@Xcerpt is a digital artwork investigating the opportunistic use of social media platforms as a channel for interactive documentation, durational performance and experimental narrative. This talk introduces questions arising through the making of this work directly related to key ISEA 2015 themes of disruption, residue, embody, and new text.
This artwork proposes (for the moment) to use the disruptive Snapchat platform to broadcast ongoing multi-media content in an interactive and non-linear manner. The sequence of ephemeral moving and still image, sound, and text broadcast a narrative centred around an anonymous character. The improvisational script structure follows a loose decision tree evocative of early interactive narrative forms such as “Choose Your own Adventure” books.
Central to Snapchat’s value proposition is the disappearing nature of the channel’s content. The lack of documentation (residue) as an aid to memory or cognition is kind of disruption to the normal footprint of performative documentation. Additionally, as new platforms emerge the work could easily abandon Snapchat and move to a different commercial or even proprietary channel. What disruption might be caused by a shift of the artwork to a new platform and what residue may or may not be left behind (the digital footprint of the work)? Furthermore what impact does both the disruption and residue (or the lack of) have on the experience of the audience and the ongoing life of the artwork?
Disruption need not be a sea-change event. Disruption can occur as a small rupture, a deviation, or a series of distractions such as a stream of social media messages. Attention directed towards a virtual experience disrupts attention away from the experience of the tangible, and the transit between the two realities is also disruptive as it creates an in-between, quasi-real space — a clearing house of perception, information,and experience. Disruption can further be the distortion, confusion and blurring of lines between fact and fiction, the real and the hyperreal confounded further by the quasi-real. In light of this how can an artwork shape and be shaped by these three phenomenological spaces?
This raises inquiry as to the space or place in which electronically/virtually/digitally mediated artworks actually exist? Do they exist in the experience of the platform, or in the experience of the viewer? How can and artwork embody one or all of these spaces and to what degree?
The pastiche of content that carries this artwork mirrors the current movement, driven by social media, away from long form language-based text/narrative to short form visual modes of communication. In these “new” visual modes text becomes a mere label, sign, or punch-line in service to the imagery. This is a fundamental disruption in the modern forming, distribution and absorption of ideas, with potentially profound consequences for the evolution of language, text and authorship.