If you’ve come here after reading the Zaobao Weekly newspaper on Sunday, a humble welcome. Wo de hwa wen hen cha, suo yi bu ke yi sui bian jiang.
Siva, Ariani, Lawrence and I just completed a Sunday briskwalk from MacRitchie to Bukit Timah when we headed to the prata shops across Beauty World for breakfast. A sudden SMS from reporter Wei instructed me to grab today’s Zaobao, to which all of us went “woah”.
It’s huge… a cover feature spanning four pages, detailing everything from who I am, what I do, my motivations and how I pulled it all off. The sousveillance backpack is a thing of sci-fi wonder, yet it’s real and improving over time. GPS was recently added, and the next step is integrating everything together and possibly having a kevin.tv thing going (as the article suggested seeing justin.tv).
If you missed the Zaobao paper, you can see the entire illustrated article in this flickr slideshow.
BTW: Microsoft’s Nic Fillingham recently did a video interview with me about the backpack too.
Thanks to Maggie Xu, we now have the English translation of the Chinese newspaper article above. More on this after the jump…
Zaobao Weekly (translated)
Blog newbie king Kevin Lim: ‘Are you looking at me? I am shooting you now.’
Kevin Lim, aged 30, the first Singaporean blog author who has connected himself as a flesh wireless camcorder and transmitter.
Only with one press of button, he could chat with you and stare at you. You may become part of his content and be broadcasted through internet.
Kevin’s blog has 15,000 readerships per month. What you can read there is his opinions and perspectives. You can experience personally the visual effect in his mind very vividly.
(Reported by Lin FangWei)
The local blog queen ‘falling snow’ should be out of date, since a much fresher and hotter ‘life show’ blog newbie king has appeared on the surface.
Kevin Lim, aged 30, is the first Singaporean blog author who connected himself as a flesh wireless camcorder and ‘live show’ transmitter.
Only with one press of button, he can turn on the net camcorder on his left shoulder which is connected with wifi wireless internet. He can chat with you and stare at you. You may become part of his content and be net broadcasted immediately. Congratulations (maybe unfortunate) to you. You are live on Kevin TV!
Kevin’s pack is actually his shooting equipment, including two camcorders connected with one digital video recorder and mini computer etc in his pack, the whole set which can record all his visual experience all the time. What you can read on his blog (http://theory.isthereason.com) is Kevin’s opinions and perspectives. The vivid visual effect in his mind which you can experience personally is what you can only enjoy in the fantasy film ‘Being John Malkovich’. Some people may feel absolutely terrified, but others would feel exceptionally excited since science fiction movie has come true.
Different from the life show ‘Narcissus’ blogs in western world, Kevin’s videos wouldn’t be net broadcasted 24-hour every day. Instead, he only carefully selects part of the video record for uploading. Right now, he will only make the live net broadcasting when he chooses to attend some large-scale public activities where he can have access to internet. In this sense, he can be only regarded as an observer or a journalist.
Some people call these ‘life show’ authors ‘Social Cyborg’, the name which was first stated by Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline in 1960. It refers to the application of auxiliary equipment to improve human being’s ability to overcome the environment, a combination between human being’s consciousness and machinery.
Kevin expressed,’ you can say that I have become a ‘platform and medium’. Behind my lens/eyes are tens of thousands of pairs of eyes, which sounds a little bit horrible. If people abused it, the consequences could be inconceivable. ‘
Kevin said, when he did net broadcasting, people would use him to watch programs and ask him to work for them. People would message him on net via Twitter, asking him to climb onto the bar counter for dancing and chatting with pretty girls aside.
What is interesting, some creative marketers have intention to ‘insert’ advertisements on his ‘live show’ net broadcasting programs.
Kevin’s blog has 870 subscribers now, with click rate of average 500 people per day (15,000 people per month). To reach internet promotion effect, some activity planners have observed the popularity of his programs and invited Kevin to attend their activities for net broadcasting. However, Kevin declined all the invitations.
Kevin Lim: ‘Singaporeans’ concept on privacy is very superficial.’
Kevin Lim carries his pack everywhere to walk and discovered surprisingly that Singaporeans’ concept on privacy is actually very superficial. He carries his pack very boldly to many companies, but quite a lot of security guards even never pay any attention to him; he even carries his pack to watch some performances. At the entrance with stern security, nobody would notice that his pack was actually a kind of video recording equipment.
Many people are curious about the reason Kevin did so.
Kevin Lim is now pursuing his doctorate degree focusing on the research of behaviors and psychology of net community at School of Informatics, University at Buffalo, USA.
Incarnated himself as 24 hours’ ‘flesh camcorder’, he actually has two missions. One is to research the motivations of people who are active around-the-clock on the internet, and how they are surrounded by technologies that shaped their behaviors. The other is to record his experience. As a blog author, he hopes one day he can complete a thesis on the topics that interest him.
