Micro-project 4: Media Addiction

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Due: Tuesday, February 11

Twitter is often referred to as “micro-blogging,” in which short texts are written in 140 characters or less. This has resulted in a form of writing that is quick, immediate, and spontaneous. In this assignment, we are creating a form of “micro-theater,” in which we will role play via Twitter, assuming a Twitter / avatar-identity through which we will interact with one another through improvised exchanges. Building on the Video Double project, we will assume an identity (use the same one if you like), engaging between our characters through micro-conversation, micro-gesture, micro-action: a form of micro-theater. Yet, unlike traditional theater, our micro-theater will be distributed across the network in the third space, our interaction will be asynchronous, without the need for simultaneity or real-time exchange.

The subject matter of our micro-drama will be: “media addiction.” Imagine a world in which we no longer communicate face-to-face, where all exchanges are mediated, where we prefer to be remote participants in our own social lives. (It’s not hard to imagine!) And why? Because we are addicted to media, we prefer to communicate telematically via our devices because it is safer, easier, and perhaps even more inventive. Now, situate yourself in a world of addictive media with other addictive students, using the #ossntu hashtag as a kind of symbol of your collective addiction. (You can ask other friends to join us using the #ossntu hashtag). Don’t force it, you already live (at least partly) in this “addictive” world, so it is not so unlike the media landscape we already inhabit. You might find there is no difference between our Micro-Theater project and the conversation you already have on Twitter or text messaging! Just direct the conversation (with perhaps some exaggeration of your Twitter identity) to our Micro-Theater with the #ossntu and let the collective narrative unfold!

In order to concentrate our micro-theater production, let’s conduct the project over the weekend: begin Friday evening (February 7) and conclude Sunday evening (February 9). Feel free to “rehearse” before and after but let’s allow the project to reach its culmination point over the weekend. At the conclusion of the project we’ll read through the transcript. Perhaps it could then be performed in the first space!

Some suggested strategies for our performance:

  • The duration of the performance will be from Friday, February 7the in the evening, until the evening Sunday, February 9th. If the narrative continues afterwards, that’s fine, but I would like to concentrate the dialogue during this approximately 48 hour period.
  • You can follow the #ossntu hashtag thread on Twitter by typing the hashtag in the search field. The URL for the feed will look like this: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ossntu&src=hash
  • You can also follow the thread on the home page of our Media & Performance Website. http://oss2014.adm.ntu.edu.sg/
  • From either location you can also retweet or reply. Replying would be a good way of interacting with another character, since it will include their @userid. You can also just include someone’s @userid by typing it in the Tweet.
  • Although optional, you might consider following the other students in class, but this doesn’t really impact what you see on the hashtag feed.
  • Incorporating multiple @userid’s in your Tweets will generate more responses from other characters, and is a nice way of creating lots of interaction between characters, what you would call “ensemble” performance.
  • Be provocative! This is a good way of getting a response, stimulating dialogue, creating a situation.
  • Formulate your character, invent your avatar, explore your identity. You can talk about your character in the first person to let others know something about who you are.
  • Consider your state of media addiction, what does that mean? How does it effect your behavior, what you say? Use the idea that there is no longer such a thing as face-to-face communication to help determine what you say.
  • Above all, respond to what others are saying and doing to drive the narrative forward. That’s the key!
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