1. Randall Packer

    Identity Multiples

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    In the third space realm of fictional possibilities, we are role-playing ad infinitum. It is a marvelous game: playable anywhere with a connection, involving anyone in any place or sphere of the globe. The system is pervasive, the rules are nonexistent, the paradigms are there to be broken. If Artaud claimed nearly a century ago in the Theater and its Double, that the theater is a space for the alchemical transformation of everyday life, and that role-playing is a vehicle for inducing the magic of identity permutation, then in fact, our systems of social media constitute a vehicle for entry into the theatrical domain of magic and ritual. When no one quite knows who anyone else is in the mysterious realm of the third space, the possibilities are limitless. Behind the illusory facade of one’s avatar, lie endless branching narratives through the infinite strands of the database. Yes: you can be an artist posing as a military officer posing as an art mogul in the third space. Never mind if it makes any sense, that is the power of theater and the alchemical properties of the imagination. And from the iconic wonder of a multi-layered avatar comes serious play, where politically-charged critique can take down the entire establishment in one fell swoop. That is the power of the theater and in the age of global media (please excuse the cliché), all the world’s a stage. The difference between Shakespeare’s time and the current state of things is that an extraordinary […]
  2. Randall Packer

    The Post-Human Condition

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    Stelarc and his prosthetic third arm It has been said that tools are more than a function of their use, rather, they in turn reshape the minds who use them (Alan Kay). It has also been said that our tools have become an extension of our collective nervous system, (Marshall McLuhan). And finally, it has been said that all of us who are active participants in the Network are always in a potential state of global embrace (Roy Ascott). For those of us who have come to inhabit the third space, perhaps to a greater degree than we care to admit, the notion of how our technological tools have reshaped us, extended us, as far as the Net can reach, is fundamental to our understanding of what is implied by the post-human condition. For in the third space, where boundaries are blurred, connections are instantaneous, and everyone is just a click away, we have to wonder, and quite critically so, how this is effecting what we consider to be our innately human qualities. What does it mean to be human in the first place? That is a question perhaps too large to be answered by any one mortal soul. But if being human means we occupy space, exist in time, create relationships with others, nourish ourselves physically and intellectually: well all of those human necessities have been irrevocably altered by our exposure to technologies and our increasing immersion in the third space. In the photo above of the Australian performance […]
  3. Randall Packer

    Micro-project 2: The Collective Body

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    Due Tuesday, January 28

    The Collective Body: We will create a "collective body" made up of all of our body parts randomly reassembled and reconfigured into a single composite body. Using a smart phone or digital camera, shoot ten photographs of yourself close-up: eye, mouth, nose, foot, hand, shoulder, etc.  Transfer the images to Flicker and load them into the 'Open Source Studio NTU' Flickr group. Over the course of the week the collective body will take shape, and each time the Flickr feed page is visited, the body will be randomly reconfigured, creating a near infinite number of possibilities. How does this project alter the way we think about the body as a malleable figure? How does the project allow us to rethink the human figure in the digital age, when the authenticity of the image has been subverted through manipulation. How might we think about the body as a "collective" entity, made up not as a single individual, but as a composite of selves. And finally how does the composite body reflect on the "deeply intertwingled" nature of social media: the intertwining of identities and relationships?
  4. Randall Packer

    Introduction to Media & Performance

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    Week 1: January 14 - 20 (Art-B1-14)

    Introduction to course topics, syllabus, Website, and the overall Open Source Studio (OSS) approach to collaborative studio art. We will review key artworks, media histories, and theoretical concepts as they define our understanding of media, interactivity, and live performance. We will establish accounts in the OSS multi-site, discuss collective blog writing, Web-based research, online documentation, software applications, and methods of social media integration. There will be a review of the micro projects, project hyperessay and final project, including opportunities for collaboration.
  5. Randall Packer

    The Third Space

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    Week 3: January 28 - February 3 (Adobe Connect)

    Our first session in Adobe Connect will offer an opportunity to experience the concept of the third space, conducted in the medium itself: a shared electronic space with remote participants connected via the network. We will explore the psychological and conceptual dimensions of the third space, notions of distributed presence, the dissolution of the object, disembodiment, the immaterial, and the intimacy of the telematic embrace. We will discuss how performance draws from the collective experience of the Network, live media, remote location, mobility, transformations of geographical perception in time and space, and how the third space lends itself to artistic realization. A review of historical third space projects: networked art, satellite broadcasts, net.art, leading to more contemporary works of cyber / networked performance art.
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