Fart Lighting and Other Utopian Visons on the Web.

Posted by anthony sawrey | Tue Jul 22nd 2008 12:11 a.m.

Im sure that there are more interesting places to be when one goes for a row in the information torrent.
Nonetheless, that is where I am, ive got caught in an eddy somewhere and that is my current digital media niche.
Hi everyone.
My particular interest is video clips, all those 'best bits' that now jam time wasting sites like Ebaums world or You Tube. Like Joy Garnett or Wilhelm Sasnal (amongst others) I tend to mine the Internet for material. The principal material I reconfigure are avi's and mpegs.
I pull out either single frames or sequences from anything from car crashes or skate boarders impaling themselves which, because of the imperfections and arbitrariness of digital compression codecs, display traces of blurs and artefacts that interest me when they are turned into paint. That is where I am. I’m not a web monkey per se and my digital practice is not very digital but it is engaged with digital culture and i cannot escape its attraction.
Anyway, that’s not why I’m posting this thread. The reason I am here is because I have some questions and I hope that these little conversation germs will morph into an interesting contagion.
Here goes..
What theorists, artists or researchers are examining the effects of video clip culture on either the arts or our viewing habits in general?
What about the rise of digital barbarism? As pointed out by a writer (sorry forgot the name right now..) in Philosophy Now, why is it that a medium that was developed with utopianist visions such as the rise of the global brain and united consciousness, evolved into possibly little more then a arena for fart lighting clips, beheadings, beat downs, ownage, the aforementioned skater face plants, dramatic look gophers and the star wars kid?
Why have elements of the net become nothing more then a site for the posting and secret indulgence of our most dark and sordid fascinations.
Is anyone wondering about this?
This is what I’m painting.. This is what fascinates me about the web. What’s my problem?
My whole masters exegesis revolves around these questions.
So come on... talk to me. I cant be the only one....

Anthony

  • Vijay Pattisapu | Tue Jul 22nd 2008 2:25 a.m.
    ...barbarism...

    ...nothing more...

    What theorists, artists or researchers are examining...?

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/thoreau/life.txt

    As good a place as any to start, esp. regd. what he has to say about conversations and newspapers, two modalities that still determine much of the web.

    On the web you can exteriorize every aspect of your life, leaving no interior life for contemplation, the engine of so much great art.

    A danger, but not a necessary one.

    Vijay
  • Joe Edit | Tue Jul 22nd 2008 2:57 a.m.
    Well this is the best post I've seen in some time.
    Why are we enthralled with work that embraces mediocrity?
    I think it has to do with our own self-loathing.
    I know everyone is going to complain and say : I don't fit that requirement!
    Perhpas they don't, but they still skim youtube for dumb information and fools on display.
    It's become a part of everyday activity for so many, and you wonder why.
    I don't have an answer. The http://www.slanderous.org website was included in Prix Ars 2007, and it is as lowly and as dumbed down as one can get, It was done that way with purpose, but why does it still attract viewers?
    It is by my own definition useless, and an aesthetic dead end, yet it remains popular,
    so perhaps the answer reveals more about ourselves in real time than it does about our aspirations.
    We are simpler than we want to admit, and far less complicated than we should be.
    Joe Edit
    (I always lie)

    • anthony sawrey | Wed Jul 23rd 2008 9:18 a.m.
      This is a very good way of beginning a look at what is a deceptively simple inquiry.
      Once i was in a lounge room with a group of house mates who slavishly watched big brother. I made a conscious effort to avoid it.
      Inevitably, during the ad break my reluctance to watch 20 somethings talk about nothing was challenged as an elitist pose. I said that was not the case. i simply did not want to watch banal conversations embarrassingly similar to banal conversations that i have initiated or been part of. Present conversation excluded.
      The point im making here is Big Brother like various clip sites and trashy gossip rags are so very alluring for that very reason, we love to see some one else take the fall, make a fool of themselves or look shocking on the beach so that for a brief moment we may forget that they are merely a reflection of ourselves.
  • Rob Myers | Tue Jul 22nd 2008 5:37 a.m.
    why is it that a medium that was developed with utopianist visions such as the rise of the global brain and united consciousness, evolved into possibly little more then a arena for fart lighting clips, beheadings, beat downs, ownage, the aforementioned skater face plants, dramatic look gophers and the star wars kid?

