I don’t know if you can consider the fact that new media artist John Michael Boling just uploaded another great piece to his website breaking news, since he’s been making roughly one awesome piece a month for a while now, but 20 Years Ago Today certainly ranks high amongst my favorites, so it makes today’s headlines. In this piece Boling runs a banal youtube video capturing street traffic in the 80’s across the screen indefinitely. Want to stop the youtube video from scrolling? Well, you can’t. Just like time, it keeps on moving, just like life experience, it repeats itself indefinitely. You can turn the sound off if you happen to have the reflexes of Billy Mitchell, (the first to play a perfect game of pacman), an aspect that vaguely reminds me of Carousel, a piece which suspends various carcasses and a TV on a rotating apparatus, so if you want to watch his video you had to follow it around. Nauman’s piece of course speaks to the connection of socially accepted forms of behavior and hunting, so it’s not like I’m speaking of a deep thematic relationship between the two works, but more to the ways that the piece actively engages the viewer.
It’s probably impossible for a blogger to watch a movie about traffic and draw comparisons to their site stats into the meaning, though if this is a part of the piece, I imagine it’s not overly important. The traffic of the street is a little too constant to serve as a metaphor for the web, but I do enjoy the fact that the piece works just as well for the simile not holding any interest. Internet shop talk is as fascinating as say, watching street traffic on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Editors note: Unrelated to this post, apologies in advance for what will be a week of slow comment moderation and posting. I’m out of town again today and Friday.