it talks about collapsing space. Like at the time of viewing you are watching data which is both where you are viewing it, the country of origin and the country it’s going to at the same time.

The fusion of geographically dispersed artists and audiences is realized through broadcasted projects that join local viewers and online audiences in what we refer to as a shared, electronic “third space.”- Randall Packer

She also talks about the legality of the piece and how it has been created in a way which still protects the torrenters from being compromised through encryption and the short time frame the data is actually on the computers (they are immediately discarded). She also says how the piece itself is so global that it is hard to prosecute.


Research Critique: A Hole in Space

Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s A Hole in Space is hailed as the mother of all video chats. They connected a live audience from Los Angeles to a live audience in New York through life sized screens which feed through to each other using satellites.


I found this fascinating as it shows how the virtual space allows users to transcend human limits of space and time as

each screen became a window onto the other location. -Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.)

The viewers and participants interacted with one another seemingly like passing by one another on the street despite being 3000 miles away. After the initial discovery people went to phone booths to call friends and family telling them to meet on the other side ( Media also spread the word and by the next day organised meet ups between families who hadn’t seen each other in over 20 years, marriage proposals were made and strangers acted spontaneously with one another as

a virtual space creates social situations without traditional rules of ettiquate…virtual space diminishes our fears of interaction.- Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz (Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.))


The collaborative nature of this piece is also very interesting as the artists acted wholly as facilitators rather than performers. They created a social space where people were left to themselves to interact and communicate becoming the performers. The piece could only have been achieved through the collaboration between artist and performer/pedestrian and between the pedestrians themselves through their spontaneous interaction and organised meet ups.

We wanted to create new kinds of community commons to break away from the tyranny of the broadcast and traditional media and we just wanted to create a social space and turn it on and then let people acculturate it by owning it with their imaginations and if they could then occupy this new space and begin to see how they could use it then they would become, in their imaginations, the architects of a new future, they might begin to define what they want as an information environment rather than be consumers of it. -Kit Galloway (