Research Critique: Second Front

The Second Front performance was extraordinary and unlike anything that we’ve experience in internet art and culture, the performance is entirely within a virtual world(third space) where what was common in the Second Life was totally impossible in the real world that we live in(like physics and such).

To be really frank, I started the research about Second Front by reading the Assignment Post and watching the two video over there, IT MADE EXACTLY ZERO SENSE TO ME, I am like..


A good piece of art gives you a sense of wonder but a piece of astonishing art make us feel foolish” but I felt really stupid after watching both of the video, because I must be too slow to not get the meaning/message of them. So I carried on in the researches by starting to understand what exactly Second Life is….

Wait… This Second Life is actually a really interesting “Game” that have no boundaries or whatsoever. Users could create their game character anyhow they want, make their character to do anything, build all sorts of structures and items in the game and there are even user using Second Life to raise funds for real life volunteer funding which I think is such a good use of third space as a medium to solve problem in the third world! 


Back to the topic of the work of Second Front

I think what Second Front was doing was really amazing as they are all from different country and meeting, planning and executing the performance in the third space while transcending any laws(physic or social) which is only possible in the third space, Grand Theft Avatar felt like a piece that was drove by the inner desire of human, it started with the characters in the “Evil Genius Mansion” with the dramatic music and I think this is a reflection of us dreaming to be a badass in some point of our life like having super power- able to fly, super strength etc. and in the Grand Theft Avatar scenario, they are the “Rich Evil Genius”(rich because of the helicopter which is totally unnecessary) whom disguise themselves to rob the bank with the “Genius brain” that could unlock the safe to take all the Lindens in there, annnnnnnddddd *Plot Twist* they are trying to portray that they are not evil at all but rather acting as the Robin Hood who steals from the rich and “Give” it to the poor as we can see that the money is all scattered from the helicopter soon after they take flight but if it was the money they were after, scattering the money will be the last thing they do.

I really admire that Second Front is an adult group who are really childish(Just to clarify, being childish is a good thing, like child in their heart still survived) and they could make such wonderful performance in Second Life, when I was much younger, I was a gamer who did things which were really similar to the what Second Front were doing but on a much smaller scale, I remembered that I made my friends to wear a set of costumes in the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) called MapleSea but in a private server, we dressed up as the Meso Ranger and went around helping(Disturbing) people.

It was fun to be “Someone else” other than the normal character we used in the game and doing something we normally wouldn’t do with the disguise on, this was exactly what Second Front had done in the Grand Theft Avatar.

I would like to quote Alise Iborg  when asked question about the rehearsal vs Improvisation in their work:

If it is better improvised we will probably do that. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

With prerecorded performances, we can fine tune and edit out things we don’t want the audience to see. But with improvised performances, the work takes on a life of its own fueled by the creative energy of our players which really shows through.
Also, many times, it’s the surprises and unintended actions that make the work really come alive!

Isn’t this exactly what we learnt in this module? “Also, many times, it’s the surprise and unintended actions that make the work really come alive!”. Alise Iborg is more likely to have an improvised performance than a prerecorded one (its kind of paradoxical as their work was prerecorded and edited, but the content in it seemed really organic and improvised) and this is the spirit of having a performance(live or not) and if we embrace and accept the possibility that things will not go as planned or even planned to have the unplanned happenings, it would make organic pieces which unique and flavorful due to the shift against logical interpretations.

Afterall, Second Front is having fun making these artwork which some were funny, some were totally illogical, but the main thing which we all can learn is to have fun in the process is more important than having the perfect end result, I am sure Second Front laughed out loud when they were executing their pieces while they were like “FLYYY!! MAKE MORE OF THEM FLYYY!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!”





Research Critique: Jennicam

First thing that came to my mind when researching about Jennicam….

It is wonderful that she was doing what she liked by putting herself on the line(ONLINE).. but what if its a ugly man doing the same thing but because he is an exhibitionist, would “Johnnycam” be as worthy as the Jennicam?”

This is just a thought of mine on the thought of “What If” and there will be no clear answer to this.. or is there?

OK Nevermind.

Back to the reality… The critiques.

