Yes we are still rather dead. So here is a mini-retrospective of sorts.
This is a performance-lecture held 2010 December 1 at the Slade School of DIne Art, Nondon, UK. In the ‘live’ version, we would be reading the script ‘live’; in this recorded version, you can hear us (flipping the pages of the script).
What is crucial to note that, all this was so (very nearly) impeccable and mindblowing at that point in time, ie 2010 December 1. Yet, restless beings that we are, that you know we are, this is not fixed in stone (is any? Even stones are not fixed [in stone], for they move, do they not??). We have (clearly) moved on, specifically, improved, in leaps and bounds of course. As you know we are simply incapable of producing anything run of the mill, but evolution-believers (and practitioners) that we are, many of the points raised in this performance have shifted, and many of the imageries have also been transformed. For ever-newer-better-higher-faster-good-better-best rundowns/out-lines/maps/cosmologies and other configurations, come back here often though even that can be slower than what we think while we are on the run etc etc. And, we all know that there can never be a ‘final’ version – even as we reach the ‘final’, for, so long as our stamina (speed and endurance) lasts, we will keep on running.
And the more we run, the better we can run, the further we can run. So, each variation is as ‘final’ as they get.
Point is, run, and you will find your own way. Or rather, ways. So, there you go. Here we are.
This performance-lecture was undertaken as part of our MPhil upgrade to PhD status at the Slade School of Dine Art, University College Nondon, UK. The opening and closing musical accompaniment is created by our usual Co-Runner, PHILIP TAN
Premiered at Oxford University UK, at the ‘Human- Machines, Mechanized Modernity, and Mass Subjectivity between Asia, the Soviet Union, and North America in the Twentieth Century’ conference, June 18-20, 2009. Music by Philip Tan. Special thanks to Aaron Moore, Tina Chen, Sarah Teasley. Created by a predecessor of Kaidie’s in a previous life, Kai Syng Tan, May 2009 Singapore. The opening lines in the 2nd act of the film are taken from Cascando by our most beloved Samuel Beckket.
Monster is a video poem seen from the point of view of an elderly woman, who really is an imagination by the artist of herself in the near future. Monster addresses man’s eternal obsession in modifying his body and nature in a compulsive bid to ‘improve’ himself. Such notions as the frailty of the body & flesh, and how our body-machines decay and imaginations of means through which we sustain/prolong/improve on them, are teased out. With the classic allegory of Frankenstein as a point of departure, the work posits the Man vs. Machine/Monster argument as a complex and layered relationship that is at once dependent, violent, obsessive, loving and destructive. While ‘I’ (Man) have created ‘you’ (Machine) out of a need for survival, ‘you’ have fought with me against (my) nature, but entrapped me nonetheless; my selfishness, greed, ambition and insatiability has led me to create an indomitable Monster/Mutant that is increasingly out of control – yet I remain faithful, and continue to love, nurture, and protect you. And I get hungrier still. This man/machine dance/wrestle is a powerplay that is paradoxical, grotesque and tender at the same time. Incorporating text, performance and animation, Monster is accompanied by a haunting soundscape made up of sounds from construction sites – an all-too familiar sound that fills the artist’s ears in the high-tech Asian miracle city that she hails from. The shiny images of the city-state in a relentless process of construction and rebuilding are juxtaposed with personal, intimate images of everyday objects photographed in the artist’s home – used, forgotten, dusty as they are. We go up close to the skin of an elderly lady, whose life overlaps that of her daughter’s. Happy Valentine’s.
What did Kaidie do on 7 September 2010, Tuesday in Nondon? Or rather, what did we see when we were going about our business on 7 September 2010 Tuesday in Nondon, our favourite city on earth and beyond? Wearing a small camera on our chest (which has been lent to us by Urbantick of the Centre of Advanced Spatial Analysis of University College Nondon), this is a 1-minute time-lapse record of what happened that day, including: walking amongst large crowds in the streets as tube workers went on a strike in Nondon (as usual); attending a panel discussion – with Stelarc in-world in Second Life; presenting our 50-minute performance AUTHOR slash ACTOR slash AUDIENCE at the DRHA conference at the Brunel University; travelling to and from Uxbridge.
