Introduction & Premise
For my final project, I will further develop the persona of an ‘influencer’ from my second live broadcast. I intend to use it as a starting point to question the current use of social media in politics and various forms of ‘influence’. I will continue to explore persona, spectacle, costume and parody in the context of contemporary Internet culture.
I plan to take on the role of a social media influencer in Singapore who has decided to find new ways of spreading her influence. She has decided to attempt bigger endeavours, starting with local politics.
On Live Broadcast & Performance
Social media influencers are a very special phenomena in Internet pop culture. It is a unique product of the internet age. Influencers reset the playing field; anyone can be a famous internet celebrity and no longer require traditional broadcast institutions or a network of contacts and companies. Influencers use social media platforms and live broadcasting to communicate with followers and share their lives.
Similarly, in recent years, social media has become irreversibly intertwined with political campaigns and information. These 2 groups of people inherently rely on social media to either influence, incite or inspire. Thus, I would like to merge these two major aspects of contemporary internet culture, in parallel with the massive reach of social media and the liveness of performance.
The performance will not be a political criticism. Instead of legislation, we will look into the softer more human side of local politics to question issues such as authenticity, connecting with the people and the small proportion of women in local government etc. I plan to examine certain ‘tropes’ of both influencers and local politicians such as #OOTDs (outfit of the day), ‘meet-n-greets’ at hawker centres and house visiting.
Developing Collective Narrative and The Third Space
Although I will prepare actions beforehand, like Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece (1965), the broadcast’s narrative will be a collective product developed together with the audience.
Even the unexpected — such as unanticipated responses or technical difficulties experienced in Nam June Paik’s Good Morning, Mr. Orwell (1984) — must be embraced. The narrative will be heavily influenced by the responses of both audiences in the first space (physical audience) and third space (live stream viewers). My persona, body and live streaming medium will serve as a bridging method to simultaneously connect both spaces and audiences.
“The possibilities are endless: we ask, what can’t you do with your own television channel beamed out to the whole world!?” — Randall Packer, “The Third Space Network” (2016)
This closing statement by Randall Packer exemplifies the agency of the individual. Armed with a phone and a larger-than-life persona, I hope my final project can illustrate the democratic reach of the individual, unconstrained and unfiltered by official channels, to create meaningful interactions with and between audiences.
Challenges and Concerns
With any performative work, this will be a personal challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone. I typically abstain from topics like politics in my work so this route will be challenging on multiple levels, such as managing tone and public sentiment. I hope to be able to push the medium of live broadcast further and am still exploring ways to do so.
[i] Packer, R. “The Third Space Network” (2016)