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  • Writer's pictureCristea Zhao

1. No Fun, 2010

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

0100101110101101 (Eva and Franco Mattes)

No Fun, 2010

Online performance, video documentation

0100101110101101 (Eva and Franco Mattes)

Installation View of No Fun

“Anonymous, untitled, dimensions variable”, 2012


This is a troubling work challenges the comfort of personal space through a webcam, examining the social distance (not social distancing) between two people in the internet age.

Anonymous online chatting room like Chatroulette was quite fashionable in early 2010s. At least it was prevalent enough for a Chinese junior high student (me) skillfully exchanging ‘ASL’(age/sex/location) with some strangers in some other corner of the world. Here in a platform where people hand out certain level of intimacy in exchange of the same back, the viewers are forced to confront death, which is fully unexpected in such setting. The question is raised: to what extend the social relation is being reframed between screen and screen?

The virtual and the real, the fake and the authentic well balanced with each other and constituted this work. The performance is carefully forged to put the participators in a bothering intimacy and convince them they’re now facing a real ethical situation. Beyond bearing the unease, automatically, the viewers became voyeurs. Each web cam pointing at each participator him-/herself functioned as a mirror reflecting him-/herself as a voyeur, directly participate into the work. This voyeurism touch in the work made the tone even more brutal and spooky.

Some of my works engaged with how new dynamic and discrimination emerged in intergenerational relations as a spillover of modern technologies (Mother is a Container). The form and content of this work both contribute to my reflection as in how I can push the performance further, bridge the gap between the real and the virtual, the fake and the authentic and even integrate the modern technology I was trying to discuss into my work.

Furthermore, this work has its value in out current situation:

The time we spend communing online is having more immediate costs, too: like the Chatroulette users in No Fun, we’re becoming uncomfortably intimate with loss, and even death, through our screens—but this time, it’s real. Sitting alone, together, we’re suffering our own misfortunes while also bearing remote witness to interrupted relationships, stalled careers, ruined finances, and the demise of thousands of people, from distant loved ones to total strangers. After this is all over, those of us left will have to recalibrate the ratio of our online and offline lives, which will require rethinking the meaning and value of the closeness—and the distance—afforded by modern technologies. (

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