And, with all due respect to the dwellers and denizens of Uxbridge, no, we would not/never/ever want to live in Uxbridge in a house with a spouse/family/kids/pets/cars. No thanks very much.
DOCUMENTATION OF 3.0, 2.0, 1.0! READY, GET SET, GO! RUN FOR (Y)OUR LIVES! 22 March 2010 performance.
8 minute lecture-performance by Kailives, standing in for Kaidie, on the eve of Kaidie’s 100th day birthday and her continued dis-location. Kailives discusses the philosophy of Life 3.0, and the gap between theory (of Life 3.0) and (Kaidie’s) practice (of her semblance of life). Unbeknownst to Kailives, however, towards the end of the performance, Kaidie makes a brief appearance – right behind Kailives back, on screen!
The performance was filmed by the wonderful performance artist/filmmaker Jayne Parker. Off The Shelf, a 1-night word-image event, was curated by Sharon Morris and Jon Thomson, at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, UK, 22 March 2010, Monday. Kaidie’s segment came on at around 2130hrs.
**There was a gap in documentation towards the end of the performance due to tape change**
THANK YOU for attending Kaidie’s gig last Monday. She has resurfaced – right behind my back, as KAIDIE ABSENT in Second Life. Now that she is re-located, shouldn’t I leave?
Music by Philip Tan.
Thank you very much indeed for attending Kaidie’s gig at Off The Shelf at the Slade School of Dine Art last Monday. Blind and nearly-blind dates are always thrilling, so it was nice meeting some of you in Life 1.0 for the first time. Do note that I mean ‘nice’ in the most ambiguous, generic manner. I am sure you would agree that meetings/encounters in Life 1.0 (offline, face-to-face, material world), Life 2.0 (online, imagination, internal world) and in between – Life 3.0 – are all equally valuable and meaningful (if they are meaningful at all) – for Third-Lifers, who are restless travellers on the move, this is about the only way(s) to meet, ie, halfway, or half of the half, of half of the half of the half, and so on. The notions of eternity, forever-ness and everlasting-ness are but romantic mythologies; a Third-Lifer necessarily runs/travels/migrates/transmigrates alone, and seeks/creates fulfillment in every single moment, however transient. During each of these temporary encounters, the Third-Lifer finds/invents her own drama/climax/closures, and locks them up as happy memories (even if she forgets, they will remain safe and happy, happily ever after). And moves on. (If anything else is forever/eternal/everlasting at all, it is one’s Sisyphean cycle of births-deaths-rebirths-repeated-death-looped-fast-forward-press-play-rewind-press-play-re-press-play-again-in-different-speeds). Lest you think this is a cynical worldview, I suspect that the contrary is true – that Kaidie is yet the most idealistic and romantic of us all. Which was why the invention of a Life 3.0-mixed-reality-goggles (as if life itself is not complicated enough?), as self-delusional and naive as Don Quixote on his grand(iose) quest.
I was hoping that Kaidie, who had been missing for nearly 1 month, would stop running about/away, and return to Life 1.0 for her gigs. She did- briefly – on 14 March, during her 10km charity run for Medecins Sans Frontieres. Fearing that she would not turn up, I had begun the race (for, someone had to answer to her sponsors!). However, halfway through the run, Kaidie appeared. And was she hostile, as she kept trying to trip me and outrun me! Whatever she had eaten while she was away must have been really good, as she was much faster than me, and soon ran past me. The snapshot on the left at the bottom of this post captures that moment that the two of us, Kaidie and Kailives, are locked in a fierce battle, in the same spatio-temporal dimension. But like before, she ran off, and could not be relocated.
On 22 March, I was hoping that Kaidie would turn up for her own gig at the Slade. I went on stage to do what had to be done, hoping that she would join me at some point. And she did. Not in broad daylight, as it was nearly 22:00hrs, but right behind my back! This photograph on the right shows myself speaking in the foreground, in front if the audience, and Kaidie behind me, in the form of video pixels. It was a black-and-white video (see above) of her in the metaverse, the world-within-world of Second Life. There, she is called ‘Kaidie Absent’.
