Second Front is an international performance art group who utilises a online world platform, Second Life as their main choice of medium. The group are made up of performance art (not performing arts) artists from around the world. They aim to explore new and different environments in the virtual world, like the game Second Life. In a way they are exploring how the third space can create a “alter self”.

In their work, Grand Theft Avatar, it is a live performance created in  Second Life. Like any other virtual world game, Second Life has its own currency,  laws, rules and regulations. They wanted to challenge the authenticity and embodiment of virtual identities by assuming avatar identities including those of Camille Utterback, Char Davies, Howard Rheingold and Christiane Paul to commit a parodied staging of a bank hold-up of the Linden treasury.

GREAT ESCAPE: One thing I think we’re looking to do is to question the underlying assumptions of Second Life and what it means to be a virtual being in that space. A dominant trend in Second Life is to shop, make friends online and participate in a virtual economy. The possibilities for the space haven’t been fully explored as of yet and so I think people are much more receptive to performances that they might be in real life. Because it is so new, we can have a huge affect on people’s thinking.

I think raises the question of authenticity and identity. Can anyone easily just “take over” or steal someone else in the virtual world? Also, how real is the virtual self in comparison to the real one? In a virtual world where anything and everything that is possible I think it is easy for identities to be “stolen” or “faked”. I think using Second Life as a platform allows for more unrestricted, creative, crazy ideas and experiments as compared to having to carry out in real life that is full of restrictions and limitations. It might not even be possible to carry this out in real life. Another aspect is that I believe that the virtual world makes us much bolder and daring. What we would do, interact or behave in real world might be a different reality when changed to something virtual. In this work, it raises the question of whether we trust and believe in everything we see in the virtual world?

To end off, I think this particular sentence stuck me a lot and it holds so much truth for the people of this century:

ALISE IBORG: While we as Second Life avatars become more real in the virtual world, so too, that we as human inhabitants of the real world become more virtual.


To get started, we decided to try and get the servo motors working through voice commands. The voice recognition is done through a app (BT Voice Control for Arduino) that links the voice commands through bluetooth and transmits this information to the Arduino, resulting in the respective movement in the server connected. We also purchased a component, HC-06 to allow for signals to be sent between the phone and Arduino.


Voice recognition controlled server (phone)


  • It took a many tries to get voice commands part working and we had to speak clearly and in a certain way for it actually register.
  • Servo movement is too small and weak.
  • Have to be controlled by phone where you have to press a button whenever you wanna trigger an event (not so intuitive)


Group members: Gladys, Siewhua & Valerie.

Landscape mode bois

Posted by Val Lay on Thursday, 12 October 2017

Basically this is a new function in Facebook Live where broadcasters could invite up to one view to join his/her broadcast, resulting in a split screen broadcast.

I think first of all it really helped with communication between me and Val and we could also see/hear what each other were doing. I think it also reduces the awkwardness a little since you sort of have a visible broadcasting buddy up there with you now. The downside is just that both persons really require a stable and strong bandwidth because while broadcasting I lost connection at least twice and its always a mini panic attack when you lose connection midway.

Overall, I think this opened for new ideas for we could do now for broadcasting. I actually found this more fun and liked this more than the previous “solo” ones. I think function could be adapted to into our final projects that require more sync-ing / communication with other co-broadcasters.


Her first supposedly captured image on Jennicam.

In 1996, Jennifer Ringley, a junior at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania stumbled upon a new piece of technology at her college bookstore – a webcam – and came up with this radical idea to broadcast how she lived her life for seven years which updates an image every 15 minutes on a website. She shared every uncensored detail of her life, in what she called a “virtual human zoo”. As the project flourished, she also added more webcams and charging for access to her site, allowing both paid and free access with the paid access updating the images more frequently than the free access. (wait but I thought she didn’t originally want to charge viewers according to “Jennicam’s Jenni on Letterman’s Late Show“?)

Then it all went downhill when she stolen the fiancé of a friend, Pamela Courtney who was a fellow cam-girl as well. The drama continued with bouts of “love” and sex on Jenni’s side and bouts of depression on Courtney’s site. Fans eventually stopped supporting Jenni and some people even judged her harshly. In 2013, she went completely off the grid since then.

In my opinion, Jennicam seems to be a curious and innocent experiment that went wrong. Also, what started as a purposeful even somewhat turned contradictory?

But first of all, why/how did she manage to do it for so long, over a span of 7 years? What are the appeals?

“I keep JenniCam alive not because I want to be watched, but because I simply don’t mind being watched. It is more than a bit fascinating to me as an experiment. So feel free to watch, or not, as you so desire. I am not here to be loved or hated, I am here simply to be me.”