    The film "Forbidden Planet" answers this question.

    This is what I’m painting.. This is what fascinates me about the web. What’s my problem?

    You are a Realist. You are depicting the aesthetic phenomena of a society given the means to externalise representations of its most base desires.

    That said you could always Google for knitting circles or local community projects rather than beheadings.
    • anthony sawrey | Wed Jul 23rd 2008 9:23 a.m.
      I am at this moment doing searches on knitting circle clips. I think that you have steered my painting into a whole new area. keep on eye on my site www.anthony-sawrey.tk for the results..
      I never thought of forbidden planet. Im going to watch it again. it was years ago.

      anthony
    • anthony sawrey | Wed Jul 23rd 2008 9:34 a.m.
      Re: Forbidden Planet. I see the parallels between the Web and the Krells Vast Machine. Or, the Net of reason produces monsters.
    • Joe Edit | Thu Jul 24th 2008 12:16 a.m.
      well being a realist is now to generic to identify anything or anyone by.
      knitting ideas in paint or anything else is programmable, so it's techne, and ok with me.
      like the Fuller statement about fools denying their own technology, realism is a program that can work remarkably well.
  • zach | Thu Jul 24th 2008 12:15 a.m.
    Maybe fart lightning and beheading videos are promoting the rise of the global brain and united consciousness...
  • Piotr | Thu Jul 24th 2008 8:31 a.m.
    Somehow i was taken to thinking about two kinds of viewership... that of photography, according to Sontag, and Cézanne's, as described by Merleau-Ponty.

    Is the banal stuff we're talking about here, the slanderousness and trash, about trophies? "I shoot this video, I have a slice of reality"? Tourism in life, making a parallel world of images?
    Maybe youtubeworld gets that way because of the underlying attitude - pride in trophies.

    The opposite would be not about trophies, but more humble, about asking; perhaps something like what was called Realism earlier in this thread. The artist describing what the visible tells him/her, rather than deciding for himself/herself.
    Maybe this way of looking isn't the youtube way because it isn't fast enough?

    All this said, I'm certainly no critical theory buff, and I DO enjoy fart humour.
  • anthony sawrey | Wed Jul 30th 2008 7:59 a.m.
    Its is very interesting about how the idea of realism enters into this conversation and i must say it is something that i have been thinking about for the last few days as i gather clips about knitting..
    Anyway i began to think about how each and every one of us constructs a version of 'realism' to suit our interests.
    In the past electronic media was the bogey man that was controlling our access to the world and a lot of post war war media theory (Frankfurt school et al ) was quite critical, nay, puritanical about the dirty evil base popular media and its habit of dumbing down and dazzling the masses at the same time.The same thread wound through the ideas of Guy Debord, Baudrillard and so on.
    So here we are in the present, in the noughties where we have become almost liberated from the pyramid structure of media dissemination. We don't have to follow the program guides man. We can, y'know, create our own media and by extension, our own realities..Excellent. So here we are, but for some of us this media reality is still made of the banal and the sensational. we have the power to create a funniest home video that can run forever if we so desire.

    Anyway i have began to notice a few things in my clip travels...

    The most interesting thing is that the browsing becomes less random.. I found that i begin to fall back on a older strata of moral filtering as i watch. I begin to avoid certain clips. I begin to take note of the title and the scenario and i come to a point where i skip entire areas of content.. i become less interested in pursuing the cruel, or the brutal not because i cant handle it or something juvenile like that but because i start to seek something else in my browsing..
    For example, clips that have a just winner, or a 1 minute parable where the bully gets punished or the compelling little surveillance dramas with the open endings and so on. In other words we, or i, have found that when left to ones own devices we soon settle in patterns that begin to resonate with our ideas of how the world should be. In a sense i think that Zach has a point.. fart lightning and beheading videos are promoting the rise of the global brain and united consciousness.. With all the madness released and on line we are compelled to find a more refined path through the digital morass.

    i have only lightly skated over a number things in this little rant so keep that in mind as you peruse dear readers

Your Reply