Shy girl Vtuber: online performance practice

mckenzie piche wilson

McKenzie Wilson – BFA

All content for this project found in following links:


Artist statement

what Follows is my most recent artists statement related to this on going project called Shy girl. This work is a performance based practice taking places completely online over various platforms mainly consisting of video/ Filmed performances. In its earliest form consisting of myself creating and dressing as the character which I named Shy girl and then evolved into various other versions one being a 3D animated model and a 2D animated puppet.

To speak to my progress with subjects related to the creation of my alter , though I’m not sure how much I want it to be viewed as persona but more of a way to remove myself from this project. This alter , Shy girl,  has so far no set type of format or type of content other than videos at this point and photos and maybe live capture online as I progress with platforms but that will very much change the nature of the performances as they will move from being captured into film , to being performance again the temp-orality will change as well as the source of control. which will affect the performances greatly but that will be addressed when the time comes, I think live streaming is a huge new question and place for performance art.  Back from that side tracking so far in terms of subject my videos have in initial conceptions been touching on but not limited to, Para social relationships, hostile male communities such as Inscels, the gaze, make up beauty/ identity, Vtubers and anime subculture, the body, multiples and an exercise in thought on distance and new space relationships found in the online environment. There is much more intertwined with in all of the videos I have done up to this point but these are some of the starting points for my video concept drawings and shot lists which I will be posing.

The biggest development of this alter has been my creation of not only a 3D model based on my outfit and make up created for my performance in my own body. But now also a 2D model, so at this point I have created this group of performers which has been an interesting way of layering levels of abstraction of the original persona created. My video “shy graces” was the first time we were all together as I have been working with green screen to place myself into my online gallery/performance space, though it has been a passing thought but definite one that being my irrelevance now that I have these digital avatars. Which leads to something I suspected might happen that being my own disenchantment with my body which in a way lead to the next video “skin study’s” based on the work of ana Mendieta “glass on face” and my own push to recess the nude and the body online. This video for the first time bought in anime references as well which I did so for the obvious reason that these alters made online where very influenced my anime culture and manga illustration. As a western fan and a reclusive member of the subculture I have always seen interesting territory for discussion about the role of women in the anime but also in the community, being as if suffers from much of many “nerd subcultures” suffer from, sexualization, fetish, nerd bro culture and so on. But in particular anime’s relationship to the female body and projection of female presenting people is rife with conceptual fodder that I couldn’t begin to pick at this is quite long but has been developing. But one of the biggest draws is anime has been the first to bring this type of idealized body and form they have created into a living space in the form of projected 3D models like that of the Vocaloid characters which were developed as mascots for products along with new figures like project melody on streaming cites as well her move into adult content as a Only fans personality, Adult subscription cite. There has even been the creation of objects of comfort mimicking a body in the form or body pillows, which I used in one of my “music cover” videos integrating my own limbs with this printed body. And the creation of silicon full dolls not always used for the purpose of being a sex toy but as recreation of characters from particular shows that people use for companionship not that there is not a sexual element at play. A lot of this rings true to what I think is happening online these things are rather inseparable as I have moved into looking into the Vtuber community for my models and “copies” which the collective element being that all the programs that I have seen or used all by default use this anime form and all Vtubers use this anime avatar weather that be the 3D models or the 2D models as I created mine from scratch based on my performance persona and examples of popular Vtuber forms.

There is this whole new level to literally not only changing your persona online as most do but actually taking on a new form and based on anime which is about the creation of whole other reality’s and which has an element of as a lot of media, escapism. These works as of this past class have been as I have been speaking about very bodily and quite grotesque as is the history often is of female performance art which I had read of and reminded me of such in Vergine body as language which I will link. This writing hit many points in relation to my work and I think is a far better resistor of a lot of what is a part of my content currently. One of originators for these past few videos not only the most recent two skin studies and shy graces was when I published my 3D model on Vorid studios there was a pop up that askes you about the licensing the avatar and it asks who can use it but what most stuck out to me was it asked if the creator would allow sexual content or violent content which became a big influence on the tone of that video. As well the video “shy Graces” which addressed the fact to be able to inhabit my new bodies I needed to pay more money to be able to do something as simple as move the arms of my 3D model as you would need an add on called leap thoughts and conceptual development may seem rather scattered at the moments but much thought has go into them and as far as the writing about this work it will develop as the work has over time.  

As for more technical aspects and materials, I have been pushing myself as far as the structure of my production of these videos as I want to make them all in accessible places with tools that anyone can access and I am trying to produce content weekly as on YouTube the speed of videos outputted is key to that structure and algorithm. The sets, outfits I have been using are also something that its easily accessed or recreated by anyone I guess I am focused on using almost modern-day working-class materials. As I should have started with saying at the beginning of this re brief this project at this point has not end game as it were I have the content that I am expressing as I want to use this avatar to engage with an audience that is outside of say a space in an art institution as I was inspired much by the work of fellow art student and internet artist molly soda. These alters and accounts have become my new studio work place for me to work on a continuous performance practice which is something I have not yet undertaken and I feel that will push my practice outside of my own comfort zone and open me to a space of pushing myself and very making mistakes and gaining new understanding to developed my practice.

