Christopher Baker, Murmur Study, Installation View, Audi Open Space Pavilion, Frankfurt, 2011
photo: KMS Team
In Hello World! or: How I learned to stop listening and love the noise, you compiled 5,000 online diaries and showed them on one enormous wall. Along with their accompanying audio, they all play at once; you can occasionally hear one voice above the others as the sound rises and falls. How many of the individual clips did you watch? How were they selected? Are you familiar with the people in any way (via previous knowledge, web stalking, etc.)? Do any of them know that they're in this artwork?
My original motivation was to create an experience that addressed the contrast between our greatest hopes for new communication technologies and what they actually deliver. After spending time with an earlier iteration (which was essentially 5000 randomly selected videos), I decided that I really wanted to capture the optimism and excitement of new users as they spoke directly with their audience. To that end, I generated a set of search keywords that included phrases like "my first video blog" or "my first vlog" (among others), then downloaded about 30,000 of the resulting videos. In the end I decided to choose videos that had little to no post-production (i.e. graphics, titles, edits, etc), featured a typical webcam head and shoulders shot, and were recorded in a personal or private space, like a bedroom, home, car or bathroom. Since I downloaded about 1500 hours of video, I wasn't able to watch each video from start to finish. I scanned each video and evaluated them for their visual quality and background scene as much as their spoken content. Since the videos were found via a public search, I had no connection with any of ...