Go Ahead, Touch Her

The music video for Mariah Carey's recent single, "Touch My Body," begins like many classic pornos: Unwitting nerd rings doorbell, half-naked bombshell babe answers the door, contracted labor assignment is soon interrupted by a romantic interlude with a thumping soundtrack...The song is Carey's foray into reaching out to the the geek set, and includes references to software upgrades, laser tag, and of course...YouTube! The video has over sixteen-million hits on the video-sharing site and, naturally, all of this makes the piece very attractive to an artist like Oliver Laric, who has a keen interest in digital culture and pop remixes. The artist's newest piece is an edit of Carey's video, with everything (the "compunerd," the house, etc) but the singer masked out in green to encourage chroma-keyed remixes by online viewers. Ironically, Carey's lyrics speak not only to a mainstream paranoia about surveillance and privacy intrusions, but moreover drops hints about sharing footage online. She sings, "If there's a camera up in here then it's gonna leave with me when I do. If there's a camera up in here then I best not catch this flick on YouTube." Naturally, this is exactly what Laric is hoping will happen--and no doubt Carey herself. Fame is nothing if not a self-production and Laric's taken this to heart in leaving the title of the video the same and modifying his YouTube video tags to attract more viewers. His real hope is not that the piece will become an artworld cause célèbre but that the larger public of YouTube surfers will adopt the piece and post remixes of their own. The key point made by removing the superfluous imagery from the video's 5,000 frames is that, with her "come hither" gestures and the invitation "touch my body," Carey's certainly asking for it. - Marisa Olson