In the course of writing my post for flavorwire Friday on anticipation, I linked to a preview from The Office. The scene is hilarious but also reminded me of another powerful force driving art work: our desire to fit and align shapes.
As these things happen, I ran into two art works after the post had been published that directly related to The Office video, the first a re-enactment of the very screensaver used in The Office scene by Constant Dullaart (above). By removing the automation from the process “DVD Screensaver Performance” effectively eliminates the anticipation of a color change or shape (a circle doesn’t fit squarely into a corner anyway), but exaggerates the anxiety a viewer feels towards the edges of the screen. No one wants Constant Dullaart to accidentally push too far past the confines of the screen.
To be clear, I don’t love the Dullaart video. The anxiety cited above is relatively small so as a viewer the piece offers relatively little engagement but its structure and graphics are relevant to the lead Office reference so it gets a mention regardless. Also, of note for this reason is Rafael Rozendaal’s “No Disk”, a similar Office screensaver, this time in trio and laid out on the ground. The artist’s voice in this work isn’t as strong as some of his web-based work noted on Flavorwire though, so mostly the link serves to underscore the point that the DVD default screensaver seems to be an unusually compelling graphic.
Finally, the Japanese human Tetris game show (above) demonstrates through sheer popularity, that our instinct to fit shapes together is so strong that we find special satisfaction when the body is involved. I suspect this is related to an innate desire to build as well as our natural interest in watching strangers comically pushed into pools of water. Here contestants must contort their body to fit through a shaped hole on a moving wall or suffer the moat. It’s pretty much the most satisfying show I’ve ever watched, though like Tetris, eventually I do grow tired of the game.
Editors’ note: Artist and Bad at Sports new media columnist Nicholas O’Brien casually wondered whether the concepts of Slow Media might apply to this genre of art work at 319 Scholes last Thursday, though as I go through list of core beliefs I’m not sure it’s all that relevant. As far as I can tell, Slow Media is generally defined by posts that are more considered and don’t exploit writers. That said, their aim at perfection and timelessness certainly apply here.