website and video installation
Produced as Anastasia Manole
WASP Working Art Space and Production in Bucharest
18 Oct - 30 Nov 2017
The project consists on a room installation that focuses on the act of surveillance, voyeurism, the pleasure of watching the other that does not know is being watched or, on the contrary, accepts the gaze and willingly acts for it. The room will incorporate several video projections that will show me engaged in daily activities: in a window frame, behind a shower curtain taking a bath, behind a curtain having an argument. In the middle of the room we will encounter a desk with a computer on which a website will be displayed.
The web site will contain an online chat room without registration where people can talk to me. The site can also be accessed from outside the gallery. I will be online from now on on this website on a durational performance talking with whoever will be online.
The work is inspired by the project JennyCAM, a famous website that broadcasted for years the life of Jennifer Kaye Ringley and Amalia Ulman`s performance called Excellences & Perfections via her Instagram and Facebook accounts.
But in contrast to Jenny`s unfiltered life, the purpose of the site is to discuss the cosmetisation of reality that happens in cyber space. The advance of reality-shows starting the 90s has led now to a strange uprising of the staged reality, a hybrid request coming from the public - that has become also the producer and the consumer of this market. This hybrid combines the desire of trueness in tv-shows (which we can encounter in the rise of “authentic” footage of increased violence ) and the desire for a better world. This paradoxical demand has been materialized in the social media, where anyone with an internet connection is cohosting. The boundaries between acting and living have been crushed completely. Having access to apps that can broadcast live the latest personal updates, but also to the special effects that embellish this “live surveillance” we have witness the rise of a new form of self branding market. The market of fabricated representation has boomed, and not coming from companies that want to sell products, but from individuals possessing a phone or a computer.
Amalia Ulman`s Instagram performance showcased the roleplaying that is involved in this kind of online existence and also we see this in episode 1 of season 3 of the tv series Black Mirror “Nosedive” that discusses self-curation and validation-seeking being monetize, that can also reach controlling the access to employability or services.
The projections in the room play with the voyeuristic gaze but the actual website is a staged performance through the interactive chat room. The two opposite ways of relating to the viewer find the person that is being viewed in an interchangeable relation of power, the frailty of exposing yourself while not being aware of the gaze and the power of the exhibitionist that performs for the watcher dissimulating and manipulating in to believing fake realities.