Category Archives: DA9005

Intercepting portrait

  1. Introduction: summary paragraph that overviews the project
  2. describes its concept generally, emphasizing how it engages the Internet and/or net culture.
  3. The introduction should be concise, engaging, and clearly describe what the project is about and its artistic objectives.
  4. Include media in the form of video, sound, image that helps illustrate the project.


Taking selfie is the norm of this era, how about taking a selfie as multiple people?

In this project, I aim to create a portrait that is the end result of different viewers merging a part of their face with one another.

I’m exploring possibilities to see if it is possible to do this project online with a webcam. I’m also exploring the possibilites of not doing it live but use users submitted self taken photos on instagram and facebook for the project.

My objective or statement is to tear down individuality among users on internet to create a collective body. Also, interactivity is involved as the viewers play a role in completing a face.

What are the implications of multiple selves?

How do we reconstruct identity when we are a multiple person?

Does this tie in with the notion of distributed presence?

When you work on part II, influences, you might want to address these kinds of questions based on the lectures and discussion, and the references to experts in the field, readings, etc., found in the lectures.

Also, do any of the artworks we have looked at help you think about the concept of this piece.

Amie Goode – “He’s fake, and I’m real”

“He’s fake. And I’m real. And I’m hurt and he gets away scot-free. I want to get across that I’m a victim. And that doesn’t mean I’m stupid, I believe he was really the person he presented himself to be but this is a silly notion on my part because… he’s not real.” – Amie Goode

In Life 2.0, there are several characters who plays Second Life in order to  achieve some sense of satisfaction. Among them is Amie Goode, a housewife who feels emotionally unfulfilled despite claiming that she has a good life. She joined the Second Life and met fell for anther avatar Bluntly, in the  virtual world,  an encounter they called ’emotional adultery’.

Amie’s romance with Bluntly on Second Life: They both have a marriage of their own in real life.

In my opinion, not only does Amie Goode wants emotional fulfilment, she also has a strong desire for someone to love her for who she is.  As a result, she presented herself raw in Second Life, baring herself almost entirely to Bluntly on Second Life.

An astonishing yet terrifying example is the house in Second Life, which she have rendered according to her house in real life: She invited Bluntly over and shows him around the house, making Bluntly feels as if he had a Deja Vu.

Wow somewhere between emotional adultery and a real adultery. This is some serious intimacy thing going on

To me, Amie doesn’t use her avatar as a new identity or as a mean to escape from her real life. Instead, she hopes to use the avatar to enhance her real life. She hopes to finds fulfillment within Second Life using an avatar, to connect with people whom she cannot come into contact with in her real life. I think this is the beauty of third space in Second Life: It allows people from different parts of the worlds to connect. Interestingly, this point is also mentioned by her daughter as an example while she plays a different online game.

When Amie thinks she finally does find someone who can provide her with emotional fulfillment, she is eager to then merge that with her real life. As a result, she is elated to show Bluntly to her daughter. She is even more excited when Bluntly finally moves in with her in real life. They both decide to quit Second Life and strives to make a life of their own in the real world.

“The real world with him, how great is that, too, to be able to say that I’m in the real world with him”

However, the transition from Second Life to real life seems to be very difficult for the both of them. Amie blames it on the fact that Bluntly is not the person whom he portrays himself to be. Amie she portrays herself as a victim who chose to believe entirely in the avatar that somebody have created. Friction also occurred between the two as they tried to live together

Personally, I am able to relate to her somewhat with my own experience in entering the virtual gaming world when I was a teenager. However I feel that creating an avatar alone creates a fake identity: People manipulate avatars differently and assume different identities in order to satisfy themselves emotionally.  One cannot simply say their avatar is truly them in  real life.

It just so happened that Amie chooses to merge her identity with her avatar, and finds herself a victim when she realizes that the person she fell in love with did not choose to do the same. She feels betrayed, yet she acknowledged that she is naive for believing in someone’s avatar entirely, just only because she is completely truthful with hers.

The loss of control in the real world also contributes to the failure of the relationship. Second Life draws in people because it is a life that people are able to control in the third space. They can change their looks; interact with people they want; build a house readily; start a career readily etc. They are able to do all these while they are cut off from hassles in the real life. For Amie and Bluntly, the transition to real life comes with a price: Separation procedures, Amie’s daughter’s dislike for Bluntly and their own tension with their spouse. As much as Amie wants to merge her Second Life with her real life, it proves almost impossible now with the inclusion of things that she can no longer control.

This documentary makes me think about the emotions over the internet. While people developed feelings on the internet, it is something that does not materialize in the real world easily.  I think it is important to factor in the fact that our online personas may conceal or alter certain details. Because of this, avatars can allow a person to express himself in more than 1 way. People uses avatars differently, while I think it is fine to present your true self in an avatar, a person should not assume or believe entirely in a person just based on his online persona. Yet it is interesting to note how the nature of a relationship changed drastically over in the third space.

Through rose tinted glasses, or not.

In this project I juxtapose a suicidal man’s thought with the cheerful sounds of the children as they play.  Transiting into the suicidal man’s point of view, I tried to think how my constructed identity would respond to the sounds that we hear everyday.

I simply like to create contrasting soundscape, and this project prompted me to think about newer possibilites or contradicting sounds that usually do not exist at the same time, but can give birth to new meaning.