Jennicam is a wonderful form of broadcast that was developed from a simple test of trying to write a script that takes a picture with a webcam and upload it onto the website, she started to show the website to her friend and slowly, it gained popularity and there is no reason to stop. Then when she became relatively popular, she started to charge a subscription membership at $15 per year, for those who are subscribed to Jennicam, they could enjoy the pictures to be uploaded every 2 minutes while those who are not subscribing, they can only see the new picture every 20 minutes.

Things that you charge people to view must be really exciting so there will be this many audience willing to pay just to see it? NO! As mentioned by Jennifer:

I think if I weren’t normal,  it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting.

She agreed that Jennicam is full of boring-day-to-day-stuffs and this is what made Jennicam so interesting, because there is nothing extraordinary in it, everything is unscripted and whatever happened on Jennicam just happen naturally and this is the beauty “Livecasting” that Jennifer was the pioneer in.

What might have made Jennicam so popular back then?

I think what made Jennicam so popular to an extent that there were 4million view on a single day at its’s peak was because of a few reason..

Firstly, there wasn’t that much things to do on the web during that time and like our senior Kapi said during his presentation,

90% of the information on the internet was generated in the past 2 years

and I found some source of it for credibility check
It meant that before 2003,(the year that Jennicam ended) the information on the web was so far lesser than 10% of what we have in the current time, this means that the chance of people spending their time on Jennicam are far greater than if Jennicam were to appear in the current time. Also, Jennicam was pioneer to do this online and surely she did gain some popularity because of this.

Next, It gives the viewer a sense of treasure hunting as the selling point of Jennicam was that it is normally boring 99% of the time and there is the 1% which Jennifer would show something that people were waiting for on the Webcam like being naked, having intimacy contact with her boyfriend and she said

“The first time one boyfriend and I did started kissing, the site went down pretty much immediately from too much load”

The beauty of having 99% of the time as being boring and 1% exciting bit made it feel like the good thing are worth the wait, which unlike other webcam strippers, who are naked most of the time so once Jennifer do something out of her ordinary, it will make the Jennicam viewer feel lucky.

Lastly, it feeds on the Loneliness sentiment within people. People who feel alone will feel better if they see someone are as boring as they are in real time as David Letterman said in the video:

“This is really all people want, people are lonely and desperate, they are lonely, desperate, miserable human beings. They are reaching out, they want to see life somewhere else taking place, it’s comforting, don’t you think?”

Yes, I think so too, there are reasons why Mukbang are so popular all over the world.

Jennicam is like a 24/7 Mukbang which accompanied lonely people so that they can see another human somewhere in the world and the more they watch it, the more connected they feel to Jennifer. But this is where things gets weird.. those who are feeling really connected to Jennifer only have a one way connection and they could possibly see Jennifer as a 7 years friend while Jennifer doesn’t even know them. I personally think that this is somewhat similar to fans and idols while some hardcore fans revolve their life around the idol, the idol don’t know they existed. This is really sad for these people whom watch Jennicam due to their loneliness, Jennifer might be all the friend they have in their life, and in 2003, BAM!! ONLY FRIEND DISAPPEARED.

Image result for lonely gif

The Idea of private and public had changed since internet.

In the past, privacy was what was behind the walls and if you close all doors and windows, you will have a private space, but now the invention of the webcam and internet, it opens a window within the private space and on the other side of the your window, there could be countless of viewer who is able to look into the window you’ve opened in your private space and since anybody could just look into your window, doesn’t that made it a public thing since anyone can just take a look and decide to stay and watch it further or just leave?

This is what the Jennicam was doing, she opened a window for 7 years that anybody could look through it, in her own private space but was her private space really private as anyone could just take a look at anytime? Although she said:

“Because I don’t feel I’m giving up my privacy. Just because people can see me doesn’t mean it affects me – I’m still alone in my room, no matter what.”

Yes, she is alone in the room but that doesn’t meant that she got her privacy, imagine that the webcam is an actual opened window and every time a viewer would pop his head on the window and look into her room but can only stay outside.(Jennifer is still be alone in the room) would she freak out? I think she would, at least for the first year.. The biggest difference is that she is unable to see her viewer and have this false sense that she is protected through the barrier of the internet distance. So was she losing her privacy? I think she definitely did since she will have to adjust her life due to Jennicam like when she is having intimidate actions(sex) with some of her boyfriend, they would turn off the light and do it under the blanket, this, isn’t it losing of privacy?


