One example of the work on display was a Live Art Performance called SPAM by Tom Estes in which he the artist fell asleep while wearing the mask of a protocol droid. Taking place on the opening night of the fair, audience members were asked to interact with the performance by taking pictures on what the artist calls a "communal camera". The pictures are then posted on social networking sites for another, wider on-line audience. This is what Estes refers to as 'Harnessing The Hive' - as the view of the central performance is mediated and digitally recorded through machines.
Much of Estes work anticipates the on-line reduction of life to a single image. So the interaction of the audience, and their digital recording of the performance becomes more than mere documentation and can be seen as central to the work. The audience, rather than being some kind of privileged, passive witness becomes an active part of the performance and the creative process. This role reversal invites the audience to re-examine easy assumptions, received opinion and current social and critical trends as well as question the ways in which we see and understand our world and culture.
Estes' principle concern is how our view of life is increasingly mediated by machines and the digital as a shaping condition and structuring paradox. While machines enable us to do things they also do things to us and do things at us. We are being completely enveloped by abstract systems and inundated with information that we are struggling to come to terms with. The internet favours private, unconditional, sovereign freedom over scientific, conditional and institutional freedom. And yet at the same time cyberspace is becoming an increasingly efficient tool of surveillance with which people have a voluntary relationship. But whatever may be said about the internet one thing remains certain- as a primary means of global communication the internet is resulting in a massive social transformation.