She aims to portray only the real life, uncensored and unedited, even if that means giving up all of her personal privacy.

Mundanity/ Relatability

She carried out her life, from the mundane to more exciting ones, over a span of seven years entirely and wholly broadcasted for all the world to view as they please. I guess this appealed to large masses of people because of how relatable it could be and it was almost like viewing humanness into the computer age. This helped with people who were lonely and desperate for a form of companionship where on one Saturday night while she was doing laundry at home, she got an email saying it had made someone feel like less of a “loser”. She could connect with viewers because it was relatable and humans somehow just thrives in trying to find like-minded people. Its similar to how celebrities, especially in the case of Korean pop idols to be keep their fans in the loop by broadcasting their mundane activities too. Humans in generally are just inclined to learn about others, their stories and their lives. There is just a unexplainable attraction.


At that time, it was a radically new idea. Something people have never heard, seen before ever on the internet. Humans being curious beings as well might have been swayed to check what all the hype for this was about.

Voyeurism/Sex Appeal

I think this was one of the elements that played a large part. Aside from her daily chores she can also be shown nude or engaging in sexual behaviour, including sexual intercourse and masturbation. People was anticipating what would happen next. I guess it was also human nature to tend to be voyeuristic. I won’t say all the viewers that tune in are anticipating for this kind of action but i think its mainly a split between this and people trying to find connection with others who relates to their life.

Two-way communication 

A strong community grew in the chatroom on her site, where she also hung out. She was accessible, part of the gang, a friend. How surprising for her audience of new web recruits, who had probably never experienced this kind of connection with someone they’d only ever met online. And probably for Jennifer herself, too.

As the saying goes, communication is key, humans bond and thrive only with communication. I think with the chatroom is kinda reduces a layer of wall between her and everyone else. Even in our current times, many people can be great friends or even “soulmates” just be talking to each other virtually without having to meet up.

Through this project, she opened up discussions as to what is privacy and what it encompasses, a question that we are still asking ourselves till this day. What can be defined as privacy? In our day and age, we’re all similarly surrendering our personal life and details both voluntarily and involuntarily. I found it interesting how Jenni herself was aware that she would never be able to completely remove herself from the web even if she wanted to but still proceeded on with this project head-on.

This also raises the question what can is considered suitable or acceptable content? Also another question that we are still debated ourselves. From nudity to sex to publicly humiliating and betraying a friend, do we have to be mindful of the message that we are disseminating to others and how our attentions would affect others?

I also found it interesting how Jenni felt the weight of responsibility for her to try harder and she felt that she had to really go out of her way to make it happen so she’s not just going to give up. Was a need for recognition?

The internet can be a wonderful place but also a scary one. People might find solace but also harsh backlash and judgements. In the case of Jennicam, she experienced both the joy of fame and recognition but also the wrath when a line was crossed. For example, she was called a “homewrecker”, a self-obsessed “vixen” and a “phoney”. Even the The Washington Post called her an “amoral man trapper”.

Another interesting point was how she stopped performing stripteases for the webcam after she was discovered by a group of hackers on Efnet who teased her for their own amusement. After she reacted humorously to their taunts, she was hacked and even received death threats. The hackers turned out to be approximately 100 people including a handful of teen pranksters, but Ringley did no more stripteases after that.

In conclusion, her personal experiment inspired the first conversations about the things we’re still talking about now: digital over-sharing, the value of online expression, and the meaning of online community.

It’s interesting how after years of living publicly, she wanted to reclaim her life as a private person, especially after she got an onslaught of criticism for an on-screen affair.

 “Life started slowing down for me,” she says now. “You get into a routine. I’m not 21, I’m not flailing, I’m not making laughable mistakes every five minutes like you do when you’re younger. It’s a little more boring.”

But then I thought the whole purpose was to portray REAL life or was it all for the fame and drama?




The field trip to the Human+ exhibition had been a eye-opening yet unnerving experience. In the exhibition, it explores the meaning and possibilities of the perception of humanity in a world of science and technology.

Optimization Of Parenting, Part 2

Optimization Of Parenting, Part 2 by Addie Wagenknecht shows a robot arm that gently rocks a bassinet whenever it hears a baby cry. This work touches on one of the many woes of parenting and the artist choose to replace the task of rocking the bassinet with a robotic arm. As a mother herself, she wanted to discuss the struggles to find a work-life balance by suggesting for robots to take over the more repetitive parental tasks. She questions the idea of what is parenting, motherhood and also this would affect the development of a baby.

