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Social Residue: Performance/Data Visualization (’04)

Digital Live Performance, Data Visualization

04/06/2005, Social Residue in Rhizome ArtBase/Turbulence
04/16/2004, Social Residue in Version Fest >04, Chicago
11/05/2004, Social Residue in ‘Code is Implement” show

Social residue is a project that explores the relationship of online/offline hybridity to social connectivity, the mapping of complex social growth and the spread of ‘memes,’ that are brought and transmitted by artists and audiences during the show.

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In his book, “The Selfish Gene”, Richard Dawkins defines non-genetic information, when spread between people, as memes. Similar to genes, they undergo a process of variation, selection and evolution that is characterized by mutations and recombinations of ideas. Our project shows the process of social interaction as ‘evidence’ of the artists and audiences’ coexistence as a metaphor of the transmitted ‘meme.’

The substance that we use is a nontoxic invisible contamination simulation powder. This powder, when placed on objects, or people, is easily transferable to other things that come into contact with it. When the powder is exposed to UV light, it becomes visible, in bright fluorescent colors. There will be a few who individuals coat their hands with this powder, each in a different color, at the beginning of the day. These few artists play the role in society as a starter and transmitter of the social virus of ideas. Then through out the day, these people “network” with the other people at ‘VersionFest 04>’, leaving their own colored residue on everyone they interact with, and those people who have interacted with them intern pass on the colored residue to others. Thus potentially by the end of the day, almost everyone could be carrying some of this colored powder on their body. During this time we will set up a booth where people can come and see if they have become part of a social network, and which social network they are part of. Some people or possibly many people may even have multiple colors on their hands, depending on just how social they are.

During the transmission process, there are different kinds of social interaction involved consequentially or inconsequentially. It symbolizes that artists and audiences’ ‘presence’ and participation as performers whether they know or not.

As a result of this performance, the visual map of spread vector will show the a multi-layered spectrum of physical/virtual or online/offline networked systems through which social interaction is taking place in real time.