Definition: Internet art (also known as net art) is a form of digital artwork distributed via the Internet. This form of art has circumvented the traditional dominance of the gallery and museum system, delivering aesthetic experiences via the Internet. In many cases, the viewer is drawn into some kind of interaction with the work of art. Artists working in this manner are sometimes referred to as net artists.

Net artist may use specific social or cultural internet traditions to produce their art outside of the technical structure of the internet. Internet art is often—but not always—interactive, participatory, and multimedia-based. Internet art can be used to spread a message, either political or social, using human interactions.

The term Internet art typically does not refer to art that has been simply digitized and uploaded to be viewable over the Internet, such as in an online gallery. Rather, this genre relies intrinsically on the Internet to exist as a whole, taking advantage of such aspects as an interactive interface and connectivity to multiple social and economic cultures and micro-cultures, not only web-based works.

Platform 1 : YouTube

Shy YouTube Channel

filmed performance , video montage , audio montage – watch all content here


virtual YouTuber  or VTuber is an online entertainer who uses a virtual avatar generated using computer graphics A growing trend that originated in Japan in the mid-2010s, a majority of VTubers are Japanese-speaking YouTubers or live streamers who use anime-inspired avatar designs. By 2020, there were more than 10,000 active VTubers.

The first entertainer to use the phrase “virtual YouTuber”, Kizuna AI, began creating content on YouTube in late 2016, and her popularity soon sparked a VTuber trend in Japan, and the establishment of other specialized agencies to promote them, such as Hololive Production, Nijjisanjj and Vshojo. A rising number of fan-translations and foreign-language VTubers have marked an increase in the phenomenon’s international popularity. Virtual YouTubers have appeared in domestic advertising campaigns in Japan, and have broken live-stream-related world records.

Originally beginning summer of 2020 this project began as an examination of performance itself , which continues to be , when done on a digital platform when it is no longer a temporal experience , it is archived and the control moves from the performer to the audience. For this I created my first versions of the persona , Shy girl , it was first a persona I would act out with my own physical body changing my appearance and even tone of my voice in post production though never to make the character to unbelievable. As stated before this project is related to the ideas of internet art and as such and for the first time I have been engaging with a Feminist practice and so the persona is based on the modern internet girl , the E- girl. This project has from the beginning gone on with the aim to always be done with elements accessible to anyone online and with in reason as so anyone can recreate this character conceptually as I feel the internet is a foundation for current super flat and makes its own space outside of the traditional gallery setting and diminishes the individual touch of the artist . From my first physical performances i found that a person , my body , was out of touch with the new reality of this type of performance online and that is when I found Vtubers , individuals that create 2D or 3D models of personas , usually inspired by anime culture, and use them in the creation of content. I have has from that point gone on to make both a 2D and 3D model all done through free and accessible software that can be found online , I have also animated them with the same free and accessible versions of the rigging programs , for example a program called 3Tene. This has allowed me to for the first time work in multiplies on a large scale and have audience engagement as well as an open gallery space where I have producing work in tight turn around schedules to make as much content as I am able and also while always being in character while on the platform in continuous performance (seemingly) . (see artist statement for full conceptual background also see Tumblr posts) this project is open ended and ongoing for the foreseeable future and I plan to shift into new mode of work by moving back to what could be called more traditional performance with a move to a live-stream platform most likely being Twitch which will be a more effective tool in engaging my online audience.

Platform 2 : Tumblr

shy online studio archive

Photographs , written statements , ready made objects – to view content


Tumblr has been my online studio space for this project since the summer of 2020 but I see it as just as much a art work in itself. It contains content and work that is not suited to in video of recorded content , such as photography take of myself for a period of time after every video , early inspirations for video performances process based work , as well a written exercises. recently It has become more of a gallery space for ready made objects that are works in them self’s and will also be used in performances my most recent series will be my Pillows two being body pillows ,found objects, and one being a recently produced body pillow featuring Shy girl , 3D model. This body pillow was again sourced from producers online where a JPEG was submitted and reasonable fee of 20 dollars was paid for its printing and shipping. the body pillow being a symbol in this case for the Otaku and anime subculture in relation to female forms as well as a memento from my old childhood as tool of my pregnant mother that I have slept with till the current day. This project will expanded upon as a video will be published during grad show featuring these new objects. This online exhibition space is on going and is more than likely going to continue to change in its use as time progresses. ( To see artists statements and contextual research follow link here- ( part 1) (part 2)

mckenzie piche wilson

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My current work is existential and introspective based on emotional and physicality experiences not only as the basis of the work but in relation to my interactions with it performative in some cases and in the process of making. The materials used in the production of these works are sculptural mediums, spray paints, large print outs/posters, discarded and common materials, personal artifacts, audio found or produced, and landscapes in public space. these materials carry contexts I address in my practice those being the abject, assessment of value, personal trauma, subculture and engagement into concepts of public and private space. As physicality is an important part of my work most of it is 3D mixed media sculptures but currently as a shift in my practice I have been moving into digital work and based myself in online internet exhibition spaces. This is been done to not only engage with the public outside of an academic context but to engage with internet culture as well as using it as a new medium while cultivating an internet art practice. My work is to overwhelm, to surround and suffocate, to make the viewer feel emotion to feel anything and to always leave with uneasiness. It is a process deconstruction self-reflection through self-violence much of which coming from a humanistic and interest in sociological existentialism perspectives as well as investigations into psychoanalytical theories.
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