Project Update #2 – One line apart, Internet photobooth

The project developed as a result from a adobe liveconnect session recorded with Chinfang. Initially there were limitations in what I want to achieve, as I struggled between the aesthetics and the artistic intent.

session
Our brief chat session where we bombarded each others with reference photos

However through some trial and errors, we are able to identify certain elements that can be used to engage the people involved on the Adobe Connect. I decided that the identity multiples project as well as the concept of photobooth can be integrated, resulting in a third space photobooth where viewers can bend and twist interactions with each other: by replacing their cropped parts with each other’s.

One interesting thing for this medium is that a video can also be visually engaging and compelling.  Replacing each other’s omitted or cropped body parts can create visually interesting composition. However, doing actions with the replaced body parts can be interesting: It can create laughter, it can create a fake sense of intimacy. The person whose limb is replaced do not have absolute control over what the other person will do

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I can’t control what chinfang is doing, but yet she decided that it is interesting to juxtapose actions that contradict my image. 

I also noticed the possibility of having people do things without feeling embarrassment as they usually do. Identity is altered in a way, albeit light-hearted, but it provide new expressions for people in a fun manner.

It’s official! “One line apart” – Technical realisation

Concept review

After several consideration and exploration, I have decided to use Adobe Connect as the medium to execute my work. The concept remains roughly similar to what I have previously written, except that I have now combined the multiple selfies and identities multiple concept with a photobooth concept

Photobooth – What if it is over the third space?

This project explores the degree of intimacy the photo can achieve as two person try to emulate a degree of closeness even though they are in separate spaces. In a way, this is similar to telematic dreaming where viewers will interact with the artist and appears close, even though they are physically apart. Now let’s get to the…

Technical realisation

Part 1: Adobe Connect as a working platform

I. I will login using Randall’s userid for adobe connect, and then open an incognito window and login as a guest under my name. This is so that my name instead of Randall will display on the webcam image.

II. The webcam image has to be of the best quality, so I will require the viewer to toggle the quality to highest to reduce pixelization.

III. I will maximise the window, and with the the firefox add in, I will get a thorough full screen for adobe connect with 2 large webcam images.

IV. I will then direct the viewer to create photos where it seems like our body parts are invading each other’s space. The intention is to bend the space and make it seems as if both of them are in the same space interacting with one another. The whole process will be taken down by screen capture.

V. Lastly, I will watch through the video and select screenshots of some of the results. I will also make GIFs for certain poses that has a repetitive action.

Here are some attempts at it:

Nope nope, that's not my butt
Nope nope, that’s not my butt. And darnnn we forgot to switch on full screen. Courtesy from Chinfang’s screen capture
Craziness in close up
Craziness in close up
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Some tries at facial compositing

(second time.avi)[00.00.44.585]

(second time.avi)[00.02.29.718]
Illusion. illusion

(second time.avi)[00.03.31.618]

There were more attempts but I couldn’t salvage the screen capture videos due to corrupted files. But I understand the potential and the limitation behind this medium and it is indeed quite fun to do. However it will also takes quite a while in order for the composition to work.

Problems encountered: 

1. Echoing voices

Running 2 windows opened and logged in with adobe connect will cause a echoing voices as both windows transmit voices. This posed some difficulties for me as I am trying to direct the viewer and getting feedback from them. However, this is less of a concern when it comes to the results as the end results are images and gifs that has no sound. It can be fixed by logging in with 2 desktops, which I have not tried as I did not have 2 computers at home.

2. Corrupted, unusable AVI screen capture files.

Glitched up AVI files - The colors will be off, and the video will display in numerous different colors while scrolling
Glitched up AVI files – The colors will be off, and the video will display in numerous different colors while having the composition messed up

Screen capture attempts using CamStudio (freeware) posed yet another problem when it gives corrupted AVI files that cannot display properly. (It is said to be due to the file format, as AVI’s max size is supposed to be 2gb) I am on the process of working on it to retrieve it. But meanwhile, I need an alternative that can screen capture a long period of time (more than 3 minutes) without providing corrupted AVI files.

Part 2: Tumblr as a gallery: onelineapart.tumblr.com (Work in progress)

 

One line apart: That one line not only refers to the black line dividend between the viewers, but also the space differences that exists. 

Why tumblr?

I. User friendly layout that displays many images at one glance.

Tumblr will be used as a platform to display the results and I have several free themes to choose from.

II. Capability to display GIFs.

Gifs is a file type popularized by various pop cultures on Tumblr. I hope to identify interesting segments within the screen capture such that I can create interesting GIFs files.

