Digital as a Place Studio 1

October 25, 2021

Studio 1: Digital as a Place with Jenny Rodenhouse and Sean Donahue. The assignment for this 2-year studio was to design a live stream that offers a particular worldview for the viewer or participant to access or see.
Part documentary, part theater, part data collection, popu­larized live streamed content is based on practices of watching and being watched, access, control and gaze within both private and public spaces. Is this the metaverse? The Digital as a Place studio will research “real” places through the interface. We will meander through nostalgic web camera stages, gamified live streams, performative Zoom mirrors, smart surveillance, generative NFT concerts, and 360 hype houses as not merely an act of internet voyeurism but to build an acute sense of critical and perceptual awareness of these digital places, the people, and infrastructures that surround it. This media practice isn’t new. Artists and designers have long been taught to observe from a distance to imaginatively experience other people’s histories through their be­haviors (ie. from life drawing to ethnographic research). It is a type of judgement and representation we must all be aware of. What is our perception of these digital scenes? Why are you seeing this place? Why does it matter? Who visits it? What is the purpose of this digital version? Who does it serve? How is it framed? Can you own or rent this digital view? For how long? What impact can you have upon this place both online and off? And what other eyes are watching beyond our own (computer to human and computer to computer ) and how are these scenes being perceived and represented? What alternate narratives are triggered and shared, and what new places and popula­tions are created as a result?