website and video installation
WASP Working Art Space and Production in Bucharest, 2017
The project consists of a room installation that focuses on the act of surveillance, voyeurism, the pleasure of watching others. The room incorporated 2 video projections where you can see me engaged in daily activities: in a window frame talking on the phone, behind a shower curtain taking a bath. In the middle of the room there was a desk with a computer with a website open.
The website contains 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 fon this website for a durational performance talking with whoever will be online.
The work is inspired by the project JennyCAM, a famous website that broadcast 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 in the 90s has led now to a strange uprising of the staged reality, a hybrid request coming from the public – that has now become 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 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 witnessed the rise of a new form of self-branding market. The market for 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 we also see this in episode 1 of season 3 of the TV series Black Mirror “Nosedive”, which discusses self-curation and seeking validation from others, while being monetized and eventually can deny you access to employability or important 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 audience at the opening thought that I was behind the curtain, while they logged in on their phones to talk to me. Being so personal, intruding into others’lives through the window or your phone, is just another reality that we have got so used to.