******.com (trailer)

video

2020

14:36

******.com investigates the dynamic between watching and being watched, by illustrating a mundane accident that takes place when you sit in front of your laptop, browsing others' lives with a voyeuristic gaze.

As we easily and quickly access different “eyes” through our computer screen, we seem to be able to poke through the physical screen and to touch on the vulnerable privacy beyond our ownership. It feels like a transient intimacy as well as a subjective power of control that masks who we are, not only in relation to others, but also as a recognition that's internalized into oneself. Yet, as we share the resources and mentality, such dynamics are simultaneously mutual.

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- Inspiration & Development - 

A year ago, I did an improvised performance through a YouTube livestream webcam installed on a street in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Using a pseudonym, I performed the actions suggested by the camera’s online audience, in which case I made myself the bait for my own voyeuristic experience. This experiment gave me an idea into the dynamics at play of the presumed power hierarchy voyeurism enacts within reality and virtuality.

My research was thus drawn focus onto the ambiguous power in the surveillance view on one’s screen. As the voyeuristic gaze encounters the involuntary presence of one’s image, a power hierarchy has formed in the privilege of seeing, as the screen seemingly conceals the voyeur’s presence. A sense of security seems to be granted to the voyeur, despite it’s merely subjective.

 

John Smith’s and Xu Bing’s video works and Paul Auster’s Ghost inspired me in the manipulation of a referred reality through the suggested authenticity of peeping eyes. My research on the digital control system also gave me more insight into the ”private and safe” mentality of using a personal computer.

- Experiment & Process -

↑ Remotely directed choreography performance from a surveillance vantage point

Using projection light to bring the digital cursor into the physical world. ↑

↑ I collected screenshots of desktops from over 90 strangers, in order to contradict this computational metaphor of “private home” with a public eye.

"...when acting as a house, a computer is not purely a tool. Instead, the house metaphor supposes an environment that is comfortable, that is lived in, and that is fundamentally ours."

- Pipkin, E. (2019). This is Not my Beautiful House: Examining the Desktop Metaphor, 1980-1995.

I collected footages from the global webcams streaming sites.  The surveillance view grounds the overall tone of a lonely cyber voyeur whose eyes we are looking through.

To “control” the computers in the surveillance footage, I replaced their monitor content with my own animation inlays.

Mimicking finger press on the screen, which looks like a transient and shallow ripple
 

I printed out the manipulated pop-up window to give it a physical form for the interaction in the final scene. 

Thank you for peeping.

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