Dark Passage, 2019
I observe and study the work of Content Creators, video bloggers, and social media experts. I am interested in the social status and hierarchy of viral videos on the internet. As a visionary of a live streaming platform, I have created an alternate alias and stage name for my performances. MicrowaveFork, was originally the name of a poem on the (now defunct) ‘Yeltsin Penado’ Tumbler page. This blog and page was the host of multiple poems, songs, writings and images. This name contains two syllables; which doubles as an auditory, phonetic, and self-destructive statement. MicrowaveFork: Also a reference to the NATO phonetic alphabet (‘Mike’ ‘Foxtrot’) which casts a clear and concise form of communication and description. Rather than play as an observer, I’m one of them. I create content beside amateurs and professionals. I am always online and recording; I also actively pursue instances in which I can be recorded.
Alternate Forms of Communication:
Most notably, I cue with random people online through gaming. Sometimes these sessions are short, but most last for hours. I am interested in the brief, yet meaningful connections that can be made within a digital medium and realm. Meeting people online has been a popular phenomenon for a while. When I was in middle school I had access to the internet through an IBM with Windows 2000. This is how I first experienced the creation of an online moniker and operation of a personal blog through AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). AOL had devised a fierce marketing tactic of mass distribution of their web service with free trials on disks. I took advantage of their free trial periods by collecting stacks of AOL free trial disks, and creating a new account every time the free trial ended. I had about 9 or 10 messenger accounts with multiple identities. I participated in online chatrooms that consisted of either text or animated avatars. I met complete strangers from around the United States, places I still have never visited. I also developed a greater understanding of the acronym based language: Leet or “1337”. On December 15, 2017, AOL discontinued AIM. The web’s ocean of communication presents itself in another form. To the online multiplayer gaming community: which spans a multitudes of genres, circles, web forums, conventions, guilds, and anything else involved. I feel it’s more interesting when online interactions have shared goals and expectations.
Portrait of two online gaming friends meeting for first time (from Reddit), 2018
“One of my favorite things on Reddit is pictures of online gaming friends meeting for the first time.“
It’s been quite some time since I’ve deliberately met a stranger online. I find it interesting that, with the proliferation of websites like: Omegle.com*. Online culture has warmed up to the idea of brief meaningful encounters with strangers. I reference Omegle because it presents medium for communication that links strangers for an undetermined amount of time. Although it seems random, it really isn’t. There’s a shared ritual which includes: sitting at a computer and the desire to enter this website with and without the fear of vulgar material, nudity or trolls. Venturing into the web has become a process of filtering out harassment. We’ve entered a digital dystopia where the freedom of speech has become a license to offend; censorship exists on almost every social media site but also seems to be governed by software rather than humans. Community Guidelines have become an arbitrary statement. I find it interesting that the video game I am currently binging on is a multiplayer game that sees no commitment to teammates, goals or even objectives. It is something that
*Omelge.com: A free online chat website that allows users to socialize with others without the need to register. The service randomly pairs uses in one-on-one chat sessions where they can chat anonymously.
Art imitates life, Life imitates art.
3D renderings of imagined spaces: These spaces are built in Unreal Engine, software that is used in the production of many popular modern Video Games. I use Unreal Engine to create detailed landscapes and interiors of locations where videos are shot for animations. You can also play within these spaces and interact with elements. The animations include digitally scanned textures, shapes and materials through a 2D and 3D scanning process. I wish to document the imaginative virtual environments through player interaction within a game engine. Many of the physical objects that are scanned are representations of actual regions, natural formations and processes. I scan rocks, drawings and images.
I am crafting these imagined spaces by downloading found textures online, building open or contained empty spaces. Many of these places and spaces have names, they change over time. Many of the uploaded objects are in reference to ASMR objects of performance. These performance objects or visual textures are used in a visual and audio performance that has become the online phenomenon: ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). ASMR is characterized by experiencing a tingling sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck. The ASMR phenomenon is interesting because it seems act as an online therapeutic experience that is performed by someone live or during a pre-recorded session. I’m particularly interested in the Live sessions because they act as a bizarre form of intimacy between an audience and a virtual performer.
“Fur and weed plants”, 2019
Space created in Unreal Engine: wood texture, marijuana plants, and orange cat fur used as textures within the space. This space is a visual form of what I am hearing. Each pillar represents a separate sound happening in each ear.
Nestled between Playerunkown’s Battlegrounds and Just Chatting on twitch, 1.7 thousand viewers are watching ASMR videos on Twitch (at the time of me typing this.) Twitch is a live video streaming platform now owned by Amazon. Streamers are encouraged to create content on this website through a progression system that involves a combination of: concurrent viewers, followers and frequency of streams. The streamer progression system leads to a positon where the content creator has an opportunity to monetize their video channel through a subscription process. Subscribed viewers are awarded bonus content that is determined by the streamer. It’s a very complicated process but it acts as an incentive for performers to reach their fans during a live session. Live ASMR streams are interesting; it’s not a collection silent of viewers watching a performance, it’s a group of people, defined by their signature alias: commenting on what is being presented live. There are moderators that keep the chat clean from trolls, hecklers, and vulgar statements. The performer usually chats with their audience, reading out the names of followers, donations, and subscriptions. The dialog created between the performer and the viewers creates an unscripted dialog between two anonymous entities.