One would have thought that this is the grand moment of cathartic clarification, of disentanglement and denouement, where all loose ends of this long-running tedious (melo)drama are tied together. But this being (Kaidie’s) life, gosh/no/never/dream on/fat chance/what are you talking about/get out of here. And, this being Kaidie’s life, there are now even more questions than the number of hair in your nostrils (when did you last tabulate the results in your Excel sheets?). Some of the ones sticking out include:
Has Kaidie been in Second Life all this while? Isn’t that too easy! Was it The Good Pirate who kidnapped her there? Was it the Good Pirate who kept the promise of releasing Kaidie for the charity run? What does the Good Pirate want? What is the ransom? After the run, did Kaidie return to SL? Where in SL is she? What is she doing? Where is she visiting? Who is she meeting? Are they like her Life 1.0 brief encounters, or briefer still? Is Kaidie on the ‘Always Run’ motion mode in there? Does she have blisters in SL? She looks like she’s enjoying flying, but does she get (e)motion sickness from flying, like she did on the day that we first met? Has she found the obscure object of her 1000-day quest, the Meaning of Life 3.0? (Must she find The Meaning Of Life 2.0 [?] before that?) Did Kaidie upload the video on her Youtube channel herself? If so, does this mean that she is coming back, to communicate with us, to run her own Facebook account and other Web 2.0 accounts?
If she comes back, shouldn’t I go? Surely I was just Kaidie’s temporary stand-in in Life 1.0 and Life 2.0 outside of the world-within-world of SL while she was in there. Surely I should not figure in the logic of the world of Life 3.0, for the whole point is that Kaidie runs to-and-fro between Life 1.0 and Life 2.0, and that Life 3.0 is an in-between and even transcendent spatio-temporal dimension. Surely only Kaidie should be the real deal, our first guinea pig for the theory of Life 3.0. (Unless, of course, when Kaidie needs a helping hand – Kaidie did dis-locate a part of her body. I am also an avid reader of her blog, so I would have been disappointed if it was not updated. As Kaidie’s firm Facebook Friend, it is right that I help her keep up appearances.)
But enough already. When will Kaidie return to write this blog herself?
Dear Friends of Kaidie, wouldn’t you be so kind as to go locate ‘Kaidie Absent’ in Second Life? Talk to her. Ask her to come back. Coax her to leave her kidnapper. Remind her that Second Life is not the only life, that there is First Life as well as her Third.
She knows it.
Music by Philip Tan.
Thank you to all at the Villa Straeuli: Ms Annelise Schmid, Ms Gabriele Huggenburg, Mr Roger Girod and Rosemaria! Though short, it was a fruitful residency.
I enjoyed my first Kaidie outing. On the 26 January I gave a 1 hour lecture-performance about my Life 3.0, talked a little about my previous life, and also shared a new short film entitled Kaidie In Heidiland / Heidi In Kaidieland. A teaser is uploaded here for your viewing ‘pleasure’. It’s the opening scene of the 11 minute film that I made of my visit to Heidi in Maienfeld on 24 January. With sheer doggedness of my M&M plugin, and snorting up some 1000g of pure superstrength Arabian coffee beans – my nostrils are huge now, but it is worth the price to pay – I edited the film in the matter of a day.
As I had to travel light, I was carrying only an old NTSC CDR-PC115 SONY handycam (Even in Life 3.0, metallic electronic/digital things do not quite turn me on, but I am inclined to namedrop some of these details every now and then, to please the techno-geeky populace of my readers – yes, I’m talking about YOU, yes you!), but surprisingly it was able to capture the early morning Swiss mist at 00:00:29:00 – 00:00:40:00, which I hadn’t noticed while filming, and only noticed it when reading the images on my Final Cut Pro. Being a diehard city dweller, I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what that floaty bit was, and even though (as you know very well) I am a highly rational being with incredibly superior intellectual capabilities, for a moment I was inclined to wonder if it was some my dead mummy was trying to speak to me from the nether lands (not that she is/was Dutch). I wonder how a HD camera would have captured the same image. IF YOU HAVE CAPTURED IMAGES OF SUCH NATURAL PHENOMENA, OF NONDON OR ELSEWHERE, PLEASE SHARE! LINK YOUR MOVIES TO KAIDIE’S ON YOUTUBE.