In our current world, many various technology has been used to make life easier for us and it is handy to live side by side with such robotic companions. What makes this work so controversial was the fact that the role of parenting is still considered as sacred and crucial for healthy development of a baby in our current times. While it may seem like just a simple replacement of the mundane task of rocking the baby when it cries, it questions the idea of what is crucial and what is not as crucial when raising a child. For instance, this simple action might actually be crucial for the building of a parent and child bond. By replacing this with a robot “caretaker”, would the parent take less responsibility for their child? Would the child grow up thinking much lesser of their parents mean to them? I’m just wondering what makes the cut to be categorise under crucial and not. Would this also “benchmark” also eventually moves up with time since human nature seems to be one that is always insatiable and changing. By letting the robots take care of the child so that the parent can carry on with their tasks, would the child grow up learning from this as well and the cycle continues where when they’re busy with their own work too, the leave their now old and aging parents in the care of robots as well? In my opinion, while robot companions can carry out their given tasks well, perhaps even better than a human, they can never replace or replicate what a human touch is. What I mean from this is that i feel that while we can progress to be more “productive” but simultaneously, we might be gradually lose the meaning to be around other humans. Everything would be so fast paced, easy, convenient yet cold, rigid and emotionless.

Even though this whole idea of letting technology to be so intimately embedded into our lives, it is actually not a very unexpected scenario that we could be facing in the future, looking as to where our current society’s progress is now. It’s scary to realise that how dependent on technology we’re getting at. For most people in our times now, its safe to say that they cannot survive without their technology companions and while they try to reduce the dependence on certain technology, they always somehow, at times unconsciously or consciously get even more dependent on other technology. I think in this work, the main question is not about whether it is ethical or is it the correct or wrong way to progress ahead. Instead, I feel like to provoke some thoughts into us in the sense that not only about parenting, but technology in general, is this the future that we support in building? Is this what we want? And does it really land itself this need? To end off, this is just a random thought that I had from analysing this work but would humans become obsolete in the future since they might even be “no need” for us, like we’re not crucial too in the end?

Bird by MUV Interactive is a wearable controller that looks like a cross between a presentation clicker and a finger pulse oximeter. This works with a  receiver that is plugged in via USB, the system then can read the Bird wearer’s hand position, direction, movement, and even posture. It can also receive voice commands. Additionally, using projection technology, it is able to turn any surface into an interactive display.

It’s functionality doesn’t stop at screen navigation but one can also use gestures to turn the lights up or down, open or close the window shades, and turn the coffee machine on and off. Beyond the home, it could be used to operate drones or control simulations of surgical procedures. The system can tell multiple devices apart, so it can be used in a business or school environment for collaboration.



Ease of use

It seems like a device that is really handy and easy to use since it is intuitive. Being a wearable it is also designed in the way that one can simply slip this on a finger for use.


Since the device is capable of controlling devices and is also able to differentiating up to 10 other Birds, it could bring collaboration in projects to a higher level.


Sensory replacement

With it being so convenient and handy to use, does user’s touch sensory of actual objects get replaced? It raises the question of the “smarter” we go, does it actually make us “smarter”? Does it make people more lazy?


Yes it does allow for freedom but at the same time what the Bird controls still remains on the flat screen/a surface. I’m just thinking if it allows for non-2D but instead 3D control where it has the ability to for example not only pull screens from the projector to the table but it can be viewed in the air (like a hologram?) I don’t know, its just thought and perhaps our technology is still not yet there.



I feel like Bird is something inspired from the gaming equipment like WII and Kinect and has so potential when used in so many areas. For example, from discussion and presentation tool,  to household/devices remote controller, to something that could be used in hospitals where patients that are not so mobile can use this to get things done, to art and design tool.

If the device were to be used for therapy that trains one’s concentration, where it detects the user’s mind activity for it perform its duties. For example, to switch on the lights, users have to point/gesture to the device but focus to get the task done.

Motorized drink holder

Smart Home Device – A robotic drink holder that “serves” your cup of drink to you, based on your command.

Meant to use on a table or bed, when user is doing their work. The user will be able to customise the command for their drink to be served to them. If not, they can use a remote whereby buttons will be used to operate the drink holder.

Also, there will be timer whereby the drink will be served every half an hour or so, or when the face recognition detects that the user is thirsty (e.g. licking your lips).


  • CONVENIENCE: Cater to daily needs of the lazy
  • AID THE DISABLED: Bring accessibility to the lives of people with physical disabilites
  • ROUTINE: Ensure that the user constantly stays hydrated


  • Minimalistic
  • Wood + metal


  • Speech Recognition
  • Remote (buttons, up and down) to control the motor arm
  • Thirst detector using camera – Facial recognition when you purse your lips together/lick your lips – immediately serve your drink to you
  • Or Timer? Every 30 mins serve drink to you – “Please have a drink”

 Holder should speak – “Please have a drink.” / “请喝吧”

Potential Components

  • Arduino
  • Motors
  • Proximity Sensors (to detect the user)
  • Speech Recognition (either Arduino or PARALLAX)
  • Speaker
  • Camera 
  • *Bluetooth to connect to app? Think how to develop an App and connect to the holder

Example of a robot arm – the mechanics


*Potential further development app

  • Customized phrases to key into the app
  • Select language- Only English and Chinese
  • Turn on or off functions / customise the drink holder 

Group members: Gladys, Siewhua & Valerie.