III. Reblogging function

Tumblr is also a platform where we can get our work reblogged, and hopefully it can reach out to other tumblr users well

What is left to do is to create more images and gifs, and then uploading them to the tumblr. I will also need more participants or try out more than two webcam image windows to see what other interesting results will appear

Life sharing – Exhibitionism VS Voyeurism

Eva and Franco Mattes’s Life sharing starts off with a notion of having others explore their personal computers. They drew a comparison between their personal computers and their minds, as the computer contains numerous data that reveals their life and career.

Never unplug
Never unplug

I personally feel that the project is interesting not only because people are interested in voyeurism, but beyond that is a curiosity of seeing how other people live without having to live the repercussion themselves. I compare this to that of catharsis when people watched a film or play. But yet I find this is contradicting because in film and TV, what is shown on screen has been carefully edited to omit long and unnecessary details that doesn’t facilitate the story. When a camera is set up within a house, there is no cut and edit to drive a story. Story becomes an unknown element, characters become an unexplored territory. I think there is also a heightened sense of reality when viewers can access their mails that connect the artists to the rest of the world.

A chance to enter the mind of a person, as well as live them through? Yes please!

I also wonder about the extent as to how much data a person can give out. For this project when social media website didn’t exist, email was the closest thing to human connection and communication on the internet (Of course, there were also ICQ and msn messenger) However, if the project is to be carried out currently, will anyone be comfortable in sharing his whole virtual life over on the internet? This include google search results, facebook chat history, emails, transaction history etc.

Eva and Franco Mattes are right in stating that personal computers can show a person’s thought and personality, but the thought to truly make them public and accessible is still a scary thought. What if they also access your webcam and can fully see you while you are using your own personal computer? I truly think the reason why people get insecure and demand privacy and security is the fact that we are already so involved in the technology itself that our gadgets can actually reveal how much of a person we are.

 

As for their decision to reveal their locations with GPS, it is interesting to note that the current trend of social media have also give rise to the same actions. People usually tag themselves on Facebook (Foursquare) or Instagram or Twitter about their whereabouts and what they are doing. It seems like this generation not only get comfortable removing privacy, but they also deem it to be an important part of life – To show the world their own lives and how they are enjoying it. During the lecture there were also concerns about whether or not a person will be portraying something different as they are aware of others’ voyeurism. This is like documentary film where the presence of a camera can alter the subjects’ behavior. In social media this is very apparent, as people are eager to present their best  (or worst) moments to accentuate their lives.

The artists monitored the traffic of the people who accessed their files and is aware of the demographics involved.  I suppose this gives them a sense of satisfaction or encouragement to keep going. However I feel that they also accomplished, psychologically, what normal exhibitionists couldn’t do in a real life setting. The artists are able to tell which of their files and datas are popular, and viewers no longer merely view their data; They can even manipulate them or keep a copy of their own.

In all, life sharing provides an interesting commentary of the experience of sharing your personal data on computer. Even though the connection is not at all physical,  the emotional and psychcological complexity of such an act can make people uneasy. It is now for us to ponder whether or not the third space has now become an exclusive space that no one would prefer anyone to intrude.

Project progress #1- Intercepting portraits

Currently I am still exploring alternatives and methods to execute the project.

Summary of the live session trial during the lessons 2 weeks back:

1. Adobe Connect

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 10.29.06 pm
Composite image of myself and Diana

It is not within my objective to get an aesthetically pleasing or interesting shot (though that will be a bonus) However there is also a need for a person to instruct participants in order to achieve a certain look.

Another possibility raised up during the session was the usage of VDMX. That prompts me to think if it is possible to create a live performance, showing the processes of composition or manipulating different camera images.

I found an interesting search result that make use of face tracking technology to mask an identity. obama

Further research also brought me attention to this video tutorial on face tracking. In this video, the person make use of face tracking technology to match certain footages of himself as he talks. The end result is a rather bizarre glitch that distorts or confuse the viewers as to what is being said as well as what is being seen.

 

There have been other people trying to use this method to try out multiple face detecting as well as webcam window, but nobody have developed a tutorial or a set of work as of now.

This is the to-do list as of now (but may be subject to change):

1. To try out a mock session of having 4-5 participants on adobe connect or similar softwares to create a composite. Rules and workflow should also be developed in the mean time

2. Study VDMX for a while to see if it is possible to do webcam compositing and turning it into a live performance of its own