There are 3-4 presentations coming up in Nondon in March, and I plan to show the entire film in some of these talks. WHAT DID HEIDI SAY TO KAIDIE WHEN THEY MET? WHAT DID KAIDIE SAY TO HEIDI WHEN THEY MET? IF YOU WISH TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO KAIDIE IN HEIDILAND, DO COME FOR MY PRESENTATIONS IN MARCH! COME TOO IF YOU ARE TEASED ENOUGH BY THE TEASER, and to hear my croaking ‘live’. I will update you, my Dear Readers, in my itinerary.
Original composition by Philip Tan 2009
* ERICH FROMM: Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
* MONTY PYTHON, THE MEANING OF LIFE: Lady Presenter: Well, that’s the end of the film. Now, here’s the meaning of life. …Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
* QUEEN, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: Is this the real life? /Is this just fantasy/Caught in a landslide/ No escape from reality
*ANDRE BRETON: It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.
*KUNDERA, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING: How can one perform life when the dress rehearsal for life is life?”
*PESSOA: THE BOOK OF DISQUIET: To create I have destroyed myself … I’m the empty stage where various actors act out various plays. I am a secret orchestra whose instruments strum and bang inside me. I only know myself as the symphony.
*PESSOA: Fernando Pessoa, strictly speaking, does not exist.
*DARWIN: It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
*WERNER HERZOG: I believe the common denominator of the Universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder.
*CHRIS MARKER, SANS SOLEIL: The first image he told me about was of three children on a road in Iceland, in 1965. He said that for him it was the image of happiness and also that he had tried several times to link it to other images, but it never worked. He wrote me: one day I’ll have to put it all alone at the beginning of a film with a long piece of black leader; if they don’t see happiness in the picture, at least they’ll see the black.
As Kaidie travels her Grand Tour of Life 3.0 for the next 1000 days, she will draw up, with your help, a list of guidelines. GUIDE KAIDIE! HELP HER NAVIGATE THIS PERFECT LIFE! For now, just to get us / her going, Kaidie has come up with a few. KAIDIE WILL TEST OUT WHAT YOU SUGGEST /WHAT WE COME UP WITH, TO SEE WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T. Through trial and error for the next 3 years, we can finetune them. The list of guidelines that we end up with on 09.09.2012 will not be the last, as this list remains dynamic and always updatable, but it will be at a state that can be adapted by anyone, anywhere to live life 3.0. SO, WHICH OF THESE GUIDELINES SHOULD KAIDIE TWEAK? WHAT SHOULD KAIDIE REMOVE? WHAT SHOULD KAIDIE ADD? WHAT OTHER GUIDELINES SHOULD KAIDIE TEST OUT TO ENABLE HER TO LIVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE 3.0?
Original composition by Philip Tan 2009
Feeling particularly energetic on the first day of my life, I run 4 laps around Regents Fark. Including the distance to and from my starting point, I run a total of approximately 24km today. This is good for today, and although it is a long way towards even attempting to pay back for the damage I have done and will do, as well as to pay back for my stubborn continual existence in spite of all this, it is a start, and a continual effort. As we know well, much of what Confucius says is rather dodgy, but the one thing he says about any change starting from oneself makes some sense.
I began running in the final year of my previous life. Prior to that I had been swimming 1.5km daily. I took part in my first half marathon and came in at 2 hours and a bit. As my wish to run my 1st marathon could not be fulfilled in my previous life, I will have to do it this life, by Summer 2010. If it takes me 5 hours, so be it. 8 hours, 10 hours, until the volunteers have all packed up to leave, until the cleaners have cleaned up the last crushed paper cup and runner’s poo on the streets the next morning, that is fine. I will run / walk / crawl / jump / fly / swim. Physical pain I can battle – the only thing I have to fight now is boredom. Being so young, my attention span is awfully short. I struggle to stay focused in any single activity for a stretch of several minutes, much less several hours (or years, or lifetimes). I think of 5 other things as I do one thing; linear events exhaust and bore me, as I already imagine travelling to 6 other places in 7 other directions. (That was how I got tired of my previous life, as it was going on for a while). (How I look forward to Life 3.0, then, since I am not bound by the trivial constraints of time and space! I will be able to do what I want, when I want, however I want it! More on this later…) Monotony is a weakness, though endurance is my strength. (Afterall, I have managed to endure myself all those years and life cycles). The only things that keep me going when running or swimming long distances is my imagination and willpower. Hopefully, by Summer, I will be older (more than 6 months old) and will have cultivated enough patience to not feel bored too quickly.