Since April, he has started this experiment and research full of performance element. During his summer holiday in the USA, he brought this concept back to Singapore, which created a stir in the local Web2.0 and blog circle.
Connecting the world makes you crazy
Kevin confessed that the blog world is the culture of narcissism. ‘Falling snow’ is a successful example. However, he also asked the public to ponder: blog is not just to satisfy the author’s narcissism desire, but also to entertain people who have interest in it. In this era, ‘I’ have become the content of ‘entertainment’ and ‘I’ am not just a passive observer, but also a ‘program’.
Blog is also the medium by which people keep in touch. People’s desire to keep immediate contact with the world has become a kind of craze. Kevin said: ‘Since modern technology has allowed us to do in this way. From email, to the current MSN, Twitter etc, more and more contact methods have been developed. Moreover, immediate and real contact becomes possible. With the quick development of technology, mini and personalized telecommunication equipment has allowed us to narrow down the audience range from ‘broadcasting’ in the early time to ‘narrowcasting’ that only attracts few audience. This development really appeals to me and drives me to start my experiment. ‘
Our behaviors are monitored incessantly
Kevin’s ‘performance art’ has not only satisfied people’s desire of ‘spying on others’ and his own desire to be a ‘recorder’, but also in a deeper sense encouraged us living in the world of digital video technology to reflect the topic of our privacy right. Kevin explained, ‘A lot of people recognize that, but many don’t. Our behaviors are monitored and recorded all the time. CCTV security video equipment indoor and security video recorders in outdoor public places record our every action and movement. Besides, with the convenience of mobile phones with video recording function and digital cameras, your privacy can be shot by anybody. ‘
Kevin Lim carries his pack everywhere to walk and discovered surprisingly that Singaporeans’ concept on privacy is actually very superficial. He carries his pack very boldly to many companies, but quite a lot of security guards even never pay any attention to him; he even carries his pack to watch performance in Esplanade. To be surprise, at the entrance with stern security, nobody has noticed that his pack was actually a kind of video recording equipment.
Considering the public’s privacy and also avoiding any unnecessary troubles to the people who have been shot, he only keeps his video fragments as his personal collection and only selects partial content for net broadcasting after editing. In addition, he would in advance notify the people he spoke with that he has opened his video recorder. People could ask for stop if they feel uneasy in front of his lens.
Kevin said that so far nobody has felt angry or offended by being shot. On the contrary, they feel this concept is very novel and wonder how he does. He laughed, ‘There are also some people who are very happy that you are interested in their opinions and never mind their talk being recorded.
Like living in the science fiction film
Kevin reminded me of the poetic film ‘Until the End of the World’ directed by a German director. The film was set in the past 1999 when someone invented a video wafer that can record dreams and desires in people’s mind. The homeless and miserable hero was drifting from one place to another, just for the purpose of recording the world image for his blind mother, the video he got that would then be reflected on his mother’s brain wave to make her watch subconsciously as a normal person to see the light again.
Man always has such an illusion that humankind can ‘record and keep’ what they see since memory is unreliable and will be faded as time passes. Forgetting makes people feel lost and sad. If you forget, then it means you have lost.
Kevin’s mini video camera on his left shoulder is directly connected to the hard disk of a digital camcorder, which has recorded his life of 50G capacity within 3 months’ time. To do so is to avoid forgetting, ‘These fragments can ignite my memory of happiness and sadness. ‘
But facing with so many video fragments, how can he start watching and memorizing? Kevin said, thanks to modern technology, he can place a tag at key moment when he edits these files and also he can write his thinking, notes, and comments etc. on the tag.
He said, ‘I feel myself just like living in science fiction novels and movies. My pack has recorded the essential moments of my normal life. I can feel a kind of intangible power as soon as I carry my pack.’
He would like to produce the same kind of pack for different people to record their lives and opinions. He laughed, ‘you can change ‘channel’ to watch other people’s world if you are fed up with mine.
Experiencing the feeling to be a man and a machine also
At the end of interview, Kevin Lim asked me to wear his equipment and take a walk to experience the feeling as a flesh video camera. I didn’t feel anything strange when carrying his pack and recorded very easily and naturally our conversation. Kevin, who has been accustomed to shooting others, has become the shooting target for this time.
My major in university is film study. I am also thinking any portable way to record performance. The answer is very obvious: just let director become video camera! The feeling as a man and a machine is strange. But step by step, a kind of strange excitement and strength has stirred in the blood. Is this the start of Cyborg’s history of mankind?
Willing to watch our dialogue, leave message or whatever, please go to http://theory.isthereason.com/?p=1746