My Response/Project

The constant stream of pictures and text uploaded that are available to the public has always seemed like a poignant demonstration of the lives we live as distinctly social creatures who seek contact and permanence in a realm of the intangible and superficial. I started this project with the collages based on Google image search, and feeling of awe for the sheer magnitude of images in existence.

I then began to focus on the more social aspect of this phenomenon: the vlog. This method of contact both intrigued and bored me. To watch people chronicle their existence on the internet through their webcam feels like an extremely voyeuristic act. As vloggers expose their personal thoughts, feelings, and lives, they also expose their own faces and bodies to the viewer. The vlogger invites the viewer into their home, addresses them directly in a human and conversational way, makes casual eye contact, and requests recognition and response to their performance.

Why do I click on links to videos, only to fast-forward through the slow parts and leave without engaging in any sort of dialogue? Because I felt the request for recognition so strongly, it seemed important that my project pay homage to the producers of content themselves as a form of reciprocity.

I also wanted to chronicle my own consumption of these lives in various ways. My own video log was meant to draw attention to the self-absorption and mundane nature of vlogging as well as literally document my interaction with the project. It was important to me that the viewer feel the volume and tremendous production on YouTube in both the video log project and the collection of thumbnails.

The thumbnail collection more explicitly refers to this contemporary state of image saturation and consumption of moments of other people's lives via our own time. It is meant to allude to the nature of surfing the net, the scanning, the moments of decision, and the meaning we extract from hollow images during our search. I also wanted to question the assumption of sincerity in the hand-made and the portrayal of the vlog as non-art.

The collection of drawings of the first moments of an introductory video was meant to highlight time, both in the poster's life and in the execution of the drawing. My imperfect replication of one mere screenshot of an entire vlog showcases the artistry and complex content involved in the original piece uploaded by the YouTuber. Perhaps sincerity cannot be judged by the object, but by the act or gesture. I wanted to try to see my work as well as the vloggers' as a performance celebrating time, subjectivity, and culture.

This website was made outside of any sort of html generator because I felt it important in view of all of the criticism I had read about the de-skilling involved in virtual culture. Through my engagement with this project, I acquired a concrete skill along with my knowledge.

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