It is night, and somehow, the air is heavy with sorrow. She comes out for one last time, but her heart is torn between returning to the 2nd space, or staying in the real 1st space. However, she accidentally destroys her portal-frame on her way out: effectually fully closing the way she manages to flow in between worlds. She panics, for she is stuck, and she remains the sole being of a product of both worlds.
Isolated, she circumambulates around the only space she knows. She finishes up the whole of the broken, and realises why; she herself has been destroying her space with the X (close tab) on her hand. Her own existence is unstable – she does not exist in the real world. Thus, she marks her own finale: she X-es herself from the real world.
Act III: The DeathShe is now free, present in the real space! But what is she to do now??? Feel free to comment, or participate! (Part 3 of final project broadcast)
Overview Grand Theft Avatar (2008) is a live performance by Second Front, hosted in the 3D virtual world Second Life, stimulating a bank robbery of the Lynden Bank to liberate the Lynden dollars held by the bank. The live performance was carried out as part of the “From Cinema to Machinama” panel held physically at the San Francisco Art Institute, and the virtual avatars took on the guise of panel members. Impersonated panel members included new media artists and theorists: Camille Utterback, Char Davis, Howard Reingold and Christiane Paul[i].
After grabbing the loot, the members took a dramatic exit, first through an extravagant scattering of the loot into the air, and finally ending the performance by stimulating the ending of Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, or How I learned to stop worrying and Come the Bomb by riding hydrogen bombs into oblivion, Slim Pickens (aka Rodeo)-style into the sunset[i].
Artificially Expanding Reality Grand Theft Avatar (GTA) is a metaphor on the blinding artificiality of the fabricated world. It is situated away from the physical space, remotely operating within no set boundary – within the third space, where laws of the known world were disturbingly abandoned. It disrupts and questions the known traditional social etiquette and structure, through fragmenting the sense of reality and imbibes disillusionment. The lines between the reality we live in, the reality that we act out and, the reality that we realise gradually becomes blurred. The constructed boundaries of reality are thus expanded,
The third space is a fluid matrix of potentiality and realizable connections to the most far-reaching remoteness. – Randall Packer, The Third Space (2014)
Derision of the Human Presence The group constructs their own alternate ego, the artificial avatar on Second Life, and later, disguising themselves as other personas. Essentially, they erase their own presence digitally and mindfully, as their digital avatars are the sole outcome of their personification on the Second Life platform.
In GTA, Second Front justifies their action with a ludicrous excuse – the mocking liberation of the supposedly suppressed Lynden dollars on the guise of a bank heist, and later, the wanton abandonment of those rescued dollars after escaping the venue. With this, they effectually apply another layer of mockery to the work: the avatars themselves lack a stable existential identity; their ridiculous actions further fuels the hypothesis that in actuality, they do not function as per the known world, but rather, can only exist ephemerally, within the uninhibited constrains of the third space.
References [i] Guertin, Carolyn. Digital Prohibition: Piracy And Authorship In New Media Art. 1st ed., Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd, 2012,.
[ii] Packer R. “The Third Space,” (2014) in Reportage from the Aesthetic Edge
The Pirate Cinema (2012) by Nicolas Maigret is an installation artwork featuring 3 screens, visualising how peer to peer data transfer in real time by using BitTorrent protocols. A collage of top 100 most popular transferred files are played across the 3 screens for a few seconds, including a brief flash of a partial IP address and location. Today, the artwork can be viewed online.
How it was created Built on a data inception software, The Pirate Cinema automatically scans the most viewed torrents. The intercepted data is immediately projected onto the screen, and discarded after. Torrents scanned originates throughout the world.
In recent years, the availability of peer to peer sharing towards millions of internet users has heralded a new form of piracy, inadvertently changing the way how cinema is experienced. By exposing the ‘internal workings of media'[i], Maigret makes visible the limitations of peer to peer sharing with his immersive sensory and audio installation. Concurrently, he also highlights the possibilities of peer to peer sharing for being part of the aesthetic experience.
Relationship with the Third Space Network The Pirate Cinema‘s foundations were built upon the third space, despite itself not being part of the medium, but rather, and extrusion of it. It becomes a visualisation of this abstract space, an amalgamation of the efforts of the collective user network engaged in torrenting (unknowingly). Akin to the 1970s and 1980s video collectives such as Videofreex and TVTV, which attempted to mobilise people to make their own medium rather than being passive consumers of a centrally constructed broadcast programming[i], The Pirate Cinema hosts the ordinary consumer (of networked data) into the role of the changed broadcast programming.
They attempted to democratize the media by facilitating people-to-people communication… activating the production of media around a proliferation of local issues expressed by a range of marginalized communities.
– Randall Packer, author of Third Space Network (2016)
Hence, the marginalised, passive consumers are able to break down the hierarchy in media information corporate structure, even-ing the grounds for communication. In fact, they are altered:
It is a living art, exploiting contemporary forms of digital and physical networks as a mode of open praxis…
– Marc Garett, co-director and co-founder of Internet art collectives and communities in Third Space Network
In fact, its existence as a living art can further contribute to the diversity of the artwork – with its ability to constantly rejuvenating itself based on the whims of the collective community, and free against the rules of the broadcast programming.
Ironically, despite of what it seeks to contravene, The Pirate Cinema‘s delivery emulates the centrally broadcast programming in the top down broadcasting to passive viewers. While its content might be drawn upon from the third space, its narrates its information through a screen – similarly, to passive viewers of the installation. Nevertheless, it remains a pivotal artwork in addressing the abstract realm of the third space, underlining the greater possibilities of the third space as an artistic platform and network.