Tag Archives: intimacy

Screenshot 2014-02-21 09.53.14

Project Hyperessay: Introduction to Virtual Awkwardness

Virtual Awkwardness

Virtual Awkwardness is a performative multi-media project to be culminated with the support of #ossntu under the supervision of Prof. Randall Packer. Episodic media will be documented and disseminated online. In a live performance, the audio and visual materials will be digitally manipulated, alchemising an appropriated reality shared between the artist and the audience in the third space.


Since the inception of the internet as a tool for communication, albeit broadcast from one to many or many to one in the third space, it induces the spawn of multiple identities or personas and anonymity. Sharing parallels in space-time continuum, the presence of an individual, otherwise collective, has become existentially purposeful. On the other extreme of the spectrum, it is possibly meaningless. Part of our artistic objectives not only to embrace the binary opposite of which, but to also research that finds meaning in the meaningless. As that of transition from modern to post-modern, the conflict is highlighted and also simultaneously celebrated by the contemporary.

Here’s an idea: The contemporary art is one that prepare for the future, and Open Source Studio, contextualised as a virtual classroom, opens for infinite possibilities in artistic expression, facilitation, and liberation. The internet now as an object, and also an medium. While father of video art Nam June Paik’s implicated TV as an object, grandfather Randall Packer prophesies the future of new media art. In his research and propagations, the internet and proposed ‘third space’ not only question, but also revealed challenges with the third space as an object and medium, particularly here in every digital natives’ residencies. The internet and its culture is under scrutiny as an object. The internet is also transgressive as a medium in performance art.

Randall Packer defies conventions and holds discussions and presentations in virtuality via Adobe Connect. Subjects are quickly equipped with a heightened sense of reality and awareness of ourselves and the environment, dissectible in layers. But could we then be seen also as one? The avatars and alter egos romanticised the profane reality in which we live in. In the participation of this classroom exercise, not only does one engages intellectually, but also our mind and body in many different ways contrary to common beliefs. It is emotional and non-tactile, but nonetheless gestural.


In the establishment of the third space, experiences could lay on the borderline between intimacy and isolation. Somewhere in between when one could not decided with the other is a recipe for awkwardness. What is fundamentally existing in the real space has the quality of transference to the third space. With that, I would like to demystify the awkward behaviour of an individual to be consistent of rootedness, in spite of cultural differences — the singularity. Virtual awkwardness is hence an erected shrine to pay tribute in the sublime third space.

The origin of which begins from an honest observation of oneself, contemplative of the affect of an online presence and manipulations that predicative of a certain psyche and characterisation. It is dangerous and aggressive, yet vulnerable and sensitive altogether. Keeping the cookies in the jar, elaborative analysis and suggestions would concurrently be performed in a collaborative act with Mike Tan (http://unpartitioned.net/), a bred visual communicator turned mixed media collector, who dabbles in big data and small polemic.

what people think i do

Third Space Research Series: Intimacy and Technology


In relation to the Third Space, both works of art are exemplary in the investigation of the notion of intimacy and the evolution of technology.

Catch-22 is that we are connected and alienated simultaneously. Intimate and isolating at the same time. The contemporary art embraces binary opposites and such marriage marks incredible milestone in art practice, as the role of an artist draws on parallel to a facilitator in creative process and viewer’s reception. Art critic Robert Hughes suggests a truly significant work of art is the one that prepares the future. Digital natives, it is as important to be concerned about the integration of third space in the everyday, vice versa.

The Big Kiss attempts to construct a shared experience through the participation fostered by the third space. What is noticeably challenged is defined by physically, and tactile sensation.
In Telematic Dreaming, such is enhanced with the placement of bed, a physical manifestation of the third space for the two participants situated remotely.

Telematic Dreaming by Paul Sermon, 1992:

telematic dreaming statementArtist’s statement on Telematic Dreaming.

In Telematic Dreaming, Paul Sermon enforces telepresence with the place of bed as a stimuli to foster the feeling of that other location. Telepresence videoconferencing allows artist-viewer* to share and without them, it just an empty space. Paul Sermon as a facilitator contemplates on how to engage the audience and therefore ownership within an environment.

artist-viewer* suggests viewer as artist and artist as viewer through participatory gesture to render an art experience.

Moving forward from existential angst and loneliness staring into the abyss of HTML, the inception of HTML5 in 2008 has been a tool to pull strings for difference spaces in a browser. #stingtheorypun

The Wilderness Downtown by Chris Milk, 2010
downtownClick on image to be directed

The Wilderness Downtown is an interactive music video for Arcade Fire’s song “We Used to Wait.” Visitors are prompted to enter their hometown’s address, and then the site calls upon Google Earth and HTML5 to create a personalised music video that takes the user on a journey back home.

Also note that besides the comparative incitation of third space, some of the most interesting and important works of art conceived and built upon on the internet challenge the convention of museum-going; web-browser replacing art gallery, as that of the third space replacing real place. I digress.

The Kiss by Annie Abrahams, 2008:

annie abrahams' comments
Artist’s “statement” for The  (Big) Kiss.

Annie Abrahams creates situations where people reveal things of themselves they normally don’t show, being real and acting out of what is normally accepted, referring to it as an “intimate moment”. The idea is that in such a situation, people invest their thoughts and emotions while conferencing in the third space. In retrospection, it pricks to pick on their performance, in The Kiss, both performers self-consciously gestured a kiss. A kiss and its various cultural connotations deconstructed in the third space.

Man falls in love with operating system.

Watch trailer here:

Her, written, directed and produced by Spike Jonze, 2013

What does it mean to hold a relationship through electronic media? Annie Abrahams is appreciative of the realness exhibited by the man behind the webcam. From Spike Jonze’s film, Her, the protagonist in flesh develops a relationship with a machine, an OS. The revelation is that authenticity exhibited, regardless of machines and devices, contributes to the foundation of the third space.  Life is evoked by life intertwined with memory and nostalgia. #meta

and yes —

You are welcome.



Alessandro Tomasi. 2008. Journal of Evolution and Technology. The Role of Intimacy in the Evolution of Technology, 17(1): 1-12. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

Umut Sumnu. 2011. Image, Time and Motion: New Media Critique from Turkey. What is Absent in telepresence?, 135-138. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.