At the beginning of the Stay Home Order during the global outbreak of COVID-19, I conducted a 19-hour performance piece over livestream from my home security system. I confined myself to a sedentary position in self-quarantined isolation within a plastic bubble. As I was confined, viewers checked in on me through the night to see what I was doing on instagram live.
Followers tuned in to talk with me, ask questions or play games. Other viewers that didn’t know about the performance beforehand commented angrily that I wasn’t doing anything, and unfollowed me. The reality was that I was doing quite a bit, I.e. writing music, working on new pieces, playing games, meditating, chatting with friends online. I appeared to be doing nothing to some viewers because I wasn’t trying to be an actor in the attention economy, or physically preform for their entertainment. I was just living. To some this was boring; others were for one reason or another interested in watching over me.
This piece makes the viewer reassess their own vulnerability in a society where constant surveillance is often taken as a normal occurrence. The viewer also considers the almost intimate relationship they have with their tech devices, as well as their own typical mobility. The relationship we have with our devices is not inherently negative, as it is often described to be. Through technology, barriers are broken down, and conversations are facilitated in the most democratic nature. During this health crisis in particular, technologies have finally made accommodations to chronically ill and disabled people “miraculously” available in the blink of an eye. Now jobs are done, universities are run, groceries are delivered, and doctors appointments are conducted over the internet which was, up until the pandemic either “impossible” or ridiculously expensive for those who needed it.
Within the 19 hours in the bubble, I adjust to the constraints of life in confinement, while bringing my private space under the observation of online spectators; bring an end to the divide between my physical and digital lives. As we continue to embrace embodiment online, our symbiotic relationship to machines paved the way to the next phases in human evolution where physicality could possibly be less defining as it has previously been throughout history.