Art of the Networked Practice

“The third space network is an internet broadcast channel for live media arts and creative dialogues, in terms of broadcasting and bringing a global audience to creative dialogue, performance and other forms of activities.” – Randall Packer on the third space network.

 

Communication is a vital aspect of current society, especially with the modern advancement of devices, it provides more opportunities for people to converse and communicate via the digital platform. Especially through the use of technologies like computers webcam and program interface. There are several forms of online broadcasting – we have the one to many or many to many dichotomies. These forms of interaction aim to distribute a message or an intention that will reach its specified group of target audience. Some examples of the platform that allows one to many interactions include Twitter and Instagram, whereas many to many interactions may include Reddit forums, blogging websites and online forums. We will touch on that as we progress deeper into the analysis of the online performers.

Creative dialogue enables participants to air differing viewpoints on the go, sparking more discussions along the way. At the same time, participants do not have to withhold their opinions as this could potentially aid in the discovery of new unexplored ideologies through the use of logical critiques. This way, a form of communication is established even without being in close proximity.

Having attended the online symposium held on 29 and 31st March, my discussion will be focused primarily on the interactions observed from these dates. Different performing artists were involved in this conference as they bring together several thought-provoking performances that provoked many questions and debates in the comment section.

In the performance by Jon Cates, the societal idea of Patriarchy and Femininity were put together into an abstract assemble with the use of symbolic elements and actions as audiences are forced to piece up the notion of radicalization.

For example, the use of blood, woman, background sound and the idea of sexuality. In my opinion, as a remote audience and an observer, the rhetoric of performance on leech stood out to me the most by far. With the use of a storyline focused on religious aspect interweave with gender issues, it sensationalizes the idea of sacrificial on a crucifix – Like a reflection of Jesus and Mother Mary.

 

The use of animal, such as the leech brings about the idea of a parasite sucking the blood out of one person, the act of taking advantage. In this case, how does gender play out in this performance? The appearance of the female role seems to me that she is the saviour of the man, who is bleeding and “unconscious” from all the leeching that took place – a caretaker and a healer. Once again, if the gender roles are reversed in this act, the perceived message will then be altered completely.

The notion of leeches, the internet and the online users draws inexplicable connection as they subsist on one another. Also, one additional reference drawn could be: is there a possibility of wordplay when they make use of leeches as part of the performance? Could it altogether be a true reflection of the impact of technology and social media? The conception that we are over-reliant on mechanization as it leeches our time away on mindless scrolling.

As for the performance by XXXtraprincess, a meaningful discussion was struck post performance as one of the participants questioned the need for sharing/broadcasting across multiple platforms. (As it may seem unnecessary to project across multiple platforms while delivering one same concept. One of the duos explained platforms like Snapchat, Snow application or Instagram live can potentially draw more audience into the discussion. For example, how is a live video different from a recorded footage?

Although both have similar content, yes, however, people who view the recorded footage would have a completely opposing experience altogether. With restrictions that there can be no live interactions and discussions with the performers, viewers can only rationalize the art piece through the comments that were left behind by previous viewers.

A live performance, on the other hand, highlights the ability to blend real-time and virtual space together. In this example, we all gathered on Adobe Connect on this faithful night to stream symposium. The physical space is minimally reduced, bringing participants and the performers closer together in the third space.

Though the remote audiences are viewing symposium via their webcams, the fragmented nature of online broadcasting thoroughly enables the practicability for generating collective awareness. With a mix of audiences from parts of the world, this form of participatory mode in the online space draws a parallel with viewing it in real time, with the privilege of having a live interaction with the performers.

 

“The goal of a third space network is to stimulate new forms of socially based participatory live broadcasting, online performance and global conversation, interactions in the third space network, and cultural boundary.” – Randall Packer on the third space network.

 

Also, I would like to briefly talk about the sound check procedure as well as the need to troubleshoot for Maria which took place on day 1 of the symposium. It actually took Randall quite awhile to gather everyone and ensure that their sound feedback is of acceptable volume.

All this is communicated through the main coordinator, making sure everyone stays connected and well received. In comparison to meeting in real life, where a piece of information is said and a response will be received immediately, communicating through webcam, or rather, the third space, requires a lot more work in order to have an effective communication.

 

“We have all one subject, in fact, mine is communication and the difficulty to communicate at all.” – Annie Abrahams

 

The performance conducted by Annie Abrahams (Online En-semble – Entanglement Training) where we have six people reading their latencies, and later we see projections of their ceiling and then their fingers, shows rhythm. The collaborators were of different races and cultural backgrounds, as observed. This ensures that there is a sense of variety and differences as they work together on bringing togetherness in this interconnected world.

