Double Life by Siwen Huang

The name of this project is “Double Life”. The project aims to make a parallel of the my life in Los Angeles, California and that of my best friend Yifei's life in Boston, Massachusetts. We are both international students who simultaneously experience the United States but from different geographical position. The project is composed of four parts. The first part is a video that records our mundane lives at the University of Southern California and at Boston University. The two sets of videos that we each recorded are merged into one using the split screen effect. This part of the project aims to highlight our connection and disconnection through viewing our daily in tandem and the way we discuss our separate but connected lives with each other.

The second part of the project is two videos that record our online travel experience during the spring break. The first video is of myself introducing my trip to Lake Tahoe in Northern California. I used videos and photos to bring my friend along on my holiday. The second video is of Yifei leading me through her vacation in Cancun, Mexico. Through the sharing experience, we attempt to build long-distance connections to maintain our unique bond of friendship. Although we cannot physically travel together because we live so far apart, we can realize a Spring Break trip together using technology. In this way, we can share our life experience and keep track of each other’s life by communicating.

The third part of the project is a photo wall. Our friendship was originated from high school period. Therefore we have been to plenty of places together and share abundant memorable moments in our life, such as the graduation. The photo wall serves as a proof of our friendship and conservation of our valuable memories. The photo wall component demonstrates the foundation of our friendship and how we establishes the bond between us during our juvenile period. It contains not only some posed photos we had, but also some dynamics between us in daily life, such as our fight, boredom and laugh moments.

The fourth and final part of the project is an interview we made through video chatting online about the whole experience of the months-long online sharing for project and our feelings towards the project. It attempts to draw a conclusion of this experiment and conveys our feelings toward long-distance friendship and our attempts to maintain a friendship. The concept of the project is “long-distance friendship”. It is weird to many of us that we no longer talk to our friends anymore but see their lives solely through social media. It is a different way to maintain a friendship by sharing experience personally in both mundane life and holidays with the new technology we are offered. It can be really effective since we had a foundation of friendship and knew each other well for a long time. Therefore the project can be a relative successful experiment between a pair of friends to maintain closeness in different places living different life. It can serve as a example for others who are not together physically to maintain the relationship, which is also why we shared it online for viewing. The project aims to demonstrate the connection and disconnection existent in long-distance friendships and a new possibility to maintain a relationship well with technology and the collective efforts of two people.