Category Archives: Research

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Jennifer Ringley – JenniCam

“American college student Jennifer Ringley has taken the cam phenomenon to one of its logical conclusions, installing a camera in her dorm room and linking it to the web. The ‘Jennicam’ updates every three minutes, and is never switched off. Whatever Jenny does, she does in front of a crowd. Her site, which is now hosted on a commercial server, is sophisticated and includes features such as a gallery of past Jennicam grabs, an FAQ, and a ‘spot the curve’ competition in which viewers are shown a scan of a small piece of skin and invited to guess what part of Jenni’s body it comes from. The phenomenon of a young woman quite literally anatomising herself via the web is an extraordinary one, and Jenni’s site has made her one of the web’s first real stars. In June she started charging, an arrangement which further problematises her status.

Occasionally Jenni will perform for her camera, and a market has developed for explicit grabs of her choreographed strip shows. Her site is linked to numerous commercial pornographic sites, which present her as an ‘amateur’ porn star, in the vein of reader’s wives pictures or images in contact magazines. But though Jenni occasionally uses it for sexual purposes, for the most part the cam shows an ordinary young woman’s life in all its drabness. Jenni talks on the phone, washes her hair, goes to sleep for eight hours a night. All this makes her voluntary abdication of privacy (which does not seem to be motivated by any political, or artistic agenda, and only latterly by a financial one) all the more interesting.”

it’s pretty amazing to me that someone can allow others to invade their privacy to this extent. For a person like me who gets paranoid for even having webcam on the table without switching on, I am unable to comprehend her actions. What is the true meaning behind invading privacy? Does it still counts as invading when one actually allow the “invasion”. Is just like the settings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the others social network,, where you allow or disabled or block someone assess to a certain information of yours. .. People feel okay as long as people only get to see what was allowed. So is this even invading privacy? Moreover her, who allows other people to see the most intimate part of her life.

She claim what was shown in the camera was real. But i doubt so. Even when you tried to behave normally, subconsciously knowing the camera is there, knowing somewhere on some parts of Earth there are people observing you, you tend to behave differently.  I can’t imagine the pressure she faced living under camera for 7 Years. Perhaps the initial thought was to experiment a “reality” show where such concept is rare at that era. Or it could be merely be her trying to gain recognition, like what some youtubers did nowadays. But we never know.

I do wonder does she really feels comfortable with it? and what forces her to close her site down in the end?

She even received threatening letters, hackers hacking into her site asking her to show more. In a way i feel that her performance is a real success in reflecting the society, regarding what is deem as pornographic, and how people can actually behave behind the screen.

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Nam June Paik – Global Groove, 1973

‘This is a glimpse of a video landscape of tomorrow when you will be able to switch on any TV station on the earth and TV guides will be as fat as the Manhattan telephone book.’ Paik’s introductory statement stands for the tape’s compositional principle and message – global channel zapping, in 1973 a visionary precursor of subsequent developments. The spirit of the tape conveys Marshall McLuhan’s theory of a future ‘global village’, which Paik matched with an idea of his own: ‘If we could compile a weekly TV festival made up of music and dance from every county, and distributed it free-of-charge round the world via the proposed common video market, it would have a phenomenal effect on education and entertainment.’

A typical Paik mixture, the tape includes excerpts from TV programmes, contributions by artist friends such as John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, Charlotte Moorman and Karlheinz Stockhausen, footage by other video artists like Jud Yalkut and Robert Breer, and excerpts from earlier Paik videos. The combination of mass media and avant-garde was aimed at art-lovers and ‘normal’ TV viewers alike.

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Avartar: Amie Goode

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Tired of the harsh realities slapping you again and again, seeking for acknowledgements, finding hard to communicate face to face… and the virtual game world provides exactly what that filled all your emptiness. You could be a plain Jane but in there, you are a hot star popular and eye catching. You could wish to be a kid that never grows up and there the game allows that. You want something your true love life cannot provides you and there you find another one who can fulfil everything. What is real and not? When you think that first life itself is delusional enough, then does it even matter to be stuck in the virtual world for self satisfactory? 

All in my life till now, I am not allowed to touch computer games. Ironically the one who bans me from playing them is the one that is stuck, addicted to the virtual world – my own elder brother. I did play one or two rpg when I was really young, but after that I never really touch it. I am not really sad for not playing, because it has come to a point I have lost complete interest in playing computer games perhaps really because I suck at it.  I remember secretly logging in to Maple Story which was the most hit game back then and I logged out after five minutes. I can’t even stand that five minute of boredom. As I watched my elder brother being so addicted that he neglected so many things in his first life, computer games truly turns me off. I saw extreme personality change when he was in the virtual world and from the real. And I saw true selfishness.

Exactly. Selfishness, which brings me to my main point. Amie Goode, a housewife in the real world, married, with kids, living in fairly comfortable house yet, claims that something is lacking. I do not doubt her words, regarding that her life is lacking something, but it also shows her discontentment with her life and I reckoned, most likely her marriage life. Yet how far should one push the limits to getting what they want? Should one for her own wishes abandon all moral values and disregard the other parties that may get affected for the decision she made? To me, that is plain selfish. This is exactly who Amie is, abandoning her husband, allowing her child to goes through the process of parents divorcing, accepting another new ‘dad’ in her life. Worst, I don’t sense any remorse from her – “I guess she doesn’t know Mommy is a woman too. haha!”