Stelarc: Ping Body

It is amazing that Stelarc created Ping Body in 1996, when the internet have yet to mold each person’s identity as strongly as today’s age with the social media.  Yet, it chillingly captured that state of the internet almost 2 decades later where everyone relies heavily or even developed an addiction for social media and internet.

One element of this work that strike me is the analogy of the metaphor that links the various network connections with the arteries in our bodies. Stelarc demonstrates and embodies himself with the internet, allowing users to create pings that cause his body to move involuntarily.  This analogy is as if the internet users become all the pulses that a brain can send. This is interesting as it reverses the whole notion of human controlling the internet. A human ends up being controlled by other humans via a connection in the third space. He made himself a puppet for the masses, yet we are all puppets for one another as we are all connected and affected by one another on the internet.

Illustrated diagram for Ping Body’s complicated mechanism

Unlike pieces where the artists have absolute control over the multimedia and technology they designed (such as Telematic dreaming that i have covered last week), Stelarc is not able to react to the audience, simply because he can’t. There is interactivity with the audience  so that the audience can participate in creating involuntary movements for Stelarc. However the artist is reduced from a participant to an observer: He is at the disposal of others and can only observe what others are doing to him.

Stelarc and his robotic third arm, which Stelarc has retained control while he forfeits control over his own body. (Click on image for more info)

I find this decision a very simple yet complicated concept due to the complexity of human’s psychology, and it is what makes the work very captivating. He loses control of his own action and body while others inhabit it, giving it life and movements, or maybe even an identity.  Is is truly thrilling to be able to manipulate or control another person? This notion of subjecting oneself to others reminds me of Yoko Ono’s Cut piece in 1964 where she remained still as people cut up her clothes. I thus draw a parallel comparison as both Stelarc and Yoko Ono subject themselves to abuse from others, yet it is a very intense examination of how human connections can be, even over the third space.

Yoko Ono’s Cut piece (1964)

This same notion of losing control one’s self and having others reconstructing or manipulating their movements and identity becomes frightening in today’s context. An example would be cyberbullying, where users of social media can be forced out of the virtual identity they created by the amount of cruel criticism from the users of the internet. In the computer, a ping is simply a signal a computer send to another to determine a presence. Translate that to the real world and you have a ping becoming something like a destructive tumor, something that almost cannot be clamped down once it has spiraled out of control in the third space.  Our relationship with the third space is now ambiguous as our digital identity has become such intricately tied to our physical existence that teenagers are choosing to end their lives because of cyberbullying.

I believe Ping body is a very clear demonstration and reminder that the technology has already become one with us. Because we rely on the connection with one another on the third space, we are no longer individuals controlling the internet that we once invented, but we are now subjected to the connections and responses born from the connection from the third space we created.

Stelarc creates the interactive system and embodies himself with technology, however he is left at the disposal of the audience who are connected with him over the internet. Is this a parallel comparison with us nowadays? People construct their own identity online, yet there is only so much we can retain control: They are all subjected to users on the internet can easily crush them or empower them with criticism or support.

Please do check out Stelarc’s official site to see his other works that have made use of technology, such as exoskeleton and the Movatar.

Also, do check out Prakash’s writing at Scribbles of a Mind in Stasis for more information on Ping Body too!

Telematic dreaming

Telematic dreaming  presents an unique experience where audience can interact with the artist despite his physical absence. By implementing a live video conference with a projection onto a bed,  a third space is produced in the installation that connects people in 2 different locations together. In this case, 2 people lying on different beds are connected by the projection.  Judging from the fact that a third space connects people from different places together, a phone call and the video conferencing Skype is also a third space. But if this is the case, then how different is the third space in this installation?

Telematic Dreaming, Paul Sernon, 1992. Artist monitoring the audience’s response and reacting accordingly.

In the installation, the artist monitors the audience’s movement on the bed and interacts according to the audience’s responses. This is different from a video call or phone call where movements are less relevant to one another: The projection provides meaning by providing interactivity and superimposing, or simulating physical contact despite the absence of a physical body. I think this makes the audience become more aware of their actions  and examine what their actions can create while they are connected in the third space. It becomes thrilling for them to realize that they can affect people even though they are not together, as if they are really present on the same bed together. I think Voyeurism for both the artist and audience may also be a spur to making this installation highly interactive: It may have made people pay attention to details and subtle movements they otherwise will not notice when they are in the same space.

Telematic Dreaming, Paul Sernon, 1992.

What I find most interesting is the fact that the interaction involved in the installation allows the audience to experience and become a part of the third space. They themselves become the performers along with the artist and as such, the work can only be complete when there is another person lying on the bed along with the artist. Without any audience’s involvement, the work loses a portion of its meaning. Also, audience do not feel the other person through their sense of touch even though they are interacting with the artist. However, can they or do they actually feel emotions and excitement despite the physical absence? This is rather intriguing to me.

Therefore, I think that the third space in this installation not only try to connect people physically, but it also replicates the emotions and excitement that is still possible without the physical presence of one party. The audience cannot feel anything when there is suggestion of touch, yet it is the act and interaction that gave rise to emotions.

After seeing examining Telematic dreaming, I remember John Clang’s series “Being Together” that I’ve seen in National Museum last year. He reunited families who stay in different countries by connecting the two families together through a projection in Skype.

John Clang, “Being Together” 2013

I am intrigued by this work, and examination of Telematic dreaming have made me understand a little why I had like the work so much. By projecting people from 2 different places into one space, a third space created gains a touching sentiment as 2 families interact and try to take a family portrait. It also offers imagination and emotions for the people involved in both spaces.