Here in the Bunker, my life in Singapore is receding as a very distant and faded memory like a strange dream that evaporates in the light of day. The Bunker is my home again, where I can carve out a sense of order & production & communication. The Bunker is a space for the interior dialogue, connected to everything & everyone & everywhere: all the voices that hover around and infiltrate this space of refuge.
In my Underground Studio Bunker in Washington, DC, I am creating a live performance space for 24/7 Internet broadcasting over the Third Space Network (3SN). 3SN is for programming ANYTHING I want, WHENEVER I want, without any traditional gatekeepers, curators, dealers, or anyone else telling me what I can or cannot do. 3SN is a social sculpture uniting viewers, artists, radicals, anyone who dares to participate in an ongoing dialogue in the third space, not bound by distance culture or geography.
Climbing up the circuitous pathway of the Borobudur temple just outside of Yogyakarta, Java, I encountered a sight that revealed the sheer magnitude of the infiltration of the selfie into our mediated lives. The selfie, the compulsive act of narcissism, rooted in our innate desire to look deeply in the virtual mirror to gaze at our digital reflection, has been seized by religious monks who are just as intent to contemplate the medial gaze.
Across the distances, online conversation overcomes the limitations of space, time, the local and the remote. This is the aspiration of the Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium: how to bring people together in creative dialogue via the network driven by purpose, activated by play, and informed by issues that percolate up from the need to understand and grasp the networked culture we immerse ourselves in each and every day.
In the age of super-participatory socially mediated sharing of information, we are willingly, lovingly, sometimes desperately ready to give up our data to Big Data in order to engage with friends, colleagues, and family. But perhaps more pertinently, this form of super-participation may spring from the desire of “being in the world,” to gain proof of one’s existence, to receive affirmation, acceptance, and recognition from others.
“Watching television, the most powerful everyday experience of surreality ever devised, was formative of the cultural outlook of anyone growing up in America in the fifties and sixties. With its endless sequence of splicings of commercials and programs and channel switchings, television was and is the ultimate exquisite corpse, a juxtaposition engine that produces a completely weird artifact at any given watching.” – Michael Sorkin, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, Cars, Dolphins, & Architecture, Ant Farm (1968-78)
This is why so many of us who grew watching too much television ended up as tele-visual, post-surrealists, dreaming in endless juxtapositions of spectacle & news & war & cartoons & variety sitcoms. It was all pretty much razzle-dazzle for the mind’s eye, a numbing effect brought on by the extrusion of electronic signals that flowed out of the box cheerfully and endlessly.