mycupoftea (2000)

Mycupoftea.nl is an experiment, an attempt to make the internet more personal. To bring the everyday life onto the web like drinking a cup of tea.

Full Description

An invitation to drink a cup of tea with me.

The human body is the source of inspiration to my work. I studied two years of Biology (Neurology). Behavior, linked to the body, that is what you can call "my thing". Behavior, senses, thoughts, they are there, but not that concrete or visible. I like to visualize the not-visible (how does a thought look?), (how do you know the texture of something fragile?), (why are we behaving ourselves?). I read a sentence once, which made everything fall into place; "Playing is learning where the body ends and the world begins." The body has its physiological border of the skin, but if you run, move, reach, or think? Your perception, behavior, identity, where do they stop? Where did they come from? Where do they begin?

I live in a society, a world, a time, my work is a part of that. I percept and I use that in my work. I think that has never been different, only the things we percept became different. For example, in the everyday life of 200 years ago, we percept maybe a small world around us, now we can percept the whole world by television and communicate with it by internet. The everyday life is a reflection of the world we live in, I like to use the everyday life to put my work into a context. In this time, 21th century, the everyday life is highly commodified, and I like to use this fact in my work. If the everyday life is turning into a product, the art (-product) has to integrate more with the everyday life. Art has to be functional, but not necessary practical.

At this moment, internet is one of the most evolving technologies. It conquers the everyday fast, and it takes the place of other communication devices. A very actractive thing of the virtual reality, internet, is that you can be there without being there.

(to quote with William Gibson, "Neuromancer"; "there is no there there")

You can be there without the physical appearance of your body, be independent of your body. In the everyday life, this appearance gives a lot of information already. Age, male, female, loyal, sweet, strict, conservative. How somebody sees you, rests in its perception and interpretation of it, which you can influence, of course. The construction of your identity is for one part conscious, for example the way you choose your clothes. Another part is much more unconscious (your gender is a big part of your identity, which has been there from the very first beginning).

A book takes you with it into a story. In a movie you experience an adventure, you identify yourself with the actors. On internet, a virtual world, and communication device, you can go even further then identifying with somebody. Because you can communicate in this virtual world, you can communicate in this consensual story, which brings you closer to "be the actor in the story." The absence of your physical body on the internet gives you the freedom to choose who you want to be. You have to reconstruct a body, you have to make choices.

Mycupoftea.nl is an experiment, an attempt to make the internet more personal. To bring the everyday life onto the web. I took the "drinking a cup of tea together chat" as an example for an everyday talk. A simple exhange of information, not to pretentious. You talk about all kinds of things, one time it is at your place, another time at mine. Sometime with strangers , sometimes with friends. Drinking tea togehter, creates a common space, people adjust their chairs a bit, move their cups, and the place is there to comfort the visitors. {(In the virtual world it's the same I think, only the medium allows a bit more freedom. For example I can choose easier how I want to look.)} In this project I try to let the user experience the differences and similarities between reality and the virtual reality. For example, daylight is not present, drinking a morning tea with me, can be a late night tea for me, geological boundries are also missing. Another thing which is not there there, is trust. In the everyday life, one of the first things you judge people on, is whether you can trust them. In this site, I'm trying to make it personal, to trust them (by sending them my T-shirts), I try to let them trust me.

Interaction between me and the users is important, which makes the internet a perfect medium for this project. For me internet is about sharing. As sharing your cup of tea with somebody, evolving new ideas, things. To let a project grow itself, develop, an own life.

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