Categorized as IRL (in real life), ASMR
Documenting. Things should come apart, and come together in a more organized way.
Ambient sound is captured through a disk de-fragmentation process and this is mixed with recorded audio segments from synthesizer sessions. This audio track was then slowed down.
In the maintenance of file systems, defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation. It does this by physically organizing the contents of the mass storage device used to store files into the smallest number of contiguous regions (fragments).
I am most interested in this
Media. Are cellphones and computers evil? I don’t know. I’m not an expert. I’m a user. I do know that it exists as a medium for communication between individuals in the digital online realm. The idea of the personal blog has been replaced with a virtual forum; that allows the user to create an idealistic form or present themselves or accomplishments in a heavily curated form that can be directed towards any community. Facebook presents the word of a common person with the same hierarchy as respected individuals within the global community. For brief a moment an opinion matters, then flows away within a river of information that flows into an endless ocean of obscure opinions and subcultures. Maybe this is how our own universe was started? Weather its evil or not, I do know it affects us. The internet (‘social’ media) takes everything we provide, and creates a caricature of reality. I feel there is no information on the internet that is useless, it would not exist unless someone’s hand was involved in the emotional, practical or even creative process of inception. Yes, lies can be a form of creativity. The internet exists as a space where we can leave a legacy and virtual mark on the surface for others to experience, engage with and react to.
The rules are simple, Stay Alive.
Playerunknown’s battlegrounds is a 2017 online roleplaying multiplayer ‘battle royale’ video game. The game takes place on a post-apocalyptic quasi-soviet island named Erangel. As of January, 2019, there are 4 Regions (maps) that exist within their own biomes. Erangel, a 6x6km island takes the stage as the main character for the game; this island plays as much of a role in the game as the players within.
The game was imagined by Brenden Green under the alias: “Player Unknown”. It was loosely based on the Battle Royale a controversial 2000 film directed by Kinji Fukasaku. The premise of Battle Royale: follows a group of 42 junior high schoolers which are forced to fight to the death until only one is left standing. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) includes many tropes and the premise from this film: Character outfits, a cast-iron pot, a randomized artillery zone. The game emulates a system where 100 players are on a burning plane, and are forced to jump off. A parachute will ensure the fall doesn’t kill them. 100 strangers are on the hunt for each other, and every single one of them wants to be the last one standing. As soon as they land, they loot abandoned homes scrounging for weapons, armor or anything that can be of use to achieve victory. Being eliminated removes you from the match.
PUBG is a spin-off of the Military Simulation genre. Military Simulation games exist in many forms, with varying degrees of realism. It’s also a medium for gamers to roleplay and participate in a ‘realistic’ combat situation in a ‘Sandbox Environment’. A sandbox is a style of game in which minimal limitations are placed on the gamer, allowing the gamer to roam freely and have an effect on the virtual world which can be experienced by other players if presented online on a server. Military Simulation is utilizes complicated mechanics to allow uses to engage in realistic virtual battles in which combat strategies can be tested and employed.
In PUBG there are no Non-Playable Characters (NPCs); every moving individual in this game represents a person sitting at a computer actively participating in this experience, embodying an avatar which becomes a representation for them. There is a high level of tension, balancing a complicated system of communication and controls that span the use of a full 104-key keyboard and mouse. To top it off, the base game forces you onto a team with complete strangers from around the world. It becomes a shared performance and roleplaying experience between the players participating and attempting to stay alive.
The story is told and unfolds.
An eerie component to uploading YouTube videos
Transcribed Conversations from Multiplayer Games
YouTube videos are seemingly governed by a certain level of machine learning. An eerie component to uploading YouTube videos is the transcription process for closed captioning. You can view the captions for speech within a video through clicking on the subtitles option on the video. I live streamed unscripted Battle Royale matches on with random strangers. I archived these recorded matches onto YouTube; these matches were then transcribed by Google Translate which seems to be a process of a machine translating a human’s voice with a limited degree of accuracy.
Gunshots register as [Applause], 2019
Gunshots from a battle Occurring outside the building I’m in, 2019
The results were interesting: I found that the animated gunshots sounds within the game were sometimes translated into ‘laughter’ and ‘applause’. The interpretation of gunshots to laughter and applause drew me deeper into this process. There was a poetic misunderstanding between words, concepts and emotions. I began to download the transcripts of conversations I was having with strangers, although it was created through an inaccurate translation process that was more interesting. The transcripts began to paint a picture of a roleplaying experience that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.
This process involves playing a roleplaying game online with other players, recording it somehow, uploading it to YouTube, and extracting a text created from a machine. A 1 hour clip translated into 323 lines of text with detailed timestamps. A script between two players.
(currently a work in progress)