For many people, social media is the internet. Sure, they may know that you can order food, do your banking, or shop for new clothes online. But social media is the most important thing on the internet for some people. The internet and social media are so inextricably linked that it might seem like one couldn’t exist without the other, but that is exactly the possibility that Tuang Studio’s “Social Media Without the Internet” performance art project explores.
“Social Media Without the Internet” is an art project that asks what social media would be like in real life. What if you could see if someone liked what you were saying in the same way that you can see when someone likes your post online? What if you could get a notification when someone decided to be your friend — or decided to unfriend you? Our social media interactions online bear very little resemblance to social interactions in the real world, so these are pretty fascinating questions.
To answer them, the team at Tuang Studio built a special jacket packed full of wearable technology to facilitate those social media interactions in real life. It includes sensors to detect the interactions, and lights and display screens to show the results. For example, if someone puts their hand on another person’s shoulder, the jacket will indicate that they’re following them. Or, they can shake hands to become friends. Tapping a particular button on one of the screens will unfriend them. The Tuang Studio team then created a performance art show that demonstrates the technology, which you can see yourself at the Weak or No Signal show at UCLA’s New Wight Gallery in May.