*Best viewed full screen - click icon at bottom right of video to access
Work in progress (working project title: CONTENT)
The first video work shows a 4-channel immersive installation condensed for this application into one screen to make it possible to see all elements. The work is presented in a large square room with the videos filling all the walls. It uses found footage from YouTube and other online video sharing platforms. Most of the footage comes from content that is produced and consumed primarily because of the bodily affects it is able to generate in the viewers. Pornography=arousal/orgasm, ASMR videos=Autonomous sensory meridian response (involuntary ‘brain orgasms’ caused by particular sound recordings), kids animated videos stimulate through colour repetition and sound. They all represent ways in which technology communicates with us that are not conscious and rational, but bodily and unconscious. The content is small scale or user produced and is initially based on individuals desires and pleasures. The algorithms of the platforms learn exactly what we like and keeps us watching by serving up more and more content that is irresistible to our bodies and unconscious drives. The machine is learning how to mesmerise us and is happening outside of our consciousness. Millions of us are making individual and sometimes anonymous content about the weird things that make our bodies feel good and then uploading them. The internet is learning how to play with us, not through our minds or conscious thoughts but through our bodies and unconscious drives. Once it knows how to turn us on, it monetises the creation of that content, so more is produced, then more people like the content and get turned on too. Bots who ‘like’ videos also, but for very different reasons to humans, also play a role. So, what is made and what we like becomes very slippery. To me this sounds scary and sinister. What’s more frightening is the notion that no human has ever planned this out. These cultural forms have been generated by algorithms; fed small pieces of original content the machine morphs, replicates and recruits. This fear of the perfection of the machine is also highlighted in the fail videos, which show the weakness of humans, with soft bodies that feel things and uncontrollable drives that make them do stupid things. The videos also connect to an unconscious part of our bodies when we watch them, the mirror-neuron, which research suggests causes us to laugh involuntarily when we see other people fall over. This is because these neurons produce real sensations in our bodies to mirror what we see, this discomfort we feel gets translated into laughter or pain.