DO YOU KNOW OF ANY UPCOMING RACES? DO LET KAIDIE KNOW! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU ARE RUNNING?
Running today at Regents Fark, 2 runners smile at me – huge smiles. I get suspicious and wonder if it is my unbecoming running gait that so amuses them – afterall I am a newborn and my movement remains awkward – but one of the cops carrying a large toy gun at Binfield House and another passerby both shout hello. On my way home, another says ‘Go! Go! Go!’ and sticks out his hand to make me slap it as I passed by. Although I have run in several cities in my previous life, this friendliness is rather refreshing (a couple of the few fellow runners I encountered in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Beppu in Papan did nod at me; people in Spore primarily stare disapprovingly at my folly of running under the hot sun as they sit fat in their air-conditioned cars in their air-conditioned carnation; in Oxford in Yengland some dogs looked like they were smiling, or perhaps those were their default teeth-&-tongue-revealing faces which do not necessarily translate as the human equivalent of smiling?).
WHY ON EARTH ARE OTHER RUNNERS AND PEOPLE AND ANIMALS SMILING AT KAIDIE? DO YOU THINK KAIDIE SHOULD SMILE BACK ? WHAT KIND OF SMILE SHOULD SHE ATTEMPT? SHOULD KAIDIE INITIATE SMILES? HOW MANY TIMES IN, SAY, A 10km RUN SHOULD KAIDIE ATTEMPT TO SMILE? LIKE AN AVERAGE OF 1 SMILE PER 100m? PER 1000m? WHAT ABOUT WHEN SHE IS RUNNING ON THE TREADMILL IN THE GYM?
Camus concludes that Sisyphus must be happy – good for him, and him, but let me tell you, my dear reader, that the 1st 3km of any long run is always the most dreaded. As I run I protest/resist/fight/struggle and say, NO, I do not want to do this, this bloody hurts / this is no fun / I’d rather spend £4.50 to swim at the Union pool / I’d rather spend 45p to pay another version of myself doing this / I’d rather sit on my buttocks and do nothing and get furious for sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing and sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing but getting angry while sitting on my buttocks / I’d rather get greasy and let the calories choke my bloodstream and expire before the 1000-day duration / I rather slurp my own poo (with syrup) several litres over until I am flooded and I drown in, than to put one feet in front of the other, why do I have to do this of all people of this and other worlds / realities, why do I have to do this now of all my lifetimes. I have about 34,000 excuses that I come up with, looped, each and every time. Then after 3 km, I give up protesting as it gets boringly predictable as a broken record or a dislocated kaidie for that matter. Can’t go on, must go on, since there is no other options. So I go on. In the numbing repetitive motion, something else happens physically/psychologically. I begin to enjoy the groove and rhythm (never mind my beastly gait). I am there, much aware of my surroundings, and at the same time I am travelling elsewhere, as lucid as I am slightly intoxicated, somewhere that no one else is, where no one can touch me, where I am very much alone, feeling strong/alert/erect as much as I am unclenched/dreamy/soft where I am not fighting anymore, and am calm, at peace. So I push on. And on. My mind thinks of no thing, and it is aware that it is thinking of no thing. I remember getting there sometimes with my 1.5km swims in my previous life. It’s rather nice – and what’s nicer is the knowledge that it’s all MINE! Kaidie as a 3rd Lifer is a fabulous person and all that but she is also selfish when it comes to pleasure. Sorry!
Today is particularly interesting. At the 24th km, I not only feel calm, but happy. It is nice to feel happy. Then, I feel a large pair of plastic wings stapled onto my shoulders.
Original composition by PHILIP TAN