This work was screened at Not Sent Letters & Guests at the Dynamo Arts Association, Vancouver, March 2016.
In Redbook Productions Presents: Causes & Effects, I took the idea of conversation from my previous project (True Connect) and wondered how conversation manifests itself online when people share their feelings about loneliness. On my first Google search, I stumbled upon a forum post on loneliness that quickly went viral back in 2004. This post received over 44,000 replies and is still active today. The post and its replies elicited many feelings for me, one of them being that sharing online is often an empty experience. After you’ve shared, then what? Sometimes, oftentimes, no response comes back but when one does, how rewarding is the exchange? I question the depth and care of discussion that can be generated with online communication. I wonder too why we often all sound the same when posting online or on social media. It seems as though our individuality has been stripped from us. We are adopting a tone and brevity that makes us all sound the same.
How did the World Wide Web change how we communicate and who is responsible for this? If we look back into the past, can we trace a trajectory that exposes how our behaviour has been moulded and shaped? Examining the Prelinger Archive online (the source for my vintage footage), I could not help but feel that our lives have been carefully orchestrated by corporate ideology.
Our lives have been co-opted by institutions. Media is everywhere. We are put to work and unwittingly we work for free (Hito Steyerl). What feels normal and a necessity is, in reality, an illusion. Corporations/organizations/marketers have found our weakness and are exploiting it to the fullest. The new drug is ‘the interNET’ and we are all susceptible. Can we slowly withdraw from an “undead” internet to build a few others next to it as Hito Steyerl wittily suggests in her essay “Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?” We are very good at circulating images/ideas/content online but can we ever completely measure the benefits and disadvantages of this, and most importantly can we transfer these habits to the real world so that we may learn again how to cultivate human connection in the flesh?
Hito Steyerl essays referenced here:
Hito Steyerl, Is a Museum a Factory? June-August 2009, e-flux journal #7
Hito Steyerl, Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead, November 2013, e-flux journal #49