In Conclusion

In my opinion, Jennicam is similar yet different from when we do a live broadcast. The Similarity is that both are unable to retrieve what was put on there when the viewers saw it although we could probably delete it afterwards but we are unable to undo what the viewer saw. The difference between Jennicam and our live broadcast is that due to the short time frame of the live broadcast, it is possible to have a general idea of the content within the stream and “Act” upon it but in Jennicam, who we saw is probably who she was as it is virtually impossible to act 24hours a day for 7 years, and we are getting the realest Jennifer as possible.

Jennicam was a work that place herself on the limelight of the internet for 7 years, the popularity she gained might be accidental, maybe she is an exhibitionist who like to show herself naked sometime, but I think that she was definitely lonely because when she wrote her code and uploaded the webcam picture to her website, she showed her friend as a form of attention seeking and she unexpectedly seek-ed the attention from the whole world. Although she did not start with this reason, but she definitely progressed into capitalizing and selling her privacy for some fame and money.(which I don’t think it is negative at all, its really smart to do it!)


Research Critique: The World’s Longest Drunk Sentence

Throughout this work of Douglas Davis, the scroll wheel on my mouse worked particularly hard. Good job scroll wheel, good job.

I really like the ending for me in The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence as I’m unable to click the next page due to the black screen at the end(not sure why), the font size just gets bigger and bigger and it goes from readable text to graphical image flashing on the screen.

The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence is an art which is really similar to the Hole In Space as the main gist of both the artworks was to create a platform for people to interact with each other and when they do, the participant/viewers of the platform became the performer which prompt more participant/viewers to response hence having the number of participant/viewers/performer to grow exponentially. The only difference was the medium- Hole In Space was the communication through video call while The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence was the communication through texts.

In this essay, I will focus more on the medium rather than the content even when there are many interesting quote that I really liked, the contents are not a good instrument to analyse this wonderful piece (It’s like quoting a few conversation in Hole in space and say the Hole In Space is good because of it.) As the phrase “The Medium Is the Message” Contrived by Marshall McLuhan in his book Understanding Media: The Extension of Man(1964), the characteristic of the medium is as important as the content itself and without one, neither could exist. As McLuhan said –

“content of any medium is always another medium”

and the basis of text is speech, the typist convert their speech into text on the screen by typing, the text then get transmitted to other screens, the reader reads the text and then forming the speech in their brain, text is just one of the medium that transfer thoughts from one person another.

The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence is a medium for the participant to type in any language with only one rule- No Period(which got hacked later). This “No Period” rule made this artwork really interesting, as The Period is to denote the end of the sentence, which serve as the start of a new one. By removing The Period, the boundary that announce who is the author of the sentence got eradicated and hence, even when all of the participants are just writing with much individuality, the piece could only be seen as a huge, shared text like the Microsoft word developed Artificial Intelligence, got drunk and having chatter with itself non-stop, which is what made The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence really fun to read.

It was very stimulating even while participating as only a reader, for a moment, I was thinking “Is this a new writer? oh wait, its the same one as this one” and then without a stop, bombardment of a new thought by another writer. I feel that The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence is a medium that was made to reflect on life, every participant could not control or change what was typed in the past and the future but can make changes to the present if they contributed. It also reflected how human conscious are, the way that all these words are without The Period, the recalcitrant brain and our train of thoughts without a stop button, there is no Period to block the madness going through our mind, sometimes there are beautiful poetry about flower, next there will be poultry scolding vulgar. It is these unpredictability that made The World’s Longest Collaborative Sentence as well as our life interesting.


BOLD3RRR Reflection: GLIXCH#^D

Bold3RRR by Jon Cates was a magnificent piece that explored the eccentric way of glitches and recursivities, I found this piece really amazing due to the fact that it was a live streaming and the effect were rendered in real time.

Bold3RRR seemed to me like Jon Cates had planned to give the viewers a sense of cognitive dissonance by establishing it in a non-linear way whereas the message was cut up into parts and overlapped in the later part of the live stream. Jon Cates used our sense against ourselves to trigger a perception of chaos by employing our two main senses – auditory and visually to oppose each other by having them interjecting in a juxtapositional manner which produces a discord in our perception of Bold3RRR.

Auditory, Jon Cates uses noises which we usually associated with glitches (static noise, clicking sound, distortion of speech etc.) and having parts of the dialogue being cut and looped on top of the speech along with the bombardment of sound recordings, phone ringing, QQ messenger notification and “glitch sound” in the later part of the video to intercept the clear dialogue and make it harder for us to understand what Jon Cates were saying.

