This 3-channel looping video piece is comprised from footage of red-food-coloring-dyed-slime, video clips of my skin augmented in the cellphone... Read More
This 3-channel looping video piece is comprised from footage of red-food-coloring-dyed-slime, video clips of my skin augmented in the cellphone application “Motionleap” and screen captured video of the mock-up of my acrylic-mounted digital print “Let the Bloodless”. The score is made from the sounds of slime being handled and the stock noises available in the “Motionleap” application. All the footage went through various levels of computer program distortion before arriving at their final form.
My approach in making this work, and the audio aspect in particular, was heavily influenced by YouTube/social media ASMR videos. This acronym stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and there are communities of people who have this syndrome that results in them experiencing tingling sensations down the back of the head and spine in response to the soft sounds like whispering, delicate jingling, tapping or crinkling of paper/tactile materials. Although I have only spent a short time watching this type of content, I am fascinated by these intimate and discrete productions. In a world where media trends towards the ever louder, bolder and more intense, I find it refreshing that there is a large population that craves and creates a space for softness. Apart from that, the neurological response itself is compelling. It lives in an ambiguous place. It is of the body, distinctly sensual yet not sexual. What’s more, it can be triggered remotely. All artists, across disciplines know that their forms of expression can/do trigger emotional and sometimes physical responses. Yet the phenomenon of ASMR-focused content is a concentrated, and therefore more amplified example of this kind of mediated exchange. All of this has become more prevalent as a result of the internet. It was only through the advent of video-sharing platforms that such large groups of people identified with the syndrome and began creating content specifically to trigger its response. And here in lies the other element of my fascination with this neurological reaction. The existence and popularity of these videos, which most often feature rudimentary kinesthetic actions aimed at visceral responses, make the limitless, ephemeral nature of the internet more tangible and more concrete. “The Blood of the Bloodless” bears little to no direct correlation to a true ASMR video. Nonetheless, the intention was to produce a piece that grants corporality to digital processes, that is distinctly sensual and that triggers a palpable, stimulating and simultaneously soothing reaction in those that see it.
Whereas ASMR was the impetuous behind creating this work, now that I reflect on the finished product another neurological condition comes to mind: synesthesia. This is the “condition in which information meant to stimulate one of your senses stimulates several of [them]” and those senses intertwine when stimulation occurs.* Although this condition cannot be induced, here again the ideas associated with the condition, rather than reality of it, form the connection to my practice. Take for instance the etymology of the word: from the Greek- “synth”, meaning “together” and “ethesia” meaning “perception”.* This video compilation, like most of my projects, involves synthesis. This is true not just in the way the individual videos are made- from the layering of distinct segments of footage- but also in the fact that the completed piece is arrived at by the joining together of three monitors that each play a different version of the same video. Another strong connection between my arts practice and synesthesia is the aspect of sensory stimulation and the intertwining of those senses. As an artist that engages with many different mediums/media, sensory stimulation is always at the forefront my mind. A major reason for this mixed-media approach is precisely because I am interested in the effect different conduits have on the same/similar content and how different receptors interpret that material. The most direct example of this in “The Blood of the Bloodless” is the reoccurrence of the same footage in different forms. The functions of digital video production mean that I can take a mixed-media approach even while using a single medium. My hope is that by paring-down the variety of subjects, I can focus attention on the ability of reoccurring elements to illicit dynamic responses. This is also the reason I like my work to play on loop. The infinite return of identical material allows for a boundless rediscovery of the same impression even as it continuously retains a unity.