My Drama

Jacqueline Zhenru Lin

 

The architecture of the Digital Space

In this drama, I consider this experiment as an attempt to rearrange the forms of our digital space, both materially and virtually, in order to create an interactive setting between different selves. This attempt creates a novel architecture of the digital space rarely explored in the current literature of performance, digital ethnography, and online interaction. Unlike a mirror, the screen with a red button showing “recording” forces the participants to play multiple roles to the invisible audience in mind. Usually, we assume that there are only two selves in the digital space: the persona you create through your Facebook account and the real self who lives the offline reality. Through the online and offline transcendence, the dichotomy of identity present in your life is realised. My little drama, as well as this experiment, challenges this assumption and its constructed dichotomy by creating a new architecture of our space in which we can divide into (at least) three selves. 

 

What will happen if we are forced to interact with multiple selves? In his study of performance, Goffman reveals that whenever a person is forced to interact with another person, she will carefully analyse every move she makes according to the expectation and perception of the other person. The setting here is that the performer can only see the face of the other, which sets the basic architecture of the performance. However, in this experience, as the drama shows, we can see the image of ourselves while we are looking at the screen and reading those questions. While we are not, we return to the offline space and think of answers that require more internal reflections and mind activities. Therefore, in the video, I wanted to make visible the chaotic, divided, unstable, and emotional experience in which the participants are divided into the different scenarios separated by our eyeball movements! The director Jaqueline, which I deliberately cast in backlighting, could be faceless because she represents the self that is overwhelmed by generating answers, pleasing the imagined audience, and comparing the products of other group peers. The Jacqueline One and Two only exist when the camera is on, and I can see my self-image on my screen. What distinguishes Jacqueline One and Two is the freedom of expressing herself in her own words. The Jacqueline One mainly reads what she has been provided on the questionnaire, which I deliberately made her image looks more formal, like a master in a talk show. The Jacqueline Two ''can'' think more freely and come up with her own words about her feelings/reflections, which is why I made her appearance more casual. However, due to the audience, this is not a talk-to-yourself scenario. The two Jacqueline(s) wore make-up since their faces are subject to the audience’s gaze. This gaze that frames the performance is visualised in the second part of the video. After watching other peers’ products, the director Jaqueline criticised the two Jacqueline(s) looks and the backgrounds. The question “how do you like that” and the Black Pink shortcut are elements about gendered performance and the male gaze. What is shared by the participants in this all-female group is the concern with appearance [how we look] and the fear of being judged by the imagined audience.