Visually, there are 3 variety of scene in Bold3RRR,
1) A clean frontal video of Jon Cates in full screen,
2) Typographical rendering of the script and project title of the programs being superimposed to the screen capture of the program/google maps
3) A Glitch scape

Audio and visual coordinated really well but only synchronized on rare occasion where the speech matches the frontal video like at the start of the video and only happened a few times throughout. Other than that, we could hardly acknowledge any connection between our senses when we were bombarded with multiple dialogue of the same tone, “glitch sound”, phone ringing, messenger notification, images and text flashing on the display. Jon Crates knew that he was going to work very much on the recursivities and glitch effect right at the start of the video where he said

“I want to reflect, on real time… I want to reflect on real time renderings. I want to reflect on real time renderings”

This got me thinking after watching Bold3RRR more than twenty times, why did he said that three time? It was not a replay of the same audio clip three time, it was him, saying it three time. Then I got the conclusion that this was the motivation as well as the goals which Jon Cates have for Bold3RRR, Jon Cates was playful towards the technology and saw the human quality in real time glitch and wanted to reflect it into Bold3RRR by the means of using, overlaps, recursivities, distortion of speech and sensory overload which impart a sense of wonder and surprise in a form of “Dirty new media” which is now known as glitch art.

Glitch happened when we have imperfections in the program and it produced results that were unexpected by the programmer. While there are many people who would prevent glitch as much as possible, artist like Jon Cates embraced the parts where these imperfections occurs and explored into these glitches which generated unpredictable artwork by inputting digital information like audio or visual sample into it which seemed to be the underlying “biological” character of our digital world otherwise seem to be the least organic commodity around us. By putting the inputs into a glitchy system, it seemed like the glitch had gave birth to a whole new entity which the offspring is disparate than the parent (the input and the glitchy system). Glitch is also like a crack in a system that will generate unforeseen outcome which represents the imperfections in the system and unpredictability in human nature and Bold3RRR reflected on the idea that there is a human quality and organic character in our digital new media through real time rendering show how human always lived their life- that there is no turning back in time, once it was on live stream, one mistake and the whole audience will see it and there will be no retrieving of the mistake.

Overall, I was inspired to use pre-recordings in the production of live video to produce result more than just what a live video could ever do, Jon Cates had multiple of source file readied before the live skype stream and pumped them into a glitchy system which mashed them up together in the live performance to form Bold3RRR the way it is – eccentric yet captivating.

Adobe connect reflection

I think that our lesson on Adobe was really fulfilling as it really enhance our understanding in the third space. I think that the fact that we could see ourselves in the screen act as a reminder that we should really act appropriately when the webcam was turned on. It was also a great way to have a lesson especially when the lecture would set ground rules that we need to respond when called, this was a really well thought way to make sure that we are paying attention at all times.

The part which I enjoy the most was the last part where we did a collaborative performance which we were supposed to join up with the person beside us to make something interesting.

I also love the part that we could chat in the chat box during the lesson which gave us a form of entertainment as we were joking in it.

Overall, this was a really fun experience for me and i am sure that we would definitely do this again over the normal physical class that we are always having(for other module too).



Research Critique: Hole in Space

Image result for ms-dos
The best computer I could ever buy in 1980 look like: MS-DOS. GIF from

If I imagined that I am living in 1980 where the best computer I could ever purchase(if I am even rich enough) are only running on MS-DOS operating system, a period which the first computer that runs graphical user interface only appeared 3 years later(Apple Lisa), and I heard that I could talk to someone else 4800km away- face to face, real-time, I will not believe it until I went down and have the random someone from 4800km away replied to what I said.

This is how insanely amazing I think that the work Hole-In-Space was, this work by artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz was so forward in the time where the audience(also became participant) were not prepared for it and since during the 3 evening of the work, there was no signs or sponsor, no explanation was given to the work, it definitely struck curiosity within the passerby thinking :”Wait, What is this? is this a screen? *stares at someone and he stares back* Hmmm.. *Wave and the person wave back* HOLLLLLYYYYY SH*TTTTTT ITS MAGIC!!!!”

This made me wanted to see how the work was back then and I found a Youtube video of the work which was really interesting in how people communicate through the work.

