No Fun The artists at…

No Fun

The artists at recently opened their first solo exhibit in London, featuring some of their new installations, like this video game that spews carbon monoxide into the room as you play:

In honor of their opening, I'm linking my favorite piece of theirs below, a 10 minute video short entitled "No Fun". It's a few years old, but I think it is probably the most honest artistic commentary on Digital Culture in the first decade of the 21st century. The video is somewhat disturbing and was banned from YouTube, so consider yourselves warned: this is not an easy video to watch. Nevertheless, the piece moves me in profound ways that only good art can, and it offers a perspective on the Digital Age that we all tend to ignore.

"“No Fun” (2010) reveals how Chatroulette enables socially perverse responses to horror. On one half of the screen, Franco Mattes hangs from a noose, body limp and facial muscles distorted, aping rigor mortis. In the corner, the alleged suicide victim’s computer screen serves as a blank letter, an indication that the performance is happening in real time (and a visual quote of the volley of gazes in “Las Meninas”). The screen within the screen is not the crux of the artists’ artifice but a telling clue of an uneasy spectatorship. So long as we watch we cannot preside as moral authorities, but become subjects of an artistic play on voyeurism itself. On the left side we witness a rotating cast of anonymous spectators looking at the webcam image on the right. Two girls scream, and then one expresses concern while the other can barely suppress a smile. Teenage boys give the finger, spout profanities, or click off. As expected on Chatroulette, one man is obviously masturbating, indifferent or perhaps aroused. None of the viewers on the web fully trust the reality of the simulation of which they are now part, and many express their extreme skepticism, or a resistance to being hosed, typing “this isn’t real.” One lone exception alerts the police despite his uncertainty, motivated by personal discomfort."

You can read more about their art and philosophy here:


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