With many of my projects, I often work in quite a familiar way, and I have often notice that in my mind I draw a line between the things that ‘should’ inform my work (i.e. theory, philosophy, contemporary artists, art history), and things that ‘shouldn’t’. I have come to the understanding that this is quite an unhelpful way to work, and in many ways actually goes against some of the dominant ideas in contemporary art, and its blurring boundaries between art and the everyday.
This does not mean I’m abandoning the things that in the past I recognised as sources that ‘should’ inform my practice, however, this year I have been really trying to break outside of this and turn to an aesthetic or set of ideas that are familiarly presented to us in our everyday use of the internet. The starting point for this project was Siri, and her flippant answers to the question ‘what is the meaning of life’, since then much of what has informed both the formal and conceptual elements of my practice has been the material that I have often come across on the internet, which in my mind I describe as a sort of ‘naiive’ aesthetic. I guess what I mean by this, is the sort of aesthetic that is quite common on youtube or facebook, badly rendered, poor quality images that accompany a ‘deep’ musing, or presented as an alternative music video for a ‘poignant’ song. Such things have quite an obvious sense of plagiarism, and just generally lack much self-awareness in their production.
I am interested in the way these sorts of images and videos, superficially throw about ‘meaningful’ sound bytes and ideas. Much of my video work is presented in a similar way, comparable to the sort of ‘lyrics’ videos that take a song and provide an alternative video made of quite obviously plagiarised material.
I am enjoying working with this sort of aesthetic, and it has helped me to move out of a rigid approach to the formal qualities of a piece of work and draw from a wider range of sources.
I have also found myself drawn to the ‘retro’ website designs from the 90s, and particularly the underdeveloped look that seemed to have developed from an excited use of web tools, gifs, images, and video, and a very undeveloped sense of professional web design. Again, it is this sort of naive aesthetic that has really informed the way that I am approaching the formal elements of my video work and website design.
I have also come across a site named ‘the world’s worst website’, a website that looks at all the things NOT to do when designing a website. Its quite amusing, and demonstrates the progression of web design away from the poor quality 90s vibe.