“Its just, umm, television like telephone, right?  …. What a revolution it’s gonna be eh?”

– Random guy from the video A Hole in Space LA-NY, 1980 — the mother of all video chats (8:40)

People were singing, playing charades, finding their family or friends.– Playing charades through the work. From the video A Hole in Space LA-NY, 1980 — the mother of all video chats (13:20)

I think that the fact that the work was placed there for only 3 days with no explanation was just right because on the second day, there was news reporting and on the third day, people were calling their family or friends and asked to “meet-up” over the Hole-in-space this escalated to a big crowd holding signs shouting and screaming, and the whole situation started to get chaotic. The Hole-in-space has the power to bring people closer psychologically(definitely not physically), family and friends saw long lost friend, strangers interacted with each other they normally wouldn’t and this was evident in the reading Welcome to the “Electronic Cafe International”  

“Los Angeles’s Korean community and black community traditionally are at odds with each others. As they met and got to know each other through the network, they wanted to visit each other!”

Welcome to the “Electronic Cafe International (Page 349)


That people could gain understanding through meeting in the third space where people could react to each other. Seeing each other face in real time was essential in people opening up due to the fact that they know they are protected from harm however in the reading,

“Still, a person is offended when the virtual-space hand “touches” body part that wouldn’t be touched normally “in the flesh.” In virtual space, we learn the extent to which we “own” our body image”

Welcome to the “Electronic Cafe International (Page 347)

This made me goes to deep thought that since our virtual image are just a group of pixels that formed on the screen, therefore “our” virtual image does not exactly belongs to us, but to the owner of the screen, but is that ethically correct? Just because that these pixels grouped together to look like me and I will go”This is me” while pointing on the screen, but are they really me? Human’s way of possession are too weird.


Back to the topic, I think that Hole-in-space was an amazing work which turns all the viewer into a participant and through it, the interaction between the first space and the third space became a part of the art as people not only talked to people 4800km away, they also talk to those who were beside them and formed a connection due to Hole in space. These participants enable Hole-in-space to transform into a platform for collaborative performance art where all viewer became the art work, without their participation, the Hole-in-space would just be a piece of work that film people walking past the street in a window.

Lastly, I think that Hole-in-space enable people to see the potential in technology which shrinks the distance between people when used appropriately. It filled people with hopes in the future’s technology.– Contented Participant. From the video A Hole in Space LA-NY, 1980 — the mother of all video chats (26:46)


Research Critique – Here Come the Videofreex

I started watching the video with intention of finding out what made them revolutionary in the field of broadcasting, then I notice the common theme that they had since the start of the video throughout – They were persistently breaking the laws and social rules while being driven by their passion to finish what they started.

like how they stole the tapes from CBS 29:34 to 30:50 –

I think its the spirit in them that they film everything regardless of being good or bad, they will document everything and they felt like they had the responsibility to do all of those for the people and the future generation like how they mentioned here –

“There was a Political Obligation that we had to these people, not to let CBS have them.”

and during 48:26

“It was Necessary for us to go to these place where history was being made and to say : Lets have that alternative record.”

The Videofreex were going out of their way to get the record for the people  (even committing mutiny against CBS and hijacking the show) and this sense of being a part of something bigger was an important factor for them to go on for such a long time even with measly wages. Because of these, they were doing things that weren’t done by others during that time especially during a period when America was relatively in chaos which many demonstration were happening and Videofreex were not shy in covering the events from within the demonstration and even getting beaten by the police. Plus, Videofreex were covering on topics like Abortion and Death, which none of the mainstream TV would do during that time.

All of these set them apart from the mainstream TV and I am sure that many individuals were inspired by them for the actions they’ve done. With the portability of the Sony Portapak, paired with the guerrilla way of filming which gave the insight of an event happening, anyone could potentially be someone important that document the history, this slowly grew into the need of having a smaller video recorder to make it more potable. Videofreex had revolutionized the way news were being reported from being an “third party observer” to “First party participant” which could be seen in the news where the news reporter traveled down to the place where the event were taking place (e.g. chinese new year, tsunami aftermath) and report straight from the place.

Lastly, keep playing and experimenting with these things like Videofreex and you will get somewhere. For me, I think that anyone could be a social broadcaster, but those who are willing to take the risk for the things that they have passion in will become a legend.