Bearbot by Vivien Muller is essentially a interactive universal remote controller for smart home management. It can be trained to respond to specific gestures to control one’s household devices. It is very expressive and it interacts with users where it could also surprise them with spontaneous behaviors like sneezing, dancing, yawning and falling asleep.

It only needs to be trained once to learn the basic tricks. The mobile application tames him to identify the different remote control units:

It is able to control numerous household devices such as:

There is no limit to how much it can learn and users can replace as many remotes as they want with this device. Bearbot can also accumulate several functions in one gesture:

Interactivity through 3D gesture controller:

Moving from one device to another is easy :  

  • A gesture from up to down allows you to switch to the next device
  • A gesture from bottom to top allows you to switch to the previous device

Bearbot always displays the logo of the appliance you are about to control. You can rank and modify your devices list at any time on the app to simplify your navigation.




In the market, there are already so many versions of universal remote controllers but in my opinion what makes this one different from the rest is mostly the level of interactivity it has between the user and the device but also its capability.


It is easy to interact with the device where at times some gestures already instinctive to us. I also think the function where it can accumulate several functions in one gesture makes it really convenient for users who utilise more than one household device simultaneously. Most of all, I think the whole concept is a really a really useful idea to me.


I find how the way the bear reacts to the user’s actions to be rather natural and even life-like and even though its just a display on the screen. I really love the surprise behaviours of the device because thats what gives the “bear” a personality and character on top of the feedbacks from reading the gestures. I think it helps to develop a bond between user and device.


I think one of its strong selling element is how cute it is designed to be. The rounded body of this device also allows for it to fit nicely in the hand allowing for it to be easily carried around. It is also rather minimalistic but yet it still retains this attractive cuteness to it which makes the device rather endearing.


According to a study conducted by NSF International, remote controls count among the top spots for bacteria at home.

By reducing the need for excessive number of remote controls for the various device and integrating all of them into one general controller, it also reduces the amount of breeding ground for germs/bacteria. Since there is no need for users to touch the Bearbot aside from putting him into place, it is actually more hygienic.




For the device to work properly, it has to be nearby (within 5m) hence it has to be kept close at hand. I feel that this a limitation because that means if the user is constantly moving around to get things done, the device might have to be constantly moved around together with him as well which might seem like a hassle instead of convenience.

However, this can be solved by using the mini Bearbots which has no screen and is not interactive. They serve solely as a relay to expand the infrared range. While it solves the distance connectivity problem, i feel that this kinda defeats the purpose of the main concept a lot.

Learnability & Functionality

With just only nine gestures that one could do to activate the functions, it could get some time getting used to and it could even get confusing since people could forget what was what. Also, how fast/easy can it learn the devices that it takes over control for? For instance, we can easily control some devices through our smartphones with IR and this itself can be a hit or miss. Not all devices from the various brands can actually successfully connect or be controlled as told to. Another important aspect is the 3D gesture sensor and like all problems with sensors, how accurate is it or do users have to keep repeating to get it to read a signal? This also raises the question of is there really a need for this device as compared to a more portable one like our phones.


It is limited to only four hours in active recognition mode. To save energy, Bearbot hibernates when not being used. When hibernating, its battery can last for a month. But what for if you buy a device and not use it? Users would have to keep chargers close at hand as well. Perks is that it uses a Qi induction charger, so it saves users the trouble of plugging and unplugging the charger every time they want to do something. However, having to keep another device close is really quite a hassle and burdensome to some plus it takes approximately 4 hours to charge full. With its limited battery lifespan, it seems more fit to be a device used to perform more specific tasks instead of something that you could carry everywhere and anywhere to perform tasks as and when you wish.



Though it has a big element of interactivity integrated into this device, I feel that more could be done to take interaction to a even higher level. This is because the device somehow still feels rather static and “unmoving” since its only the display monitor that is interacting. Hence, to take it to the next level, I thought about adding motors and audio. Perhaps the device could move on its own, like a robot with voice recognition or facial recognition  to make it even more life-live and perhaps even with artificial intelligence…I feel that this device has so much potential in interactivity. While I like the minimalistic design, I wondered about what if the surface was more textile and resembling a bear’s fur at touch.