Among the 7 webcams, some showed extreme movements, while another absolute stillness. For example, we have Antye Greie’s frame, constantly on still while the remaining 5 frames are vigorously moving. As for the audio, we constantly hear tongue clicking sounds and humming, followed by a wave of harmonica playing in the background. Telecommunication is effective for this performance. What we just witnessed was a seamless, organic form of sound and visual performances brought to us by the artists.

“So instead of dwelling on the frustrations of the network connection, she finds inspiration, and perhaps more importantly, she sets up compelling situations that allow her and others to make critical observations about connection and disconnection.” – Randall Packer

Through the presence of differences in time and space, the outcome was outstanding. The narration weaved in consistently through the use of visuals that was put on screen, communicating harmony and sometimes, distortion. The act was expressive and authentic, even though there was a borderline rule infringed on the performers. The un-staged beautiful mess of chaos and overlaps, all in sync regardless of their location. At the start of the performance, there were 6 black screens.

Initially, I thought my internet connection was lagging hence the visuals weren’t displaying right. Turns out, there was some technical difficulty faced by some of the performances, hence all of them offset the problem by having flickers of black screens to normal webcam as part of the enactment. Despite the technical malfunction, Annie’s on the spot thinking compels to the overall success of the online performance as she works around the network difficulties and improvises it as part of her act instead of trying to overcome it was what I find most rewarding in this seminar.

“In this new work we investigate how to be together in a connected world, where machines and humans have to communicate accepting partial overviews, glitches, time-lags, disrupting audience participation and ensuing disorientations. Abrahams considers the intra-active webcam performance situation a good apparatus to train and demonstrate entanglement.” – source: https://aabrahams.wordpress.com/

 

Annie specifically wrote scripts for each of the collaborators, ensuring that there is no repetition of movements and items throughout the performance. Through the performance, the main idea is to navigate away from the familiarity of their individual culture and beliefs, with the use of a conversational performance. Also, notice how it was an intentional choice that no faces were shown throughout the course of the performance? In the initial phase, I was a tad bit confused as to why the collaborators communicated through objects since the items looked pretty random.

According to research, it was a part of Annie’s goal as faces would be a form of distraction – This is why objects are used and selected phases and noises were made to transmit the message. I would say the idea was abstractly brilliant as to how people who were situated in different parts of the world could come together and attempt to stretch beyond their communication limits to perform a harmonious and seamless performance while being apart. This is absolutely mindblowing.

 

Citations:

http://rhizome.org/community/44387/

Angry Women take 3 & 4

http://www.randallpacker.com/

Angry Women – Review

Annie Abrahams is a Dutch performance artist/curator who uses different means of communication via the online platform to examine and test out the potential and boundaries of social communication between humans regardless of distance or time zone differences. One of the perks of mass media is that it warrants interconnectivity, uniting people from all over the globe to come together and perform a task within just matter of seconds.

Project Angry Women (2012) is a live performance broadcast constructed by Abrahams. This piece of work rationalizes over the issue on time and space, an expression focused on women. This emotional, melodramatic experiment is conducted on females across the continent, streamed over the internet webcam with Abrahams facilitating the execution. I would describe it as a form of psychological relieve for the participants. Cultural barriers are knocked down, as women expressed themselves through sounds (e.g. screams, smiles, shrieks) while being live at the same time. Further on in Abrahams experiment, project Angry Man is produced, then subsequently a mixed gender version comes through. Her works aim to reinforce and unfold human behaviours, the side most people find most vulnerable to reveal as we subconsciously try to portray our best sides.

Though one of the cons of multimedia is that it homogenizes culture. I feel that with the availability of internet access, the entire world is acquainting with the same cultural influence, and this way, people will be going after trends. Essentially, we will all be under the same fixated dogma, eventually losing our own essence and uniqueness in time. Our sense of identity will be very much diluted and watered down to what is popular and not factors like what makes us different.

Another aspect which we had discussed over class time – how being on the second/third space takes our attention away during gatherings with friends/family. I do agree to a huge extent how our addiction can potentially overtake interpersonal connection. As much as the fact that social media can take us places, it disconnects us with the present, especially people who are around us physically.

