In Search of A/The Point of Life

WHO AM ‘WE’? The use of the personal plural pronoun explained in this interview we had with Shiseido Singapore.

A couple of months back, Kaidie’s efforts were featured in an online site by the Singapore wing of the Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido, from which the images above are quoted. We also answered a few questions, which are reproduced here. The image of us above has been appropriated from another realm, before our birth, in October/November 2009, in an other interview.

Q: What’s your philosophy and attitude towards life?

Hello World. We are Kaidie, a trans-dimensional runner, looking for The/A Meaning of Life 3.0, by running for 1000 days within and across various dimensions of reality: ‘Life 1.0’ (the primary world – including the city of ‘Nondon’), Life 2.0 (the realm of imagination, as well as online realities made possible by ‘Web 2.0’), ‘Life 3.0 (the hybrid realities enabled by ‘Web 3.0 on our portable wireless devices), as well as ‘Life 4.0’ (the hypothetically-named ‘Web 4.0? and other future technologically-enabled realities, as well as other cycles of our lives to come). We die on the last day of the Nondon Olympics on 09.09.2012, so do join us on our quixotic quest! With this mission in Life, you can tell that we aim to live our Lives to the full, while we are here!

Q: Why Kaidie?

‘Kaidie’ is a variation of artist Tan Kai Syng; or rather, it is more accurate to say that Kai Syng is the Life 1.0, real life version of Kaidie. That said, Kaidie is also all of us out there: the users of the Internet, the people who go online in the time-space of  ‘consensual hallucination’ (as William Gibson labels the Internet). So, Kaidie is one, but Kaidie is also many, and any one of us can be Kaidie. hence the utilisation of the plural personal pronoun of ‘we’. As Cyber-theorist Sherry Turkle says, instead of asking ‘Who am I’, the more relevant question is ‘Who Am We’ in the age of multiple identity today, which the Internet further magnifies (1996). Our ‘we’ embodies Kaidie, Kai Syng, Kai Die, Kailive, Kailives, Kaidie Absent. It also encompasses the ‘i’ of iPad, iPhone, iPod, and ‘You’ or Youtube, and You of the Times Magazine Person of the Year 2006, and or ‘my’ of Myspace. But this is not a homogenising we; neither is it the implicative Coalition ‘we-‘re-in-this-together’, nor the patronising Majestic Plural. Instead this ‘we’ includes the different shades of us, in different contexts. It’s an orgy which celebrates all variations of us!

Q: What do you hope to achieve and what’s next for Kaidie?

Kaidie runs to look for the Meaning of Life 3.0.Whether we succeed or not, we must die on the last day of the Nondon Olympics on 09.09.2012. At this point, we have about 670 days left, so we still have no clear idea of how we will die, or if we would succeed in our quixotic quest. With regards to the question of ‘what’s next’, we can only speculate: perhaps we will succeed in finding what we are looking for, and, as they say, ‘live happily ever after’, or rather, ‘die happily after’. Or, Kaidie might move on, literally and metaphorically, to the next stage of her life, and become ‘4thlifekaidie’! You, my dear Reader, can have a say in all this!  Write in and give Kaidie advice on her journey, and contribute to her Lives, now and forever!

Q: Describe the most beautiful moment in your life.

In our short life in the past 11 months, there had been many beautiful episodes such as when we disappeared, one of our Facebook Friends offered prayers to look for us. We believe that there will be more beautiful moments to come in the next 670 days, so do look out for it with us!

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  1. SHEA

    Turkle’s “who am we” is cool but as with all current media theorists she tends to over-emphasize the newness of the issues in relation to the emergence of internet. I’d recommend maybe also thinking about some older attempts to explore separate realities/identities. Like Edmund Carpenter, who was a brilliant anthropologist and media theorist, might be worth checking out. For example writing in the 70s on the impact of TV and radio he said:

    “In preliterate societies, the separation of spirit from flesh is thought to occur in the surrealist realm of dream, art, ritual, myth. Daily life, in the field or on the hunt, is intensely sensate, with all senses alert & the spirit imprisoned in the body. We reverse this. Our electronic workaday world divorces images from physical reality. As counterpoint, we turn physical reality into pastimes: the hippie world of sensate experience serves to balance the nonsensory spirit world of electronic media. Like natives, the young enjoy the best of both worlds, though it’s hard to know which of these worlds to call “real.”

    Jan 18, 2011 @ 01:34


  2. 3rdlifekaidie

    Dear Shea,
    Thank you very much indeed for your comment! We cannot apologise enough for our extraordinarily late reply, but we certainly hope that that does not deter you from being and staying in touch!

    Although a psychologist in the ‘pre-Internet’ days, Turkle’s comment may lack that contextualisation and perspective offered by Carpenter. That said, as she was one of the earliest to write about the psychology of the Internet (1990s), her ideas do offer a certain clarity. We did not know of the work of Carpenter, so we are very appreciative indeed of the lead! With the Internet fully permeating everyday life today (smartphones and tablets make the Internet and us location-independent), ‘the young’ are indeed making no separation between ‘sensate experience’ and the ‘nonsensory spirit world of electronic media’; indeed ‘reality’ is not a question or issue any more. So what might the question be? …

    Warmest regards
    Kaidie

    Feb 01, 2011 @ 17:14

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