Unhappy with probably her marriage life, she went to the virtual world to seek for her ‘perfect’ soulmate. It makes me wonder if the reason that people treat the virtual world as real is because they knew that the avatars inside are actually controlled by true human being instead of a computer character. She thought she found him – Bluntly Berblinge.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 6.02.34 pmThe documentary proceed revealing them to be a perfect couple in the virtual world however, their relationship goes on rock later when they decided to get together for real in their first life. They claim that they are ’emotional’ adultery. The intimacy inside the virtual world may not be real, but the way they speak to each other, their passionate voice when they are having sex in the virtual world seems to me, no difference from a real adultery.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 6.03.41 pmThis raise another question in my mind – the fact that the participants actually feel something in the virtual world, even if the intimacy are between the two avatars, they actually feel that is them, how is this more unreal than the real?

Perhaps because of how real it is, Amide therefore believes strongly at first that Bluntly is the perfect man for her. This brings me to my next point – communicating through the virtual does not really tells you who that person really is. Even with communicating in real life, it is difficult to really understand who a person really is, not to mention Change happens over the years. Every single day, each of us are discovering something new about the people that appears in our life. Every single day, we are discovering more about ourselves too. Communicating in the virtual world, especially in second life, does not even allow you to see the facial expression of the person. Furthermore, the avatars are created the way they are for many reasons  – a second self you fear to reveal to anyone for you, someone you wish to be, etc – fulfilling your inner desires.

In the end the couple skype each other and end up meeting with each other for real.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 6.02.55 pmWell, it was certainly sweet at first, but I guess they were too naive to really think that everything will be the same as when they were in Second Life. Stress and pressure build up as they tries to compromise to each other and not to mention trying to gain her daughter’s agreement to Bluntly.

At the end of the video she said “I am real and he is fake.” Picturing herself as the victim. But to me, avatar may just reveal a certain side of the person and not all. Both are real and fake in the virtual world to me.

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On a side note, I find it amusing how the documentary reveals how Second Life affects or ruins people’s life and at the same time shows how the producer of the Game simply do not care. Well it is true that what they have provided is only a platform – “it was only an island with trees.” – and amazingly how people started a community and a whole civilization started.

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Nam June Paik / Charlotte Moorman – TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969)

Brassiere for Living Sculpture (Charlotte Moorman) is one sharp example to humanize electronics … and technology. By using TV as bra… the most intimate belonging of human being, we will demonstrate the human use of technology, and also stimulate viewers, NOT for something mean, by stimulate their phantasy [sic] to look for the new, imaginative, and humanistic ways of using our technology. —Nam June Paik, 1969

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The piece consists of a pair of three-inch television screens mounted in plexiglass cubes which are strapped over the breasts of the cellist. The televisions display oscillations created from signals from a pickup on the cello. This shows direct relationship and impact between the Human and the Technology, which is the major key to his point on Humanizing Technology.

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Before I read into the details of his performance, I was thinking this is another piece that embodies female sexuality and desire as the performance piece. Well, perhaps, one of the best way to capture attention and input strong impression on people is to use the female body as the protagonist and this may be the Paik’s intention too.

As I research,  I realize his true intention and truly admire his vision of the use of technology in future.

Although TV today has somewhat been replace by computers, however, it is still something that is not detachable from every households. TV Bra for Living Sculpture is one of Paik’s first experiments that embodied his foresight towards the rapid progress of technology. I think by distorting the already accomplished image of television, and transforming it to an intimate object, the women’s bra, he succeeded to attract viewer’s attention to present a television as an object of contemplation.

As an artist, I believe it is important for us to deliver our own vision of what the future will become in order for people to anticipate the future positive (or even negative) possibilities.

Paul Sermon – Telematic Dreaming (1993)

“….The installation existed within the digital telephone network of the ISDN. Two separate interfaces were created and put into two separate locations, were they function as customised video conference systems. In the two locations two double beds are placed, one in an illuminated space and one in a dark space. The bed that is in the illuminated space, has a camera directly placed above and records person A and the bed which is then sent as an image, to a projector that is directly placed above the second bed in the dark location. The live image is projected down onto the bed with Person B also in the image. Another camera located at the side of the projector screen, this camera sends a live image of the projection of Person A along with person B who is also in the image, to a variety of monitors that are located in the illuminated area and around the bed…. 

Within Telematic Dreaming the user can exchange their tactical senses and swap their sense of touch, with the sense of sight by replacing their hands with their eyes.”    – Wikipedia

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Sermon had presented a unique way to interact with the audience through his artwork.

He  transforms a bedroom, into a telematic space.  Two separate locations, each with beds laid out, are connected through a digital network.  The participants lying on the beds are at different places but their images exist right next to each other at the same time.  What begins between them is ‘eye’ touching instead of hand touching. They also ‘talks’ through gestures, exchanging their emotions.

Many performance artists have challenged the concept of private versus public space and Sermon’s Telematic Dreaming fits exactly into this concept. Even without real sense of touch, the intimacy between the artist and the participants are still present. It is especially interesting when he uses the setting of a bedroom for this installation as the bedroom is where the most private exchanges occurs and now it was out on public as an exhibition. Also I notice that the lights are purposely made to be dim perhaps to produce a comfortable home setting and also implying sexuality and intimacy. To me, I felt that it was to question the society norms of what should and should not be done out of your comfort/private space and challenge the limits of what the audience can or cannot accept.

What caught my attention most is that the installation occurs at 1993 where video conferencing have not been developed yet and internet was not as accessible. Someone who is at this era now might find it common and perfectly normal that two bodies of different locations are able to communicate. However, this concept of interacting at different spaces (or should I say that it is creating a common space from two different spaces), at that point of time is absolutely mind-blowing. Perhaps the Sermon wanted the participants to experience a space out of where their physical bodies are and question about time and space.