DIWO – Research Critique Summary

 

“Expanded from the original term known as D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself). D.I.W.O ‘Do It With Others’. Is more representative of contemporary, collaborative – art practice which explores through the creative process of using networks, in a collective manner.” – Garrett

Do-It-With-Others, also known as DIWO in short, is a terminology created in 2006 by Furtherfield. The history of Furtherfield was inspired by punk movement in the late 70s and early 80s. The main objective is to represent and reflect its involvement in a series of grassroots explorations. The application of DIWO allows a sense of openness which facilitates a good mix of sources to achieve a hybrid experience. This action renegotiates the boundaries and roles of both the artist and the curator. This would allow collaboration to take place, either for individuals or businesses. One example we can draw is from the idea of crowdsourcing – an action that aggregates people with similar interests.

Likewise, DIWO is achieved through an online platform/portal where users showcase the project that they are working on concurrently. Ranging from research to software development or a new innovation. In this case, many people would come together and work on the said project to facilitate crowdsourcing.

(According to Marc Garrett) Essentially, its DIWO if…

Back to the practice of DIWO, some of the real-time activities that we, students of Prof. Randall, experienced include Telestroll, Social Broadcast, Exquisite Glitch and the concept of Hole and Space. The whole idea of these exercises is to stimulate peer to peer engagement, as well as to kindle communication and allow for more connections to take place.

Motivated by curiosity and activism, people can collaborate and create controversies in both the physical world and the third space.  Furthermore, the Social Broadcast done via Adobe Connect brings about the idea of a collaborative framework. In this scenario, we would come together and attempt to perform a task via the online webcam. Given that a third space was formed, everyone was able to connect virtually from the comfort of their home, or any part of the world.

In retrospect, people who were initially bounded by time and space limitations (e.g. time zone differences, distance) can now interact and meet others through this space. This form of engagement brings about the communal interaction between people from all over the world.

“The process is as important as the outcome, forming relationally aware peer enactments. It is a living art, exploiting contemporary forms of digital and physical networks as a mode of open praxis, as in the Greek word for doing, and as in, doing it with others.” – Garrett

In the live conference with Marc, the issue of the internet and social media was brought to light. He discussed the importance to make the line between marketing and social utopia fades, the strategies big companies did to eliminate local characteristics, so as to bring their platform to even the remote places o the earth. Project Networking the Unseen served as an important opportunity to put a spotlight on resolving the issue of cultural differences, and that we can use technology to communicate no matter our locations.

Telematic Embrace – Adobe Connect in class

 

I spy with my little eye… something bright.

Your smile. AYYYY.

I had my very first Adobe Connect experience in class yesterday. I never knew it could it so much fun to be doing a live webcam with my classmates! HAHA, now I can spy on them without having to fear that I will make any accidental eye contact. First and foremost, I experienced first-hand how efficient Adobe Connect works. It facilitates hosting, sharing and collaboration from anywhere, anytime, even on mobile devices!

Okay now, my most favourite part of the activity. I really enjoyed this segment a lot. During this time, the instruction was to flash any photo from our image gallery.

This is what we ended up having:

A screen full of bits and pieces of everyone’s life.

Each frame has a story to tell. And behind every photo, it holds a close depiction of one’s personality or interest. It could perhaps be a snippet from their everyday lives – which I found really intriguing. It has only been 3 weeks since class started. Through these images which were carefully selected from all of their photo album, I get a chance to peek in at what goes down in their life.

Second Front, Grand Theft Avatar (2008) Review

 

ABOUT:

Founded by Linden Lab who first launched Second Life in 2003, it has pioneered to become a virtual world where many transacted millions across this platform. Second Front (2006), a team of 7 live performers, were the first to perform in the online virtual world of Second Life. The main source of influence mainly derives from Dadaism, Fluxus, and many other geneses of contemporary performance artists like Laurie Anderson herself. Second Front continually pushes the notions of conventional performance and the culture of immateriality.

 

OVERVIEW: 

One example of a live performance by Second Front is the Grand Theft Avatar (2008). Being hosted in the virtual world, this is a presentation of a robbery case where the group posed as the currency liberation army and eventually made an attempt to escape by riding on a bomb, diving into the sunset.

 

THE THIRD SPACE:

The third space is a fluid matrix of potentiality and realizable connections to the most far-reaching remoteness.Randall Packer, The Third Space (2014)

A definition from the web: It represents the fusion of the physical and the remote 
into a third space  that can be inhabited by remote users 
simultaneously or asynchronously.

Unlike performances that were set in the real world, the artificially simulated dimension provides infinite opportunities for them to work their magic, a hyperspace where traditional laws cease to exist. This notion acts as a blur between the real world and the virtual through distributed existence. The possibility is endless, and the benefits of virtual reality are just the tip of the iceberg.