In this month's Playlist we present a selection of videos that take a look at digital living. Featuring: Cultura Plasmic Inc, Sophie Bullock, James Irwin and Helen Kilby-Nelson.
Cultura Plasmic Inc, Living in an Inbox, 2018.
Living in an Inbox is an immersive and interactive video installation exploring digital addiction through advertising, the search for comfort in familiar routines, quick fixes and instantaneity, and the digital architecture of our modern ‘homes’. Based on a living room set-up with comfy sofa, cushions, and TV, a rolling ‘feed’ of spam is projection mapped onto the scene. An advert plays creating the connection between obesity/addiction to fast food and infobesity/digital addiction, calling upon the language of the #oddlysatisfying videos, a social media trend that demonstrates how digital content is being used to support the desire for instant gratification and short-term therapeutic purposes.
We seek quick fixes that trigger that familiar feeling of dopamine momentarily making us feel good. We’re trapped in a cycle of obsessive checking and compulsive scrolling (multiplying with every social media platform), even if we consciously know that the intellectually nutritional value of these messages is zero. Addiction and comfort go hand-in-hand.
Referencing the rise of facial detection and emotion-tracking technologies in advertising and digital media, the advert component of Living in an Inbox incorporates eye-tracking technology to make visible how much data we give away when watching a screen. As the viewer watches the video, any eye movement triggers a burst of ‘likes’ which spawn from successful attempts at distraction and indicators of shortening attention spans.
Check out Cultura Plasmic Inc's profile here
Sophie Bullock, Ambience Factory, 2018.
Artists Sophie Bullock and Sophie Huckfield are ‘The Ambience Factory’, a faux corporate mindfulness business, whose remit is to ease its client’s work anxiety through satirising the techniques of the ‘McMindfulness’ movement and developing “stress relieving” products and digital technologies.
We are currently developing new video performance works, manipulating marketing and advertising tropes to promote our new vacuous self-help brand.
Our project intends to play on the ambiguity and contradictory language and philosophy of mindfulness employed by corporate institutions as self-management techniques and the abstraction of labour. We are collaborating with academics from the Contemporary Philosophy of Technology Research Group (CPTRG) at the University of Birmingham, funded through the Alumni Impact Fund.
With the project developed as a response to the research of the CPTR
group, we aim to playfully respond to academic research, often inaccessible to non-academic audiences.
Check out Sophie's profile here
James Irwin, Listening to Xanax, 2018.
In Listening to Xanax, two robots manoeuvre around the boundaries of their allocated space, unsure of their direction and always under threat of potential failure. The robotic movements of back and forth is used as a cybernetic link in to the inhaling and exhaling of human breathing. Whirring motors of the robots bleed into this sampled audio of a common countermeasure for reducing anxiety, creating an amalgamated soundscape mixed into other calming sounds of nature. This dichotomy of the natural and the robotic is symbolic of the synergy needed to get two autonomous entities working in harmony. As the robots try to control their own environment, they can also be seen as being controlled by their environment; both symptoms of an anxious condition.
Check out James' profile here
Helen Kilby-Nelson, #RealNotReal, 2017.
Installation with moving image.
Exploring the space between the digital world and the real world.
Check out Helen's profile here