Bad Trip

Alan Kwan (HK)

Bad Trip

Navigate the creator's memories, 2012

Bad Trip is a virtual reality installation that enables people to navigate the creator's mind using a game controller. Since November 2011, every moment of my life has been documented by a video camera mounted on my glasses, producing an expanding database of digitised visual memories. Using custom virtual reality software, I created a virtual mindscape that people can navigate and experience my memories and dreams. The virtual world is perpetually evolving as I load fresh virtual memories every night.

About Alan
Born in 1990, I am an artist who works at the intersection of cinema and new media. My recent projects, which blend film, video game and emerging technologies such as lifelogging devices and brainwave sensors, have been shown at exhibitions around the world, including the Ars Electronica Festival in Austria, ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Germany, and MOCA Shanghai. In 2014, I received the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Award for Young Artist in Media Art, and the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship to pursue his graduate studies at Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT).

How did you get started lifelogging/analysing data?
I was heavily inspired by two movies: Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I was curious about the experience of actually going into someone's head and navigating their memories. I consequently started lifelogging and storing these ‘electronic memories’ in a virtual world that I built and designed.

Why do you find lifelogging so interesting?
My strongest drive was the fantasy of building a virtual world that contains all my memories and that it could be something people navigate freely within. In the future, I hope other lifeloggers will be enabled to build their own worlds and there will be features such as a 'memory market' where people could literally buy and sell memories.

How do people in your life react when they discover the extent of your lifelogging?
My friends initially found my camera intimidating but after two weeks they were completely okay with it.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
3pm, because to me it’s the middle of the day.

Do you remember the first electronic device you owned?
A Digimon virtual pet.

What do you want done with your data after you die?
I want it to become editing practice material for student filmmakers.

What insights on your life has tracking your data revealed?
I think video lifelogging has somehow turned my memories into absolute facts and stopped me from projecting any imaginations into my past.

What websites, magazines or other resources inspire, confound, amuse or irritate you? inspires me a lot.

What is your go-to piece of tech or software for lifelogging?
I look forward to a piece of software that can auto-edit my lifelogging footage into interesting narratives.

We're creating a speculative timeline of the possible future of lifelogging. We're asking everyone to make one prediction for a future date. What's yours? Feel free to think big!
By 2025 there will be a ‘memory cosmetics’ service which would enable people to purchase false memories and inject them into their digital lifestream.

Alan Kwan would like to thank IP Yuk-Yiu and Tamas Waliczky for their support with this project.